Whether you like it or not, your business Facebook page will automatically switch to the new Timeline format on March 30th. If your business hasn’t already switched to the new format, don’t let the automatic change sneak up on you.

There are a lot of cool new features you’ll have access to with Timeline, but you’ll also want to be prepared for some new changes coming your way.

Cover Photo: First of all, the most important thing you’ll need to have is a properly-sized cover photo. In addition to the traditional “profile picture,” you’ll also need a 851×315 pixel photo that conveys your brand. Because the cover photo has unique dimensions, you’ll want to be sure that it’s probably sized before it’s uploaded to prevent awkward cropping or unwanted pixilation.

Images for Page Tabs: Timeline also changes where and how page tabs are shown. Page tabs and apps used to be listed in the left hand-side column beneath the profile picture, but are now found on the right side beneath the cover photo. Instead of using favicons, page tabs can now use 111×74 pixel images.

Pinned Posts: Timeline has done away with default landing pages that used to be available for business pages. It does, however, allow you to “pin” particular posts to the top of your timeline won’t change position and are always visible to page visitors.

Direct Messaging: This feature certainly adds a new dimension to customer interaction, allowing visitors – both those who are fans and those that aren’t–to send direct messages to your admin panel. Previously, visitors were only able to communicate directly through wall posts. You’ll want to be sure that you always have someone monitoring your direct messages in addition to Timeline posts to make sure your customer interaction is on the level it needs to be.

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