Is there a large blank space staring at you from the top of your Facebook page? If so, you may be a little behind the times.

On Feb. 29, Facebook  announced that they would automatically change all pages to their new timeline format on March 30. If you didn’t switch over before then, we’ve provided you a step-by-step process to get started. If you did, we’ve got some tips that you may still be able to use.

  1. Decide how important your profile picture is.Your new cover photo is the most dominant image on your profile, but your profile picture is what will appear on your customers’ news feed. We suggest using your logo or another company-identifying image as your profile picture.
  2. Think of a concept for your page. You will want to brainstorm before settling on your profile picture and cover photo. Ideally, these graphics will work together to create an overall concept. Some of our favorite concepts are Fanta‘s Lost in Time theme and Ford Mustang‘s subtle cover photo-profile picture integration. Keep in mind that Facebook restricts some content on your cover photo.
  3. Design and upload your cover photo and profile picture. Your profile picture should be 180 x 180 pixels, and your cover photo should be 851 x 315 pixels. If you don’t upload a new profile picture and cover photo, your new page will appear with a blaring blank space at the top and your old profile picture may be cropped strangely.
    Learn how to crop your header image in our recent blog post Create Your Own Web Graphics with XHeader.
  4. Edit your basic information. If you are a small business, your contact information will appear in the new About section below your profile picture. If you are a brand, a description will appear. To edit this information, click on the Manage tab in your administrator panel. Then, choose Edit Page and Basic Information. Make sure the category is correct, because it will also appear in your About section. Brands should limit their description to about 165 characters to prevent part of it from being cut off. We like Dallas TNT‘s about section, which provides a short description and a link for viewers to visit Dallas TNT’s website.
  5. Organize your applications. Your apps now appear as thumbnails under your cover photo. Up to four apps can be viewed without the audience clicking on the expansion button. Your photos will always appear as the first option in your apps bar, but you should check your insights (Facebook statistics) to see which other applications are most popular and consider your current marketing aims before choosing which other apps will appear above the expansion line. You can design your app thumbnails to work with your overall concept. In the administrator panel, click Manage, Edit Page, then Apps. From there, you can edit an app’s settings and upload a 111 x 74 pixel image. Livestrong and Starbucks both did a nice job choosing and integrating their applications. You can have up to 12 apps.
  6. Reorganize and monitor your posts. The new timeline layout offers businesses more opportunities to control their post feed. Here’s a few tips on how to benefit from these opportunities.
    • Use photos, videos and links to make posts more engaging. When you add one of these features to your post, it appears larger and attracts the reader’s eye to your information.
    • Pin your most important post to the top of your feed. To do so, hover over the top, right corner of the post, click on the pencil symbol and choose Pin to Top. It will stay at the top of your feed for up to seven days.
    • Hide embarrassing old posts. Click on the pencil symbol again and choose Hide from Page.
    • Star important posts. By clicking on the star symbol in the upper, right corner, you can make the post twice as big.
    • Post in the past. Hover your cursor over the blue line down the middle of the page. When it turns into a plus sign, click and create a new post with a date from the past.
    • Instead of hiding negative posts by other people, delete them. Go to Manage in the administration panel, click on Use Activity Log, click on the grey circle to the right of the post you want to delete and click Delete Post. This will prevent the post from showing up in the friends’ activity box that appears when people use your site.
  7. Add information about your business by using milestones. The first thing you should understand about milestones is that they are not posts. Milestones are used to tell your company story by highlighting key moments. To add a milestone, simply select the Milestone option above your post entry space. You will be asked to enter an event, location, date, story and photo. Using a photo will make the milestone more prominent on your timeline, which appears the full width across your page with a blue flag on it. The New York Times updated their milestones all the way back to 1851, and did a fine job, too.
  8. Decide if you want customers to be able to message you directly. With the previous design, there was no way for people to sent a private message to pages. Now there is. If you don’t like this feature, you can turn it off by going to the administrator panel, clicking on Manage, Edit Page and Manage Permissions. Uncheck the Messages field.

If you’re still in need of inspiration after reading through our steps, you can visit the MayeCreate Facebook page or the Tranquility Facebook page. Don’t wait too long to get started, though. This new format offers the opportunity brand your company through Facebook  like never before.

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