Whether you like it or not … if you’re responsible for your company’s Facebook presence, you’d better be ready for the Facebook Timeline switch on March 31, 2012.

Starting in September of last year, Facebook began to roll out a new look for the profile pages of businesses called the “Timeline” design. Aimed at modernizing advertising into a more social feel, the new look is supposed to encourage marketers of small businesses to engage in conversations with their customers, much the way small shop owners did years ago.

In addition to the new feel of the business profile page, Timeline will allow for several other unique features. A large picture at the top of the page has allows businesses to make a strong visual impression on visitors from the get go.

Other features such as pin to the top and starring a post allow for greater page control from the admin in deciding which stories are more relevant and is also able to dictate their placement on the page. In the coming months Facebook plans to unveil several new advertising tools for small businesses including Reach Generator, Offers and Premium, all aimed at transforming brands into storytellers and invoking emotional responses amongst its followers.

Talking to an Empty Room

However, without followers of your brand, it’s like talking to an empty room. This is where another new feature, Build Audience, becomes a key strategic tool. With the new update, business owners are now able to import email lists into Facebook and send a customizable guided message to those Facebook users. For those email owners that are not on Facebook, a similar message is sent to their inbox encouraging them to join and become a fan of your page.

Being able to build a large audience in such an effortless way will allow for an increased reach of a specific brand, in a way unseen by any other marketing tool before.

The final date for the change is March 31, 2012, after which all pages will change to this new look…whether you’re ready for it or not. So familiarize yourself with the new updates now and switch your page over to the Timeline version to avoid scrambling when it does happen!

If you’re not yet prepared, you might find this Time Techland article, 5 Things You Should Know Before the Facebook Timeline Switch Happens helpful. Or, you can always get in touch with your friends here at Responsory.