Today, Facebook unveiled its plans for the future of Corporate Facebook Pages.

We can all breath a sigh of relief with the news and gear up for an exciting digital and social future.

If you have custom Facebook apps.

Facebook is not only keeping apps as part of their Corporate Pages strategy, but making the Corporate Facebook Pages an even better user experience.

Here’s the core notes of what you need to know at this point:

  1. Corporate pages can optionally choose the new “Timelines” feature. On March 30, 2012, all corporate pages will be moved over to this new design by Facebook.
  2. If you have a current Facebook app, it’ll move over to the new Timelines without the functionality affected – Great.
  3. Apps that require someone to become a fan before using it (Fan Gating) will still work the same way – Great.
  4. An app can no longer be a default welcome page – Not great.
  5. To counter-act #4, brands will still have a custom URL to promote their apps and contests – Great.
  6. You now get up to 810 pixels in width for your apps vs. 520 – Great great great.
  7. A new feature called Pinned Posts is being introduced that allows you to keep a post at the top of your timeline for up to 7 days – Great (give your campaigns, contests, big news extra promotion).
  8. Brands will now have a great big additional picture area called Cover Photo that they can upload a picture that best represents their brand (much like the personal Timeline pages) – Great.
  9. You can now receive and respond to private messages from Fans through a new Administrative Panel – Great.

Some important additional notes you need to know:

  1. Some Welcome pages that have a visual encouragement in their design to “Like Us Above” will need to be redesigned slightly as the Like Button on the app page has moved to the top right.
  2. Static Welcome pages that exist solely for fan conversion won’t be as important anymore. The Cover Photo will replace this need.
  3. As of right now, apps will still not appear on Facebook’s mobile application. Expect this to change in the future though.
  4. Custom apps with thoughtful and engaging functionality (sweepstakes, voting contests, promotions, branded games, etc.), will continue to grow in popularity amongst fans. See Coffee Culture or Union Burger for a branded Facebook social gaming app tbk Creative built, for example.
  5. Brands are given greater ability through the new Timelines setup to share compelling content. Here’s how you can do this in 4 easy ways:

i) You can Pin stories that you want to put the spotlight on;

ii) You can hide posts that didn’t get the engagement you were looking for,

iii) You can enlarge posts that you want to stand out;

iv) You can now create milestones at the bottom of your Corporate Page that shows historical achievements for your brand (ie. a new product launch, hiring your 70th employee, generating your 50,000th fan, etc.).

I foresee Facebook continuing to provide a platform that allows engaging and authentic brands to grow. There’s a distinction however: Facebook won’t make a brand engaging, but will instead allow an engaging brands to flourish.

tbk Creative will be answering questions daily on these new changes on our Facebook Page here.

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Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a London Ontario based web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.