Facebook updates Pages to look more like user Timelines

Facebook is giving brands and organizations new tools to manage the way they interact with users on the social network, with updated Pages that will provide a better visual experience to users and advanced administrative tools for responding to user messages.

The new Facebook Pages include many of the same elements that individual users have: They include a large cover photo, a smaller profile photo and apps with photos, videos and places. It also gives brands and organizations to “pin” posts, which will hold them at the top of the Page timeline for seven days, and to “star” them, which will make photos and videos available in a double-wide format. Organizations can also set milestones, such as when they were founded or when they reached a certain number of users or likes.

In revamping Pages, Facebook has also attempted to make them more social, by enabling users to see which friends have liked an organization’s Page, or have mentioned the organization lately. The idea is to give users more social context for the Pages they’re visiting and friends who might share common interests.

More important than the visual elements of the new Facebook Pages might be the admin tools that are available behind the scenes. Administrators will be able to receive notifications of users interacting with their Pages and mentioning organizations publicly. They will also be able to respond to message sent from users who wish to contact the owner of the Page.

The evolution of Facebook Pages follows the introduction of user Timelines, which were announced at the company’s F8 developers conference last September and rolled out to all users earlier this year. One goal behind the updated Pages interface is to create a more consistent look-and-feel across the site, ┬áSam Lessin, Facebook product manager,┬ásaid at a press briefing Tuesday.

It’s more than just consistency, though: Lessin said the new design of Facebook Pages would give brands and organizations more flexibility to tell their own stories. “The important thing about Timeline is that it wasn’t supposed to be just about people,” Lessin said. “Organizations have identities, too… This is a framework for giving [organizations] the power to tell and shape a story.”