With just a few days to go before businesses are forced by Facebook into using a new format for their branded pages, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the implications of Facebook Timeline for PR campaigns that make use of the social networking platform.

If you’re a Facebook user, you may have noticed that many accounts, both business and domestic, have already started to adopt a new way of presenting their activity, in which information is arranged chronologically in the form of a timeline.

This new configuration will become mandatory from 30 March and will condense the current system of tabs, where marketers can direct different kinds of messages into the Wall, Info and other pages, into fundamentally one central timeline page.

One of the most significant changes is the fact that Facebook has done away with the default landing tabs feature, which now makes it more difficult for marketers to control the messages that visitors see and the actions they take when they first arrive at your site.

However, the new format does offer the opportunity to upload a large cover image, which will give businesses far more scope to enhance the branded look and feel of their accounts.

We’ve already heard some clients complain that the new timeline layout makes their pages more cluttered¬†and confusing. But we reckon that, in time, people will get used to the new format and that marketers will quickly learn to make the most of the Timeline way of doing things.

And what is patently clear to anyone with any PR sensibility is that Facebook has created a format that is perfectly adapted to telling stories and is now the ideal place for established brands to present their long and colorful history.

So, in other words, it appears that the social network wants companies to use their Facebook pages in a very different way from their corporate websites, taking them down the line of storytelling rather than blatant marketing and online selling tactics.

And if this isn’t a signal that Facebook wants businesses to use their pages as a PR platform then we don’t what is.