Facebook has introduced their Timeline feature for businesses and brands after making the layout a mandatory update for personal profiles starting last month. Businesses are being encouraged to make the switch starting today but as was the case with personal profiles, it will become involuntary on March 30.

Timeline was announced at the Facebook f8 conference in September 2011 and like most new updates to the social network, it has been a topic of heated debate ever since. Proponents of the revised layout praise the large cover photo, dual column view and chronological timeline on the right side of the profile. Those against Timeline often say the layout is too confusing and reveals updates and photos from the past that could cast a negative shadow on who they are today.

Coincidentally, it's some of those same 'negative' aspects of Timeline that could potentially be beneficial to businesses. A large cover photo could help capture the essence of a brand and showcase a product or service. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Furthermore, the timeline aspect helps to tell the story of a company. For example, Starbucks has updated their timeline with a photo of the first store that opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971. The New York Times' profile dates back to 1851 with a photo copy of the first paper they ever printed (which sold for one penny).

Several other brands have already made the switch to Timline including Windows, Ford Mustang, Ben & Jerry's and Magnolia Bakery.