Timeline, once a place for individuals to share status updates and photos, are now becoming an important piece of real estate for businesses. Facebook has rolled out a new section to Timeline that lets members highlight the Facebook Groups they’re a part of. This update follows a series of others that have added similar modules to the layout.

Launched mid-week, the new Groups section will offer consumers another way to show off their interests. Only open groups will be displayed, meaning if someone is a member of a closed or private group that group will be hidden. Additionally, if he or she was invited to a group but didn’t accept, that will also be hidden.

So businesses, if you have Facebook Groups for your customers, you’ll want to make sure they’re not invite-only, otherwise members won’t be able to display them on their Timeline. The reason for this is because Facebook wants to highlight groups that other members might be interested in joining — a barrier to entry is counter-intuitive for this particular module.

That said, those of you with private groups, perhaps for evangelists or specific campaigns, don’t feel pressured to open them up. It’s unknown how much impact the Groups module on Timeline will have on your overall engagement and membership. If the intention of your group isn’t to grow in size, but rather to interact with a specific subset of customers, then this update likely will have little impact on you.

The latest Timeline redesign introduced a one-column layout and a much more visual About page. The latter now features different content-specific sections which enable consumers to highlight their favorite movies, books, and music, as well as other stories they’ve shared through Open Graph apps. Members can also customize how these sections appear on their profile.

More recently, Facebook added tags to status updates which will hopefully bring more searchable and useful data to profiles. The benefit for brands is that if tagged, the post will include your Page’s cover photo and profile picture on the individual’s Timeline. Tagging is limited to specific actions, so not every Facebook Page mention will receive the same treatment.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: JM Abania]