Last week, Facebook revealed an overhaul of Pages, the tool made for brands and businesses to market and engage with would-be customers or fans on the social network. The new Pages resemble personal profiles in appearance, and allow administrators to log in under the page’s name to comment and view new stories.

These new features are an enormous boon for brand managers, marketing agencies, small business owners, and other people who use Facebook. We’ve had a few days to see how experienced promoters and business owners are using it, and we’re impressed.

All Pages will be upgraded to the new design on March 10, but some people have the option to upgrade early.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do with the new pages that you couldn’t do before. If you haven’t already started a Page for your business or brand, read our quick and easy guide to starting a Facebook Page.

The New Layout and Look




The aesthetics and layout of Pages have changed dramatically. Whereas you used to navigate a Page with “tabs” at the top, you now use a left-hand sidebar to navigate — it’s just like personal profiles.

In fact, Pages now behave almost exactly like personal profiles in many important ways besides just appearance and layout. For example, you can now “Like” other Pages besides your own, so their links appear on your Page. This is helpful for building connections with other businesses, and communicating to fans what you’re all about.

The Most Important Addition: “Login as Page”





The new, profile-like features are all thanks to the new “Login as Page” function. You can now log into a Page just like you would log into a personal account, seeing a news feed and notifications specific to your Page, and interacting with people in the Page’s name.

This nearly eliminates the up-front distinction between profiles and Pages — it’s kind of like Twitter, which offers the same tools to both casual users and brands. However, there are some differences. You can’t add friends as a Page — you can only like other Pages. That means you can’t comment on a user’s wall or personal news feed updates unless he or she has his or her privacy level for those updates set to “Everyone.”

But by treating Pages this way, Facebook is giving businesses the ability to interact with each other. Any new way to reach out to new connections is welcome. You can even reach out to users on community Pages — let fans of an R&B music Page know about the new artist you just signed, for example.

You can simply click on the “Account” button in the top right corner of the website when you’re logged in to Facebook to bring up a drop-down menu that includes a “Use Facebook as Page” option. Clicking it will shift the site to your Page’s perspective.

Show Posts By “Everyone”




You can now also manage permissions for your Page in more detail than before. You can choose what users can post to your wall, and even restrict which countries’ users can interact with your Page.

Among the new things you can do: choose how you want updates to appear on your Page’s wall. Either you can by default display only the posts you make to your Page, or you can opt to show visitors posts by both you and your fans, who can freely post on your wall if your settings permit it.

The former option gives you a lot of control and ensures that important outreach isn’t buried in the noise. The later encourages active engagement between you and your fans. Both have advantages.

New Notifications and Other Features





Previous notifications of what happens on your Page were very limited, but since Pages behave like profiles now, you can receive notifications almost every time someone interacts with your page. Additionally, you can now receive notifications via e-mail so you don’t even have to be logged into Facebook to keep tabs on what’s happening.

There are numerous other new features that we won’t get into in great detail — for example, you can now define multiple users as “Administrators” who can view Facebook from your Page’s perspective and make changes. Similar functionality existed in the past, but it’s more more robust now.

For a complete rundown of all the new features, take a look at Facebook’s PDF guide to the new Pages, hosted at its website. We’ll have our own demystifying explanation of all the features in the near future, so stay tuned and let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.