When Facebook first announced Timeline, its tag line was “the story of your life”.

With Timeline for brands now available (see Cheryl Morris’s great post on Facebook’s fMC event), it’s time to tell the story of your company. I bet hundreds of social media managers, strategists and their agencies are burning extra hours now rushing to make the switch.

Unless you want to be among the first, my advice is to use the 30 days before Facebook switches all pages to make sure you do it right. Sure, there are big brands that already are live, but keep in mind that these companies likely had early access and planned their pages carefully.

I’m doing that now with my clients, with several core considerations in mind. I’ve looked at lots of pages to gather examples. I’ve seen many that clearly just threw up a cover photo and published the page. One admitted that it didn’t know what to think of its new page and asked its fans for their opinion. Of course, since most Facebook users hate change, the response was not favorable. Not a good way to introduce Timeline to your fans.

The old adage, “You only have one chance to make a good impression” definitely applies here. Following are the ones that I’ve seen since yesterday that are very cool. They are also instructive of the nuances available for curating Timelines that are not spelled out in Facebook’s documentation.

7. Macy’s

The first thing I wanted to know was when was the first Thanksgiving Day parade?  I like how Macy’s put together a collage of images as the photo in this milestone update.

6. AT&T

With the telephone as one of the greatest inventions ever, I hoped (and should have expected) that the company founded by its inventor would be on top of Timeline.

When going to any brand’s Timeline page, I’ve found myself jumping right down to the beginning, which I expect many fans will do, so make that milestone post impactful with at least an image and a fact or tidbit that not many people know about a company’s origins. This will increase the likelihood folks will share and comment.

5. Manchester United

I love the fact that at least one football club took the lead on celebrating one of the world’s oldest sport along with its rich history. This is an example of how brands can create not just “Milestone” posts, but also back date traditional posts with photo albums.

I also love the use of the “highlight” feature to stretch images across the page. IMHO, most older timeline posts with great images should be treated this way.

4. ESPN SportsCenter

The “Worldwide Leader” is a sports behemoth. My young boys have had the “Da-da-da Da-da-da” burned in their heads since they were babies from toys, hearing my iPhone score notifications and TV. But little did I know that one of the first events broadcasted was a slow pitch softball doubleheader – you know, because “every one plays it on Sundays with a beer.”

ESPN also shows an effective use of back dated traditional stories, in this case with video.

3. Coca-Cola

Americans have been hooked on soda for a long time. I just didn’t know how long.

And when did we forget how to do real penmanship?

2. Ford

How can you not include the company that shaped the industrial revolution with the assembly line and brought cars to the masses? Of course, all of these milestones are captured, as are images of its first stock ticket and its HQ building under construction. Just what I’d expect from Scott Monty and team.

1. New York Times

For a news junkie like me, and someone who is fascinated with history, seeing archived photos of what the newsroom was like during the 1977 blackout, or when reporters where on deadline to report on the sinking of the Titanic is enthralling. It moved me to post the comment, “Long Live the Newspaper!”

How about you? What are the coolest Timelines you’ve seen? What are the best B2B examples?