Adding custom tabs
This is one of the most powerful features of Facebook Pages. Tabs have a prominent position on the home page and give you the ability to add customized pages (basically allowing you to do anything you can do on a web page) as well as Facebook apps, which are complete applications including online stores, contests, event booking, and more.
- You can have up to 12 tabs, four of them visible when users hit your Page (the rest appear when you click on the arrow to the right of them). You can change and rearrange all of them except for the Photos tab which remains visible on the left.
- The thumbnail image for tabs is 111 x 74 px. This can be a picture, or include a call to action like ‘Start here’.
- Customized pages can present different information to visitors who Like your Page from those who don’t. So, for example, your copy for new visitors can encourage them to Like your Page to receive some special content. Your existing fans will bypass this and go straight to the special content.
- Landing pages are one of the best uses for customized pages. You can use these to bypass the default home page for visitors who come to your Facebook Page from an external link, such as from your website, an email campaign or an ad. The advantage of sending visitors to a special landing page is that you control the entire experience and can tie the landing page copy to an offer or call to action. A landing page can significantly boost the conversion rate – the percentage of visitors who take action – which will be especially important if you’re paying advertising costs to get them to visit.
- Apps extend your Page even further. There are now thousands of apps, both free and paid. They plug into your Page, usually with just a click or two. Many of the most commonly used apps are designed specifically to increase the number of fans who Like your page, or make your Page more effective as a marketing tool.
1. Adding custom page tabs
The most popular way to add custom page tabs to your Facebook Page is to install a free app called Static HTML: iframe tabs.
Linking to a custom page tab
Once you’ve produced your custom page tab, you can link directly to it from your website, email or social networks, as well as from the tab icon on your Facebook Page. This is useful if, for instance, you’ve created a special landing page for a promotion.
To get the app’s direct URL to link to, copy it from the web browser address bar when you visit the app.
Take a look at this example of a custom page, a book catalog on crime writer Jo Nesbo’s Facebook Page. It displays his books using an image slider to display each cover image.
Clicking the cover image brings up the detail page, with links to purchase from various online stores. Here’s the link that will take you directly to this app: http://www.facebook.com/jonesboauthor/app_172703836174805 (link opens in a new window of your browser).
2. Extending your Facebook Page with Apps
There are many applications (‘Apps’ or ‘widgets’) that expand what you can do with a Facebook Page. Examples are contact forms, contests, polls, coupons, e-commerce stores, and event bookings.
And if you like the idea of custom pages but don’t want to get tied up in HTML coding, there are apps that will look after all this too.
Many of these apps are completely free, or have good limited free versions, and some are extensions that bring web-based services into the Facebook world.
Some examples of useful apps for publisher and author pages
- Odyl (http://odyl.net) is a paid app designed for publishers and authors, includes book excerpts and giveaways, competitions, Goodreads reviews, reader polls and metrics. Used by several large publishers as well as authors and smaller publishers.
- ECWID (http://www.ecwid.com) lets you plug in a complete shopping website. The app has a good free version and premium paid versions.
- skBookshop (http://skbookshop.com) takes your booklist data and turns it into apps for Facebook, Android and soon, Apple iOS. You can you embed the catalogue in your Facebook page, or offer mobile apps for download from your website. It also lets you run promotions for your catalogue.
- Eventbrite (http://eventbrite.com) is a complete event booking and management system. The app is free to use but you pay a small commission if you use it to book paid events.
- MailChimp (http://mailchimp.com) is a mailing list program which lets you add a mailing list signup app to your Facebook Page. The app has a good free version and premium paid versions.
- Wildfire Promotions (http://www.wildfireapp.com/products/promotions) is a widely-used paid app suite (no free version) offering discount coupons, contests, group deals, plus fan engagement devices like quizzes.
- Woobox Custom Facebook Tab (http://woobox.com/customtab). If you’re looking for a friendlier version of the Static HTML app, this it it. This app will let you create custom pages using a MS Word-like WYSIWYG editor — no need to cut HTML code to format your custom pages. Best of all, it’s free and so is a companion app for producing coupons.
- Involver YouTube App (http://www.involver.com/applications). A free app that will add your YouTube video channel to your Facebook Page.
Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.