This post is by Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack, a Facebook platform-based application helping businesses build customized tabs for Facebook Pages that maximize their social media presence and potential.
At ShortStack, we’re excited about the changes to Facebook Timeline for business Pages. Facebook is putting a lot of power in the hands of Page admins with new features such as the Reach Generator and an increased application width of 810 pixels. But what’s got a lot of admins concerned is the fact that it’s no longer possible to create a “Default Landing Tab.”
In Facebook’s old layout, Default Landing Tabs served as a Page’s introduction to the visitor. They were a great way to generate likes and promote contests and sweepstakes. With the switch to Facebook Timeline, tabs have a new name — applications. All your old custom tabs — your applications — are still there; arranged just under the header image, aligned to the right. While names and locations of things have changed, you can use Facebook Timeline’s features and functionality to accomplish the same things you did with your Default Landing Tab. All you have to do is adjust your approach.
Think of the header graphic to your Facebook Timeline as your Page’s introduction to the visitor. But be careful here, because Facebook has some strict rules for the header image. Pricing and purchase information, contact information, references to “Liking” your Page and calls to action (think “Get it now!” or “Tell your Friends!”) are all off-limits. What you can do, however, is post a picture that captures the essence of your business or give a welcome message.
Once you’ve set up your header image for your Facebook Timeline, it’s time to designate which apps you’d like to set as your “favorite” apps. While you can still have numerous custom apps installed to your Facebook Page, you can only designate a couple as favorites. These are the apps that will show up underneath your header image and to the right. To access additional applications, visitors will have to click the downward-pointing arrow to the right of your favorite apps. Try selecting a fan-gated app that features a message that encourages fans to like the Page as your first favorite. Fan gates will still work like they always did, by hiding your most exciting content from nonfans, encouraging those nonfans to click Like, and then displaying your VIP info or big giveaway to fans-only. Additionally, apps now have their own icons, so you can customize each app with its own 111 pixel by 74 pixel image.
Lastly, use Facebook’s new “pin post” feature to promote your custom apps. It’s now possible to pin one Status Update for up to a week. That pinned post will remain at the top of your Timeline. This pinned post can be whatever you’d like it to be — a big company announcement, the photo of the week, even a fan spotlight. You can also use this pinned post to promote your custom apps. So create updates like, “Have you entered our giveaway? One lucky winner gets a new iPad2!” Then link directly to the app itself. Remember that these pinned posts will be unpinned after a week, so be thinking of fresh, engaging ways to direct traffic to your apps. And don’t forget that you can still purchase Facebook ads to promote your custom apps.
Although the method behind the madness may have changed, you can still drive up likes, fan-gate content and do everything else a well-designed Default Landing Tab did using the new Facebook Timeline. It just takes a tad more creativity.