How to Pimp Your Facebook Fan Page

Setting up a run of the mill Facebook fan page is easy, but why not kick it up a notch?

Facebook fan pages are all the rage lately. With Facebook’s user base in the hundreds of millions, its audience is nearly the largest on the internet. Best of all a Facebook fan page is free and easy to set up. Want to make your fan page stand out from the crowd? Read on.

Facebook’s Audience

Here are some Facebook stats straight from the horse’s mouth:

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day

The Local Audience

Here’s a very recent local example from a Facebook advertising campaign I set up for one of my local advertising clients. The client wanted to target users in Eastern Massachusetts only (east of Worcester), so I set the campaign to target Facebook users within 50 miles of east Bridgewater, MA. This is how you have to geotarget local ads on Facebook. You can’t make a custom map like on Google Adwords, you have to select a city and you can choose 10, 25 or 50 miles around that city.

For this campaign we are targeting Facebook users:

  • who live in the United States
  • who live within 50 miles of East Bridgewater, MA
  • age 30 and older

How many users is that? 1,128,620 people

You can get a good example of the potential Facebook offers to local businesses from that example.

Facebook Fan Pages

It’s been reported that Facebook pages create more loyal customers. Plus, fan pages show up well in Google search results. Locally I have seen many new fan pages showing up in the local search results for all kinds of queries.

Everyone can have a simple Facebook fan page with photos, a wall, info page, etc…, but let’s raise the bar a bit with these simple tips and some basic coding.

FBML Application for Fan Pages

Add advanced functionality to your Page using the Facebook Static FBML application. This application will add a box to your Page in which you can render HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language) for enhanced Page customization.

Facebook FBML

To pull off the tricks below you will need to install the FBML application on your Facebook fan page. once logged in to FB you can find it here. Look for the “Add to My Page” link on the left and click on it to add the FBML application to your page.

Once you install it you should see this in your fan page editing area under Applications: Here I have already named the Box Title or “Tab” that will appear on the fan page to “~ Sales & Specials ~”.

Next you need to set the FBML app settings by clicking on “Application Settings”. You will select either Box or Tab. For the fan page here, I set the FBML page to be a Tab, which is like adding another internal page to the Fan Page. You can also get the link for this tab by clicking the “Link to this Tab” link and copying the URL. This is a great way to send potential fans to your pimped out FBML “Welcome Page” instead of your Wall (see below).

Next you will need to add some HTML code or FBML markup language to your FBML  Application. This can be simple HTML including images and links to your website, etc… or it can be much more by adding some FBML markup.

FBML markup

You can add as many FBML Tabs as you want to your fan page. These can be simple HTML pages with text and images or you can do some other cool stuff with some advanced Facebook FBML code. Below are a couple examples of what’s possible using the FBML (Facebook markup language).

Fan Only Content and Deals

Many of the “big brand” Facebook fan pages utilize this strategy. By offering special deals that only your Facebook fans can see, you are offering an incentive for the user to become your fan.

The code below was modified from Gorm’s blog: FBML fb:visible-to-connection and the Facebook Dev Wiki


<h1>For Facebook Fans Only: Current Sales & Specials</h1>
<br /><br />
<fb:fbml version="1.1">
<div style="position:relative;top:0;left:0;">
<fb:visible-to-connection>
<div style="position: absolute;top:0px;left:0px;">
<h1>Thanks for becoming a fan of My Facebook Fan Page!</h1>
<p><b>Here's the special deal for our Facebook Fans:</b></p>
<h2>The deal details go here<br />
and more....</h2>
<h1><a href="YOUR_SPECIAL_LINK_HERE">Click Here For Details</a></font></h1>
<br />
</div>
<fb:else>
<div style="position: absolute;top:0px;left:0px;">
If you can't see the Special Deal above, become a fan of My Facebook Fan Page!
</div>
</fb:else>
</fb:visible-to-connection>
</div>
</fb:fbml>

Once you have set up your FBML tabs you can also make one of these the default landing page for potential fans that land on your fan page. Go to Wall Settings in your fan page Edit screen and select the desired FBML page from the drop down list.

image

Get Fans to Invite Friends

Nothing spreads faster on Facebook than recommendations from friends. Like on this Harley Davidson fan page you can add the same thing to your fan page with code similar to what’s below:


<fb:request-form
method="post"
action="http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Facebook_page/99999999999?v=app_4949752878"
type="My Fan Fan Page" invite="true"
content="I just checked out the My Facebook Fan Page - They're doing some great work, check them out.<fb:req-choice url=my URL'http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Facebook_page/99999999999?v=app_4949752878' label='GO' /> ">
<fb:multi-friend-selector actiontext="Invite Your Friends To Join Us" rows="3" showborder="false" />
</fb:request-form>

There are several more cool things that can be done through FBML. See the complete list of functions in the developer’s section for more.

FBML Test and Preview

You can test and preview your FBML code on the Facebook developer site to get it just right

Get More Fans

Ok, Now your page is pimped out with all these cool bells and whistles. Let’s get some more fans.

Facebook Fan BadgeThere are a few simple things you can do to get more fans on Facebook. First if you have a website, link it up to your Facebook fan page using the Facebook Page Badge:

The “Find Us on Facebook” badge provides your business a way to promote your Page off of our website, and help direct your customers to your presence on Facebook. This Badge can be applied in-store or on location, on the web, and in print collateral.

You can also use the Facebook Fan Box. This is a box that you can make any width that shows how many fans you have and some of their pictures. Here’s an image of the Fan Box for the Cape Cod Daily News:

image

You can find the link to the code for your fan box on the Edit page for your fan page. It’s in the second column from the right. Place the code for this on your website where your visitors will see it.image

If your business sends out any amount of email, you can include a link to your FB fan page in your email signature(s) to help promote it to your contacts who might not regularly visit your website.

Linking to your Facebook fan page

Here’s a tip for creating a nice clean URL you can use to link to your Facebook fan page:
URL’s for Facebook pages are long and ugly. Especially if you link to an app on your fan page, like one of your FBML tabs.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Facebook_page/99999999999?v=app_4949752878

There are a few simple workarounds to clean up and shorten your fan page URLs.

Register a separate domain name and forward it to your Facebook page. Most domain registrars offer free domain forwarding.

If you already have a website for your organization, you can use a subdirectory (folder) off your main website ex. yoursite.com/facebook.

Here’s how to do it.
Create a new folder on your website. Call it for example yoursite.com/facebook (if you are going to use it frequently on Twitter make it shorter yoursite.com/fb or similar). Make an index file for this folder, call it index.html and use the following code in that file:

<html>
<head>
<title>My Facebook Fan Page</title>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=PUT_YOUR_LONG_FACEBOOK_FAN_PAGE_URL_HERE">
</head>
<body>
<a href="PUT_YOUR_LONG_FACEBOOK_FAN_PAGE_URL_HERE"><b>Click Here If The Page Does Not Redirect Automatically</b></a>
</body>
</html>

Be sure to read the official guidelines on fan page promotion to avoid any trouble.

More FB Fan Page Resources

Creating a custom facebook fan page
Extending Facebook Static FBML Tabs with Dynamic Content

Written when Facebook only had 140 million active users 13 ways to promote your Facebook fan page offers some concise tips on fan page promotion.

You can add polls to your fan page among other things.


Comments

How to Pimp Your Facebook Fan Page — 1 Comment

  1. Wow great post. I was just trying to figure out how to get a “Invite your Friends to Join Us” widget for a facebook page and there it was. A few tweaks and Voila!

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