Apps for Pages
Many of what were once Page tabs are now considered apps. Even the Photos and Videos links you see in your lefthand navigation are considered apps. There are thousands more Facebook Apps to choose from. Each different type of Page comes preloaded with a set of Apps. For example, a Band Page will come with a music player, video player, discography, reviews, tour dates and discussion board.
There was previous an official apps directory, but Facebook shut this down. Now they want you to use the search feature to find apps. Figure 3.9 shows a search for apps that help you integrate your blog’s RSS feed into Facebook. You can also do this with the Notes application, which we’ll cover in a bit.
There are a many applications you can use to help customize your Facebook Page.
- If you’re a restaurant, you could integrate OpenTable or Zagat Ratings.
- If you or someone else from your company does a lot of public speaking, you can upload your slide decks to Slideshare.net and then integrate their Facebook application onto your Page.
- If your company is active on Twitter, you can find applications that allow you to create a tab on your
There are also applications for photo services such as Flickr, video services such as YouTube, polls such as Poll Daddy, calendar publishing apps, and thousands other options that can help you to customize your Page.
Figure 3.9 A search revealing many RSS feed applications that can be integrated with your Facebook Page. Involver also has a good RSS app.
Notes and Your Blog
While viewing your page, click on Edit Page, then click on Apps, and you can add the notes tab if you want to write notes or pull in your company’s blog with its RSS feed. Just click on Go to App under Notes, then you’ll see “Edit import settings” in the lefthand navigation. Click on that and you’ll get figure 3.10.
If your company doesn’t have a blog, first, consider taking steps to change that. Second, you can pull in any other RSS that your company might have, such as a Corporate News section on your website.
Figure 3.10 Similar to the Notes tab on the personal profiles, Facebook Pages also allows you to activate a Notes tab that you can pull in your external RSS feed.
Once you’ve imported your RSS feed into notes, you’ll see what looks like your blog, but inside of Facebook’s look and feel (see figure 3.11)
Figure 3.11 Here are some of Brian’s blog posts from briancarteryeah.com pulled into a Facebook Page’s Notes via RSS.
Set up the Events tab—If your company hosts events, puts on webinars, meetups or any other online and offline event, you should create an event within Facebook to ensure your Facebook Page is classified as the organizer (see Figure 3.12). This allows users on Facebook to register for the event and share it into their news streams to help extend the reach of the event. If you use an online event registration service such as Eventbrite (eventbrite.com), it actually allows you to create a Facebook Event directly from Eventbrite so that you don’t need to spend time duplicating the information.
Figure 3.12 Mashable, a social media blog and one of the top rated blogs in the world, uses the Events tab of its Facebook Page to show where it’s holding meetups, parties and other events around the country.
Figure 3.13 Eventbrite gives you the step-by-step instructions for promoting an event from their site directly onto Facebook.
Although all these Facebook applications enable you to customize the options and information on your Facebook Page, one application allows you to totally change the look and feel of your Facebook Page: the Facebook Static FBML application. FBML is best described by Wikipedia as
“...a variant-evolved subset of HTML with some elements removed.... It is the specification of how to encode content so that Facebook’s servers can read and publish it, which is needed in the Facebook-specific feed so that Facebook’s system can properly parse content and publish it as specified.”
What that essentially means is that FBML is a simplified HTML coding language that enables you to mock up custom widgets or tabs on your Facebook Page (see Figure 3.14). This is beneficial to companies, celebrities, and public figures because it allows you to brand your Page with your specific colors, provide a similar layout to your other websites, and provide rich content on your Facebook Page.
The Reports of FBML’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
In March 2011, Facebook stopped supporting FBML. This announcement, which came in 2010, led to a lot of confusion and anxiety. Imagine how many were surprised to discover that in the week of July 8, 2011, Static FBML was again the fastest growing Facebook application! It turns out there’s a big difference between Facebook no longer supporting FBML (which means they won’t do customer support for its issues), and the fact that you can still create and use it on Facebook. There are currently three apps in the top 30 most used Facebook apps that help you create FBML and HTML on Facebook.
- Static HTML: iframe tabs http://apps.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=190322544333196
- Static FBML 3 http://apps.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=6009294086
- iwipa: HTML + iframe + FBML http://www.facebook.com/iwipa
But if you want the absolutely easiest to use iframe app that will help you create a reveal tab, also called a fan gate (see figure 3.14) – something that shows one image to a non-fan and another image to people after they’ve clicked like – check out Wildfire’s free app: http://iframes.wildfireapp.com/
Figure 3.14 This is what the Red Bull page looks like before you Like it. You can see a faded out glimpse of what you’ll get once you hit Like. As soon as you do, the page refreshes to the post-like view. Excuse me now while I go back and re-like my second-favorite beverage.
If you’re willing to pay a bit for advanced custom tab creation features, here are some of the players in that space:
- Lujure Assembly Line
- Fan Page Engine
- North Social
Check out how some of the Best in Class Facebook Pages discussed in Chapter 10 have utilized FBML and iframes, and then consider getting someone to do a little coding for you.
The Discussions app— The discussions app used to be standard on all Facebook Pages. But now, as Facebook Page managers have shifted to leading discussions by posting into fans’ News Feeds, and with the advent of the much more active new Facebook Groups (since October 2010), it’s probably not worth installing the Discussion app anymore. Most Page owners found it was difficult to get much activity there in the first place, because people just didn’t visit the tab much. Since people primarily experience Facebook through their News Feeds, you would have to constantly post about your Discussion area to get people to remember to go. This extra step is just a waste of time. However, if you already have an active community in your Discussion area that’s self-sustaining (figure 3.15), go on with yo’ bad self!
Figure 3.15 The Discussions tab on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Facebook Page still super-active, despite all Facebook’s interface changes!
Make Your Page Visible—Last, but not least, if you set your page so only admins could see it while you tweaked the settings and applications, and built custom tabs, make sure to go back to Edit Page > Manage Permissions and deselect that box! Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. It’s not meant to be perfect. If you waited to publish your Facebook Page, your corporate website, your blog, your product, or anything else until it is “perfect,” you would never get around to actually publishing anything. You would be stuck in the cycle of forever tweaks, always finding something wrong that needs to be adjusted.