How To Add A Custom Landing Tab To Your Facebook Fan Page

[UPDATE: In February 2011, Facebook replaced the FBML app with iFrames. For a list of great free and low-fee iFrame apps, see this BIG LIST of Apps on my Facebook fan page!]

Let’s assume you have your Facebook Fan Page up and running now. (If not, see FANtastic Fan Pages for ideas and help). Some of the basics include adding a custom graphic, installing apps – particularly Static FBML, adding custom content including a landing tab, and ensuring you’re adding relevant, quality content on a regular basis. I’ll be covering all of these subjects and more on this blog and also on SocialMediaExaminer.com.

If you have visitors to your Fan page and they are not yet fans, I call them non-fans, you ideally want those visitors to be directed to your custom Welcome Tab rather than your Wall.

The idea behind this is you want to have a clear and inviting page that provides these visitors with an immediate sense of who you are, what you do, why they should become a fan, AND you want to provide a call to action with a nice visual to your Become a Fan button.

If the visitor is already a Fan they’ll automatically be directed to your Wall as the landing page so they can read your updates, see what your community has to say and share their thoughts.

Before you can set up your fan page to make the distinction between fans and “non-fans” you’ll need to create a Welcome tab:

Add the Static FBML iFrames App

FBML stands for Facebook Markup Language.  It’s Facebook’s own version of HTML.  You want to install this application because it allows you to configure your Fan Page with custom tabs.  If you are good at traditional HTML you will pick up FBML very quickly.

If you don’t have any experience with HTML you are not alone and I highly suggest you work with a web developer who can quickly and easily add all of the custom apps you want without the headache and frustration of learning this new language at a time when you are trying to grow your business and fan base.  But, if you love that type of challenge, more power to you!

Here’s how you add the Static FBML application so you or your web designer can start configuring your landing page:

  • In the master Search box at the top, type in FBML.
  • Click on the square Facebook FBML icon to go to that page.  Under the icon on the left side of that new page, Click on Add to My Page (as shown in the screenshot below).
  • You will then see a pop up window with thumbnails of any fan pages you’re an Admin for.  Click on the button that says Add Static FBML next to the fan page you want.

Create Custom Content

After you install the Static FBML app, go back to your Fan page and click Edit Page under your image.  You will now see new applications to choose from – click on the edit link for the FBML app. (By the way, if you just created your fan page and/or it is not published yet, you may have difficulty finding where it went! Here’s a direct link to the Pages Manager – you might want to bookmark it).

There are essentially two simple, blank fields to this app and that’s it. It’s so simple, it seems complex! The first small field is where you enter the title of the tab you want.  Then the larger field is where you paste in the raw HTML code.

If you are fairly savvy about adding similar HTML text to a WordPress site then this will be a snap, but again, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a web developer.

For do-it-yourself folks, try Windows Livewriter (for PCs only) – it’s a free WYSIWYG desktop blog writing software (I use it for all my blog posts) where you can create the content you want, then view the raw HTML source code and copy/paste. Or, if you’re more advanced, software like Dreamweaver will be a good choice.

NOTE: Something really cool to know about the Static FBML app is you can add additional iterations of the app for as many custom boxes/tabs as you wish! Along with a custom landing welcome tab, SocialMediaExaminer.com have another FBML iteration containing an opt-in box by itself plus another iteration with a series of navigation buttons to their main website:

Adjust the Settings

Once you have created and added the content you want, you can add this new tab to the list of tabs on your fan page by clicking on the double arrows that appear on your tab bar on the far right.

To “lock” the positioning of your first several tabs in place, click on the tab itself and you can actually pick it up and drag and reorder. Once you’re finished reordering, this new order will remain “set.” (The only tabs you can’t drag and drop are Wall and Info).

Now that your Welcome tab is set up, it’s time to adjust your settings for the appropriate landing page for your fans and your non-fans.  There are a couple places to do so; here’s the simplest:

  • On your Wall tab, look just below the Share button of your Publisher and you’ll see a tiny link for Options. Click on that, then click Settings.
  • Use the drop-down menu next to Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else, and select Welcome so that all non-fans are directed to your Welcome page first.

Custom welcome tab – your Welcome tab is for non-fans and the key objective is to provide the call to action so that people become a fan.  The really fun trend with Welcome tabs is to make them multi-media – a short (1 minute or less) welcome video, an audio post, etc.  This is such a great personal way to connect with your new visitors. Of course, you can name this landing tab whatever you wish; it doesn’t have to be “Welcome.”

Add an Opt-In box

An Opt-In box on FB is much the same as one on your website.  It is a way to offer free products or services to your visitors in exchange for their email address for future marketing purposes.

You may choose to use the same give-away product as your website or offer a different one.  If you want to track where your contact list originates or you believe the demographics of your fans may be different than your website visitors, you might want to offer different giveaways for each opt-in box.

Otherwise, I would recommend sticking with the same offerings for both your website and fan page.  Again, if you are good with HTML, it will be a breeze for you to use the Static FBML application to add your opt-in box, otherwise put this on your to-do list for your web-designer.  (Note – this opt in box will be programmed just like the one on your website – using the same auto-responder program such as aWeber, 1ShoppingCart, Constant Contact, etc.)

If you go visit my friend, John Assaraf’s, Facebook fan page (screenshot above) – you’ll find he actually has three different opt-in boxes on three separate tabs: Welcome, Ask John (genius!), and RAK.

Add a Welcome Video

My friends, Steve Spangler (Ellen’s Science Guy!) and Ezine Articles founder, Chris Knight, both have excellent welcome videos on their fan pages. The videos are short, compelling, and explain exactly why you would want to become a fan of their Facebook Page! Steve has a YouTube video embed, Chris has an .swf file embeded

Check out more Advanced Pages

There are many custom Facebook fan page app services available – many for enterprise level – but also many serve small to medium size businesses. Take a look at:

I love the wacky things Volkswagen do with their page – they used to have a landing tab with an app that would assess all the information from your personal profile and tell you which VW you should be driving! Now, they have a funny PunchDub game:

And Alice in Wonderland‘s fan page is way fun – you can make yourself into the Madhatter and post to your profile:

I also like Threadless‘ fan page – their landing tab isn’t necessarily geared to converting each visitor to a fan; rather, you land on an online store and can purchase teeshirts, share on your profile with the ubiquitous Share button, and even comment on each teeshirt and choose to post the comment to your profile:

Now that your custom landing tab is in place, I’ll be writing about some of the fun and strategic ways to increase your community of fans on upcoming posts. Meantime, I’d love to hear what unique things you’ve done so far to welcome your potential fans.  Have you seen some really neat welcome pages that you want to share with the rest of us?  Add your comment below!

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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Posted in Facebook Fan Pages, Facebook for Business, Facebook Tips
  • http://www.visitingangels.com/lcoh Robin Donnelly, LPN, DCP

    Added my Welcome tab and an Ask an Angel tab. Now I need a tutorial on how to add video and what equipment is needed to utilize those tabs.
    I do have a Flip recorder, or I have a webcam right here on my laptop. Which do I use and is this acceptable since I can’t afford a dazzling one like yours?
    Thanks,
    Robin Donnelly

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  • http://ThinkTaylor.com Freddie @ Web Presence

    These are great ideas, Mari. Love the examples and I became fans of a few of them like Social Media Examiner. Powerful stuff on the blog and Fan Page.

    I am a budding designer myself, so much of the stuff I can do. However, inserting the video is something that I cannot do. The YouTube embed won’t work for me.

    Is there a trick or something that I am missing?

  • http://megsrunningblog.wordpress.com/ Megan Bucher

    Mari, this is great advice.
    I even installed Livewriter, but what I created there didn’t transfer over to my tab when I copy and pasted.
    But I’m one more step ahead of the game!
    Thanks!

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  • Nathan Latka

    Hey Mari!

    Great post! I love it especially because I am highly specialized in FBML coding =D I have created a mastermind group @ http://www.nathanlatka.com/CreateYourCustomFacebookFanPage . I help anyone looking to make their own =D.

    Thanks again for this great post- I love your FBML page btw!

  • http://FredsUsedWebsites.com Maryjo Morgan

    Love the way you use examples to enable the rest of us!

  • Peggy Dolane

    So Mari,
    I’ve tried this and mostly succeeded, but am still having a problem. Unable to figure out the photo part. Since photos usually reside somewhere on-line as an upload, how/where are the jpgs stored so they’ll show on my landing page? I’m betting the answer will be the same as how to get a video, audio etc. to be viewable.

  • http://www.SayItWithEcards.com Rosalind Fruchtman

    WOWEE… This is fab. I know we covered this in FANtastic Fan Pages, but who remembers… This is a FAB review @Mari. THANK YOU!

    Roz

  • http://www.WaterfrontLifestyle.com Bryan Guentner

    Wow a greatpost. Is there someone who could work with me to design and implement this idea?

  • Alex

    Getting video viewable is a little tricky, since FBML doesnt natively support java or flash -but it works. here’s our example:

    (Excuse the bad URL: facebook.com/pages/Kilted-Chaos/118323809886?v=app_10442206389&ref=ts)

    Basically, its some modding of this code:

    Feel free to drop us Kilted Folks a line if you still have problems. Its one of those things i’m thinking a “DIY’er” will take hours over but your friendly neighborhood web design person will get running in no time for you. or hey, maybe the code i gave will work just fine for you too. ENJOY!

    in many respects FBMl is easier than regular code, but the little things like the way it handles form code, video, etc could be a PITA for non code people i think. but the good news is, the ease of FBML for code savvy people, should keep the price of customization down for anyone needing it done IMHO

  • http://www.choosingbeauty.com Liv @ Choosing Beauty

    This was fabulous, Mari! So excited to have a more professional-looking presence for new visitors to my fan page. Thanks for the step-by-step guidance!!

    P.S. I had a hard time with Writer, but you can do the same thing in Blogger – just create your page and then hit the HTML tab to get the code you need.

  • Dolores

    Thank you so much Mari. Valuable content that I will use!

  • John McCullough

    Great stuff. There are a lot of businesses that need to implement this. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.valwilcox.com Val Wilcox

    Thanks so much for this great info Mari!
    I will definitely be able to follow this to create my welcome page for my Fan Page. I appreciate all the links to different applications that will assist me in creating this.

    Awesome,
    Val

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  • Damien

    Great Post Mari. Your fanpage looks so good. I'm definitely going to implement what I've learned from this. Cheers, Damien.

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  • http://www.valleypr.com Georgia Marszalek

    Hello Mari,

    I will read this along with the tips at
    http://www.andreas.com/faq-facebook-fan-page.html
    to see if a mere mortals can do this.

    Thank you for all your social media advice and examples.
    Georgia, ValleyPR LLC

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  • JoyceIsCrafty

    Wow, I really didn't know all that could be done on facebook! Thank you for such an informative article!

  • Sara

    Thanks Mari,
    I just tried this out with Windows Live Writer, however when I copied and pasted the raw HTML source code it only took the text not the picture…
    Any ideas why?
    Thanks!
    Sara

  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    Aha yes – you have to have your picture hosted somewhere first! You could even load the pic to Facebook and grab the pic's full URL. :)

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  • http://www.bluerosedesignpdx.com Debbie

    Thanks for posting such a detailed overview. I’ve been procrastinating building a Facebook Fan page. Now it’s on my ta-do list.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Debbie

  • Arletta

    This is great! I was afraid to start this project (but since the Welcome tab was my idea, I knew I had to do it!). Using Windows Livewriter was perfect for the task! We're discussin other tabs, now that we know how easy it is!

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  • Guest

    This is, by far, one of the most useful “Facebook Fan Page Help” articles I've read in a while!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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  • http://twitter.com/AustrianUSFans AustrianAirUSFans

    It's a great tutorial. I've already implemented some of the suggestions on my Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/AustrianAirlinesUSFans

  • SRK

    Mari, it still doesn't work! I uploaded n image at http://www.photobucket.com and they'll give you direct links to the upload, but when I copied and pasted the raw HTML source code it only took the text not the picture…

    PLEASE help as I'm not n html xpert, but need to upload new picture at my FBML tab/page very often. . . . .

    Many Thanks in advance

  • Rahul

    Thanks a lot Mari. Really helpful!

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  • http://www.soulfilledlife.com Heather Gray

    I am loving having a page for my Creative Business (vs. using my Personal Profile, which was becoming a Dysfunctional Relationship with the mix of business and personal) Thanks for all your help Mari, I've been pointing to many of your resources for others.

  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    You're the best, Heather!! Thanks heaps!

    (Love the name of your biz!!)

  • http://www.cashqueenmarketing.com CashFlow Queen

    Good stuff Mari…I was searching for other cool fan pages to get some ideas and this post was just what I was looking for.

  • http://twitter.com/shiraabel Shira Abel

    Thank you Mari,

    Great basic stuff here clearly explained and easy to do. All sorted.

  • Boily21

    that's great!! but could I make the custom bar in my personnal facebook, too!?

  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    No, the Static FBML app only works on fan pages. However, you can install the Extended Info or Profile HTML app, for instance, and get almost the same effect. (You just can't change the tab title on those profile apps).

  • Jack K

    Great post,, you answered my questions!

  • http://www.yourdigitalspace.com/ Swamykant

    Nice Tutorial. Thanks Mari :)

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  • http://twitter.com/dsenyo Marissa Perry Saints

    Fantastic post! Thanks for the step-by-step. I am okay at HTML and am trying to get an embeded YouTube video to show up on my welcome page. I pasted the code into the FBML app but the video isn't appearing. Any suggestions?

  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    ahhh yes it can be tricky for YouTube videos to properly embed on a fan page. Check out my buddy Tim Ware at http://hyperarts.com/blog – he's an FBML ninja!!!

  • Peter

    My settings doesnt even show “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else” Any idea why?

  • http://www.simplebutcreative.com Kevin

    Wow! I’ve been looking for this and you have the best tutorial so far. Thanks for the detailed post :)

  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    Cool – thanks, Kevin!

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  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    Hi Michael – aha, yes embedding YouTube videos can be tricky. I suggest you check this post by my buddy Tim Ware at HyperArts – http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/embedding-video-flash-static-fbml-fbswf-tag-troubleshooting-faq/

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  • http://facebook.com/marismith Mari Smith

    Oh, sounds like a temporary bug. You should still see two fields: the title and the main content.

  • Paul

    Hi Mari,
    I found you by litening to the CD you made with Bill Glazer a couple of years ago and ‘sort of’ followed your strategy recently with my Fan Page.
    I’ve been using ads to collect fans, but the daily ‘Likes’ are slowing down. I’m now testing a new ad over this weekend. The Page is titiled, “Learn English in London” and although my business is not yet up and running, I thought it would be a good idea to begin making a fan base. Can you please direct me as to what info to read that I can apply now to grow this fan base?
    Thanks again for your most valuable expert tips.
    Best regards
    Paul & Yolanda Fletcher
    London UK

  • Sarah

    Great tips Mari. Thank you. How do you set FB so that there’s a custom tab for a custom ad? So that you can set your FB ad to directly go to this tab that’s made specifically for that ad? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/greaterlight Alissa J

    Great article! Couple of things…I am a web designer so I have no issues with HTML. I used Dreamweaver to create the code for my clients tab. After I was done designing and coding, I “selected all” and copied and pasted. It didn’t show anything in my FBML tab

    After some nominal searching about the web I came across a few useful tips this article didn’t mention:
    1) Dreamweaver also inserts a DOCTYPE statement so make sure to remove that for Facebook.
    2) No need for “head”, “body”, or “html” tags. Remove those as well.
    3) width of the Facebook tab is 520 pixels wide so be sure to set your design to that size and don’t forget to account for any padding or spacing styles you maybe using.

    So essentially your code for Facebook should start with your “table” tag.
    Thought I would pass along what I learned during this process. Hope it helps!

  • Oksana

    Actually, I’ve been having the same problem. It only gives two options: Go to app and edit settings.

  • Manuela Maftei

    what if i want to have the same landing page for fans and non-fans, how can i do that?

  • Jackie Lee

    Hey Mari, I’d just like to say thanks. I had let my fanpage sit idle since I found it so hard to keep up without being able to get any notifications. However, since hyperalerts came out I’m ready to get back into the facebook swing of things. I realized my landing page was created before they changed the size and was all crazy. Your tutorial really helped me get things back in shape. I look forward to reading more from you so I can really maximize my fb presence. Thanks for all you do.

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  • Jbcarmel

    What do you suggest now that facebook is moving away from FBML?

  • Abeleigh

    Hi:) Thanks for all the info! I am trying to add this to my page, but I only see an add this to my page’s favorites and not the add to this page. What can I do?

    Thanks!

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  • http://www.shobii.co.nr Shobi

    Great info please share about static page setting also thanks in advance.

  • Natalie Feuerstein

    I created a welcome page on pagemodo.com (since FB is no longer supporting FBML) but the option to set the page as my default landing page isn’t in my settings!? Help?

  • http://fiveminutefanpage.com/ Ashley Cooper

    Great post.. I really like this blog and I am looking forward to see more content like this.. I’ll always visit this site. :) Keep it up!

    If you have time you can visit this site that i managed to surf in:
    Five Minute Fan Page

  • Melba L. May

    Some great information here!

  • http://www.free-home-based-business-info.com/start-home-based-business.html Bismark Ampofo

    This is great information on how to customize one’s facebook fan page. Especially like the fact that you linked to different fan pages so we can get some ideas. Overall excellent tutorial –  might interview you one day for my site

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  • max

    check out facebook.com/elysemayerrealtor.  facebook.com/themonkeysden.  They do some serious work.  I think is by last call social media.

  • Moin

    Thanks, you provided good information………….

  • http://workwithtomcoleman.com Tom Coleman

    Thank you. I have been looking for this info. I love your straight on information. It actually makes sense. Thanks again…LOL…finally.

  • Kjq00

    is there no longer a Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else?

  • Dbija

    need to know how to code a swf file for my landing page in facebook

  • Dbija

    need to know how to code a swf file for my landing page in facebook

  • Dbija

    please help quick dead line in the morning 

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  • Web Design

    I will definitely use these resources to customize my facebook fan page. Great piece of work.

  • Barry Bear

    Hi, Mari, I want to add an app, such as, angry bird, or what to wear, or some other games, as the default landing tag of my page, is there any such kind of stuffs?  Where can I find them? or else must be developed by self?

  • Ank90

    very nice. I also desperately need the fans to learn more about our work. If you are interested visit
    http://tinyurl.com/6gj6rc5Thanks

  • Corey

    The post lacks info about the free Tab Builder tool by Hike Social Apps. It has by far the best usability and works like a charm. See http://www.facebook.com/HikeSocialApps

  • Kwabenaokyire

     i cant seem to do this, i need help………can any anybody mail me keabeaokyire@gmail.com

  • http://www.payperclick-uk.com/ PPC Marketing

    An attractive and good looking fan page can attract number of people to your fanpage and then your website so it becomes necessary to use a great facebook fanpage. Buddy Media is a great website to work on.

  • Amaresh C

    Polls could also be involved and is an effective tool, See 
    https://www.facebook.com/642stitches?ref=tn_tnmn

  • http://www.facebook.com/falcodevelopers Falco Realestate
  • http://www.facebook.com/falcodevelopers Falco Realestate

    thanks

  • Anvesh

    thank you very much :-) Within 5 mins I have created my landing page on FB .

  • angiladie5

    The post lacks info about the free Tab Builder tool by Hike Social Apps.
    It has by far the best usability and works like a charm. http://ebrandingexperts.com

  • lina
  • http://www.mothersdaymessages.org Mother Day messages

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