September 01, 2012, 7:03 AM —
Facebook can be a great marketing tool and communications outlet, but there is only so much that you can say in brief status updates and plain-text fields on your About page. If you really want to put Facebook to work for your business, you'll need to explore the option of adding tabs--clickable images of extra pages--to your profile. Done creatively, tabs encourage visitor engagement and showcase your content. They let you post quizzes and polls, and they can display your content from other social networks, such as Twitter and Pinterest.
If you lack the coding skills to create custom tabs using Facebook's development platform, the following Facebook apps can help. Some enable you to apply fully customized Web pages as additional tabs--a great way to add content about your products, services, and company culture.
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1. Iframe Apps
Iframe Apps is one of the simplest custom tab wizards, letting you add two tab pages to your Facebook Page. You can either specify an existing URL or insert text and HTML to display on your custom tab, and define a specific frame height to fit the length of your content. The "fan gate" feature lets you display an image or custom text to encourage visitors to "like" you before viewing the main content.
Keep in mind, though, that to insert HTML code with images or videos you'll need to upload the files elsewhere since Iframe Apps doesn't offer online storage.
The free service displays its logo on your page footer. The premium services, starting at $9.90 per month after a free 7-day trial, allow you to remove ads.
FanBuildr is a more advanced app that lets you add up to ten tab pages to your Facebook Page. The free service is available to all pages with 25,000 fans or less, and shows a small promo on the footer of your custom tab page. Its premium services, starting at $5 per month, remove ads and let you create unlimited tabs.
When inserting your text or code for the custom tab, you can define different content to display to visitors, depending on whether they "like" your page. A WYSIWYG editor lets you format text and add links or images, with both code and visual views. You can upload up to 25MB worth of files per page--or 250MB and beyond if you subscribe to the premium services. You can also enter your Google Analytics code to track traffic to your Facebook tab.
3. Static Iframe Tab
The Static Iframe Tab from Woobox lets you add over 20 tabs to your Facebook page. The basic functionality is free, and free of Woobox branding.
What do you want to display on a tab? You can choose a URL, an image, or HTML code. You can also specify a nonfan page source. A WSIWYG editor enables formatting and edits, letting you switch between the code and visual view. The free service includes visitor analytics to display stats for page views, visits, and likes, segmented both by fans and nonfans who view your tab.
Their premium services, starting at $10 per month, allow you to limit access to the tab page--for instance, you can require users either to fill out a form or to have a certain number of Facebook friends who like your page.
4. Extended Info
Extended Info lets you add a tab that's similar to and alongside the usual About page, but with more details--so you can display things, such as products, with text, HTML code, or videos. You can organize the content via bulleted, numbered, or paragraph lists, each with a custom heading name.
5. Twitter Tab App
Need to publicize your Twitter presence to your Facebook fan base? This free app from Woobox adds a tab to your Facebook Page displaying your Twitter Profile and Tweets, with a small ad link on the bottom of the tab.
In the Twitter tab settings you can choose to display all tweets or only those containing a given search term. You can also optionally hide Tweets that start with @ and hide your Twitter profile background. Additionally, you can enable the fan gate so only Facebook users who "Like" you can see your Twitter tab.
6. Pinterest Tab
Here's a great way to share your Pinterest content to Facebook users who aren't on Pinterest. This free app, also from Woobox, puts a tab on your Facebook Page showcasing your Pinterest boards and pins, with only a small ad on the bottom. Facebook visitors can browse your Pin boards, and click on them to view your Pins inside your Facebook tab page. When they click on a Pin it opens a new browser window to the Pin on Pinterest.
You can choose to have your Pin tab show all or only select Pin boards--and enable Facebook Like & Send buttons on Pins, to encourage visitors' sharing to their Facebook friends. The Fan Gate feature allows only Facebook users who "like" you to see your Pinterest tab.
7. Fan Appz
This free platform helps you add content and analyze your Twitter and Facebook traffic. Fan Appz lets you post updates to both social sites at once, target specific countries and languages, schedule posts in advance, and create and publish quizzes and polls. Image-based polls let you give users a list of images--maybe of your products--and they can share their preferred top five.
The premium services, designed for larger fan pages, let you create and publish promotions, including special offers, sweepstakes, challenges, and rewards. You can create a gift store and games, and manage your Places and Events. You'd also be able to view the analytics of your posts, engagements, and promotions--all with support for Google Analytics.
Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer. He's also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which provides a cloud-based Wi-Fi security service for businesses, and On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer services.