Using Facebook Custom Tabs Strategically – A Case Study

One common frustration for businesses using Facebook is the never-ending changes. Facebook is always updating the features, functions, and layout, to optimize the user experience (and of course, profitability for Facebook).

But while the certain details may change, the ability to provide customized content seems to be a stable feature in Facebook. Custom page tabs for allows for almost any content on a Facebook page that could be included in a standard web page. For businesses, this translates to great potential for creatively attracting, and interacting with their community.

This week I came across an example of a simple and very effective strategy that one business used that anyone can model. I’ll first take you through my experience as a consumer.

I use a music instructional tool called SmartMusic. Since I’m a customer, I received an email with a friendly prompt to view some video drum lessons:

I clicked the link, which brought me to the following Facebook page:

Note the prompt to like the page in order to unlock some videos. I use the SmartMusic tool, so I was interested. After clicking the like button, I was immediately presented with the promised videos:

In the end, I win, because the experience was easy, rewarding, and – because it was relevant to me – it didn’t feel like spam. SmartMusic also wins because they now have another fan. The even further potential benefit to them is that since I’m a musician it’s likely some of my Facebook friends are also musicians and may also become fans as a result of seeing signs of my interaction with Smartmusic.

So it all seemed good, but I wanted to know if the strategy really was converting for SmartMusic. I contacted the manager of the SmartMusic page, who informed me that they gained 2200 Likes in just over a month by promoting their fan-only material. They’re well on their way to developing not only a large, but relevant community.

This process is a relatively simple one that anyone can do. While this post isn’t meant to be a complete tutorial on creating custom page tabs (that was covered in the Social Media For Business class) we can break down the basic components:

Step 1: Define the goal – in this case, get people to Like the page.
Step 2: Create the image with a call to action (i.e., “Like us to unlock videos”)
Step 3: Create the featured “fan-only” content.
Step 4: Create the custom page tab with an app that provides the fangating feature. You can do it yourself with a free app like Static HTML, or in the case of SmartMusic, you can use a premium service such as North Social . Assign the image from Step 2 to be shown to non-fans, and assign the content from Step 2 to be shown to fans.
Step 5: Create a custom image to appear as the tab image on Timeline.
Step 6: Position the tab so it’s visible.
Step 7: Promote the page using the URL for the new custom page tab (i.e., by email).

Result: 2200 new fans in 5 weeks

This is a great way to get relevant fans, and it’s economically efficient too. Remember, it’s all in the name of providing value to your fans.

What are some examples of creative uses of Facebook custom page tabs that you’ve seen? Feel free to post in the comments.

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