How to customise Facebook pages
Facebook pages are being used by a wide variety of business and interest groups. I’m not suggesting that they are appropriate for all businesses, but I think the social component has interesting applications for the likes of restaurants and entertainment venues. And, apart from the usual ‘Wall’ functions, one can add additional tabs to Facebook pages, which create the opportunity for all kinds of interactions with ‘fans’.
With the aim of learning how to use Facebook to develop deeper relationships with fans of Facebook pages, I test-drove a few different resources:
This is one of the most impressive online resources I’ve come across. The beauty of Shortstack is that you don’t need web development skills to use it, and it manages the Facebook integration for you. The free plan gives you the opportunity of playing around with their features, which are pretty impressive. As an example, it took me a couple of minutes to add a reservation tab to the Sidedish Theatre Bistro Facebook page.
Anything you’ve seen on Facebook, from promotions to custom forms, gifts, polls, you name it, it’s there. There’s even a really cool widget that does a ‘fan reveal’ (in other words, content that is only available to fans of your page). You can also embed content from a website, or publish a product list (useful for e-commerce). Paid plans range in price from $15 per month.
Fanpage Minisite ($37 once-off) and Fanpage In a Box ($9.95 per month, or $39 lifetime) are similar, in that they provide templates for the web content that goes into that tab on Facebook. I like the WordPress interface both of them have. However, both of them require basic web development skills, so are not as user-friendly as Shortstack.
The benefit of these two is that the charge is once-off, and if your web development skills are advanced you could build in all kinds of cool features. For example, I’m certainly going to be adding Shopping Cart tabs to some of the Facebook pages I run, linked to the online shops I’m involved in.
All three of the vendors listed above have detailed online videos that take you through all the steps required.
With these resources, all it takes to become a Facebook Ninja is a few mouse clicks!
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