5 Reasons You Should STILL Create Facebook Tabs for Your Page

When Facebook Timeline for Pages was rolled out about a year ago, it sure seemed like the tabs (or apps) area immediately under the Cover Photo would be prime real estate. Particularly if, as Facebook predicted, the Timeline would become a destination.

Well, that never really happened. I’ve found that views of my content found on my Facebook Page makes up only 1.5% of my Total Organic Impressions. And those Facebook tabs are only .4% of Total Organic Impressions.

So, completely worthless, right?

Well, not so fast. Sure, very few people will see those tabs naturally. But you should absolutely drive people to them with links in the News Feed or through advertising.

Here are the five reasons you should still make Facebook tabs part of your marketing strategy.

HOLD UP! About Mobile…

A critical part of tabs is driving traffic to them with your updates and ads. But understand that these tabs aren’t naturally viewable via mobile devices.

This is bad since more than half of users are viewing your content on mobile. The solution: Smart links.

ShortStack Mobile

I use ShortStack (aff) to create my tabs. I’ve used them for over a year now. ShortStack provides a smart link that you can share so that when users click on it they can view your tab content from their phones.

1. First Impressions

Even if you assume only 2% of your Fans will ever come to your Page after liking it, this doesn’t mean that tabs are completely worthless.

Why? You’re discounting what drove them to Like your Page in the first place!

When someone lands on your Page for the first time, what do they see? How will you convince them that you provide value, are professional and are worth Liking?

First impressions are important. Your Cover Photo, Profile Photo, name, description and tabs all make a difference.

Facebook Page Cover Photo Tabs

In fact, I’d argue that what’s inside of your tabs often doesn’t matter in terms of acquisition of users who land on your Page for the first time. It’s the consistent, professional design between tabs and your other imagery that go a long way.

I know the response. I’ve heard it before. You think this doesn’t contribute. I think you’re wrong. I know for a fact that my impressions of a brand are colored by that first glance, and well designed tab icons make a big difference.

2. Introduce Yourself

As I said above, the first time visitor has little patience. You need to quickly convince them that you are a brand that provides value and is worth following.

You also need to differentiate yourself. What makes you unique?

An “About Us” tab can help tell your story. Record a video. Provide bullet points underneath that give more details on who you are and what you do. And then add a contact form to the right to build leads.

Your tabs should always have two goals: 1) Provide value and 2) Convert. That value can be in the form of information, entertainment, education or a product.

3. Feature Your Products or Services

Another tab that I like seeing featured under the Cover Photo is one that explains what a brand is selling, whether it’s a product or service.

Create a tab that simplifies this. What’s the one thing you do? Or maybe you have a special promotion. Feature that promotion in a tab.

You can also create a tab that acts as a gallery to allow visitors to easily scan through what you offer. Just make sure that you keep it simple without forcing them outside of your tab to get a full understanding of what you offer.

Like I said above, you need the second half of this: A conversion. Make sure you provide as much information as possible to educate the visitor so that they can then click a button to purchase or get more information.

As much of this process that can be performed within the tab, the better!

4. Run a Contest

By now, you know that if you’re going to run a contest on Facebook you have to use a third party application. Stop with the status update contests, people!

Feature that contest tab under your Cover Photo. Create updates that drive people to that tab. And advertise!

5. Build Your Email List

Give a product away like an eBook, but under the condition that users first subscribe to your email list.

Or maybe you feature your newsletter itself. Provide a sample newsletter so that a visitor can quickly see its value. And to the right, provide a form to allow that visitor to quickly subscribe.

Too often I see tabs that simply say, “SUBSCRIBE HERE!” with a form. Why subscribe? What value do you provide? This needs to be clear.

How About You?

Are tabs still a part of your Facebook marketing strategy? How are you using them? Let me know in the comments below!

[NOTE: Haven’t created your own tabs before? Give ShortStack a try!]

  • http://www.lornepike.com/pikespeak Lorne Pike

    I have had this discussion with clients many times. While we are all agreed that only a small portion of their Facebook fans will ever see those tabs, it will be the most interested and likely prospects that do bother to look. Those are the ones you can least afford to not impress.

    Thanks for the post, Jon!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Great point, Lorne! One that I probably should have mentioned.

      • http://www.facebook.com/AndreaGMayfield Andrea Mayfield

        Just to break it on down, apps or no, whether you are reaching 2% or less, maintain your brand dignity—slap some matching covers on those apps! Have some brand respect and REPRESENT! Perception matters, keep your company game face on and brand the details.

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          BOOM! Great point. I think we underestimate the value of first impressions. Thanks, Andrea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottbangs Scott Bangs

    Great article, I just setup my first tab with short stack, here is what I think you are referring too as the smart link: http://a.pgtb.me/hD7j53

    It offers a 15% off for liking the page, and once you like it, then an offer for 20% for joining our email VIP club. Love it :)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      That’s a smart link alright, Scott!

  • http://www.adamsrosenberg.com/ Adam Rosenberg

    I don’t agree with this at all. It assumes that people are on Facebook to interact with your brand. They aren’t. They’re on Facebook to interact with friends, babies, puppies, etc. Additionally, the inherent flaw in building Facebook tabs (as opposed to mobile open graph apps) is that you are basically setting yourself up to have the walls and dimensions changed on the house at any given moment. Facebook is way more open about how and when they change things that affect apps as opposed to brand pages.

    You can absolutely be successful without a custom tab. Heck, go to RunKeeper’s page. Their actual ‘page’ doesn’t have nearly the users that their app does.

    All the money spent building tabs is better spent making your website socially optimized (or with plugins) or building a mobile app or using a Facebook ad product.

    Tabs like this require users to do multiple clicks and actions to get to the destination you want them at. People just aren’t going to do that. And Facebook knows it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/scottbangs Scott Bangs

      I have to concur with a point here, your correct. Mobile site, and a website and email list are critical to a brand, in that order. I did create the above tab for a restaurant and we heavily market that tab outside of Facebook to get people into our Facebook page and encourage engagement and with hopes. .this month will tell, get some of those engaged users into the restaurant to redeem the discount on their entire tab (no pun) :)

      While I think you are correct on what users log into FB for, this does not mean that exploiting tabs for a business is not worth its while. Its all how you get the user to those tabs.

      • http://www.adamsrosenberg.com/ Adam Rosenberg

        i think it’s about measuring the ROI for your brand. Additionally, facebook doesn’t build ‘by accident’ – if new personal profiles have slimmed down with no app icons, you can bet vital parts of your anatomy that eventually the same will happen to a brand page. Just makes more sense long term to invest in something else when integrating with Facebook. Think of all the folks who built stuff in FBML and bet the farm on it before iframes. If you build a tab, you’ve already built a microsite…why not just make it a microsite?

        • Guest

          1) Because microsites don’t have the same viral potential as Facebook.
          2) Because microsites don’t give the sense of “community”, which Social Media does
          3) Because (good) microsites are way more expensive to develop and maintain than a Facebook App.

          • arran


    • http://antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

      I don’t think Jon is saying “Tabs is the ONLY way to promote your brand”, but only the are an important part of your Social Media Strategy. Clearly there are other channels that may be more effective, and this is where having a good understanding of your audience is paramount.

      Maybe RunKeeper audience is not interested in what they focus on Facebook… or maybe the company simply is not interested in investing on Facebook – which is totally valid. All what this post says is, if you decide to have a Facebook presence, then you should consider having Apps.

      On a different thing, Jon’s post is not assuming everyone is on Facebook to interact with your brand, but only saying IF they have decided to interact with your brand, then you should have Apps as a way to engage with them. Besides, research in many countries have shown that even if people use Facebook to connect with friends and relatives (main reason), connecting with brands is also a very important one (In Australia specifically this is the 4th most popular response, shared by 23% of respondents; that is one: every 5 users in Facebook.)

      • http://www.adamsrosenberg.com/ Adam Rosenberg

        App yes. Static tab no. Otherwise i agree. And when i say ‘people aren’t on facebook to talk to your brand’ – i mean that as including folks who interact with your brand to get something free or a coupon. In terms of people who get up in the morning and say “i really can’t wait to see what XXX has to say” – that is a tiny percentage. Thats the basis for Facebook’s ad model and why it works. 92% of consumers trust friend recs.

        I get what you’re saying i am just on the anti-tab wagon based purely on the amount of clicks you’re asking someone to make to finally get to a price point. Not worth it. $10K i would’ve spent on ads, offers, website, or a mobile app.

    • arran

      wow, you were so wrong!

  • Linda Patch

    One thing I want to point out is a problem I still have with mobile smart links. They work fine on phones. On iPads, in many instances, people are asked to “Install cookies” or else they can’t view. Ugh. That’s when the comments start flowing in again–“the link doesn’t work,” or “are cookies viruses?” It can be a nightmare. While the mobile smart links are better than nothing, they are not perfect and can still aggravate your fans. We all wait for the day when FB finally makes the tabs mobile friendly.

  • http://hubze.com/ David Foster

    Hey Jon! Great post. I hate to say but it really frustrates me when I see all these companies touting mobile ready Facebook pages when that is actually not the case, because then I have to defend my statements when I am telling people that…but in ads heck ya…as long as you have a way to send people directly to a link and know they are on mobile you would be fine..but that is not always the case.

    I really hope they decide to make tabs viewable on mobile soon. This is the feature that I am most excited about.

    • Bryan M

      Couldn’t agree more with David, total crap that facebook tabs are not viewable from the Mobile app. Huge portion of viewers are on iphones and can’t see your best stuff. Hope they fix it soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.voirol Andrew Voirol

    I use them for restaurant menus and ordering menu items through facebook and has been great !

  • http://antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Despite what some of us are discussing on this thread (apologies to use it as a forum), I think it is a great post providing very useful tips: each of them is very important and should be re-posted now and then, so people can see it on their News Feeds.

    Once said that, I think Smartlinks not always work well… many times they ask you to log-on on Facebook through your smartphone browser – even if your Facebook app is already active. Other times they ask you for additional steps, etc… I still cannot understand why Facebook does not make this feature available also on mobile.

    • LinRP

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been hollering this forever and you are the first person to ever bring up the same point. Smart links are NO panacea. They have annoyed many a potential customer of mine for the reasons you cite. That, and in tablets how they ask you to “install cookies.” I get comments that people think it’s a virus or “the link doesn’t work.”

      Yes, I create tabs so the my page looks good and is cohesive, but I now send people to a landing page on my website for offers and promotions. Too much trouble with the apps.

      Jon, why don’t you and others ever point out this glitch with the apps–even WITH smart links? It’s real and a detriment, and not something to be glossed over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tendulkarogra Uday Ogra

    I feel TAB apps are the most important feature and most effective way of growing the fan base. I have made more than 70 like-gated apps and helped many pages in getting tons of likes using like-gated apps. They are far more effective and cheaper than FB advertisement

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  • http://www.adamsrosenberg.com/ Adam Rosenberg

    My last point on this is summed up by the IDC/FB research on what mobile users are doing on Facebook. 82% in newsfeed. Responding to friends is #2. “Interacting with a brand page” (ie visiting and justifying tabs or a mobile-friendly tab) isn’t even LISTED. This is a study COMMISSIONED by Facebook. If they’re not going to even rank it as something people are doing with their mobile Facebook usage, then it ain’t worth the investment: http://allfacebook.com/facebook-idc-study-smartphones_b114004

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  • jess

    Can anyone recommend free facebook tabs that are mobile friendly, mainly pinterest and twitter. I currently use woobox but they don’t show up on mobile…thanks for the help!

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  • Appska

    Crystal clear insights Jon! :)

  • Student Gift Parcel

    great article, goes on my to do list (along with a million other things!)

  • AdScientist

    I disagree with everything possibly said about apps and tabs working. The data says it all and it is out there for everybody to see. Unless you want to put money on it, it will fail. But if there is a budget for paid media, you might as well put it on making a better and more effective user experience with that content. It doesn’t matter how engaged your audience is, they will never be trained to go back to your tabs once the money stops. As for apps, even top Facebook creative representatives have admitted to us that a majority of apps don’t work and putting money on apps is another way to fail since usage of apps is so low.

  • Cécile Chabot

    Hello Jon. I just created a tab with a landing page/optin… How can I then drive traffic to it with ads? I may be a moron, but I just cant seem to figure out how to create an ad inside Fb for a tab (the only way I’m thinking of is th select “external URL” as target.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Right, you’d want to share a link to it. You can do this by either creating an organic post and then promoting it or creating an unpublished post. Either way, make sure you use a smart link (this is provided to the admin at the bottom of the tab if you use ShortStack). This way, you can reach people via mobile and desktop.