Since the introduction of Facebook Pages, more than three million companies have jumped on the bandwagon. If done well, a Facebook Page offer companies a strong complement to their Web sites: Facebook Pages can be used to engage people with a steady flow of content (updates, videos, polls, etc.), while a Web site offers information about the company, its products/services, people and (if they are publicly-traded) finances.
One of the keys to creating a successful Facebook Page is customization so it meets the needs of a company and its customers. Out of the box, a Facebook Page is pretty basic (aka boring) with some standard tabs – Wall, Info, Photos, Discussion. It’s like walking into a Baskin-Robbins and ordering a vanilla ice cream cone.
This is where customization comes into play. Using FBML (Facebook Markup Language), new tabs can be created to offer new applications and information. This includes a “Welcome” page that, in many ways, acts like a home page; e-commerce, contests, promotions, menus – pretty much anything that you want to develop.
Facebook Pages still have their limitations but Facebook made an interesting announcement yesterday by unveiling some new features. Some of the highlights include have recent photos appear at the top of page, and displaying the most interesting Wall posts first.
Another new feature is the ability to configure that tab you want visitors to land on when they get to a Facebook Page as opposed to arriving at the Wall. This is important because it gives companies the ability to highlight new applications, features and information.
The one major issue that Facebook still needs to address is somehow letting companies create Facebook Pages without having them linked to a personal account. While there are good reasons to have it structured this way, there is a problem having a corporate asset linked to an employee. There’s an awkwardness in this relationship, particularly if the employee leaves or gets fired. Facebook needs to find a better way for companies to create Facebook Pages.
The new features announced yesterday are good steps in the right direction. The more flexibility that Facebook Pages have, the more valuable and interesting they become to companies and consumers.