This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.
So your business is on Facebook, and brand engagement is up thanks to some savvy social media strategy. You may even be interested in further distinguishing your brand by building a custom landing page for your account.
But what kind of value does a custom Facebook Fan Page offer? What are your fans looking for on a social network that they can’t get from your business website? For some insight, let’s check out how some big-name brands have stepped up their engagement by investing a little more TLC into their Facebook presence.
Social networks are not passive, so your Facebook landing page shouldn’t be either. It’s nice to have a great looking “Welcome” splash, but users are going to want to dosomething when they arrive.
Facebook is all about sharing, and The Gap has an ingenious promotion on the Baby Gap tab of their Fan Page. The simple splash image has a link to one of their photo albums where fans can upload pictures of their babies wearing their favorite Gap denim gear.
This kind of campaign provides a wealth of free, user-generated content that displays Gap products, and best of all, the functionality of photo uploading is already built into Facebook — no development necessary. This is an interactive idea that any small business could implement.
The Home Depot has built a bit on the shareability of Facebook actions with their DIY Gifts app. From Home Depot’s Fan Page, you can grant the app access to share your gift purchases with the recipient and your friends. While this approach may not work for everyone, it’s a step toward increasing consumer visibility on Facebook — a growing trend.
A Full Website Experience Within Facebook
Some companies go all out when it comes to their Facebook presence, integrating fully fledged mini-websites right into their Fan Pages. Adidas sneakers is a good example. They’ve added a multimedia content hub under the tab “Your Area” that offers photos, videos, and events based on your region. The site is built entirely in Flash and isn’t all that interactive, but it offers a rich media experience without ever leaving the boundaries of Facebook.
Dell’s Design Studio page is another example of a full-tilt Flash site inside Facebook. This one lets you browse and tweak custom artwork for your new laptop before linking you over to the corporate site to complete the purchase. You can also share your design choices with friends, all without connecting a single Facebook app to your account.
The key to Facebook, and any social network, is to keep pushing out content that your fans are interested in. Many businesses do a great job keeping their fans apprised of deals and discounts through status updates.
Another great way to keep content fresh and visual within Facebook is to promote special offers on a custom tab. This may be something new visitors see when they land on your Fan Page, or a rich destination you can link back to in a post.
Walgreens does it very simply. Their landing page is a nice branded splash image that simply touts their “Exclusive Offers for Our Facebook Fans.” Their promotions are in their updates, but this simple, static custom page encourages users to become fans without any bells or whistles. They leave the deals to the built-in functionality of Facebook, and your business can too.
By simply changing the image on your custom page, you can call attention to a new product or promotion that your fans will see whenever they land there. It’s an easy way to keep your page looking fresh, in addition to regular updates.
These examples have been built for large companies that probably have more web development resources than the average small business. But if you’re serious about your commitment to Facebook engagement, consider taking some inspiration from these examples and exploring the possibilities that custom pages and apps can offer your business.