Facebook has been introducing an incredible number of changes in the recent weeks. One of those changes was effective March 10th, when Facebook no longer allowed customization of Fan Pages with the very popular “Static FBML” app and moved to requiring pages be built using iFrames.
Many fan pages relied on the Static FBML app to allow them to create a soft place for new visitors (non-fans) to land as they visit the fan page for the first time. This is often called a “Fan Gate” and is a place where people who aren’t yet your fans visit and see some specific content that invites them to “like” the page. Then, once they like the page, it leads them to another place where they are often treated to something special to thank them for becoming a fan. This is a great feature for discounts, coupons or special offers and is often the first step in the online relationship between a consumer and a brand.
As usual, this announcement by Facebook and move to iFrame design threw a wrench in established practices about building customized Facebook fan pages and the denizen of the Interwebz — and people like us who build Facebook fan pages — were all in a frenzy.
If this is an issue you’ve been wrestling with, too, never fear, we’ve got some answers.
Are You Donny Do It Yourself? Meet My Superhero, Francisco
Are you the roll up your sleeves, DIY-type, looking to either create a page for the first time or wanting to add more custom tabs to an existing page? If so, Francisco Rosales, owner of Social Mouths and one of our favorite people on the planet, put on his Superhero cape (we won’t talk about the tights) and came quickly flying to the rescue.
Francisco wasted no time, did extensive research and then wrote an amazing tutorial that walks you through every step of the process for creating a page using iFrames. We hope you’ll scoot over there, revel in the goodness that he’s created, and subscribe to his blog while you’re at it – he’s regularly at the top of our “don’t miss” reads.
And if you’re not the DIY type and are looking for some help in the way of apps, we’ve got that, too.
Free iFrames Apps to Create Custom Facebook Landing Pages
There are also some free iFrames apps that you can use to create your custom landing page or to add additional custom tabs. The ones we looked at are Wildfire and Involver. Wildfire has an impressive reputation and, while we’ve not yet used them, we routinely hear good things about them. We’re less familiar with Involver, but that doesn’t mean they’re not great, too – so be sure and check them both out.
We didn’t dive too deeply into either of these free resources, but would probably be more inclined to experiment with Involver first. The reviews/comments indicate that many people have had difficulties with the Wildfire App specific to editing the custom tab name and that doesn’t appear to be resolved yet. That doesn’t mean you should not experiment with Wildfire, but just a warning that there are some who are experiencing some issues.
Wildfire’s service indicates they are free for three months and, if you sign up now, it’s free for life – that’s hard to beat. And, if you opt for Involver, they have a number of other free apps for your Facebook Fan Page, including RSS feeds, Twitter and YouTube Channels. That’s pretty cool, too.
Overall, while nobody likes change, these changes and the move to iFrames design means way more functionality for your branded Facebook pages. This includes things like the ability to embed video, Google Maps, external documents and a variety of other things, as well as creating your own top navigation menu and add your own “like” button within the page. As Facebook continues to barrel along as an integral part of many businesses’ online marketing strategies, it only make sense to take a hard look at your corporate presence there and, if it’s lacking, ramp it up a notch.
What about you? If you’ve installed and customized either of these we’d love to hear your feedback. The good, the bad and the ugly.
And, if you decide you don’t want to mess with any of this DIY stuff and want some help, you can always ping us. We design and develop custom Facebook landing pages on a regular basis, and we’d be happy to help. And if for whatever reason we can’t help you, we can certainly point you to one of our many talented friends who can.