Nowadays, pretty much every company has its own Facebook page, which is hardly surprising, considering what a superb and absolutely free platform it is for brands to interact with, and get valuable information from, their customers and fans. What is surprising, however, is that very few organizations have gone beyond the standard Wall, Info, Discussions and Photos tabs to create a Facebook page that’s in any way out of the ordinary.
Facebook allows developers to create their own custom tabs, using either Flash or Facebook’s own markup language. Some more forward-thinking companies have now taken the opportunity to do this. They’re reaping the rewards by getting more fans and engaging with them to a greater extent. Below, we take a look at 20 of the most effective Facebook pages around, acknowledging pages with great custom tabs and others which reward fans in more traditional ways.
Pizza Hut tends to use Vote! as its home tab, allowing visitors access to polls about different pizzas and deals, which gives the company access to lots of valuable information. The best thing about Pizza Hut’s Facebook Page, however, is the Pizza HutInterFace App, which lets uses order a pizza without ever leaving the comfort of Facebook.
Victoria’s Secret interacts with customers through The Scoop tab. Visitors can take part in quizzes and play games to find their perfect underwear. Once found, the chances of visitors making a purchase are greatly increased.
Every bit as well crafted as the Livescribe Pulse Smartpen itself is the Livescribe Facebook page, which is one of the most interactive in this list. As well as watching a range of videos, visitors can leave comments on specific pens. Livescribe makes it as easy as possible for people to buy their products by providing a Buy Now tab as well as links to shops like Amazon.
Paramount Pictures’ page is barely recognizable as Facebook. Using the Our Films home tab, visitors and fans can watch trailers for all the latest releases, “Like” particular films, and link to other sites with ease.
It came as no surprise to me to learn that a company as progressive as Red Bull would have such an excellent Facebook page. Its home Red Bull custom tab allows users to instantly link to information regarding Red Bull sponsored events and athletes. Some videos are accessible only to fans, giving lots of incentive for people to click that all-important “Like” button.
Right from the outset, 1-800-Flowers attempts to interact with its visitors through its Welcome page. Polls which aim to ascertain the most popular flowers to send on Mother’s Day, for example, engage visitors and act as terrific market research for the company. Users can also send gifts to friends.
This isn’t the most visually stimulating Facebook page you’ll ever see, but it is one of the most accessible and usable. Quite simply, you’ll find a clear list of the band’s next concerts, all of which lead to Facebook Events if clicked on, as well as a video and music player.
Most people are on Facebook and Twitter, so integrating the two wherever possible is a very good idea. On the Cranium page, recent updates from Twitter are provided alongside a video. Visitors can also take part in a quiz to find their own Cranium character.
Trendy clothing company, Threadless, is keen to get visitors involved in its designs. On Facebook, they do this by letting people comment on new T-shirts they’ve created. This also allows the brand to show off its latest collection in detail.
Rather than try to cater to everyone simultaneously; Starbucks uses its Around The World tab to segment the Starbucks community into markets based in different parts of the world, so that that they can be targeted more efficiently. On the Starbucks home tab, fans can manage their reward cards thanks to a very handy app.
I really like The Children’s Place’s home tab, it’s really well laid out- very clear with plenty of white space. Customers can find their nearest store, sign up to the newsletter and link to the The Children’s Place website with ease.
Besides links to fan pages for every single one of Honda’s most popular models, visitors to Honda’s Facebook page are invited to take part in something they call The Experiment. It’s an app which aims to prove that everybody in the world either loves a Honda or knows somebody who does. It all sounds a lot more interesting than it is, but nevertheless it really gets people thinking and talking about the brand.
Not many people use the Boxes tab on their Facebook page, but I can’t for the life of me think why. St John’s University, which uses Boxes as its home tab, shows just how great it is for showing off images and making links more clickable. Creating something similar to this for yourself is very simple.
Reckon you’ve got a lot of fans on your Facebook page? You haven’t got as many as Barack Obama. The US President, who famously utilized Facebook, Twitter and other online means to secure his resounding win in the last election, has 8,246,632- beat that! What makes this page so successful is not the design, but the quality and regularity of the updates and messages on the Wall.
If you run a stylish company, you better make sure you’re not being let down by an ugly Facebook page. As is often the case with many iconic fashion houses – minimalism is key. On its home tab, Lacoste provides nothing more than a video of its latest catwalk show- simple and effective.
The success of a Facebook page doesn’t just come down to how unusual it looks or how many unique custom pages it has. The most important thing is, and has always been, the extent to which the page engages and updates its readers. This is exactly what the Facebook fan page does extremely well.
The iTunes custom home tab, called Features, looks and acts just like a “proper” website, letting you search for songs, albums, movies and more in iTunes and access the iTunes chart. Importantly, iTunes rewards loyalty by giving everybody who becomes a fan 15 free songs!
Ashton Kutcher’s not only a human being, he’s also a brand, and Facebook is one of the most effective ways for him to reach his audience. In order to watch his live webstreams, you have to become a fan and RSVP, which is a very good way to get people to sign up.
Skittles has made its Facebook page just like its sweets – colorful and fun. All of the great Skittles ads are available at the touch of a button, as are various Skittles related polls, some of which decide the direction of new ads for the brand, which really empowers the fans.
Harley Davidson has gone for the “website look” with its Facebook page. This can sometimes detract from the more interactive elements of the Facebook platform, but Harley seems to have made up for this in other areas- like providing freebies such as wallpapers to fans.
There have been many high profile cases of organizations getting things very wrong when creating a new Facebook page. This is, after all, a very new way of interacting with the public and the ground rules are still being set. Recently, for example, Nestle (never far from controversy) took offense to fans using the Nestle logo as their profile pic. Needless to say, this sparked somewhat of a backlash against the brand and more than a few cries of “Big Brother”.
There are so many Facebook page flops out there that I almost feel bad singling one out, but the page run by DePaul University really is garbage. It’s not that it’s offensive, difficult to use, or anything like that. It’s just incredibly boring and ugly. Come on DePaul – you can do better than that!
James Adams is a writer working for Cartridge Save where he reviews products such as the HP 300 ink cartridge. Check out their blog for more articles on media and design.