Facebook Custom Tabs For Beginners

One of the secrets to a successful Facebook Fan Page are custom tabs. Perhaps you have come across some good examples of custom tabs along your trek through Facebook, but you are not quite sure of exactly what they are and how to properly use them on your Fan Page. If that is the case, this blog post is for you! We’ll be covering the basics, and showing you the hidden power of custom tabs on your Facebook Fan Page.

What Are Custom Tabs

Facebook tabs are those 4 images located underneath your Fan Page’s cover photo. By default, your Fan Page will display your ‘Photos’ and ‘Likes’ tabs there. Facebook, with the power of iFrames, allows you to create you own custom tabs. These tabs can be used to generate engagement on your Fan Page, and the end result can be more likes, emails added to your mailing list, or even generate product sales directly from your page!

The custom tabs with the pre-Timeline layout gave the Fan Page a new look that revolutionized Facebook Fan Page marketing. Let’s take a look at the custom tabs of the past, and then move to the ways of the future.

The Old Custom Tab

If you were a Facebook marketer before the Timeline launch, one of the features of custom tabs you miss the most is probably the ability to create default landing pages. Default landing pages were a powerful tool – visiters coming to your fan page for the first time would see this tab. What made this tab even more powerful was you could ‘force’ visitors to like your page with the promise of a free content, or access to a special section of the Fan Page. This type of custom tab has been coined a ‘Reveal tab’.

This unique ability was a ‘like factory’ for early adopters. Remember though, while the amount of likes our page has serves as a credibility check, likes are not making us money. That is where product sales and proliferating your email list comes in.

Another notable feature was the creation of an in-tab menu bar, displayed above. These tabs were created in a coding language called Facebook Markup Language (FBML), and was discontinued in June 2012. FBML was the predecessor to iFrame support in Faceboook Fan Pages.

The New Custom Tab

The default landing tab for Facebook described above is now the Fan Page Timeline itself. There is no known way to alter this, but do not dispair, the capabilities of custom tabs still remain the same! Instead of the visitor automatically landing on one of your custom tabs they now have to physically click the tab, which are conveniently located below the Timeline cover photo. Now the question is, how do we get visitors to click on our custom tabs? Quite simple! We use attention grabbing images and titles.

The custom tab image (111 x 74 pixels) should be something that demands the visitor’s attention. The text below the image is also customizable, and has a maximum of 19 characters. There are a wide variety of uses for custom tabs. We’ll discuss some strategies for custom tabs below, but if you come up with an idea that we haven’t covered please leave your idea in the comments!

Why Your Page Needs Custom Tabs

Once you have attractive photos and incentivizing text to put on your Fan Page, the next step is figuring out the strategy you’d like to use for the tab, and filling out the the iFrame code to create the actual custom tab. The code part can be rather tedious and intimidating for those of us who are unfamiliar with html, but more on that later. Here are some strategies that Facebook marketers use for their custom tabs.

  • A Reveal tab promises content of some sort to the visitor. When the visitor arrives at the reveal tab, the promised content is hidden in some manner. The visitor is then directed to click ‘Like’ in order to have access to the promised content. If the user unlikes the page at any time, the content is then hidden again. This is a good way to generate ‘likes’ if you are looking to build some credibility for your Fan Page.
  • Coupons are another incentive to get visitors to click a custom tab. Simply include a photo for the custom tab and text that let the visitor know there is a coupon waiting for them as soon as they click the tab!
  • Contests are a great way to get a lot of engagement from visitors with minimal cost to your Fan Page. Contests are generally done like a raffle – visiters enter the raffle by commenting, liking, and sharing the page. Setting up and managing a contest can be very taxing and time consuming, but the results are worth it! Fortunately some developers at socialbakers.com have released a fantastic contest app that runs Facebook contests for you. We’ve tried the app, and we love it. It makes setting up and managing contests a breeze.
  • Product promotion is another strategy to use for your custom tabs. Using iFrames you can embed a sales form within the custom tab, granting the potential customers the ability to buy the product directly from your Fan Page! If buying a product is easier, a customer is less likely to opt-out in the sales process.
  • Similar to coupons, running a sale of one of your products can also yield great results.
  • A custom tab dedicated to important links will allow visitors to access product information, customer support, or other important media without hassle.

I hope these ideas gave you some inspiration and insight on how to use custom tabs to increase the engagement and profitability of your Facebook Fan Page. We know generating custom tabs can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with iFrame code. If you are interested in saving yourself the hassle, we have a great tool called 5 Minute Fan Page which sets up custom tabs and more for you.

Important notes about Custom Tabs

Here are some important facts about custom tabs that you’ll need to know before you start creating them.

  • Custom tab images are 111 x 74 pixels.
  • Custom tab pages have a minimum width of 520 pixels, and a maximum width of 810 pixels.
  • The ‘photos’ tab cannot be moved or altered.
  • You can create an unlimited amount of custom tabs.
  • Only 3 custom tabs (excluding photos) can be on display at once. Users can click the drop down arrow to see more.
  • The custom tab image and text below the image are customizable.
  • Custom tabs are displayed above the fold of the Fan Page.

We look forward to seeing how you decide to use custom tabs on your Fan Page to help your Facebook marketing campaign. Please leave us some comments if you have an innovative idea about custom tab use!

About The Author

Brian Moran

Brian started Get 10,000 Fans back in November 2010 after figuring out how powerful facebook marketing could be for his baseball training website, trainbaseball.com. Brian focusses on helping entrepreneurs and business owners how to attract news leads using facebook.