Facebook 240: 5 Steps to Customizing Your Facebook Page

In my post last Friday from the Facebook for Business seminar, I reported some recommendations from Alan De Keyrel, a friend from Rochester who was the keynote speaker.

Among Alan’s suggestions was that organizations with Facebook pages should create a custom landing tab for their visitors, so that you don’t “just dump them on your wall” but instead have some kind of welcome message that directs them in a way that is in keeping with the goals you have set for your Facebook page.

In Facebook 240, I will take you step-by-step through the process of customizing your organization’s page.

In keeping with my original goals for SMUG, to learn on my own before applying in my work, I will use the SMUG.Chancellor page as the demo example.

Maybe soon we will apply something like this on our Mayo Clinic page. In the meantime, I’ve learned the basics of how to do this, so if and when we decide to make that switch we can do it seamlessly.

Note: The following applies to organizational or business Pages, not personal Profiles. The SMUG.Chancellor page is what was formerly called a “fan” page, and even though it says “Lee Aase” at the top, it’s about me as an author/speaker. It’s different from my personal profile.

A personal Profile uses the “Add as Friend” terminology, and is for individuals to connect with each other. It is reciprocal; in other words, you don’t get to see my profile details until you add me as a friend and I confirm the relationship. Pages, on the other hand, use the “like” lingo. If you “like” Lee Aase, the SMUG Chancellor, you are connected to that page. No need to confirm the connection.

So I’m glad to be your friend on Facebook, but I hope you’ll like me too.

Step 1: Install the FBML application on your page

From your Page, click the Edit Page link under your profile picture:

Then click the Applications link in the left navigation to see the applications you have already installed. Your screen should look something like this (click to enlarge):

Click on the Add Application button for the Static FBML application. If for some reason the Static FBML application isn’t listed, you can search for it by clicking the Browse more applications link at the bottom of the list.

Step 2: Go to Application to Edit Your Tab

Once you’ve added Static FBML to your page, click the Go to Application link beneath its name in the list (click any of the images to enlarge):

Then you will see box like this:

Start by changing the Box Title from “FBML” to “Welcome!” and then paste in the text and code to customize the tab.

Note that you can use standard HTML instead of the more specialized FMBL to customize your tab. You can include graphics by linking to an external source.

This is the code I used to customize my SMUG.Chancellor page:

Step 3: Get the direct link to your Welcome tab.

Click the “Link to this tab” link…

A window will pop up with the URL for your page, with your Welcome tab frontmost.

Copy this URL, and you can use it on your Web site when you direct users to your Facebook page. That way they will go to your landing page instead of the Wall or some other default.

Step 4: Set your default landing tab.

Under the “Manage Permission” link in the left navigation, select your “Welcome!” tab as the default, like this:

Step 5: Choose a longer picture

You don’t need to limit yourself to a square picture because of the avatar shape that shows up in the News Feed. You can add a longer picture that will be more visually appealing and significant, that can improve the design of your page. So for my example, I changed from this:

…to what you now see on the SMUG.Chancellor page.

I hope you found this course helpful, and that you liked it.

I hope you’ll like me, too.

In a future course, I will look at ways to promote your page, and some more distinctions between Pages and Profiles…and whether there is any ongoing relevance for Groups.

What do you think? What questions do you have about Pages and customizing them?

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

6 thoughts on “Facebook 240: 5 Steps to Customizing Your Facebook Page”

  1. Lee, good tutorial, I always like your work. I have a (hopefully) helpful note to anyone reading who doesn’t know HTML, and I have a question.

    The note is that there’s a cool site online that lets you easily create a design for your page/tab using a simple word-processor interface – so you can embed images like a logo and wrap text and change the font size, etc., just like you might in WordPress or Microsoft Word – and the site creates the HTML code for you. So then all you have to do is copy the code and paste it into FBML box in your Step 2. (I have no affiliation or relationship with the site, I simply came across it and I recommend it to my friends who don’t know or care to create a page in html.) It’s http://www.tabfusion.com/tabmakerutil.php

    The question is, why do you need the Welcome tab link (Step 3), once you’ve set it as the default tab? Linking people to your page, once you’ve done that, will cause them to arrive at your Welcome tab, if they’re not already fans, and to your wall, if they are fans. But maybe you’ve found that it’s still helpful to link to the Welcome tab? Just curious.

    1. Patrick,

      Thanks for the TabFusion link! I’ve heard of it but never bothered to try it out before just now. To add to the sharing, there are a number of apps that will create a custom tab for you without you having to mess with HTML or FBML. A great comparison article appeared on TechCrunch in August of this year: http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/23/1-best-ways-customize-facebook/

      As for linking specifically to the Welcome tab – I’ve done the same thing in the past because I wanted all inbound traffic to land on the Welcome tab, whether they were already fans or not. That way I can capture previous fans who would have landed on the wall and may not have seen the tab.

      From my own experience, I almost never return to a page once I’ve liked it. If I do return, I land on the wall and rarely notice if an extra tab has been added or not. Assuming that there are many people out there similar to me, it seemed a good idea to have all external links point to the Welcome tab. I do this especially if I have something of value on the tab (coupons, media, special info, mailing list entry form, etc.) that I want everyone to see.

  2. It is my hope that government healthcare agencies such as the CDC begin to consult you about the management of their Facebook pages. At present they are replete with anti-scientific spamming, which whomever is managing their page seems unwilling or unable to distinguish from the expression of free speech. The result is a chaos of misinformation.

    Since the “business” of the CDC is to disseminate accurate information, it’s clear that they could use some advice and constructive criticism about much-needed changes to both their policies and their page design.

    Let’s see if someone at the CDC agrees with me.

  3. Hi,
    I am trying to add the FBML application to my page but can not find where the “edit page” link is. Is this process still valid? I feel like maybe I’m late…but facebook has changed its look quite a bit. Please help…I wanted to put a larger image as my profile pic.
    Thanks in advance.

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