SINCE THIS WAS PUBLISHED, FACEBOOK HAS MADE SEVERAL CHANGES TO THEIR SITE SO SOME OF THIS IS OUT OF DATE….
As promised, here’s a rundown on customizing your Facebook page…though after trying out Google+ (Thanks, @DaveLewand!) I’m looking forward to a simpler process for business accounts on Google+.
First, a little terminology explanation. In the old days, Facebook Pages had tabs users could click on to see various content sections within each Page. The tabs are gone – replaced by App links – but they work the same way: as navigation for your Page. I’ll be using Page (capital P) to indicate the Facebook Page and page (lower case p) to indicate the App page.
And, if you need instructions on setting up a Facebook Page, read this post first.
After you log into Facebook/access your Page, you’ll see a Getting Started screen. Click on the Edit Page link. Once there, you’ll see a list of items to edit on the left. Go through each of these to fill in basic information, add your profile picture, manage permissions, etc… Most are self-explanatory.
Now to the Apps section. Here you’ll see a list of applications already included and available for you to use on your Page. For each one you want, select Edit Settings, look at the second tab (if there is one…for additional permissions/settings), then ADD it. For each App you’ve added, click on Go To App to set more permission/use settings.
Once you’re done, click on the View Page button. You’ll notice the Apps/pages you added are listed on the left – essentially a “site” menu (the “Get Started” link won’t appear for your visitors).
Not very exciting, huh? Well, you can fix that. The Wall page is set by Facebook as the default “main” page, i.e, the first thing visitors see when they go to your Page, but you can change that. But first you need something to change it to. And now things get complicated because you’ll have to add custom Apps to Facebook.
Custom Apps are based on iframes. If you’re nor familiar with HTML, an iframe is basically a web page from another location embedded in a page. It’s a page within a page, if you will…but just looks like a page.
For those of you that know your way around HTML and a web server, you can create your iframe content pages (based on guidelines here…), upload them to your server and then use the URL for your iframe. But first, you have to become a Developer and create an App that lets you create the pages that will hold the iframe. Or, add an App like Static HTML: iframe tabs that can make the process easier: instead of linking to content hosted somewhere else, you can insert HTML code of your own.
Here are two good resources for DIYers on how to use the Facebook Developer features – plus more detail on iframes and customization.
Don’t want to be a developer or know HTML? And don’t have a nerdy friend or family member who can do this for you? It turns out there are several sites that provide a way to create your custom page and host it for you. A few are free (for now…) but most charge a subscription fee based on number of custom pages and editing options. Here are two resources I found – one available on Facebook and the other a list of apps for building custom pages that includes some hosted services.
Once you create and Add your custom App/page, you can make it the default “main page” by going to the Manage Permissions section in the Edit Page area.
Next post on this topic will cover content for all those pages.