How to Improve Your Marketing With Facebook Apps

social media how toWant to grow your email list or drive more people to your business?

Are you looking for ways to connect Facebook to your business goals?

In this article, I’ll show you common goals of four different industries and how Facebook apps are helping meet those goals.

Why Facebook Apps?

What kinds of apps (also known as tabs) do you have on your Facebook page?

Are you using the right features on those tabs to support your business goals and Facebook strategy?

Goals can include having visitors sign up to receive emails, download a coupon or ebook, enter a promotion or make a purchase.

These actions need to be easy to complete. By making it possible for visitors to do this in tabs on your Facebook page, you can increase the rate of visitors successfully completing the desired action.

Using the right tab apps can increase your success!

give visitors access to tools and information

Give visitors access on Facebook to key tools and information.

Below I reveal common goals of four different industries (restaurants, hotels and travel destinations, local retailers and professional service companies) and outline key tabs that these industry page managers should consider implementing on their Facebook pages.

As you’ll see, there are some commonalities of tab types that can and should be used to increase Facebook marketing success. So if your industry is not represented specifically, don’t fret—common threads do apply!

#1: Restaurants

The opportunity for restaurants lies in catching the attention of fans or targeted consumers via posts or ads that drive them to tabs on your Facebook page. Once you get a visitor to your tab, quickly offer them the information and opportunities they need, and you’ll make all the difference for that customer. Key tab recommendations include the following:

Show Your Menu

Allow customers to see your specialties easily right on Facebook with a tab that includes your menu and perhaps a PDF download of it, or simply use a tab app solution that allows you to add your menu from your website to a tab.

give access to your menu

Give visitors access to your menu right on Facebook.

By iframing in your website menu, efficiencies are gained! Simply make changes on the website and the tab is updated as well. Plus, by having the menu on the tab, your page can use features such as a “like gate” so that visitors must take the quick action of liking the page in order to see the menu.

Add Email Sign-up

Add an email sign-up tab to your Facebook page and make users aware of it through posts and tips in the news feed. Your restaurant can grow its email list and then reach potential customers via email as well on Facebook.

email signup free voucher

Email sign-up with free dessert voucher.

Share Special Offers

Who doesn’t like a deal? Offer an incentive that drives foot traffic—offer a coupon or discount deal on a tab. To get even more long-term marketing value, integrate an email opt-in with the special offer.

special offer example

Special offer example that extends reach and rewards new fans.

Combine a promotion incentive with an email opt-in to grow your email marketing list more quickly than simply using an email sign-up tab alone.

The promotion serves as an immediate way to potentially increase foot traffic to your restaurant, and the email sign-up gives you an ongoing method to market to those same individuals.

For more information on tying promotions with growing your email list, have a look at Growing Your Email List With Facebook Promotions.

Take Reservations

Is Saturday night packed at your establishment? Do customers want to call ahead to reserve their table? Do you already take reservations via your website?

If not, then consider adding a reservations form to a tab on your Facebook page. By using an iframe or website resizer app solution, you can easily add your website reservations page to a tab and make it easy for Facebook users to get a spot at your restaurant!

There are basically two ways to add the reservations feature to a tab:

  • Have your reservations system functionality built into a custom tab, which can be as simple as a form to enter date, time, name and mobile number.
  • Use a cost-effective approach of iframing your existing web reservations page URL into a tab which serves to offer the same web feature right in a tab on your Facebook page.

    reservations tab

    Add your reservations page to a tab.

#2: Hotel and Travel Destinations

Hotels and travel destinations have a wonderful opportunity to engage fans and integrate tabs that help guests complete desired actions. Key tab recommendations include the following:

Show Off Features and Amenities

Give your visitors a view of your best and finest features! Add a tab with a gallery of images and perhaps a quick video to inspire visitors to like your page and connect with you further.

A related idea is to offer an events tab, feature special activities or offers for users to learn about or opt into.

The example below showcases key features of the hotel, while also incorporating the ability for guests to look up availability and check rates—a great combination!

display fine points

Display your finest points and enable visitors to take action.

Combine Special Offers With Email Sign-up

As noted in the restaurant section, a desired action for visitors to complete that can help grow your business is the ability for visitors to sign up for email lists about specials or events.

When combined with an incentive, the rates of sign-up can be greater. This is a great way to connect with your visitors so that when the time is right for them to plan their next trip, your location can be first on their mind!

email offer

Example tab to allow sign-up for email offers.

Book Your Guests for a Stay

A key for hotels and restaurants is keeping the facility bookings up! Why make visitors jump outside of Facebook to get to a reservation? If you’ve captured their attention in the news feed with a post and brought them to the tab, make it easy for them to check dates and get their reservation started.

Use an iframe or website resizer app solution to add your website reservations page to a tab and make it easy for Facebook users to get a spot at your hotel!

reservations web page tab

Make it easy! Add the reservations web page to a tab.

Contest Tab

Hotels and travel destinations can generate buzz and increase reach and engagement on their page when they host a contest or promotion. Contests and promotions can benefit a page in many ways—from growing the email list to reaching friends of fans, and more.

A contest that’s tied to your location, such as a photo contest to win a free or discounted stay, can be a great way to boost engagement.

facebook contest

Contests can increase reach and reservations.

#3: Local Retailers

A key for local retailers is inspiring traffic to come to their store. As outlined in 11 Checks to Ensure Your Facebook Page Is Up to Date, one important item is to allow Facebook check-ins. This can help you gain visibility in Facebook’s Graph Search and with friends of those who check in.

Tabs can also play an important role for local retailers and here are a few key tab recommendations for retailers:

Highlight Deals and Featured Products

Post enticing nuggets of information to the news feed and include a link to the custom tab where you showcase either a deal or a featured product.

A key decision is to know what the goal of each tab is. Do you want to ensure a user has liked your page, completes an email sign-up, downloads a coupon or something else? Know the action and provide the information to help accomplish that goal.

In this example, a time-specific offer is outlined (to keep the image height limited I’m not showing the form below the offer). The brand used a time-limited offer with a form to encourage fans to act and give them the opportunity to do so right on the tab.

limited time offer

A limited-time offer inspires participation.

Collect Email Sign-ups

As with restaurants and hotels, having an email sign-up tab is an opportunity to grow your company email list. As fans sign up, it adds value and potential to your ongoing marketing.

Offer a simple incentive such as a coupon in exchange for the opt-in to help drive traffic to your tab and increase the number of sign-ups.

email signup tab

Retail locations can add email sign-up tabs.

Give Customers a Map and Directions

With news feed posts that drive interest and build engagement with friends of fans, direct traffic to your location map tab to help Facebook users find their way to your location.

A recommended feature for your map tab is a Get Directions option that will make it easy for Facebook users to plan and come to your location.

map tab

Offer a map tab to help fans get to your store.

#4: Professional Services

As we’ve seen thus far, each industry has unique offerings that can be of interest to particular Facebook users.

Professional service companies cover a wide range of business services from trainers and realtors to social media consultants, doctors and more. The key is for each to identify the fan actions that they want and to focus tabs accordingly to achieve those results.

Each professional should consider what product, service, offering or incentive can drive great interest from potential customers, and how that can be offered turnkey on a Facebook tab. Recommendations include:

Increase Email Sign-ups With Incentives

Allure Laser Treatment created a tab with an incentive to refer a friend. The special offer included a lead-capture form from which they could do follow-up marketing.

Incentive tab offers are best used when tied to your company services and specialties, and allow the user to see and respond quickly right on the Facebook tab.

facebook incentive

Incentive that is tied to the professional service offered.

Offer Content Downloads

Pam Moore offers free ebook downloads as an educational incentive for visitors to opt into her email newsletters that are focused on a key topical area. Beyond growing her email list, the ebook materials inform, assist and help visitors get to know her company more intimately. This type of added value is a great socially relevant method to win new clients by being helpful.

Professional service providers need to find ways to link their email marketing with assembled content to create ebooks and other package materials that add value and demonstrate thought leadership.

This is an example of a web page brought into a Facebook tab. Again the value is that one created item, a web page, is now used in two unique locations—the website and a Facebook tab.

ebook offer

Ebook offer for email opt-in = resources that incentivize the sign-up.

Display Your Services

Let’s be practical. As a professional service provider, you need to make sure you offer a simple and clear message on the services you provide. Posting tips and then linking to your tab where interested parties can become fans of your page and get clarity on the range of services you offer give Facebook users an easy way to learn about and understand your company.

It’s clear what John Haydon‘s three primary focus areas are from a quick glimpse at his tab!

tab with services offered

Tab with a clear and simple outline of services offered.

Build Specialized Tools

A key tab feature that some professional service companies have is the ability for visitors to use their tools to find information for themselves.

Realtor home listings and ecommerce stores are examples of providers using this. Someone making a home purchase is going to want to review homes for sale. Make it easy for fans and interested Facebook users to search for homes while staying on Facebook.

Integrate a tab with a home listing and search feature, either by bringing in a web page or custom-programming a tab to offer relevant and valuable assistance to your consumers.

If you offer services that can be purchased on your website, offer the same purchase capability on a Facebook tab to increase sales.

My mantra continues to be users are on Facebook because they want to be, so give them what you’ve got right on Facebook! Make it easy for them and be a resource on Facebook where they can find answers and take action.

listing web page tab

Add your realty listing web page to a tab for Facebook shoppers.

Conclusion

If there’s a pattern you recognize, good! Though industries can vary greatly, there are some similarities in ways that Facebook page tabs can be used.

Common opportunities include the ability to grow email marketing lists, offer incentives and deals and deliver features that can be critical to gaining customers and growing your business. The key, again, is to offer the right information at the right time and in the right method so that a Facebook user can see, learn and complete an action while remaining on Facebook.

While not exhaustive, these tips can help Facebook page managers reflect on ways they can improve their Facebook page offerings for a variety of industries.

After you’ve decided on the Facebook tabs you need for your business, look for the best tab app solutions or get the technical help you need to create your own.

What do you think? What other industry-specific Facebook questions or tab questions do you have? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich is co-founder of TabSite, a leading Facebook page management software for contests and promotions. He leads the Product Development Team. Follow Mike on Twitter @Mike_Gingerich. Other posts by »




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  • http://snakeoilsocial.com/ Glenn Jimerson

    Mike, these are all great tips. The only caveat to considering an investment of time and resources to an app is the growth of mobile use. People who use the Facebook mobile app will not see these apps.

    This was a major pain point as we deployed coupon, lead capture, and contest apps.

    For folks who are experimenting with FB Apps, I’d advise putting some time into the design of the custom tab image. This is what people will see at the top of the page and since many visitors never return to the page once they have liked it, you need something that pops in order to get that click to your app.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Not totally true @GlennJ:disqus ! Many app companies like my TabSite apps offer mobile friendly options. People spend time in the news feed the most, so posting about your tab with a mobile-friendly / smart url link is a great way to reach them where they are and allow them to get to a tab.

    I totally agree that the growth of mobile is huge and important! Facebook Q2 results showed over 71% of users were accessing via a mobile device. They will scan their news feed and if you reach them there with a smart url to the tab, they can participate just fine and you can engage them.

  • http://snakeoilsocial.com/ Glenn Jimerson

    Right. I forgot about taking that iframe and implementing it outside of FB for the mobile crowd.

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Excellent tips, Mike! I have to agree that running a contest tab is a great way to get users engaging with your brand. I work for Strutta and help brands connect with their audience through UGC contest as well as help them generate leads and email sign ups through sweepstakes. It’s amazing how effective simple contest and sweeps can be; however, I have found the simpler the better.

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Great point guys! I am with Strutta and our contest and sweepstakes apps are all mobile accessible. Contests even have a mobile-optimized theme, so users don’t have to pinch/zoom. :)

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Thanks for stopping by @chrisformosa:disqus! Good to connect with a fellow app guy! I totally agree with “It’s amazing how effective simple contest and sweeps can be; however, I have found the simpler the better.” This is right on for two reasons: (1) mobile users can’t handle complexity. Get them in, get them to enter/access/sign-up and let them be done. (2) People are on Facebook for reason, so if they see a post in the news feed and want to view the tab, the end goal of the tab should be to deliver it simple and quick to them, or else they just move on.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Mike,

    Thanks for the tips and the reminder to create a *special* tab image for the email app. I forgot to do this.

    The questions I have are:

    1. How many Facebook apps should you use?
    2. What are the most important apps to use for your business?

    Thanks again!

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Thanks @mikegingerich:disqus – always great to connect with others in this space. :)

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hi @AmandahBlackwell:disqus. I think the number of tabs all depends on what your marketing strategies are at the time. An offer tab that helps you grow your email list can be a constant, and then other tabs vary by your strategies at that time. If you are running a promotion, needing to always offer reservations tab, etc. Those are 2-4 tabs that can be present. The key is what your strategies are and how you are driving traffic to them.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Hi Mike! You’ve provided some really great examples of companies doing it right, and seeing it in action is so helpful. Thanks for sharing these with us so we can learn direct from others who are seeing success!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    You bet John! Love the podcast you host!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great tips and examples, Mike. One thing I would add to this is to be sure fans can see the tabs you find most important or valuable on the top row. Photos must be first, but featuring an app is more valuable than number of likes. Adding apps to allow customers to get all of the info they need without leaving the page is a no brainer – thanks for pointing that out!

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri at Idea Girl Media

    Mike,

    As always, great post!

    I have to admit that for awhile, I had gotten away from focusing on my Facebook Tabs. In that past month or so, I’ve picked that back up, and I notice the difference in traffic, engagement, and even results from my social media marketing efforts.

    I LOVE the Website ReSizer from TabSite, and am enjoying my new Twitter tab. The mobile-friendly link makes the difference!

    The real key is actually utilizing them, and tapping into their potential.

    As others have said, great examples provided – Thanks for sharing with us.

    ~Keri

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Great add @sarahmordis:disqus! Yes, featuring your primary tab apps with the 111×74 image below your Cover image is important so that those coming to the page see what is most important. That is much more important than having a Like count showing in one of those precious spaces!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hey @connectyou:disqus!! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. So glad TabSite has been a good fit for you! Love it!

  • The Second One

    Hi Mike, thanks, this is a very timely article for me right now.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Glad to hear it @ThatSecondOne:disqus! Thanks for the feedback!

  • http://www.seomasterexpert.com/ Swapan Kumar

    Thanks for sharing amazing tips!! Really Glad to read your post!! Amazing Facebook apps!! Mobile users must go through this post. Really an insightful post!!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Glad it was of value to you @seomasterexpert:disqus! I appreciate the affirmation.

  • JK

    Great post Mike…. this will come in so handy for me. I am just getting my head around Facebook Apps and just wondered under the Professional Services section do you know specifically what app John Haydon may have used to create the ‘schedule a consult’ tab? My apologies if this seems like a really stupid question.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hello! Many app providers, including mine, provide drag n drop options or templates to help Admins like yourself easily create “web page” like tools. You simply add images, add text, create the links where you want them to go and can then publish it to a tab.

  • Tamara

    I am almost embarrassed to ask this but here goes. In our real estate page I’d like to add a promotions/contest tab (what I’d actually give as a prize is a whole other issue) but I’d also like to add another tab to drive fans to our listiquestion is where do I get the tabs/apps to install the tabs?

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hi @029994ef9f14cc689a79c6a5f2573e81:disqus. I have a link up in the restaurant section for Tab App Solutions. Here it is again and it goes to a past post here on Social Media Examiner. My company solution is like 3rd down on this list. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-10-facebook-apps-for-building-custom-pages-tabs/

  • Thomas Doyle

    Hi Mike

    I’m very new to this and being an “Old Hoot” I need to learn a lot. So how do I do this ? I’m with the Business Finance Store. They’re in the top 500 Inc. growth list. They can help Businesses Start-up, grow, and expand. So what do I do first?

    By the way I have no money at this time.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hi Thomas! Tough scenario, wanting to get started but have no money. Fortunately, some tabs are free. I’d recommend setting up a email sign-up tab to grow your email list as a starting point.

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  • Jayclitherow

    Hello I have just added a ordering part to my facebook page , can only use it when on a computer though . Could I do anything so it can be used on mobile ?

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hi. Facebook mobile use continues to grow. It’s a fact. However, Facebook’s iPhone, iPad and Android Apps, as well as the Facebook mobile site do not display any custom tabs that pages may have on their fan page.

    This is a problem for hundreds of thousands of company Facebook pages.

    In fact, not only do the apps and mobile Facebook site not include tab apps in the menu, if a news feed post contains a standard custom tab url, then mobile users get a “Page Not Found” message and have a bad user experience.

    TabSite offers users the ability to create a Smart, mobile friendly URL per tab so that users on ANY devices can access your Facebook Page tabs.

    This Smart, mobile friendly URL, when used in a news feed post, tweets, on your website or blog detects the browser type the visitor is using and then takes the viewer to the correct view, PC or mobile, for the tab. Using this feature gives ALL users trying to access your tab app access to it.

    Simply generate the Smart URL in the TabSite Manager and then post using the Smart, mobile friendly URL. This is available to all TabSite users in the TabSite Manager. When used, TabSite does all the work of showing the tab!

    Read more at link below…

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Mobile solution for tabs on Facebook pages http://tabsite.com/blog/mobile-solution-for-facebook-page-tabs/

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