Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh No!!! Facebook Killed the Landing Page! Well, Not Really...It's Just Different

Dear Facebook,

You drive me crazy, but I still love you.

Bill DeRosa
That's the short succinct letter I would send to Mark Zuckerberg if I had to put it into less than ten words. The latest changes on Facebook are not a simple new button or sorting tab...its a major interface update called Timeline. In addition, Facebook has or is in the process of releasing a ton of new tools or advertising programs to help pages get more visibility and better targeting for their content and ads. I like Timeline a lot and the direction Facebook is going. It would seem, on the surface at least, they are trying to make their platform more valuable for Page owners, and a better experience for the users.

The tough part for many page owners was the loss of a Landing page/Welcome tab. This was a fantastic place to tell people: who you are, what you do, "benefits" of why they would like your page, and a call to action ("Like" us...). It also had a pre-qualification component built in to let people decide based on your page description whether they really want to hit that Like button or not. And if you know about Edgerank, qualified engaged Likes are far more valuable than the Like itself. As well, it is a branded component of your page to really separate you from the pack. Finally, without a Landing page, people are typically just dumped into conversations on the Wall, and may not really know what your Page is all about.

The Timeline Cover Photo, while perfect for branding has a lot of restrictions, so this cannot make up for a properly built Landing page. Here are the rules for your cover photo:

So are the Landing pages/Welcome tabs gone? Nope…big misconception. How they work is a bit different, however.

Let's dig in.

What you see above are our metrics for external referrers to our facebook page from 1/31 - 2/2712. This shows how people outside of facebook found our page. In the past, they would have landed on our Landing page/Welcome Tab. Now they can't...or can they?

Click the link below:

Talking Finger On Facebook

Did you land on our Wall? Or our Landing page? Unless someone came in and edited my blog to mess with my head, it was the latter.

Every Landing page and most apps have a specific URL associated with them. Having people from anywhere outside of Facebook land on your Landing page/Welcome tab is actually quite easy!

1. Go to the Landing page
2. Copy the complete URL address
3. Paste it wherever you are creating a link

I already went around to all of our platforms (Google+, YouTube, Twitter, website, even my LinkedIn and email signatures) to change the URL's to point to the landing page. It didn't take too long, and now everyone will still go where I want them to on our Page. Walla.

As well, any Facebook ads you run can be pointed to that Landing Page. Just simply copy and paste the URL into the destination field. So any ads you run, drive them there!

While that covers all external referrers, internal to Facebook it isn't going to help (if anyone figures out how to do it within Facebook, please let us know!) but what you CAN do is make your Landing page/Welcome tab the second tab in. Such as we have on ours:

Note the "Welcome to TF" tab. Now while people within Facebook may not land on this anymore by default, it is still available and still useful within the platform. As people get used to the new interface, I guarantee they will start looking for the apps and tabs in this area. If you title it well (Im actually iffy now on "Welcome to TF" and may change description to "Learn More About TF" or something clever- suggestions welcome!) people will be curious.

While you may lose a small portion of people within Facebook actually landing on your Landing page, I hope we have shown you some ways in which these will still be valuable assets for your marketing. So if you have one, don't fret! Just change what you are doing. If you are in the process of making one, go for it!

One final note, once someone hits the "Like" button, the page will not flip as before to the Wall. So in your description, or your call to action, you may want to instruct them a bit. " 'Like' us, then click here to go to our Wall".

We are currently redoing our landing page to accommodate the new call to action, but we really wanted to get this info out to you asap! So check back in a day or two to see the updated, full size and rocking landing page we are working on.

And if you send a letter to Zuckerberg, tell him Talking Finger says hello.