May 27 | Dave Gibson With the redesign of Facebook's brand pages back in February, they introduced a number of great tools for companies to welcome visitors through a more branded experience. Using Flash or Facebook's own markup language, developers like us can create custom entry pages. There are a number of technical and functionality options now here - Flash animation, interaction, external data pulling for starters. Yet, so far, so few companies have taken advantage of these tools. As I find examples of companies with custom Facebook pages, I'm going to post them here.
Here's the "sell part": We recently launched 26 new programs and it just so happens that custom Facebook pages is one. As part of our Social Marketing family of services, we're offering a Facebook | Setup-Custom, Facebook | Lite, and Facebook | Advertising.
Here's some examples of companies that are creating engaging and customized Facebook pages. Generally my bar starts with a site that directs non-fans to a custom tab.
# 1 1 800 Flowers bumped VW out of first with the introduction of a new tab that enables direct ecommerce. Now you can buy someone a daisy (especially if they can't win one - hah). Rather than use a Facebook Application (which tend to scare consumers with privacy warnings), this uses the functionality that enables an external Flash page to be pulled in via iframe. In the past year, we saw Pizza Hut move the conversion point from website to Facebook, and here we have the first transactional conversion... the one we've been waiting for. This isn't rocket science exactly either, so expect to see many more now.
#2 Meet the Volkswagons OK. This gets an A on my card (Thanks Jamie Brandon for submitting). The user enters to a custom entry page with an app that takes your profile information and matches you with two likely models. When you select the model (mine was a sporty jetta wagon which is quite sweet) it takes you to a fan page for just that model, where you can look at photos, videos and read what other people have to say. I love that it personalizes it and while I generally tend to resist apps that suck down all my personal data, I couldn't resist diving in. I also like that they didn't kick me back to the website, and instead committed to keeping the engagement on Facebook. Needless to say, the page is very well branded and integrated with their offline campaign with Max & Bus. Wicked sweet.
# 3 Montrail Montrail manufactures active trail footwear. Their custom tab page introduces visitors to their "Go-To-Girl" program that asks you to submit women who inspire other women. The tab provides a tool to "nominate" and pulls your network of friends to choose from. I think this is a good example of a concept that works across multiple channels - as it runs from website out and back to Facebook. Understanding where much of its female target audience is focused, it does a great job of the rewarding the generosity to nominate others.
#4 Pizza Hut Pizza hut has been innovative on Facebook. They introduced an pizza ordering app for Facebook last year - possibly a first for moving the conversion point out to Facebook. To no surprise, they are taking full advantage of custom Face pages. In general though, my only critique is that the entry page takes you off Facebook too quickly.
#5 Cheetos Anyone who knows me, understands why it pains me to see Cheetos bettering my beloved Cheez Doodles (crunchy). Unfortunately it seems Wise is asleep at the marketing wheel, and has not responded at all to the aggressive marketing that Frito-Lay has put forth for the Cheetos brand.
Cheetos does use a custom tab page to introduce "The Lair" of the new cheetah character introduced last year. This sinister dark-sided character is a bit strange in my mind, but they do carry it only to a point here. Where they do fail in my opinion is that while they are using this page to capture and engage, all they do is draw the visitor away from Facebook and before they even have a chance to Become a Fan.
#6 Harley Davidson Here again, they do present a nice custom tab page, however they also drive all the links off Facebook and back to their main site. Now, while I might poke at other brands for doing this, Harley is one bunch of smart marketers. I think they might just know their audience enough to know that they're really not the Facebook types. Males over 40 are the slow adopters here, and Harley may just be smart enough not to try to convert the unwilling. Instead, they'll take what they can from the channel and use it just to funnel traffic in and perhaps to capture another seo slot on the search engine results page in the process.
#7 Facebook : REI Currently, they're start users with an exploration into the Passport to Adventure. REI does encourage users to share their experiences there on Facebook, which is good when so many others try to pull the user too quickly to the main website - before they become a Fan, or otherwise engage on the Face page.
UPDATE > Aug 23, 09 > Revision Eyewear This is a Facebook profile we developed for our client who manufactures ballistic eyewear. Its a military audience and one well represented on Facebook. We developed a flash entry tab designed to introduce the brand and product line in 12 seconds. The conversion goal is engagement via Fan development. More to come.
Honorable Mentions (they aren't using a custom entry page)
Red Bull Previous to the redesign, RedBull had one of the best pages. They have yet to step it back up with the new redesign, but I'm patiently waiting. In the meantime, they have plenty of good content - vids mostly. They also have over a million fans.
WaMu You've got to give credit to a bank that is first... a bank - and secondly has been as beat up as anyone in this mortgage crisis. Clearly these marketers are up for the challenge.
Gardener's Supply A growing throng of gardeners are getting good content here. I like the promotion of the Million Garden Pledge and the Garden Design tool. I'd like to see an open dialogue though - this is one-directional.
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE I'm looking for more examples of brands that demonstrate a real commitment to social/facebook. I think the way to measure this is in how clear the intent is to really engage in the channel versus just using it as a funnel to the website (only).
Know any? Hook us up.