By Richard Lefebvre on Jun 12, 2013
Because Facebook is often described as a platform in “permanent beta,” Tabs have changed and evolved. In the olden days, they were always visible to the left. Brands could set a default landing page using Tabs so new visitors would see a promoted offer or other desired Tab.
Then came Timeline. Tabs became…boxes, which fell quickly out of view as a visitor scrolled down the Timeline. PageLever reported tab engagement dropped 53% since Timeline’s full implemention. Most thoughts and efforts turned to the News Feed, since that’s where users far and away spent the bulk of their Facebook time. Studies showed only 2% of fans would return to a brand’s Timeline after liking the Page.
Wow. No wonder many started ringing the death knell for Tabs.
Facebook was nudging brands away from controlled, one-size-fits-all Tabs experiences and toward one-on-one fan interaction and relevant content creation for the News Feed. But it’s hardly an either/or proposition. Well-crafted Tabs experiences give brands something to draw people toward via the News Feed. The News Feed can be the barker that gets users into the attraction.
And attractions are what Tabs and Apps should be. Done well, they can be real engagement monsters. Content for the News Feed is of prime importance. But usually, it’s a quick look from the user and then it’s on to the next item. Tabs are a way to not just get them, but hold them. A video on the News Feed is good. A video that’s episode 1, directing people to a YouTube app where the whole series can be watched is great.
A quality social relationship management platform is most likely going to give you a nice menu of Tabs content that can be easily customized and implemented. To give you an idea of the many “attractions” available, Oracle Social offers:
- Google Map
- Twitter Follow
- View to View
- Like Gate
- Pinterest Follow
- Instagram Feed
- Pinterest Board
- Pinterest Feed
- Twitter Live
- Custom Form
- Video and Photo Contest
- Fan Media
- Photo Albums
- YouTube Channel
- Instagram Moderation
- YouTube Embed
- CSS Override
- Fan Counter
As you can see, there’s not a lot you can’t execute as a brand within the Facebook environment, where most social users are spending their time.
Looming on the horizon is yet another possible change to brand Timelines in which the Tabs boxes return to actual tabs, as they are already on personal profiles. Will users discover your attractions on the Timeline itself? Far more likely they’ll see what you have to offer as you actively promote these Facebook Tabs (perhaps with some paid effort behind it) in your News Feed content. Your barker has to give them enough to make them want to come in for the ride.