Facebook called its recently changed site navigation a redesign. But when the social media giant rolled out its new page layout earlier this year, it essentially gave businesses three free ads. And most business owners don’t even realize it.
I’m talking about the apps with images that prominently run across the top of Facebook cover pages, right below the banner image at the top.
The first app on the left is labeled “photos” no matter what, but you can still choose what image you want to display in it. The three apps to the right of “photos” can be labeled in whatever way you like, can show whatever image you would like to display, and then can link to additional pages you have created.
Facebook has given you three amazing free ads, if you choose to think of them that way.
Want to see the potential of these apps? Take a look at what my fellow Entrepreneur Press author Perry Marshall and I have done with his Facebook page. We designed attention grabbing graphics for his apps to draw visitors to promotions deeper in his Facebook page. These promotions capture likes and contact information.
Here are 5 things you should try out to turn these page apps into free advertisements that will grow your customer base:
1. Make the page apps images attention grabbing. Don’t think of these as navigation apps or tabs. Think of them as advertisements. The entire goal is to draw visitors deeper into your Facebook site. No boring labels are allowed. The language must be attention grabbing. The visuals in the images should pop.
2. Use your cover page to draw attention to the ads. There’s a couple ways you can do it. It could be as straightforward as including an arrow in the banner image -- an arrow that points directly down to the advertisement you want people to notice the most. You might take the “Photos” tab and turn it into an arrow pointing right to the ads. Or make the entire cover page black and white, except for those colorful advertisements you’ve created at the top.
3. Tell them an interesting story. Make the ad the headline of an interesting story. My best-performing campaign provided tips for getting paid clicks on Facebook for less than 1 penny. The entire campaign ran across five pages, not including the ad. To keep people turning the pages they must be interested in the story. The advertisement said, “Internet clicks for less than a penny? My free video shows you how. Click now.” The link led to a fan-gate page with a teaser free video that talked about how one Perry Marshall customer received as many as four clicks per penny. After they liked our page, we showed a free video on exactly how it was done. Even though the technique will not be this effective for every business, learning it still benefits every business, and customers loved the free training. We added over ten thousand new fans to our Facebook page through one simple promotion. Even better, we collected hundreds of new email prospects who wanted more information.
Related: How to Make Facebook Ads Work for You
4. Ask them to take action (click now). When you’re advertising on Facebook, it’s a lot like advertising on television. This isn’t like Google in which users are actively looking for you or something like you. On Facebook, people are browsing and happen to come across you along the way. You need to tell them a good story, keep them entertained, and then draw them forward into another Facebook page. Ask them to “Click Here,” “Like,” “Share,” “Comment,” and “Connect.”
5. Collect information. Whatever you have on your Facebook pages, always have an offer where you capture the visitor’s contact information so you can continue to follow them up through other mechanisms. Make a free offer, email them a free prize, but be sure to collect contact information. If they haven’t “liked” your Facebook page, you should get them to “like.” You then have a whole group of people who you know “like” your business, people who you can then advertise to on Facebook at a very affordable rate, frequently as inexpensive as a thousand ad impressions for 10 to 15 cents.
The apps at the top of a Facebook page are the hottest areas on the page right now. The user’s attention is drawn to those three little apps. They’re staring at them. They’re ready to click. All you have to do is deliver a compelling headline and a call to action.
Takes advantage of these free ads while you can, Facebook may someday decide to charge you for them. Remember, they have to keep Wall Street happy now too.
Thomas Meloche is the president of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Procuit Inc, a maker of educational software using the Facebook platform. He is co-author, with Perry Marshall, of Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising: How to Access 600 Million Customers in 10 Minutes from Entrepreneur Press.