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The 7 deadly sins of Facebook page design

The 7 deadly sins of Facebook page design Lisa Wehr

Is your Facebook page lacking aesthetics? Or worse, is it lacking functionality? With more than 800 million active users, Facebook is the leading social network, and it's one you shouldn't gamble with when it comes to developing and designing.

Let's dive into the seven biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to designing your brand's Facebook page.

Don't have a landing page
Do you currently send your Facebook visitors directly to your Facebook wall? That's a no-no in the world of design. By greeting your Facebook visitors with a landing page, you're able to deliver a message -- your brand's message.

Although Ben & Jerry's latest flavor, Schweddy Balls (promoted on its Facebook welcome tab above, see reference 1) has caused controversy, the brand isn't sinning with its Facebook design. It knows exactly how to greet its Facebook fans (those who haven't un-fanned due to their humorous new ice cream name). Rather than direct visitors to its wall, Ben & Jerry's offers an interaction (reference 2) allowing their fans to choose their favorite clip from the Saturday Night Live Schweddy Balls sketch, but its fans must click the "like" button first (bonus points for this maneuver of creating a fan-gated tab).

Don't have a fan-gated custom tab
Like we just discussed, there's value in fan-gating your custom tab. You want to increase your fan base, right? Well, here's your solution: Create a fan-gated custom tab and set it as your default landing page.

The queen of rock, fashion, and funk is also a royal social media trendsetter. Lady Gaga's welcome tab (reference 1) is fan-gated and is a true tease as it displays various videos. In order to feast your eyes on her artistic performances, you have to "like" her page to play the content (reference 2). She not only has her little monsters following her as she tours, but she also has more than 44 million "likes."

Not displaying your social media properties in your Facebook info
You want your fans to follow you on Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, and elsewhere. It's a shame to limit your social interactivity to Facebook fans; you want to have followers and groupies across all of your social media platforms. And one of the largest mistakes big brands make is not promoting their other social media channels on all of their digital properties.

NBC knows how to please its audience across various media channels. Not only does it use Facebook and Twitter to broadcast timely news, but the major network also knows how to integrate them (reference 1). NBC has displayed a "like" button to allow Facebook fans to "like" its Twitter presence (reference 2). Best of all, NBC delivers top-notch Twitter updates within Facebook (reference 3), thereby enabling its Facebook fans to view its Twitter feed without leaving the popular social network.

Not listing all of your web properties in your info
Don't just list your company site. Continue adding your other sites, such as your blog, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc. If you don't, not only do you miss out on getting your Facebook fans to venture to your other web properties, but you also prevent search engines from indexing important info about your brand.


Although The North Face is full of adventure, it doesn't want to make its Facebook visitors go on a treacherous mission to find its other web properties. Thus, it displays its other websites conveniently on Facebook. The North Face uses its Facebook info (reference 1) as a directory for its other web entities (reference 2), such as its blog, other social media properties (Twitter and YouTube), and events (challenges and extreme sporting events the brand sponsors).

Not managing your featured thumbnails
You're now able to choose which recent photos are displayed on your Facebook wall; it's wise to feature photos of your various products or services in this section. Or, if you'd like to continue promoting your social media properties, go ahead and place the icons of them in this area instead of photos.

Nabisco Cookies tastefully knows how to display its various products on Facebook. Just like at the grocery store, the shelf placement is important, and Nabisco Cookies knew exactly how to entice Facebook visitors by spotlighting its cookie varieties in its thumbnail images (reference 1).

Not utilizing the full dimensions of the profile image
Consider your profile image to be a free banner ad opportunity. You certainly wouldn't send creative that was a third of your allowed size to a publication -- so why would you skimp on your allotted profile image dimensions? Use that space! If your logo is a perfect square dimension, use the remaining length to incorporate your social properties or advertise upcoming events; there are endless opportunities.

The ever-popular cleaning brand Method continues its mission of keeping things neat with its well-kept Facebook design. And although the brand embraces simplicity, it didn't just display its branded image (reference 1, dotted lines); instead, the brand added content (brief company history and mission statement) to its profile image to take full advantage of the entire space (reference 2).

Not integrating your YouTube channel into your Facebook tab
There are plenty of apps to aid you with this integration. People don't like to leave Facebook, so let them view your videos on your Facebook page. It's quick and easy to upload your videos to Facebook, so there's no excuse not to feature your clips on the most popular social network.

And be sure to keep them updated; don't have your most recent video be a feature from last year.

The one-stop shopping experience chain Meijer offers convenient 24-hour shopping for groceries, home décor, electronics, and 40-plus other departments. And to top it off, it offers timely YouTube videos (reference 1), which its Facebook fans can conveniently watch without abandoning Facebook (reference 2). Staying true to its convenience factor, Meijer knows how to please its in-store customers and online following. 

Just like website design, Facebook page design isn't just about incorporating your branded image (colors, copy writing, products and services, etc.). It's not just about making things look pretty. It's about the overall user experience.

I stress action-oriented design all the time. Help your visitors and brand advocates easily find what they're looking for, and make it convenient for them to share your materials among their friends. You want your Facebook visitors to complete things quickly, whether it be to fan your page, follow your Twitter handle, watch your latest YouTube video, etc. Thus, it's important to display all the information your audience could possibly want in a conducive manner -- so why not have it all readily available on the No. 1 social networking site?

Lisa Wehr is CEO and founder of Oneupweb.

On Twitter? Follow Wehr at @LisaWehr. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Lisa Wehr, Oneupweb’s founder and CEO, is a true visionary in the world of search engine optimization and marketing. She was designing and optimizing webpages before most people had ever logged onto the internet. Her prophetic vision has made...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Tina Strange

2011, November 02

Thanks Lisa, this article is a keeper. I can't wait until I get home so I can start playing around with my Facebook page. Although I use my Fb page for my own personal use, it's time for me to rethink how I manage my time and I how I use my page. Again, thanks for sharing these tips.

Commenter: Emma PERRY

2011, October 26

This is a great article ... now I just need instructions on how to complete some of those! ;-)

Commenter: Nicole Gläser Eriksson

2011, October 25

Hi Lisa, agreed! If companies use fan-gating or reveal tabs, then companies should really offers something back for the folks which become fans. Like a video, a whitepaper, entrance to a contest, a discount code - whatever.
In terms of offering content on different page tabs: If you have customized tabs and you want people to find it, it is super important to promote them with direct links from the landing page, ads, wall posts or other places. Nobody is just "surfing" to them as people do on a website.

Commenter: Jo Oskoui

2011, October 25

Great article, Lisa! I wonder, however, if you did not leave out another sin, viz, Don't Share All Content.

There are so many Facebook pages that have great content but don't allow users to share the content itself easily. As a user I should be able to share specific content such as recipes, pictures, video, etc. conveniently with my friends. I don't necessarily want to share a Facebook page but rather the specific content (e.g., recipe, picture, or video, etc.).

In your Meijer video example, when a user shares a clip with a friend, the friend is redirected to the YouTube channel instead of the Facebook page. I think this is a missed opportunity as users are more likely to engage on the Facebook page rather than on the YouTube channel. As you pointed out, you don't want to send the user to external pages unless required. In the Meijer example, the shared links could have been redirecting the users to the Facebook page, then automatically pull the selected video clip in the video player. As you said, it's about the overall user experience.

Commenter: chris williams

2011, October 24

Lisa, this is a damn good article. I created an account just to tell you that.