Note: with Static FBML having been deprecated by Facebook since this post was written, please visit this post instead to find out about the new ways to build mini Websites.
With the phenomenal growth of Facebook, businesses are starting to realize the potential of having another digital outpost, one that enables easy sharing and networking right within the world’s most popular social media site. They sign up for a Facebook Fan Page, add their info, and invite a bunch of friends to become fans.
But after that, what’s next?
How does a business differentiate itself from the huge number of other companies with Facebook Fan Pages? Beside just posting links and offering specials in the usual manner on Facebook, why not create a mini website with Facebook Markup Languange (FBML)?
With FBML, developers can create full Facebook Platform applications that integrate into their company’s fan’s experience on Facebook. Full documentation from Facebook is available on the developer’s Wiki:
“You can hook into several Facebook integration points, including the profile, profile actions, Facebook canvas, News Feed and Mini-Feed.
FBML is an evolved subset of HTML with some elements removed, and others which have been added that are specific to Facebook.”
Adding FBML to a Fan Page is fairly simple: Search for FBML from the Facebook search bar, and then click “Add to my page” in the upper left corner. This adds another tab to your page with the FBML application, which can then be edited as desired. A full tutorial can be found at Hyper Arts: Tutorial: Customize Facebook Pages with “Static FBML” application.
If you want to start experimenting with FBML, head over to the developer’s FBML Test Console. You can see what the effects of the different hooks are without publishing it live to your page. There are quite a few standard FBML tags, but you can also define your own custom tags or see a selection of shared (public) custom tags that can be used to add elements such as a Flash mp3 player to your page.
Some companies are even going site-less by using their own domain and redirecting it to Facebook, making the FBML tab their landing page. For a great example of this, see what Katalyst Films is doing with theirs. Type this address into your browser: http://katalystfilms.com, and you’ll be redirected straight to the company’s FBML tab, which then acts as a miniature website right within Facebook.
Have you used FBML on your Facebook Fan Page? Do you have any other good examples of FBML implementation to share?
Derek Markham is a writer, a father, a WordPress addict, and social media butterfly who loves to share what’s new and interesting in his world in under 140 characters. Hit him up with an @ reply anytime for help, advice, or just to say hey!