by John Eberhard

Facebook has initiated some changes with fan pages, that make them more interesting and easier to use to accomplish social media marketing of your product or service.

The most interesting thing is that you can set up a separate landing page that a person will come to initially, before they have clicked “like” and become one of your fans. This uses new technology from Facebook called Facebook Markup Language, or FBML.

This initial landing page can have a large graphic in the middle of it that you or a designer can create, which is a major change from the way Facebook used to do it. You can also make parts of the graphic link to various things, such as your main web site or blog.

It used to be that whoever came to your Facebook fan page came to a “wall” which showed a feed of activity for the fan page, including things you sent out and things that fans posted.

Now you can select what people will see when they come to your fan page, before they click “like,” and after they click it. Default options include your wall, info (which shows basic text information and web site links), and photos. But using FBML, you can now make a new welcome screen that people will see before they click “like,” and you can put whatever you want there.

Here are two examples I made recently, one for RealWebMarketing.net, and one for Straight Talk Wealth Radio. Note that if you have already “liked” either of these Facebook fan pages you won’t see the initial landing page. You would have to log out of Facebook to see them. Then once you click “like” you will see something different, in both of these cases the “wall,” which shows the feed of recent activity such as things the fan page owner has posted.

Using FBML you can also create other pages, with large graphics again, pitching products you are selling or free offers you are giving away. These new pages will show up in the side or top menu. Here’s an example of one I made for RealWebMarketing.net, offering my free white papers and my book. If you give it some thought there are a wide array of possibilities for what you can do with this.

Note that one strategy you could choose would be to have the sole message of your initial fan page landing page be to push the person to click “like,” and offer them things they will get if they do so. For instance, they will get access to a free report you’ve created, if they click “like.” Then you could put access to that free report on one of the other FBML pages. So in this way you are offering an incentive for them to become one of your fans.

Getting lots of fans for your fan page, besides being an ego stroker, allows you to send them messages easily, market to them and keep in touch with them.

I’ll discuss more on strategies for getting lots of fans for your Facebook fan page in a future article.