Facebook tabs

We have had lots of interest in the Facebook tab that we have released recently around how we did it.  So I thought I would share the simple way that we have dont this for everyone else.

The thought process for this has really come from my research into social CRM and how we can best move forward in an area that for local government hasnt any real forerunners in the UK(that I am aware of), however in the US it is an accepted norm in some states.  For example, colleagues at 311 in San Francisco utilise Twitter feeds direcly into their CRM, when asked "Whats the ROI on this?"  I received one of the best responses..."We do this because our customers expect us too!"

So from this I looked at both our Councils increasing usage of Social Media and over the last 2 years the growth and type of  interactions.  Whilst we have concentrated heavily on Twitter as a method of communications what we have found is that our majority of traffic(Source: Google Analytics) within social-sphere(excuse the new word please!) was coming from Facebook.  Its not a massive amount of traffic but its another channel that allows people to interact and therefore cuts out the face to face or the telephone calls.

So how did we do it! its quite simple really all we have created is a HTML laid out page and utilised the iframe application within Facebook itself.  So the steps to take are:

  1. Log in under appropriate username (normal facebook not apps center)
  2. Search for "Static HTML Iframe Tab: Custom Icons"
  3. Install Page tab and then apply it to the correct page - you will need to be admin
  4. On the settings page ensure that you have the right width etc (810px wide)
  5. Change tab image and choose HTML
  6. Copy and paste your prepared HTML code within this area (we used embedded CSS etc, not the best way but the best way for us to get it to work)
  7. Name your tabs - i.e. report it
  8. Save your settings
  9. Skip and thats it!!! 

The HTML is simply pointing to the relevant pages on the website but using simple icons help users identify what they want to report in a faux user centric signposting.  These links have been generated by our usage from the website and interactions via our contact centre.  As yet we don’t have much data in terms of how much they are being used but from the enquiries we have had from other authorities and social media commentary then it seems to have been a positive step forward for a really simple piece of work.  It is the first step I a longer journey of offering lots more alternative interaction with much more end to end processes but the core of all of this is a strong centre, our website.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS ONE FLAW TO THE CUNNING PLAN! Facebook currently does not allow for custom tabs to be displayed on mobile devices/apps so these will not appear on mobile devices.  If anyone knows of a way around this or if we can get everyone in the LGov UK building pages like this then maybe the lovely people at Facebook will get this changed! Hope this helps people(apologies to the wordsmiths out there shaking their heads! but in my defence I wrote code for too long!) and any questions then feel free to contact me here or via @_jasonwilliams


Security level: Public


Former Member 9 Years Ago
That's a nice, simple way of doing it, Jason. Have you given any thought to embedding actual web forms or tools - such as a bin calendar lookup?
Jason Williams 9 Years Ago
Hi Peter, definitely we haven’t tested the concept yet but the thought is to use some javascript within the page to perhaps refresh to surface a form, which would be an end to end form(what I mean is that it goes straight to back office system like CRM). The only concern is whether FB would allow for the javascript to run, any conflict with their own js libraries and that surfacing the forms doesn’t cause any issues in terms of security etc. what I am trying to say we are definitely thinking but there are a few unknowns at the moment. We will probably be embedding our webcasting through this mechanism in the near future too as an additional way of getting people interacting with that too, the application of this approach has potential for many things! hope that helps.
Phil Rumens 9 Years Ago
The Facebook stuff is really handy to know. I've thought about embedding the mobile version of our site into Facebook before, but never got round to doing it. Now I know how. Interesting comment about the 311 stuff and Twitter too. I looked at automatically creating a case in our CRM when someone tweeted @ us using a specific hashtag, but the location data wasn't always exact enough and the text wasn't comprehensive enough to warrant doing it automatically so I guess this is a manual process?
Jason Williams 9 Years Ago
Its quite simple and potentially can handle any pages you throw at it, we have thought about adding mobile too but want to see how this pans out first. We will be embedding our webcasts in here too in the future though. The Twitter/311 stuff comes in via API and the back office collates the tweets then there a manual human effort to allocate them and respond through CR this gets appended to customer record for future. I think the accuracy would be the main issue however I suppose you could define the format of the tweet in your own app by seperating the tweet with a postcode and house number? @council ___________ form field(issue) ______postcode ______ house no [submit] add your own geolocator if you wanted? your project this weekend :)
Phil Rumens 9 Years Ago
Things like webcasting would be great to embedd. Re, CRM: If you're doing it through your own app then it wouldn't need to be a tweet. We've got one of the Neighbourhood Wardens testing out our Mobile Fault Reporting at the moment: http://m.westberks.gov.uk/frontline/describe_case.aspx. In terms of tweeting stuff raised in our CRM out, we do that, unless the customer has said they don't want the information made public on https://twitter.com/WBerksRoads
Jason Williams 9 Years Ago
Agreed re app, I was thinking of utilising the Twitter APIs and platform to migrate or signpost people that only use that platform to something they are familiar with and maintain their journey. Not saying that its better than signposting them to our own apps etc but its user choice I suppose. What I meant with CRM is that the back office CRM automatically collates the tweets into the UI of the CRM for a advisor to manually assign as a case number and push through workflow, then as part of that workflow the user is updated via twitter(DM if required) or if they are previous customers and refer email then whatever mechanism they require. Customer is contacted or not based on their preferences.
Phil Rumens 9 Years Ago
Interesting and certainly do-able. One of the next things I want to look at is importing specific tweets into our search engine or CMS (along with RSS feeds and other data) so that we can create a timeline of stuff that not only we're doing (status stuff like leisure centre closures, gritting updates and so on), but local organisations are doing too. On a day to day basis this would be useful. In an emergency situation I can see it being even more so. What you're suggesting is similar, collating tweets but importing them into a CRM so the functionality could be used for this too. There would be some issues about how they're imported, how they're associated with an individual and so on, but this is really just deciding how it will work, not figuring out how to get it to work.