Your business’s Facebook fan page can do a lot more than you may realize. By adding a variety of free and paid apps, you can make your page more interactive and engaging.
Installing an app is easy. Here’s how: Go to your Facebook fan page. Click the arrow button to the right of your total number of likes (below the cover photo), which reveals a second row of boxes. Click the “+” button next to an empty box and then “Find more apps.” This takes you to the App Center. Use the search box at the upper left to find the app you’d like to install. (Use the drop-down menu to narrow down the results by platform, such as mobile web.) Click “Go to App” at right, then add it to your page.
Now that you know how to install apps, here are five that we think are particularly useful to small businesses.
YouTube Tab (free) — YouTube Tab brings your YouTube page to your Facebook page in a visual, interactive format. Features include hashtag searches, a YouTube player that’s capable of high-definition playback (720p), and the ability to leave Facebook comments and likes for each video. After installing the app on your Facebook fan page, configure it in the Administrator Panel.
Statigram (free) — Statigram allows your customers to view your Instagram feed without leaving your Facebook fan page. If you aren’t using social media to post images, you’re missing a powerful engagement tool, and Instagram makes it easy. In addition, it resonates well with your younger, under 35, customers.
Static HTML (free) — Static HTML is easy to use yet extremely powerful. If you know how to write or copy HTML, you can build a custom Facebook page that’s as powerful as any page on your company’s website. For example, create a comprehensive About page that is identical or similar to the one on your website or set up an online store to sell product from your Facebook page (see Coca-Cola’s example of this).
ShortStack (free or $25 per month for pages with 2,000+ fans) — ShortStack is among the many fee-based suites of Facebook apps available. Subscribers get 30 apps, including the ability to embed videos and send virtual gifts. According to ShortStack, if you can dream of something, the suite will help you realize it. For example, according to the company’s research, the most effective way to engage users is to run contests and promotions. ShortStack offers multiple ways to run contests on Facebook, including the infrastructure for hosting rounds of voting, letting fans refer-a-friend to receive a free gift, and accepting video and photo submissions. Visit the site to view the suite’s full list of features.
North Social ($1.99-$6.99 per day, depending on fan base and payment method) — North Social, like ShortStack, is a suite of Facebook apps. Its 18 apps are more expensive than those of many other services, but they’re relatively easy to use, and North Social’s website includes video tutorials for each of their apps. The suite includes the usual video- and image-embedding tools, plus apps like Exclusive, which provides access to premium content only to customers who like your page; Partner Pages, which allows you to link to complementary products or services from partners or your own product line. Document Display, which lets you to display white papers, menus, and anything else supported by Scribd; and Deal Share, which helps you to offer coupons and promotional items without a complex commerce solution. Although the interface is simple and video demonstrations are available, you’ll need some graphic design and coding experience in order to get the full power out of the North Social suite.