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October 14, 2010

Top 13 Must-have Facebook Applications for Business

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It’s now or never if you want to secure your business real estate on Facebook. Fan pages for business are quickly catching on for all types of industries; however, not all fan pages are maintained effectively thus missing valuable traffic and engagement with fans AKA potential customers and clients.

Facebook and other social networks are all about people and relationships. Business owners want to build their reputation, so that they become trustworthy, credible and knowledgeable about their audience to provide them with the products or services they need.

Social networks work the same way. Who is your company’s audience and what do they want from you? How are you going to attract more people to your page’s network?

Two ways to increase your network and reputation on a Facebook Fan Page: consistent updates and applications.

Post often on a fan page. Allow more than one person to manage a fan page to provide the valuable information and expertise that your business prides itself on. The second way to establish a reputation and engage with your network is through Facebook applications. These add-ons will both visually enhance a fan page much like adding special features to a Web site and stimulate engagement, conversation and ongoing interactions with your fans.

Once a business creates a fan page the standard applications include Photos, Video, Notes, Events and Discussion; however, these are only the basics. In order to really add uniqueness to a Facebook page as well as your social media marketing strategy, you’ll need one or more of the following Facebook applications.

1. Reviews – The reviews app is perfect for those who have specific products and services they provide. Customer reviews is one of 2010’s marketing strategies that has taken the online shopper and business owner to a new level of providing better customer service. More customers are reading reviews online about a particular service, product, or business and are making specific buying decisions based on such reviews. Now your fans can give a review right on your business fan page.

2. Polls – There are a few different poll apps that you can use for a business fan page or profile. One of the most recognized social media polls is Polldaddy which is widely used both as a social media marketing and customer engagement strategy. Create a poll for your page: ask a question, provide two to four answers, and post. Check the results and post them on your page. This social media marketing tool can jumpstart a new campaign or give you ideas about future sales or promotions.

3. Networked Blogs – Does your business maintain a blog? Add the Networked Blogs app to your business page and profile so your fans and network receive immediate updates every time a blog is posted. There is a little bit of coding that needs to be installed on your blog so ensure you’re able to access your blog or ask your blog developer to do this. Want to keep informed of other blogs in your industry or track trends? Sign up for their blog feeds too by using this Facebook business app.

4. RSS Feed – If you have a blog, news site or other feed that you’d like to see updated on your business fan page, then there are a couple worthy RSS apps you can add. One all-in-one app is Social RSS which can be configured to automate updates from any type of RSS feed that creates a post on a business page on a tab at the top of the page or on your wall. Although many fans in your network prefer authentic posts from a company, this is one method to consistently update a fan page.

5. Slideshare – This site’s application has gone to the next level for attracting business on Facebook. Install Slideshare’s app to share presentations & documents with your network including conference chats, PDF’s, PowerPoint (PPT, PPS and PPTX), MS office documents and more. Impress fans with this app’s savvy marketing strategy to attract more customers and clients. Create a dynamic social media triad by linking your account with Facebook and LinkedIn. What is good for one is good for another.

6. Constant Contact – You’ve got email (marketing)! Now let your fans and friends in your network sign up to receive the latest news from your business directly from Facebook. As long as a business uses Constant Contact, they can also add this app.

7. Static FBML – If you’re familiar with Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML, this is Facebook’s version for adding bling to your business fan page. Companies like Nike, Ford and Twilight the Movie all have this feature on their fan pages. Add a “box” to your page for better fan engagement and interest. With a combination of FBML features a fan page can be transformed into a mini website. This wow factor can also be added to your sidebar that includes images from your website or blog, links and ads.

8. YouTube – Video as a social media marketing strategy is receiving more rave reviews and traffic than other traditional media advertising. With YouTube’s easy upload, a business can produce and publish a very affordable video campaign that will reach millions. Add the YouTube for Pages app to your tabs – you’ll have to sign up for a free Involver account. Choose your settings and you’ll have something that other large companies have – added value.

9. Twitter – Maximizing the power of any business social media strategy is to link as many social networks as possible. Facebook has several Twitter apps that you can link a fan page to a company’s Twitter feed. The social network mogul allows third party developers to add their own apps, so be sure to check out which Twitter app works best for your business’s needs and feed. Applications include Twitter for Facebook, Selective Twitter (update your fan page from Twitter with the hashtag fb), Twitter and mobile applications too.

10. Promotions – What do you have that your competitors don’t? A sizzling contest, giveaway or other promotion to attract more people to your website or storefront. Add the Promotions app as a social media marketing strategy to get fast results and traffic to your page. Sign up for a free account on the WildFire web site to get started; just follow the instructions with this application and soon you’ll be attracting more business than before. Offer something “free” and you’ll have your fans hooked. Just be ready to make good on your promotions!

11. Payvment eCommerce Storefront – Import your e-commerce’s products right on a business’s Facebook fan page. Download the free app from Facebook. This social media app supports more than 20 currencies worldwide.

12. Coupons – Another feature of signing up with Wildfire is the ability to add coupons to your fan page for your fans to use for purchasing products or services. Track with special coupon codes just for Facebook fans and remind customers to provide a review of your company on the Reviews tab you just added.

13. LinkedIn Contacts – Create a tri-fecta social media presence online with the top 3 social networks by adding this app to either your business profile or fan page. Share and connect with a LinkedIn network on Facebook too. Fans and friends can see your qualifications and join your network all in one place.


Wendy Suto is President and CEO of Search Circus, a full service certified and ethical search engine optimization and marketing firm that offers social media marketing, corporate blogging, PR distribution, PPC consulting, link building and other online marketing solutions with proven results.

12 Responses to “Top 13 Must-have Facebook Applications for Business

    avatar Terry Dunn says:

    This is great list of resources. I’ve been looking for ways to bring my facebook page to life, now I have some ideas to explore. I particularly like the way you can connect twitter and linkedin using facebook apps.

    Terry

    avatar Daniel says:

    Great rundown of some the best ways to get the most out of your Facebook fan pages. Personally, I have been using some of these applications such as network blogs, twitter and I can tell you for a fact that they results are good. Thank you.

    avatar Alicia Crowder says:

    This is a great article with nice specifics. Very informative! Thanks for writing this!

    avatar William says:

    Absolute rubbish!

    The only people who use Facebook are no-hopers with nothing better to do and nowhere else to do it.

    Farcebook, Twitland and their clones have absolutely no advertising benefit for business to business relationships at all.

    An organized business will have a list of it’s clients that will always exceed the number of twits that can be added to a social network, and without the repetitive intrusion of “so and so did what?”, leaving that business to properly manage client contact and news updates in a more convenient and respectful manner.

    avatar Mardy Sitzer says:

    Love your article and the list is great. My only question is that it is my understanding the Facebook is doing away with FBML and migrating to iframe only. Do you know something different?

    avatar Bella Q says:

    GREAT article. I’ve been trying to convince some older folk (who talk very much like the crotchety William above) that FACEBOOK, and an active, dynamic fan page IS ESSENTIAL these days to good low cost business marketing. IT’S FREE FOLKS, and it’s EFFECTIVE.

    You nailed it when you said that it has to been constantly updated, and when it’s done right, I’ve seen a direct correlation to increased sales, better brand recognition, and more website traffic (the last would apply to me, and my two websties) that beats adwords any day. Thanks for the great post.

    avatar Vern Brown says:

    EXCELLENT information, in an orderly and concise manner.

    This is information ‘any’ business can adapt to their own personal, or business websites.

    I’ve been ‘toying’ with my FanPage, but now I can get serious.

    Thanks for this great information.

    avatar Matt 0'Gara | Yeebaa Discounts says:

    Hi Wendy, That’s a really good list. I’m interested in the fbml – it looks great. Also the wildfire app, it makes perfect sense to reward ones customers for information gathered. Thanks!

    avatar Virtual Avatar says:

    Great list! I hope I will remember to use these apps next time. Will I be able to use these through my business page?

    Useful info, thanks for posting!

    avatar COE Dragons says:

    I only knew 10. Thanks for this info! This is very helpful.

    avatar geek says:

    heyy your post is really awsm.thanku for providing information about business applications that are avaialable on facebook.now i m trying these applications .they all are really working for me.nice stuff .keep it up.

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