Admit it: You wish your Facebook page was a little fancier. You look at big consumer brands such as Coca-Cola and Dell and you bemoan how sleek their pages look when compared with your brand’s, which is still stuck with all the default settings. Your page looks drab and boring. You post occasionally, but there’s nothing for your fans to do when you’re not adding content to the page.
You could pay someone to do a little custom tab development for you. You could even do it yourself — there are plenty of “codeless” development tools on the market, some of which are quite nice. But what if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure what you’re willing to spend? What if you’re not sure what you want just yet? Isn’t there some kind of middle ground?
You bet there is. Welcome to the wonderful world of free Facebook apps for business. You might be tempted to dismiss adding apps to your pages — after all, so many of them are frivolous, clunky or downright stupid. While it’s true that most Facebook apps on the market are aimed at consumers and most of them don’t offer much value to businesses, there are also plenty of enterprise-focused apps that can help enhance your page with minimal fuss.
They’re not easy to find though. Facebook doesn’t have an app directory anymore. There’s no iTunes-like marketplace of all your options, making comparison shopping a chore. In the spirit of making Facebook business apps a little more accessible, here are some of the better free applications out there. Note — I’ve purposely left out custom development apps, e-commerce apps and coupon/contest apps. Those will have to wait for their own posts.
- SurveyMonkey: Polls and surveys are a great way to learn about your fans and to give them something to do on your page. They’re simple to set up and can yield surprising insights.
- RSS Graffiti: Turn your page into a content hub with RSS feeds. This app has the advantage of being able to handle multiple feeds on multiple pages — perfect for administrators juggling more than one page.
- Contact Me: Facebook wants you to keep all your relationship in one place. But chances are, you’d like your business contacts to be a little more portable. Help Facebook connections get in touch with you with this easily customizable contact information form.
- NutshellMail: Keeping up with your page activity can be tough — especially when Facebook is constantly rejiggering its notification tools. Take some of the stress and the guesswork out of the problem with this handy app, which sends you a regular e-mail with an activity summary. And it works for Twitter too!
- Jobcast.net: Maybe your next top employee is hiding in your fanbase. Help them learn about opportunities with your company, link to your external candidates page or even accept applications. This app also lets fans like and share job listings, helping you find the perfect fit for your new opening.
- Livestream: Want to share a live event on Facebook? Livestream is the way to go. Let’s put it this way — when Facebook announced all those changes at the F8 conference, it used Livestream to share Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote with the world.
Of course, there are plenty of other great Facebook apps out there for the business crowd. I’m sure this is a topic we’ll revisit before too long. Until then, keep experimenting and share your findings in the comments. What are your favorite Facebook apps for business?