Facebook now has over 800 million active users around the world. If it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world (right behind China and India), and more than twice the size of the United States.
So it’s pretty much vital for anyone trying to promote a product, service, event, or cause to create a Facebook page. While other social networks (Google+ among them) are making gains, Facebook is still the largest and most popular out there, and that’s unlikely to change in the immediate future (and besides, Google+ doesn’t even allow brand pages yet).
One of the biggest mistakes brands make when creating Facebook pages is to just use the default tabs and default content. They post nothing but self-promotional updates and have no realy ways of interacting with their fans. Basically, their pages are boring.
The answer to this common problem is to make use of all the custom content applications and tabs available for Facebook pages. You can add custom welcome tabs, video tabs, feed your blog or other RSS feed into your news feed, import your tweets, and a lot more. Finding the apps to do all this, though, is a bit trickier.
In this guide, we’ll show you some of the best apps for Facebook pages and how to best use them. While it would be impossible to cover every app available (there are thousands that can be used on pages), this post will get you started.
Creating completely custom tabs is the bread-and-butter of Facebook Pages. These apps make it easy to create completely custom tabs for just about anything.
First Impression is North Social’s landing page app. The CMS built into the app makes it easy to create, edit, and update the page. It also includes the ability to customize the image and message that get posted when someone shares you page. Pricing for North Social apps is based on the number of fans you have (less than 1,000 fans is only $19.99 per month) and all accounts come with a 14 day free trial.
Welcome Tab is Involver’s landing page app. It makes it simple to create a custom branded splash page for your FB Page that invites visitors to become fans.
TabMaker is a free tool for creating custom tabs for your Page. You can create pages in a WYSIWYG editor, making it accessible for non-tech-savvy users. There are additional apps you can add to your tabs, both free and paid.
Social Candy offers content management and marketing tools for creating and managing professional, customized Facebook Pages, with no technical skills required. Subscriptions start at $29.99 per month, though you can try Social Candy for free.
ShortStack lets you create a number of specialized tabs for your Page, including fan-only content, sweepstakes and contests, custom contact forms, and more. They offer a number of widgets for adding functionality to your pages, including Flickr, images, voting, polls, virtual gifts, countdowns, iFrames, videos, and more. Their free account can handle Pages with up to 2,000 fans, and paid plans start at $15 per month.
TabSite is a fan page platform that lets you easily customize your Facebook page. It uses widgets to let you customize the content that appears on your custom tabs. Widgets available include everything from images and text content to YouTube channels, RSS feeds, and contact forms. They offer a free plan with up to 2 tabs per fan page, advertising in the footer, and a limited number of widgets. Paid subscriptions start at $5 per month, and there’s also a full white label option available.
Lujure Social Suite
The Lujure Social Suite offers a number of widgets and apps for customizing your fan page, including iFrames, YouTube, PayPal, Google Maps, Countdowns, Twitter, Live Chat, Tumblr, Real Estate, Skype, Vimeo, and more. Their free plan allows one tab and access to all the applications. Paid plans start at $30 per month and include all the applications, plus an unlimited number of pages and tabs.