The problem with Facebook apps is that they just aren’t as useful as they once were. Changes to Facebook page layouts have made apps less visible, which will only be made worse when Facebook bans ‘Like-gating’ this November.
However, when used correctly, apps can help to build your Facebook following and, in turn, your business by adding valuable content to your page.
To help you explore this idea, we’ve handpicked five Facebook apps to help drive your engagement – vital in an online world where engagement is the new reach.
1. Pinterest Page App
Integrating your social media platforms is important, and Pinterest is no exception. Pinterest is rapidly making a name for itself as a social media giant, with over 70 million users and counting.
Adding the Pinterest app is an excellent way to showcase your products.
Etsy is a great example of how to do this effectively. Their Pinterest tab has different boards that show items available on the Etsy marketplace, as well as moodboards and DIY project ideas. Sharing collections of beautifully shot photographs of products is more likely to attract engagement (by way of likes, shares and comments) than purely text-based content.
Integrating Pinterest with Facebook can lead Facebook followers to your Pinterest account, giving you another way to target your customers.
The Pinterest Page App will benefit you more if your business offers a product (e.g. if you’re a retailer). However, you can always create boards (collections of photos) of things related to your business or brand.
2. Static HTML Iframe tab by Woobox
Imagine being able to not just add, but also create your own tabs. Its name might be stale, but Static HTML Iframe tab by Woobox is one of the biggest apps for doing just that, boasting over 1 million monthly users and a user-friendly interface. Using HTML, you’re free to add whatever you want to the tab, including forms, images, videos and text.
Above is an example of a custom tab from Ancestry.com’s Facebook page. As you can see, the creator of the tab has added buttons to its social media pages, images, a YouTube video, and links to external websites. The tab is consistent with company’s online branding and the user is able to learn more about Ancestry.com.
Another benefit of creating a custom tab is that the content is static. Whereas older content which you’ve shared on your Facebook page won’t be as visible unless you pin it, with this tab you can add the most important content; Ancestry.com has an introductory video embedded in their tab.
To create a tab, simply go to the app page, click ‘Install Page Tab’, and select which page you want to add the tab to. You will need to authorise the application before you can start making any changes to the new tab. You can use the editor function to create a tab, which allows you to add and format text. Alternatively, you can use HTML. You can then adjust the settings of your tab - label the tab so visitors to your page know what they are clicking on.
The benefits you get from using the app depend on the tab you create.
Think of the app as a creator of webpages – but within your Facebook page. Adding more custom content to your page can entice more people to like your page, share your updates – and thus encourage them to make a purchase. Past examples of brands using this app are BerryBreeze, which added a custom tab to create a visual-based product description; and the Harry Potter Facebook page, which had a gift guide tab advertising their merchandise.
This app would be best suited to any type of business; but make sure the tabs you’re creating are useful and appealing to users, and are consistent with your online branding.
3. Mailchimp on Facebook
Email marketing is still critical for any online marketing strategy. If you do it well, email marketing can help you find and nurture leads for your business.
The people who visit your Facebook page already show an interest in your brand, which means adding an email sign-up to your page is a great opportunity to build a targeted base of potential customers or clients. The MailChimp Facebook app allows visitors to your page to sign-up to your email list just by visiting the tab and inserting their email.
To try to encourage users to sign-up to your mailing list, give them an incentive to do so. The sign-up tab for Wonderland Magazine, shown above, offers exclusive content and offers for those who join their mailing list. Avoid having a sign-up page which only has fields for the user to fill in, as users aren’t informed of what they’re gaining from giving you their contact details.
Another way to encourage signups is to label the tab something other than ‘Email Signup’. The clothing company Taylor Stitch named their email sign-up tab ‘Join the Club’, which sounds a lot more inviting than a tab named ‘Sign up here’. It suggests the user isn’t going to be bombarded with solely corporate and promotional material. Instead, they’ll receive content which benefits them.
MailChimp on Facebook is best suited to any business using email marketing – whether it’s to send newsletters, gain customers or just let people know about your business.
4. Networked Blogs
If you have a blog, NetworkedBlogs is one of the most popular Facebook apps for integrating your blog with your Facebook page. Importing your blog’s RSS feed means people can preview your blog posts via a tab on your Facebook page.
Clicking the blog post title link will simply redirect the user to the post on your blog. If you have a higher Facebook following than a blog following, more people will be able to read your blog posts as you’re reaching an audience you haven’t reached before. NetworkedBlogs also allows you to publish posts on your timeline, so even if people aren’t visiting your Facebook page, they can still see your latest post in their timelines.
A downside to using NetworkedBlogs is that when users click ‘read more’ to read the rest of your blog post, they are redirected to a NetworkedBlogs iframe which displays your post – rather than your real blog. This results in lost web traffic, and it also makes it harder for you track who is reading your blog posts.
Content is key when it comes to your social media strategy, and blogging is an important aspect of this. NetworkedBlogs is a useful app for any business with a blog. If you haven’t already got one, consider setting one up to increase the variety of content your business is sharing online.
Although Hootsuite doesn’t produce a tab on your Facebook page, it’s an app which you can connect your Facebook page to. Hootsuite can grow and keep your following by scheduling and automatically posting content on your Facebook page. Posting high-quality content regularly is one of the most effective ways to build up your brand’s online presence because it encourages engagement – thus increasing your reach.
Hootsuite is particularly useful if you wish to increase content sharing in the run-up to an event or a product launch. Hootsuite also allows you to manage different social media platforms using just one tool, which makes content sharing easier.
Vega, a health and nutrition brand, used Hootsuite as part of their social media campaign. To promote their products, Vega shared content such as videos, health plans and recipes on Facebook and Twitter.
Hootsuite is ideal if you’ve got an audience in different time zones, or if you simply don’t have enough time to be constantly updating you page. However, it is designed for power users who spend a lot of time managing their social media campaigns across many pages.
A good alternative is Pocket Social. Pocket Social is an app which lets businesses manage their social media accounts in just a few minutes a week. The app recommends users for you to follow, posts to engage with, and discovers and schedules content relevant to you and your followers.
The team at Pocket Social have pulled together many of the great features of Hootsuite and packaged it in a more intuitive and easy to use app. You can use Pocket Social to simply manage your social media platforms from a tablet, smartphone or desktop. By prioritising tasks, you can build your business’ online presence in a few minutes a week.
The app suggests relevant content from a variety of sources, allowing you to share it to your followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Simply select the topics you would most like to see content from. This means you don’t have to spend time searching for the right content for you and your followers – Pocket Social does it all for you.
Pocket Social suggests a list of tasks for you to not only share content, but also find potential customers and identify key influencers within your industry, allowing you to increase your reach even further. Pocket Social even identifies related posts for you to engage with.
There are tons of apps out there for you to add to your Facebook page. Choose the best apps for you and your business – remember that apps don’t just serve to increase your number of Facebook likes; they should make content creation easier.
Which apps have you added to your Facebook page? Leave a comment below to let us know.