This past weekend, I spent some time messing around with the Facebook page that I use to promote my writing, which I mostly keep off my personal profile because I don't want to annoy my real-life friends with too much tech talk.
The fact is, I haven't managed to really optimize my page since the switchover to the Facebook Timeline design. I haven't really had time to study all the possibilities nor do I really have much to promote in the way of products and services other than myself.
Chances are, your small business hasn't managed to make the most of the new apps section. In particular, you are probably missing a big opportunity to add applications to your Facebook business page that can help with marketing and other activities intended to improve customer engagement.
What am I talking about? The screen grab below shows the four apps that are on my current Facebook page, including my photos, an app that leads you to my YouTube videos, an app that surfaces my Twitter feed and the app that shows who has "liked" my page.
The new Facebook page design lets you use up to 12 apps, which means you could use that real estate in ways that you haven't previously considered, according to Seth Lieberman, founder and CEO of Pangea Media. I spoke with Lieberman last week about how small businesses can use their Facebook page application real estate to run polls, run sweepstakes and contests, point to blogs, and so on.
"Timeline really encourages marketers to produce content that is shared, interactive and that drives the conversation," Lieberman said.
Pangea Media offers a service called SnapApp that offers application templates that your company can use to produce content that can be shared across your company's Facebook page, Web site and email marketing list. The idea is to help people that don't really have technical or development skills add Facebook applications.
Basically, you use the SnapApp service wizards to create the content you want. The actual page is hosted by Pangea Media and an application image on your Facebook page points to it. Pangea tracks 27 different data points related to your content, including how many people moused over the image but didn't ultimately click.
Pangea isn't the only service provider focused on helping small businesses add custom applications to their Facebook pages. Here are some other companies you should check out:
Fanzila - This startup's service lets you add apps that integrate your company's blogs, contact management systems and Web forums into your Facebook page. You can also create apps for competitions and incentives.
North Social - A division of online marketing company Vocus, the company offers apps for showcasing video, making special offers to fans, highlighting customer reviews and listing partners. If you buy one of the company's applications, you get access to all of them.
Appbistro - A comprehensive site to check for different ideas of what your company could add. It includes both free and paid applications.
Pricing for these services depend on the sorts of features you require. All three of them will let you try some things out for free (such as a landing page), depending on what you want to do and how many fans your Facebook page has. You can expect to pay at least $39 per month for Fanzila's basic service; and North Social's starter services is $20 per month. When I wrote this post, SnapApp's pricing page was being updated, but the company has started its services at about $49 in the past.
Which services are you using to add apps to your company's Facebook page? Which apps have been most successful for your small business? Add your comments and ideas to the comment thread, and I'll follow up on those that could help other SMBs.