At last count in November 2013, there were 25 million small-business Pages on the Facebook social network -- not surprising considering the more than 1 billion users that now congregate there.
Chances are, your company is already among that number, but is your team really making the most of its presence with promotions, apps and analytics tools on your timeline that reinforce your marketing strategy?
The good news is that for those in doubt, there are a slew of resources vying for the right to make adding value to your Timeline easier.
The platform lets businesses assemble custom Facebook sites (f-Sites) using various HMLT5 widget and app options that also happened to be optimized for mobile platforms. There's everything from slide show capabilities to landing pages to quizzes to video channels. The tools are free, even if you start amassing an appreciable follower base. If you want more than 100 potential leads, that's when the monthly pricing kicks in, starting at $15 per month for 101 to 250 leads, on up.
As of early November 2013, there were about 5,000 businesses using the PageYourself service, according to the French-based company.
When Facebook ditched custom Pages and forced businesses to start using its Timeline design, one of the best known page creators, Lujure Media, reinvented itself as a service for running campaigns, contest and deals. Before that switch, it helped with the creation of more than 100,000 business pages.
Heyo campaigns can be cross-published to Facebook Pages, mobile devices and special landing pages. There's a free week-long trial. After that, the service costs $30 per month (billed monthly) for up to two active campaigns.
The list of client references for this resource is extensive and impressive, including the likes of Mint.com, Knott's Berry Farm and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
The company offers more than 60 templates and themes, and includes newsletter integrations with Constant Contact and MailChimp. The service is free for Pages with fewer than 2,000 Likes. The paid plans start at $30 per month (billed monthly)
Since its launch in 2010, the Danish-born company has amassed more than 350,000 small-business customers – more than 10 million Facebook users view a Pagemodo-powered page each month.
The platform touts its Cover Photo editing features, custom Timeline tab development tools, a contests app, and its ability to let Page owners schedule posts.
That last major update for this service was in August 2013, when developer KMT Software added extensive support for mobile devices. Any changes made within the desktop Facebook interface are automatically reflected within the mobile versions.
Like the other resources I've mentioned, the focus is on allowing Timeline customization through contests and other engagement features. The starting "Silver" plan is $5 per month, allowing for up to five active tabs or designs; you get access to more than 75 templates. You can try it free for 30 days.
More than 2 million brands use Woobox for photo and video contests, sweepstakes, polls, and the creation of custom coupons for Facebook followers. The platform also offers small businesses the ability to show different content to visitors, depending on whether or not they have "Liked" the page.
There's a free service with six apps: HTML Fangate, Tab for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Pick A Winner. After that, the pricing is based on the number of Likes your Page has collected, starting at $1 per month for up to 100 followers and one promotion; up to $249 per month for more than 100,000 Likes and unlimited promotions.
Acquired by the big marketing and PR software company Vocus in 2011, the developer's big client references include Virgin, Red Hook and Gold's Gym. It offers extensive analytics – for tracking both campaigns and overall goals -- and multipage support features. It allows for gated promotions.
NorthSocial's big push right now is mobile reach: the company has helped with the installation of more than 100,000 mobile apps. North Social is unique in that it allows companies with pay on a quarterly basis with a mobile invoice. Plans start at $1.99 per day (if you pay with a credit card), including all 18 apps for one Facebook Page and up to 1,000 Likes.
This platform powers Pages for close to 83,000 businesses including Microsoft and Cold Stone Creamery, representing a reach of approximately 405.5 million Facebook visitors. Its options includes engagement apps such as sweepstakes and contests, widgets for customizing the look of your Page Timeline, and management tools for keeping better tabs on unique URLs created for promotional activities. Among its most recent features are better tools for managing your Facebook Page in collaboration with Pinterest and Instagram.
The basic service is free, including two tabs with ads and four widgets (with no limit on the number of Likes for the Page). The paid plans start at $10 per month for 15 widgets, six engagement apps, and four tabs.