8 essential apps to customise Facebook Pages

In recent months, many of Facebook’s apps have gone through a dramatic facelift — some were culled while others became powerful tools for business. Used properly, these apps and plugins can create interactive environments for users to engage with brands on different levels.

Apps that allow you to create polls, quizzes and surveys have become valuable for gathering user data, conducting market research and fine-tuning products and services.

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If you’re getting started as the manager of a Facebook Page, then here’s a short list of apps that will make your life much easier, and result in a better Page.

Static FBML
By far the most versatile and useful app on Facebook, Static FBML helps you “add advanced functionality to your Facebook page”. The Pages become customisable not only on the design and branding side but also, with the addition of social plugins, become interactive spaces. Use this app to create branded landing pages, or mini webpages using HTML and FBML languages.

Poll app
The Poll app allows you to setup a separate tab for poll questions. This app is easy to use and easy to update. Use the Poll App for generating interactivity on your Facebook Page, conducting market research, creating basic surveys and much more.

Quiz Planet
Just like the Poll App, the Quiz Planet app is great for creating quizzes in seconds. Simply add the title of the quiz, questions and answers and add it to your Facebook Page. Users are also able to post their results on their profiles, adding even more exposure to your brand name, and Facebook Page.

Facebook Social Plugins
Social plugins are great to use on FBML pages as well as on your main website. With the Comments plugin, users can comment on a piece of content, or on a custom FBML page, and are able to share their activities on their own profiles. Used well, social plugins such as the Like Box, Recommendations, and Activity Feed can be creatively used in a viral campaign, allowing each user’s friend to become a potential “Like”.

Often overlooked, the Events app has its own wall with full features that allow users who are attending the event to post pictures, comment, post links and interact. This makes it a great option when you need to keep the main wall comments separate from event topics. Events can also be promoted on other Pages and Group walls, which is great for internal Facebook promotions.

YouTube app (Powered by Involver)
Add diversity to your Facebook Page with multimedia posts. Involver offers a range of free apps for Pages. The YouTube app is easy to set up, and offers a user-friendly interface to watch videos on the page and browse other videos on your channel.

Twitter for Facebook
Update your connections via Facebook and Twitter with a single post. There are two great apps for linking Facebook and Twitter:

To update your Facebook status via Twitter: http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/
To update your Twitter status via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/twitter/

The downside to linking your various profiles is that users who follow you on both platforms receive the same post in their home feed. This can also lead to your Facebook wall becoming impersonal and littered with Tweet-style posts instead of manual link posts which are visually easy to read and provide space for a thumbnail image. Take the time to clear out your Facebook wall and manually post interesting links and content and engage with your Page or Group members.

Promotions App
Facebook’s update to its competitions and promotions regulations means that companies have to be careful when running promos on Facebook Pages. Use Wildfire’s promotion app for branded, interactive campaigns. Wildfire works with Facebook to ensure each promotion is within the regulations. Campaign prices range from US$5 to US$250. You’ll have to contact them directly to white-label apps.

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