Great Apps to Customize Your Facebook Fan Page

With 500 million registered users, there’s never been an online platform with as much marketing potential as Facebook. Nowadays all the buzz around promoting your business or brand is focused towards Twitter, but Twitter is relatively small when it comes to audience size and isn’t a platform that offers much leeway to promote your brand. Facebook on the other hand is in its prime and is ready to be taken advantage of.

With the ability to get vanity usernames & URLs, flexible profile pictures, extremely customizable welcome pages, ability to have a conversation that is not limited by character size and a bunch of apps and an option to add custom coded apps, it is now possible to promote your brand left, right and center via Facebook fan pages.

After the jump we will touch down the tip of the Facebook fan page customization iceberg.

Static FBML

Static FBML is a simple app that enables newbies, non programmers and developers alike to spice up their Facebook fan pages. FBML stands for Facebook Markup Language which is what is used to develop apps that run on Facebook.

Eventhough it involves handling a bit of code, Static FBML is a popular choice adopted by most of the Facebook fan page creators. Developed & maintained by Facebook engineers, Static FBML supports javascript, HTML & CSS code to perform various modifications on Facebook Fan Page.

Adding FBML To Fan Page

The journey towards adding Static FBML begins with logging into our Facebook account & searching for it. Alternatively, you can click here to go directly to the app.

Adding Static FBML

Adding Static FBML

You can add the app to your fan page by clicking on Add to My Page link on the top left hand corner.

Choosing the fanpage

Choosing the fanpage

If you have more than one fan page to manage from the same account, select the one where you want to add the app. Once you select the page, there will not be any confirmation or further instructions from Facebook. Just click on Close and follow our instructions.

Tabs in the Facebook fan page are basically apps. In addition built in Facebook tabs (apps), we can add our custom code or third party apps to enhance user experience.

Creating a Tab

Creating a Tab 1

Creating a Tab 1

The first step to create a custom app using code from Static FBML is to create a new tab.  To create a new tab, go back to your fan page and click on Edit Page in the top left corner.

FBML

FBML

Under Applications section, we can see FBML listed. Click on the Application Settings option associated with the FBML app to bring up a prompt which prompts us to choose between a box and a tab.

Blank Tab

Blank Tab

Add the tab to the fan page and click Okay. You’ve now just created a brand new tab to your Page. The tab will be blank by default and let us proceed towards customizing it.

Creating a Landing Page

Skittles

Skittles

To stand out among the other clueless brands, I advise you to get yourself a custom landing or welcome page. Instead of letting your fans directly access the usual wall posts & feed page once they click the Like button in your webpage, a landing page with images, offers or contests will create a great first impression on your brand’s online campaign.

Creating a Tab 2

Creating a Tab 2

Creating a Welcome Page is a piece of cake with Static FBML. Be sure to create a image that truly represents the spirit of your brand and upload it in image hosting sites or in your own server.

The image width should not exceed 520px. While there is no restriction on the height of the image, a design that does not need much scrolling is ideal.

Edit FBML

Edit FBML

Now navigate to the FBML application by using the Edit Page option mentioned as before. Click on the Edit option under FBML to bring up the Edit FBML page.

ImageShack HTML code

ImageShack HTML code

Add an appropriate title to the landing page. Now let us add the image I have uploaded at Imageshack. Since I am not a programmer, I just copied the HTML code provided by Imageshack, pasted in the FBML code section and saved it. If you want to link to your webpage, remove the imageshack.us and replace with your domain name under the target href.

All common HTML image tags, linked or otherwise, will work when added into Static FBML.

Custom Landing Page

Custom Landing Page

Navigate to your fan page and you will see the new tab title and not FBML. If you click on the tab, the prospective landing page with the uploaded image will be displayed.

Changing the Landing Page

Changing the Landing Page

Time to make this tab the default landing page. Use the Edit Page link and navigate to the Wall settings section. Click Edit and choose the newly created tab from the drop down to be the default landing page. Voila! Now we have brand spanking new welcome page in line with your tastes.

Your profile picture can be as large as 200 x 600 px. Instead of the usual square sized images, you can opt for sky scrappers to add to the uniqueness.

Adding a MP3 player to Fan Page

FBML MP3

FBML MP3

Do you want to play the songs of your band for your fans in your fan page? Create a tab using the same steps as before using Static FBML and add the following code:

<fb:mp3 src=”http://host.com/file.mp3″ title=”Song Name” artist=”Song Artist” album=”Album Name”/>

Add the location of the file, the meta data and your visitors can sway will they network on the fan page.

Adding a CAPTCHA field

Fbcaptcha

Fbcaptcha

Want to check if it is really a fan or a bot registering for your contest? Here is the FBML code for ya!

<form action=”index.php” method=”post”> <fb:captcha showalways=”true” /> <input type=”submit” /> </form>

There is a code for that

FBML Tags

FBML Tags

In the FB developer wiki there are umpteen number of similar code snippets to customize your fan page. Every code snippet has clear description regarding its usage and an example syntax and it should not be too hard to implement.

Tabfusion Apps

Tabfusion apps for are free for individual profile pages but to be able to use them in your fan pages, you will have to pay $10 a year.

Twittertab

Twitter Tab

Twitter Tab

Twitter Tab enables us to include updates from up to 8 twitter accounts all under one tab. The app includes all our twitter theme customizations and if need be it is possible to create our own theme customizations just for this app/tab. The Twitter stream within the tab refreshes every three minutes.

Foliotab

Folio

Folio

With the help of Foliotab app, it is now easy for creative professionals, photographers etc. to display their favorite images and create a customizable website.

Clobby Group Chat

Clobby Group Chat

Clobby Group Chat

Looking for an app that lets you to talk to your fans? Go for Clobby! Clobby is a free app that allows fan page owners to create chat rooms & invite other fans to chat. If the fans become unruly or misbehave, you can warn them, kick them out or ban them in a single click.

ShopTab

Shop Tab

Shop Tab

Wherever there is a platform, there will be a shopping cart solution! To prove that argument to be true, we have the ShopTab app for Facebook. Upload your products to the ShopTab interface, add the Shop tab to your Facebook fan page and when fans click Buy, they will be taken to your website to complete the transaction.

Polldaddy

Polldaddy

Polldaddy

Feeling Democratic? The grand daddy of poll apps online has setup shop in Facebook too. With the Poll Daddy FB application you can create polls that can be shared in your fan page to get feedback from the fans.

PlaceWidget

Place Widget

Place Widget

Now that geo location is a hot niche and Foursquare is its reigning King, you can add a Foursquare tab to the fan page using PlaceWidget app. Once installed, all your fans can see how popular your HQ location is and check out what feedback visitors to the HQ have left. Now how cool is that?

North Social

North Social

North Social

North Social is a premium Facebook app store with a wide range of apps to customize your fan page. Buying or activating one app unlocks the entire bouquet of apps and irrespective of how many you add to your fan page, the monthly subscription plan pricing does not change.

All of North Social apps come with a simple content management system with which you can manage the content, headers and links for each app without ever having to write a single line of code. Banners and images are hosted in North Social servers to ensure faster page load times. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube and documents at Scribd.

You can view an elaborate video preview of each app before opening your wallet. I found the Document Display and Viral Wave Generator apps to be pretty interesting.

Involver Apps

Involver provides Facebook apps organized in three tiers – free, pro and premium. Free apps allow fan page integration of RSS Feed, Twitter feed, YouTube Channel, Photo Gallery, file sharing, pdf viewing etc. However, the catch is with a free account, a fan page can install only two free apps at a time.

File Sharing

File Sharing

File Sharing

For promoting your digital goods or digital promotional materials, there cannot be a better app. The free version of app supports video, MP3s, ringtones, and much more but with limited storage. Unlimited files and an increased storage space comes with a Involver Pro account.

Coupons

Coupons

Coupons

The best way to reward brand loyalty is by way of coupons. With the help of the coupons app, you can now distribute digital coupons which can be used directly or to be printed later as an incentive for being the fan of your brand. This premium app can make your fans visit your fan page often and can attract new fans as well.

Appbistro Apps

Appbistro (nice name BTW) is an easy to use marketplace for Facebook tab applications. Appbistro hosts a wide selection of apps in neatly organized categories, making it easy for anyone to create an engaging and viral Facebook fan page. Free and paid apps from a number of third party providers are aggregated for our convenience.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Newsletter

Created by the famous social notifications web app Nutshellmail, this free Email Newsletter app for Facebook fan page enables your fans to keep track of any new activity on your fan page. Updates from the fan page feed are emailed to your fans’ email inboxes. The app provides vital statistical information about the number of users who have signed up for updates and the total amount of e-mails sent to those users per week.

Extended Info

Extended Info

Extended Info

By default every Facebook fan page comes with stock fields such as ictivities, interests, and favorite music etc. For a lot of us who need to have some more custom fields, Extended Info app comes to our rescue. Any extra field, like favorite cuisine, recently watched movie etc. can be  added to the fan page profile with this app.

Wildfire Apps

Wildfire

Wildfire

Wildfire sells every app in the form of a marketing campaign. The apps developed by Wildfire have got quite a buzz in the social marketing circles mainly due to their ability provide real time analytics & powerful insights.

Campaign formats include quizzes, contests, coupons, virtual gifts and more. Though a bit pricey, Wildfire makes it extremely simple to create layouts & designs that fits your fan page.

Contests

Contests

Contests

Wildfire Contests app for fan pages enables you to easily create & launch custom branded contests on Facebook in a matter of minutes. The contest app comes in different variants for photo contests, video contests, design contests and essay contests.

Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes

With the help of the Wildfire Sweepstakes app, your company can kick start a sweepstakes contest in no time. All your fans have to do is to enter your sweepstakes contest from the fan page for a chance to win a prize. Winners are randomly picked by the app.

For clearly understanding how awesome of a fan page can be created at Facebook, check out compilation of 35 of the best Facebook fan pages. Do you use an app in your fan page that deserves a mention? Please do let us know in the comments section.