A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on tips to create a successful Facebook fan page (also known as a public profile). One of the toolkits mentioned in the blog post was applications made by Involver.com. Hands down, Involver.com makes the best applications for Facebook pages. Their tools allow page administrators to easily integrate YouTube, Twitter, RSS, slideshows and much more into Facebook fan pages with ease.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one aware of how great these tools were. Involver.com also had a clue – and decided to monetize their tools by introducing a premium membership. Even at $29 a month (introductory pricing with one month free), the tools are a great deal. For a major company that’s trying to make the most of their Facebook fan page, $29 a month is nothing. I would strongly suggest anyone who can afford it keeps using their tools. If you need further convincing, check out some of the case studies available on their site.
But what about the rest of us? What if you’re just starting a fan page and you’re not sure how much of an investment to make? What if the only budget you’ve been allocated is your own time? What if the whole reason you got into social media marketing in the first place is because it’s free*?
Nothing out there right now can mimic the ease and simplicity of the toolset created by Involver. But let’s look for the next best solution to the most popular tools and how to get the same results.
To import your RSS feed – whether it’s a blog site or regular news site or press releases or Twitter – you need Social RSS. This very handy app allows you to import up to five RSS feeds into a page. You can choose how many items post from each feed and have a little flexibility in the placement. What’s better, you can still add the feeds to a page tab so fans will see “RSS/Blog” when they visit your site. Don’t forget to add a box to the main page so your feeds are prominent.
Though there are countless Twitter apps out there that allow you add your Twitter feed to your page and update Twitter from Facebook (and vice versa if you’re using TweetDeck or Seesmic, among others), sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective. Instead of adding another app (and another tab) to the top of your page, add your Twitter feed via RSS as one of your five RSS feeds using Social RSS. To find the feed for your Twitter page, just visit your own page in Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/pixelpointpress, for example – and click the RSS link on the right-hand side. You’ll have similar control and fewer apps to manage with Social RSS installed.
Well, this is a no brainer. Instead of using Involver’s Slides for Pages app, just use SlideShare’s own app to share your presentations on your page. Link your Facebook account with your SlideShare account and fans will see your latest presentations as well as those you’ve marked as a favorite. Don’t forget to add both a tab and a box to the page to make it easier for fans to find your presentations.
As it stands, I haven’t found a good substitute for YouTube for Pages. That said, Facebook’s own application allows you to upload video – several fan pages have made an impact using this simple but useful tool. A few to view are Pringles and Victoria’s Secret. The main benefit to using Facebook’s video function is that users can share their own videos with the same interface – no more separate tabs for user-generated content.
All the rest
When it comes to coupons and polls – as well as other custom branding – and your Facebook fan page, it’s time to learn some Facebook Markup Language (FBML). In short, it’s time to dive into the deep end and become a developer. Give it a shot and let us know what you learn by posting in the comments!
* For the record, social media is anything but free. The tools are free to use, but your time commitment is a very valuable resource. Please understand that social media isn’t for everyone – and that any serious marketing campaign takes resources. You get out of it what you put into it – and if you’re lucky, you get a bit more.