Last year, the Economist determined that Facebook -- with its 500+ million people -- would be the third-largest nation in the world, if it were an actual country. That's a tempting market, and you can take advantage of it by creating a Facebook Page for your business or organization.
But don't limit yourself to the basic Page elements and functionality. You can use a variety of Facebook apps and services to add custom content, interactive features and other items. We look at 12 of these programs that can help your small business marketing and communication on Facebook.
Top 12 Facebook Page Apps
Hosted iFrame lets you add up to five custom tabs to your Page, similar to the old Static FBML apps. You can insert your own HTML, XFBML and other Web code. It even provides up to 35MB of storage for images, videos, and other content. It also lets you specify different content for non-fans and fans.
You could create a landing page to entice visitors to "Like" you, a welcome page to describe your business or organization, or pages describing your products or services in detail. You can pretty much add any Web content, just as if it were on your own website.
IFrame Apps lets you add up to two custom tabs to your Page. It's similar to the Hosted iFrame app above, but also offers true iFrame functionality. This is great if you already have a website and would like to manage the content and pages outside of Facebook. You can specify a URL and that Web page will be displayed when visitors click on the custom tab.
Extended Info adds a tab to your Page that resembles the default Info tab. But unlike that tab, this one lets you make custom fields and display custom content. Use it as an extension to the info tab. Elaborate on your company, products, services, etc. Unlike the default Info tab, you aren't limited to plain text. You can add videos, images, and music (hosted on your own server/service) and you can insert HTML code.
This app is similar to the previous two iFrame apps but limits the formatting. However, it doesn't require any HTML knowledge.
The Reviews app adds a tab to your Page where visitors can post reviews about your company, products, or services. The reviews look similar to wall postings, but they let visitors give a rating of up to five stars. Other visitors can also "Like" and comment on the postings, just like wall postings. It's simple, but it can be a very effective way for you to receive feedback. Plus, potential customers can read testimonials. You might receive the same type of communication from visitors on your wall directly, but this Page offers a place just for reviews and feedback.
This polling app lets you create questions and then post them to your Wall. It also appears in the News Feed of people who answer or vote, helping to increase public awareness of the poll and your Page. You might ask for feedback, do market research, or just have fun. The app even tracks the results -- including each voter's user ID, name and gender -- and lets you download them.
You can sell products directly on your Facebook Page, and of course you can always link to your own online store if you already have one. But Social eCart offers quick and easy Facebook integration. For instance visitors can "Like" your products, recommend them to their friends, and make comments on them. You can create a new online store or, if you already have one, it also supports popular ecommerce solutions and shopping carts.