Facebook Apps: What Are They And How To Install Them
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Over the last couple of years Facebook apps have been less visible on business pages due to a change in page design, but as with all things Facebook related, change is never far away and so in the latest page redesign, apps are again more visible and should be back on your To-Do list.
This is your chance to take advantage of apps to provide a customised experience for your page visitors and help you achieve your business objectives!
but before we get into all that…
What Are Facebook Apps?
Apps, sometimes referred to as tabs, are like mini-web pages that exist within Facebook and are linked to your business page. They each have their own unique web address so can be linked to in posts, as well as by people visiting your Page and clicking on an app that they see there.
On the current version of the business page all your apps are displayed prominently in a menu on the left-hand side of your page, and three apps are visually displayed in a small widget on the right-hand side-bar.
You can adjust the order that the apps appear in at the top left of your page by clicking on the ‘Manage Tabs’ link at the bottom of your list of apps.
This will open a pop-up window, where you will see all your apps listed, and you can simply drag and drop them into the order you want them to be listed. At time of writing there does not appear to be a way to change the 3 apps that you see featured in the widget on the right hand side of your page in the new page layout, but that is likely to change in the future.
Apps can be used for all sorts of things, in the same way a web page could be used for all sorts of things and allow you to customise your page. To give you some ideas you should read ‘15 Types of Facebook Apps to Enhance Your Facebook Page‘ from Social Media Examiner!
Note: Facebook apps are not supported on mobile browsers, so unfortunately they are not visible to mobile users. If you are mentioning your app in a Facebook post, adding “?ref=ts” to the end of your app URL disables the mobile redirect and shows mobile users the desktop version. Some app creation tools such as ShortStack (mentioned below) also supply a mobile-friendly link for apps created using their platform.
How Do You Get Them?
There is no straight answer to this! Basically you have three types of app – Facebook’s own apps (not that many and they can’t be changed in any way), Off-the-shelf apps where a 3rd Party developer has created an app that you can use on your Facebook Page (some are paid and others are free) and custom made apps that you make yourself (you need to use another software tool like ShortStack or Heyo to create your own apps).
Facebook’s own apps can easily be found by going into ’Settings’ on your page and choosing the ‘Apps’ tab from the left-hand menu. You should be able to add the ’Notes’ app from here. The other Facebook app you can add is the ‘Events’ app but first you need to create an Event, which you do from the Status Update box on your Page.
You can also enable the ‘Reviews’ app by adding an address to your ‘About Page’ (strange that you enable the reviews by adding your address but it works)!
3rd Party apps, if you know the name of them, can be found by searching for their name in the search box at the top of your Facebook Page, but some of them exist on websites which you can find with a Google search. Most often you will come across 3rd Party apps when you are looking at someone else’s Facebook page and you see a cool app that you think would be useful.
Usually the name of the app will be somewhere on the page, that you can click on to be taken to the page where you can access the app for your own Facebook page. Some software providers, for example MailChimp and LeadPages (affiliate link) have their own apps, which you can install on your page and use to get leads from Facebook.
Custom apps are as the name suggests are ….well, ‘custom’!
You can create an app to do virtually anything you want it to do but you need to use a tool to help you create it (see above), which you then install it on your Facebook page.
What Are The Best Apps to Use?
Well, the answer to that really depends on your business objectives, but I would recommend at the very least installing an email sign-up app, apps that link to your other social media accounts such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube etc.
If you are looking to encourage a bit of engagement on your page, installing the ‘Fan of The Week For Pages‘ app will automatically draw a person at random from fans that have engaged with your page over the last 7 days. It posts the winner’s Profile Pic along with a short message of congratulations.
Another app I use is an appointment app that’s linked to my online calendar through vCita.
Although you should be thinking mobile first when it comes to your online marketing, and frustratingly apps are not visible on mobile devices, there are still a lot of people who will visit your Facebook page via their desk top computer and there are work-arounds using apps that provide mobile friendly links.
So if you want to provide a better experience for your Facebook fans and achieve your business objective, apps are still very much worth considering. Especially given their new prominent position on the page, and most of them are set-and-forget so once they are on your page that’s your job done.