6 Ways to Use Facebook Apps for Business

social media toolsDoes your business leverage the power of Facebook apps?

Wondering how other businesses are using apps to better serve their customers?

Keep reading to discover many ways businesses are using Facebook apps.

Why Facebook Apps?

There are many reasons why you may want to consider using Facebook apps. They can provide communication between your customers and your customer service team, allow people to sign up for and receive your newsletter or provide your customers with special rewards.

Each of these uses can help you create a deeper relationship with your customers and foster brand loyalty. If you use a fangate to conceal the content on strategic app tabs from non-fans, you can also increase the number of likes your Page is getting.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 ways to successfully use Facebook apps to build the reputation of your brand and reach your customer service goals.

#1: Keep Customers in the Know

Email remains a very popular marketing tool and sending interested users email updates in the form of a newsletter keeps them in the know about your business.

Use a newsletter signup app to collect email addresses so you have an additional way to communicate with your customers when they leave Facebook. You can even ask people to like your Page to reveal the newsletter signup form.

Publish status updates to tease newsletter content and then direct your fans to the app where they can sign up to receive the full newsletter.

The popular yoga and music festival, Wanderlust, has events all over North America, all year long. Wanderlust uses a newsletter signup app as a way to stay connected with fans and tell them what’s happening where and when.

wanderlust app

Wanderlust’s app is nothing fancy, just a simple form to keep their fans in the loop of upcoming events.

#2: Reach Customer Support

The easier you make it for people to get in touch with you, the better.

Use a “contact us” app to allow your fans and customers to get in touch with representatives in specific departments within your company. This type of app helps you streamline the contact process and direct fans straight to whomever handles sales, customer support, press inquiries, etc.

You can link to this type of app whenever someone comments on a status update or asks for more information, keeping them inside your Facebook “property.”

Don’t let your timeline become a tech support forum—move the conversation to another channel. Use a customer service app to offload conversations that don’t need to take place on your timeline.

AOL knows their fans might be coming to their Facebook Page to receive customer support. To make it easier, they have built a customer service app that allow fans to submit their questions straight from Facebook. They also direct fans to their other customer support channels from within the app.

aol app

AOL has an app that hosts a simple customer support form dedicated to its Mail product.

#3: Make Appointments and Reservations

Small business owners who wear many hats should definitely use an app that will allow clients/customers to request or book appointments and reservations via Facebook.

You can ask for name, telephone number and times that customers want to come and then call them to book or confirm an appointment. This app is ideal for anyone who is in the service business, restaurants, hair salons, cleaning services, etc.

You can also iFrame in a more sophisticated reservation system that will actually make the reservation for your customers with something like OpenTable.

The Piano Bar uses their reservations app to book reservations and it also features an interactive map that directs customers to the restaurant.

piano bar app

Piano Bar makes it easy for fans to find the restaurant once they’ve made a reservation.

#4: Promote Special Events and Occasions

There are certain times of the year when brands and businesses want to capitalize on upcoming holidays.

Halloween, Thanksgiving and the variety of December holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, etc.) are the obvious ones, but there are plenty of others throughout the year.

In the U.S., there are always huge retail sales events for President’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Then there’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July… and the list goes on.

Seasonal apps can feature contests, quizzes, coupons and just about anything else you might want.

The California Avocado Commission uses seasonal apps as a way to keep fans engaging with their Facebook Page all year long. Their current “What’s New” app links to a Fourth of July recipe contest and provides resources for avocado lovers.

california avacado app

The California Avocado Commission frequently runs seasonal contests. This one was for the Fourth of July.

#5: Reward Fans

Reward your loyal fans and customers with access to special deals with a “Facebook exclusive” app.

Ideally your fans will get into the habit of checking your Page to see if there are offers available only to them. If you’re an e-tailer, you can even link fans from the app to your website where they can buy the deal.

Hotels.com offers a “Mystery Discount Coupon” that fans of the brand access from its Facebook Page. Wouldn’t it be cool to discover that your favorite hotel in San Francisco was having a $79 a night special?

hotels app

When you first come to the Hotels.com app, they request access to your Facebook Page and then start searching for a deal in your area.

hotels app 2

Hotels.com offers a mystery discount coupon to its fans.

#6: Collect Customer Feedback

Use a testimonials app where your customers can leave detailed feedback about their experience with your business. This feedback will give you valuable insight into what your existing customers like about your business and products, and what they’d like to see in the future. It’s also a place where they can leave suggestions for things you could do differently.

Your customers’ feedback is essential. Your customers tell you what they like about your product or services and what they don’t. They may also make requests for features they’d like you to add or other changes they’d like to see your company make.

Mutiny Kites, a top quality kitesurfing company, uses a testimonial app to hear about their kites’ performance from their customers. They also list the testimonials they’ve received from other satisfied customers on the same app.

mutiny kites

Offering potential customers testimonials and customer feedback can help influence their buying decisions.

ShortStack fangates their testimonial app to grow their fan base while accepting feedback from customers.

shortstack testimonial

Once fans “Like” ShortStack, they can give their suggestions for the platform.

Over to You

These are just a few ongoing ways you can use Facebook apps to achieve your business goals. Consider using the apps that best suit your needs. If you want to get started using Facebook apps, here is a comprehensive list on third-party platforms.

Many businesses are using apps every day to create stronger ties with customers and to increase the lines of communication.

What do you think? What apps have you tried? Is there one that you think every business should consider? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Jim Belosic

Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service software that allows businesses to create engaging campaigns for social, web and mobile. Other posts by »




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  • Dash

    All are good points but 4, 5, and 6 can really helpful to any business. I like those points and would apply

  • Michael Wilson

    I think that point 6 is the most useful one because you want to be able to hear back from your audience just in case they have any problems and/or concerns. Customer feedback is very important in running a successful business because you always want to satisfy your audience, no matter what it takes. You have to make them keep coming back, so creating these interactive applications will do just that. Every business should come up with new and unique ways to become engaging with their audience because that is what it takes for them to come back and wanting more out of you. This can also help create new audiences for your business so that you can expand and be settled for the long run.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Michael. It’s great to see businesses understanding the importance of Facebook and Facebook apps. Thanks for your comment

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I think businesses could remember that their website is a priority. While it’s important to use social media, if Facebook goes away tomorrow, what happens to all of your information? What happens to your company’s testimonials that are sitting on your Facebook page? It’s something to think about. Use your best judgment when it comes to Facebook apps.

  • Ashleigh Verdier

    I’m currently developing two different apps using ShortStack SaaS. One is essentially for jobs and corporate culture development. We have designed a content marketing campaign to support the platform and will use it to share information about working for our company while also posting a few jobs we’re recruiting for. The other will be used as a place to find some of the content we create for all the different industries we work in. We’re such a large company that it can be hard to find particular info pieces for your industry on our website, so you can come to our Facebook page and find a few of the top videos, blogs, white papers, etc. there. I think both apps will be great for our engagement with our Facebook followers. I’ve also really enjoyed working with the ShortStack software, although there are a few features I wish it had.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Amanda,

    I agree a website is still very important to have. It’s so easy for people to find you and your competitors online that a professional presence through a website and some social networks adds credibility.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Ashleigh,

    Thanks so much for your comment, it’s always nice to hear from ShortStack users. We’d love to hear your ideas for features, you can email them to us through our support system or submit them to us through our “What Can We Do Better” app, the link is in this article #6.

    Thanks!

  • Fonda

    I am so sharing this! Thank you!!!

  • Pingback: 6 Ways to Use Facebook Apps for Business - bizzly.net

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Hey Jim!

    Love the Customer Feedback App idea – priceless insights that every business should know about. Thanks for the great examples/visuals in this post; it makes a huge difference when trying to explain something to be able to show it in action!

  • Britta

    Very helpful – thanks a lot!

  • Ashleigh Verdier

    Hi Jim,

    I’ll definitely provide some feedback to you once I get done designing my apps. In the mean time, I’ll keep a note of any ideas I have while working with it. Overall, I think it is a great tool so far! My colleagues are all very excited by what I have been able to accomplish with it.

  • Dara Khajavi

    Thanks for all these apps. I have been trying to build my firm’s Facebook following. These apps will really help me.

  • Lien Desmet

    Thanks for the inspiration, there are some great suggestions above. Just 1 question: is it still allowed to fangate a Facebook app? A few days ago someone told me it’s not, but I’m not sure that is the case for an app.

  • http://www.techmagnate.com/ Eva Rajput

    First and foremost, Facebook applications do a great job of creating
    awareness about your brand or product. Since Facebook is as huge as 750+
    million users, using targeted applications for your business can
    quickly connect you with various age demographics.

    One of the biggest benefits of Facebook applications is that they enable
    a business to engage consumers. Whether you want to promote your
    business, announce the launch of a new range of products, share the
    latest news or invite users to a contest, applications on Facebook are
    made to fulfill all of these requirements.

    Also, effective use of Facebook applications can immediately drive plenty of
    traffic to your company website or blog. While using applications,
    businesses can include links, banners or graphics to their company
    websites and generate a huge amount of traffic over a short period.

  • http://www.smartchoicehomeandmold.com/ Sanjeev Supayia

    Well written article.Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    I didn’t know about any of these apps until today and since we’ve recently started devoting 75% or so of our social media efforts to Facebook, I’m very happy I bumbled into this because I knew nothing of these apps.

    The one thing I would hope is that with the app that allows you to gather email addresses, is that it allows you to ONLY ask for email addresses. I trust that a high percentage of people, if drawn into the app to stay up to date with you via their email inbox would see all those forms to fill in and very quickly say, “Ain’t nobody got time fa that!” and bail off your page. And, they might wonder what the heck you need all that stuff for if you only want to email a newsletter to them.

    I imagine it does, and if doesn’t, I imagine someone else will come along and make this adjustment soon. :)

    Thank you Jim for letting me in on all this awesomeness!

  • Charllene Wang

    Hi! Jim,

    Thank you for such a detailed article, I always enjoy reading your newsletters – full of information and ideas.

    About
    the apps, where do I go to find them and install them to our facebook
    page? The platform that you listed does not have those apps you
    mentioned, does it?

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Lien,

    Yep, fan-gating is still allowed :)

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Thanks for reading and for the comment! If you’re looking for a third-party app building platform, check out ShortStack.

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Lewis,

    Facebook business Page owners build the apps themselves so they you can choose to ask for as much or as little information as you want, but we advise to our users that if they are going to collect data from their Fans, they collect the minimal amount possible. Most people are turned away by having to give too much information to enter a contest or receive a newsletter.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.shortstack.com/ Jim Belosic

    Hi Charllene,

    These are live app examples from business Pages. Each app has been built by that businesses Facebook Page owner using a third party platform, such as ShortStack. You’re unable to simply take these apps and install them on your Page but you can look into some third party app building platforms, (I recommend ShortStack) and you can use these examples as a guide for building your own apps. ShortStack has a variety of templates and themes that help get you started as well.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.callbox.com.sg/ Jayden Chu

    These are all helpful apps. Social media has so many features to connect to our customers—it’s accessible and convenient, plus offering promos and incentives have never been this easy! Thank you for the list.

  • Lien Desmet

    Great, thanks for the info Jim!!

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    I totally agree that this is one way to build deeper relations with customers. And also to get new likes on the Fanpage. But I also think that with all these apps, one should
    really have customer centric services to respond to their doubts & questions as just getting the Feedback won’t build a 2-way relation.
    So with these apps combined with strong responses to customers doubts
    will help in developing Brand loyalty.

  • http://www.makeitmindful.com/ Mindful Marketing Strategies

    This is a great post Jim, and some good examples to illustrate your points. There are a ton of social media marketing apps that allow a brand or agency to interact with their customers. The challenge is sifting through all these apps and selecting the useful ones. Even if you narrow down to a specific app, say Exclusive Offers, there are a myriad of solutions available. Have you done any analysis of the best “value” apps availalbe? I say value because cheap or expensive doesn’t necessarily mean bad or best, respectively. -makeitmindful

  • Darren M Jorgensen

    Curious about something: After going through all the work to set up ShortStack and try it out for a few days before making further decisions, and after I get all through the setup and the rather longish process to set up a great looking popup for my site (and of course it would take rather long to set up a really good popup experience for my users) – and then just as I’m about to install it on my page, I get this message that it won’t work on Fan Pages, only personal ones. My question is this: Why would you develop a business app that is useful to businesses (and only businesses, as far as I can tell) and make everyone go through the hassle of setting up the account and configuring a brand new popup to see how it works on your site – only to find out that the developer is restricting it to personal Facebook pages and preventing anyone from using it on a business page (where it is obviously meant to be used).

    Do you have any answers to these questions? Because i’d like to purchase the app, but I have a thing about apps – I don’t buy them until I know they work, that they work well, and that they work on my fan page for the uses I need them. With the way you’ve got yours set up it looks like I’m unlikely to ever use it, recommend it, or become a “fan” of it – primarily because you’ve restricted access to it.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking these thoughts about an app that we cannot even try out before purchasing – or would even both researching if we’re not allowed to use it in a business page.

    Looking forward to your reply.
    Darren.







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