8 Facebook Apps to Enhance Your Facebook Page

social media toolsDo you want to add more function and flair to your Facebook page?

Would you like to add storefront, generate leads or promote something special on a Facebook tab within your page?

In this article I’ll reveal Facebook applications that can help you easily add functionality to your Facebook page.

How Do Facebook Apps Work?

Before we get started, let’s review how Facebook apps (also known as custom tabs on Facebook) pages work.

Custom tabs are installed manually on your Facebook page and show up underneath the cover photo. If you’re visiting a page that has more than four tabs, you can click the down arrow on the right side of the tab cover photos to reveal them all.

custom tabs under cover photo

Custom tabs appear under your cover photo.

There are four standard Facebook apps that come with every page—Photos, Events, Videos and Likes—and any other apps you add are created by a third-party developer (not Facebook).

Many of the apps are designed on the app website after you sign up, and then installed later onto your Facebook page when you’re ready.

Things You Should Know

There are a few important details about Facebook apps that will help with your design. The app width is 810 pixels. If you’re going to create graphics that go all the way across the tab, you’ll need to keep the graphic to that width to prevent scroll bars on your tab.

The graphic can be as long as you want it to be, but keep in mind that it should be shorter than around 500 pixels to appear “above the fold” on most computer screens.

You’ll probably also want to design a custom tab cover photo to draw attention to the tab. The dimensions of the tab cover photo are 111 pixels wide by 74 pixels tall.

Also note that some tabs will not appear on mobile devices. Some are “mobile-ready”; meaning they have a separate URL that they direct people on mobile devices to so they can see the content on that custom tab.

If you’ve been out there searching in the blogosphere, you may have come across Welcome Pages, where the content of your Facebook page could be “hidden” until the user clicks the Like button. That function no longer exists, but you can still hide the content of a Tab until someone clicks the Like button.

Hiding part of the content of your custom Tab is called “like-gating” or “fan-gating“, meaning that someone has to like your page (be your fan) before they can see the good content. This can work especially well for contests or sweepstakes on Facebook. By doing this, you can ensure that the person is a Fan before getting access to the contest entry form.

There are a lot of other apps available that provide a variety of features, like easily bringing in your Pinterest boards, running a contest or adding your blog posts.

These apps are more like a blank canvas, where you can do anything you can do on a website by either using custom templates to get you started or custom-designing something from scratch.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the top 8 apps (in alphabetical order) with some notes about each one.

#1: Heyo

Heyo is a drag-and-drop application that’s very easy to set up. You can insert a background photo or create a solid fill background and drop in videos, links, text or whatever else you can dream up for your custom tab. Plans start at $25/month with a free trial.

heyo

Social Media Examiner uses Heyo to promote its podcast.

#2: North Social

North Social is a little more expensive at $1.99/day, but you get all of the apps they offer at that price. You can use North Social as your one-stop-shop for all of your Facebook tab needs (including coupons and contests).

north social

Get all of the apps for one price so you can have a variety of customization.

#3: Pagemodo

Pagemodo is a very affordable app that starts at $6.25/month for three tabs on each page. The Pro version ($13.25/month) doesn’t include the Pagemodo branding and you can have an unlimited number of tabs on three different pages. Pagemodo has a lot of templates to choose from, or you can do something more custom.

pagemodo

Pagemodo has a lot of different pre-built templates if you don't want to build your tab from scratch.

#4: ShortStack

ShortStack is a very versatile Facebook app that is built on “layers.” You can layer widgets on top of each other or use some of their pre-built templates and themes to create something that looks great. The nice thing about ShortStack is that it’s free for pages with fewer than 2000 fans—very nice as you ease into Facebook marketing.

shortstack

Use some of the pre-built templates and themes to create a tab that looks professional.

#5: Static HTML – Thunderpenny

Static HTML – Thunderpenny is a free app with a few useful features. You can choose to pull a website right into the Facebook app. But be aware that most websites are larger than the 810-pixel maximum size, so you’ll have scroll bars showing.

You can also just upload a single image. This is a handy feature if you have designed a flyer or something else you want to showcase.

thunderpenny

Code something in HTML, upload an image or import a website easily with Static HTML.

 #6: TabFoundry

TabFoundry is a very handy drag-and-drop free app. You can add background graphics or colors, add multimedia and use HTML if you prefer. If you want to unlock some of the features in the Premium plan, it’s just $9/month.

tabfoundry

Use the editor to drag and drop the images you want into your custom tab.

#7: TabSite

TabSite is another multifaceted tab app where you can run contests, deals, bring in other social feeds and create a custom tab. There’s a free option for two tabs on one page (restrictions apply) or plans starting at an affordable $10/month.

tabsite

TabSite specializes in contests and sweepstakes, but it also does more.

#8: Woobox

Woobox is a flexible Facebook app that has some free options for things like HTML Fangate, which is nice. The paid plans for contests and other features start at $1/month (yes that is correct—it’s for pages with 100 fans or fewer).

One nice function that’s available is the possibility to redirect right from an app. That way, you avoid having those scroll bars if your website is too wide.

woobox

Woobox has some free options for its HTML tab and other functions.

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of the 8 apps I would recommend. There are many others out there that may also be a good fit for your business. Just make sure you understand the pricing and the capabilities before signing up. Many apps have a free trial, which can help you make a more informed decision.

Ultimately, you should be using these Facebook apps to enhance the online experience of your customers or prospects. Always keep them in mind when you’re spending time (and maybe money) creating a custom app. What type of information would benefit them?

What do you think? Have you created a custom app for your Facebook page? Share your thoughts about why you picked that particular app in the comments below.

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author, Andrea Vahl

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer. Connect with her at www.andreavahl.com. Other posts by »




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  • nathanlatka1

    Hey Andrea,

    Thanks for sharing Heyo with your community! We’ll continue to hyper-focus over helping your readers drive traffic, leads, and sales using Facebook.

    If anyone has questions about what Heyo offers, I’m happy to answer.

    Thanks,

    Nathan Latka
    Founder at Heyo

  • http://www.psychichealerchristine.com/ Christine Pohl-Peters

    Thank you I will have to check these out

  • oneluckyblond

    I have not picked one yet… but thank you for the great information! I really appreciate your insight!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    You have a great app, Nathan! Glad to include you!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Always glad to help!

  • BruceTheBlog

    Great info here, thanks, Andrea… with a gentle note from Grammar Geek that, in your lead sentence, you wouldn’t want a “flare” on your FB page unless it had a flat tire. You meant “flair.”

  • Natalia

    Have you already tried Fanpoint apps?:)

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    Good rundown of the top 8 apps for pages!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hello Andrea! Thanks for including TabSite. Definitely a solid list here though Emeric may want in! For anyone with questions about TabSite, I’d be glad to answer and people can ask on Facebook or Twitter ( @TabSite or @MIke_Gingerich) Tabs make lead capture and lead nurturing real, and can add another funnel to your sales process!

    Great stuff Andrea and hope your SM Manager School is off to a great start!

  • Liqui-Site Designs

    We prefer ShortStack’s blog and social media integration apps and they have the best templates (great if you don’t have the internal resources for custom app design). WooBox is also great for contests and promotions.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I use custom apps but they’re not easy, at least not for me. I don’t know why I have to use my Facebook page as me instead of uploading an app directly to a specific Facebook page.

    Today, I had trouble with Static HTML – Thunderpenny. I don’t know how I got the app to work, but I did. I used Woobox for three apps but the app stopped working. Sigh. I wish I was a developer because I could create my own apps.

  • chris_rainey

    How effective are tabs knowing that Facebook is being accessed, more than 50% of the time, via a phone?

  • nathanlatka1

    Amandah – do you know why they stopped working? What is the name of your fan page? I can take a look and try to help…

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    Andrea, great collection of apps.

    One question I have. You recommend Woobox for redirecting landing page apps to a blog or website. It is my understanding that under Facebook’s TOS, Facebook doesn’t allow this.

    See Facebook’s TOS for pages (Features and Functionality, item 11).

    https://developers.facebook.com/policy/

    How do they get around this and do you recommend other community managers use this feature?

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @bee5153519aaae19ce20d7ffb6dc9883:disqus, same here. Very good product and excellent customer support in case you run into issues with building them.

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @cb3f723f384c543ed70ffb9340824caa:disqus, Facebook tabs can be pretty effective even though a lot of people are accessing Facebook from a mobile device.

    When building a tab, you’ll want to consider the platform you are using. This is because Facebook tabs are not visible on the Facebook mobile app or mobile site – this applies to phones and tablets.

    A work-around is to use a platform that offers a mobile-friendly tab.

    ShortStack does this and I believe Tabsite from @f1ab87055feae05aa58cc930f6c37bbd:disqus does too.

    This allows you to be able to still use landing page tabs and have them accessible to fans, regardless of if they access them from a desktop or mobile device or tablet.

    The only caveat is that in order to use them, you need to post a status update that includes the link as opposed to having them right there for fans to visit.

  • Ruth

    Although they might not be found natively from a mobile device, you can link to it via a post. Still really handy. We’ve done this for many of our promotions and it works well for us, regardless of how it’s being accessed.

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Great post, Andrea! I am definitely going to check out Heyo. I must say, Strutta is a great provider for those looking to run facebook contests or sweepstakes. Definitely most easy to use and flexible for contests/sweeps specifically.

  • Ami

    Fantastic Article, Thanks!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    @chris_rainey:disqus Yes, @ckarasiewicz:disqus is right on. Many providers, including our TabSite provide a “Smart URL” option so that you can share the smart url and our tool does the work of detecting if the visitor coming to the tab is on a mobile device or not and will show them the tab based on this. This enables mobile users to all access the tab as well as those on desktop, notebook, tablet.

  • Pamela Herrmann

    Love Heyo – (still revert to calling you Lujure sometimes)! Nathan is a creative and training tour de force.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Hi Nathan,

    I appreciate your offer to help!

    I have no idea why the apps stopped working. I deleted Woobox and used Thunderpenny. I still don’t know how I got the app to work.

    The fan page is the Parma Animal Shelter. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parma-Animal-Shelter/199774358786

  • Downtonian

    I’m new to running a Page, so please excuse me if this is a dumb question. I have tried repeatedly to upload our lovely 3.5 min. marketimg video to the built-in Video tab in FB, to no avail. Therefore I would like to at least link to it on YouTube. Is there a tab I can build, or (preferably) a stock tab I can use to do this? Free would really be great, too.

    I am not a hopeless Luddite as I did manage to install and a create a custom graphic for a purchased Testimonials app. Thank you for any advice you may have!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Good catch, changing!

  • KarynwithaY

    Great list thanks Andrea. I’ve been playing around with a few trying to pick one that covers all our needs as they all have their own benefits. We also use LeadPages which I find great for lead capture :)

  • Bcast

    Do business pages have to use pre-made apps? If I have a developer in-house, how would they create the apps for our company page? Can you point me to some information on creating tabs using this method, if it is possible?

  • Emeric

    @mikegingerich:disqus I want in, I want in! :-D
    Thanks Mike, you’re a real friend ;-)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    No I haven’t heard of them Natalia – I’ll go check them out. Thanks!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Scott!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Mike! Love Tabsite! And SM Manager School is going great – lots of wonderful students!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Great to hear your experience!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    It’s just a function of how the Apps work – you approve them to your personal profile but install them on your Page. Sorry they aren’t working for you – sometimes Facebook can be a bit frustrating and then sometimes it’s app struggling to keep up with Facebook’s quirks. Connect with the app developer and they should be able to help!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    And Heyo also has mobile friendly urls too. But yes, Mike and Christian are spot on :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks! Love Strutta! We definitely mention them a lot when we talk about Contest apps – this post was more about the apps that can be used for any content but some of them also overlap and have contest capability.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • nheltman

    It is likely that the HTML features no longer work unless the page is https. Most browsers no longer display mixed content so all my tabs using HTML no longer function in Chrome or Firefox. IE asks whether you want to display the non secure content but even if you select yes I no longer see my HTML content.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    I thought you would @Emeric ! Yes, Agora Pulse is another tab app tool and we have friendly co-opetition with them! ;)

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great resource, Andrea, I love that Facebook allows the flexibility to customize a tab to what your business offers. These tools look perfect for creating something beyond the generic apps available.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks Andrea.

    This is why I gravitate more towards Twitter and other social media networks for my business. No muss, no fuss. However, my clients and volunteer organizations use Facebook (I do my best with it for my business) so I need to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

  • BruceTheBlog

    Happy to chip in, Michael. SME is SoMe kind of treasure trove of knowledge and best practices. Keep up the great work!

  • Emeric

    You’re right @ckarasiewicz:disqus, we had an app shut down by Facebook for that very reason. A Facebook app cannot be used solely for the purpose of redirecting users automatically outside of Facebook. I’m not sure this is what Woobox does, I would need to see how this works. Maybe the user has to click somewhere to do so?

  • Emeric

    @mikegingerich:disquswe are in the business of making friends, that makes the world a better place :-) I love @nathanlatka1:disqus and @scottayres:disqus! Hope to see you guys in San Diego!

  • http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chrisformosa/ Chris Formosa

    Excellent! Glad you love Strutta too. :)

  • Bryden McGrath

    I’ve had a lot of success using Woobox’s many apps, but you’ve also given me some other great options (including a few I hadn’t even seen before!). A terrific resource to bookmark, Andrea! Thanks!

  • nathanlatka1

    We all need to jam in San Diego! Emeric – you’ll have to ping me and let me know when you get in. Mike, same to you!

  • nathanlatka1

    Thanks so much Pamela! I must ask though, what is a “Tour de Force”?

  • nathanlatka1

    Which tab are you referring to Amandah?

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @disqus_a6LgXoOOIo:disqus, I wonder if @mikegingerich:disquscan add anything about how this works and if this is a viable longterm solution.

  • Pamela Herrmann

    lol… it’s a good thing Nathan! ;) A feat requiring great virtuosity or strength

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Hi Nathan

    I’m having trouble with the Target Wish List tab.

  • nathanlatka1

    Are you trying to use an iframe? What are you looking to put on your tab? Lets move this to email so we don’t spam the comments… nathan at heyo dot com.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    I’m with @disqus_a6LgXoOOIo:disqus that it seems quite clear in the Facebook Platform Policies that you cannot use an app solely for the purpose of redirecting out of Facebook, and therefore has risk and shouldn’t be considered a viable longterm solution. I quote from Facebook..”The primary purpose of your Canvas or Page Tab app on Facebook must not be to simply redirect users out of the Facebook experience and onto an external site.” Thus to use seems to be like Emeric noted, that the app can be shutdown or the Page shutdown. We’ve simply chosen to stay away from that potential risk. I can’t speak for how/why they have been able to offer this for some time.

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @mikegingerich:disqus, ShortStack said the same thing. Definitely a lot of risk involved.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Okay. Thank you for your help.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    I’ll be there! Sounds good to connect. Karoke happening again?? :) @mikestelzner:disqus puts on a TREMENDOUS event and from what he’s shared thus far 2014 at Social Media Marketing World #SMMW14 looks like a “don’t miss” event!

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

    Knowing that all of these apps exist and can help us set up and customize our
    fan page in a fast and easy way is awesome! The “fan-gating” idea for
    contests and sweepstakes is an interesting one that I’ll be curious to
    check out in more detail. Thanks for sharing these A-list Apps Andrea!

  • Emeric

    @ckarasiewicz:disqus, @mikegingerich:disqus As long as you stay under the radar, you’re fine, but as we’ve been caught one playing this game and had a LOT of troubles afterward, I’m not going that path again…
    It’s like speeding, it looks fun as long as there’s no cop on the highway. Once you got caught and your license revoked for 6 months, you start driving at 75 max ;-)

  • Maria

    Hi there, Great info here! But I haven’t found this yet: I would like to have a custom pic in the tab and when clicked on, it would bring you straight to a designated URL – is there anything that does that?

  • Gwyn

    HI Andrea, I am a Facebook Novice and Apps?, well they are a foreign language to me. My question is…is there an App I could add to my facebook page that would allow clients to request an appointment at my studio? I would also like an app for contests/give-aways and I would also like one to allow me to show the packages I offer to clients (photography session packages). I have under 1000 fans and my page has been active for 1 year. I don’t know anything about ‘fan-gating’ but if it is something I should look into, I will. I wasn’t sure if ShortStacks or Woobox would be a right fit for me. Any help is greatly appreciated. Any replys can be emailed to me at gwyn@reflections4d.com.
    Thanks so much in advance.
    Gwyn

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @disqus_a6LgXoOOIo:disqus, great example.

  • Pagemodo

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for including Pagemodo on this list. We continue to strive towards offering the easiest way to customize and manage a Facebook Page – no design or coding skills required! From custom Facebook apps, to cover photo designer, to finding and scheduling visually engaging posts and contests creation tool.

  • crackerjackscribe

    Do you know of any great real estate tab apps?

  • Michael Huth

    Great list of Apps. Trying to find a good coupon app. Looks like there are some options in your list.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Here’s a post with some insights for real estate agents on Facebook http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336362665889835350/

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Hey Michael, you are welcome to view our TabSite Engagement apps where we have a Coupon and Deal app that you can check out.

  • http://fastblink.com/blog Nicholas @ FastBlink

    Hi Andrea, great article. Just curious, if you could only pick one of these platforms to use for Facebook marketing, which would it be and why? Just trying to decide on the best solution without having to use several different systems.

  • Karissa Letchworth

    I was just looking for a good FB app creator. I have used Pagemoto in the past but always looking for more tools and ways to bring excitement to client pages. As usual SME is posting exactly what I need :)

  • http://www.ravishukle.com/ Ravi Shukle

    Great run down Andrea especially near Halloween these will be great to test out :-)

  • Holly Crews

    I have used several of these and currently have a couple Woobox and Thunderpenny tabs on my company’s business page. One thing we do for fun around holidays is to JibJab our employees faces into videos and post the embedded video on a tab with links to past videos. I am having trouble as neither app will now show the video with the embed code. (Using HTML) I’ve never had this problem in the past and am looking for help as I need to have the new JibJab up for Halloween on Thursday. I’ve tried using Thunderpenny’s forum for help but haven’t gotten any responses. Any recommendations for other free apps that could show the embedded code?

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Love the giraffe @hollycrews:disqus! I’m going to venture that the embed code they give you is non-secure, meaning the source in the embed code URL says http instead of https. Since Facebook moved to secure https by default and now most browsers are moving to not display any non-secure content within a secure (https) page, then the browser is simply not going to show/display that content. I’ve got more detail on that in a blog post I’ll note below if you want to read more on this change by browsers. I know for a fact that Chrome made this change a few weeks ago and firefox not long before that.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Here’s the post where I go into more detail on browsers not displaying non-secure embedded or iframed content in a Facebook secure page tab https://mikegingerich.com/facebook-tabs-not-showing-iframed-website-why-and-what-to-do-now/

  • Holly Crews

    Thanks Mike. I thought of that as well. Am playing with ShortStack right now and I think it will work just fine. Thanks for the info!

  • http://www.SaprinaD.Com/ Saprina Danise

    I love WooBox. I have used it several times for clients and its oh so easy to use, clients can easily maintain it on there own. love it!

  • KarynwithaY

    Thanks Andrea, I really want to set up some apps that just redirect to a website, I noticed you said WooBox will do that so I went ahead and created an account but can’t find where to create that type of app?

    Appreciate your help.

    Thanks, Karyn

  • kristy is learning

    Hi there – I work for a company and they create their own fab pdf documents which we’d simply like to post in a tab. Any suggestions as to which of the above would be best to do this? I like North Social but they’re just too expensive!!!

  • HusseinSaid

    Is there a Woobox WordPress plugin or a theme that i can post from inside WordPress ?

  • Lisa

    I just checked out Fanpoint Apps and they are pretty expensive; especially for a beginner like me. I’m going to investigate the free ones first.

  • elena

    Can anyone help? I’m trying to create a custom tab image (icon) for the Events tab. I’m talking about the one that appears on my Facebook Page, just beneath the cover photos (Likes, Photos, Videos, Events, etc.)

    I see that on the Social Media Examiner Page you’ve created a custom icon for the Events tab. But when I try and edit mine, I don’t get an option to create a custom tab image.

    Any help appreciated!

    -elena

  • Tim

    Stil have no idea what the point of apps are … seems more like a marketing page than helpful information.

  • Heather

    It must be some kind of “self-promotion” thing here, really,
    I tried all of them, not one I’d use.

    The one apps with the least value is perhaps Thunderpenny, What a piece of … nah!
    Next, Woobox? After a hundred windows were popping up, the confusion was even bigger and in the end? NOTHING. Gosh, does this folk have a brain or do they just work if from between now, to the very next moment. Not worth a cent.

    And so sly, gosh, I experienced a lot of hoax on the net, but these circles are the best con-men. And in the end, they want to charge you mega bucks for their bugged up code bundles.

    Yes sure!

  • caty

    Are Facebook apps available for business pages that don’t pay for ads? When I try to use any apps, it always asks me to switch to my personal facebook account!

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  • http://www.fasorantidamilola.wordpress.com Fasoranti Damilola

    I will try and explore these tools, thanks for sharing.







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