How to Customize a Business Facebook Page with Apps

We look at three customizable Facebook apps that can help you brand your business Facebook Page and engage your online fans.

One of the challenges in having a Facebook Page — the name that Facebook uses to identify a business profile — is being able to make it look less like Facebook and incorporate more of your own brand identity on the Page. There are a number of Facebook applications (apps for short) that you can customize to display your own business content, links and images.

Get a Custom Look and Feel with Static FBML

Figure 1
Use Static FBML on your Facebook Page to display branded content, images and links.
(Click for larger image)
.

One of the best apps for business Facebook pages is Static FBML.  This Facebook-developed application lets you create and display FBML (Facebook Markup Language) boxes and tabs on your Page.

One of the easiest ways for a small business to take advantage of FMBL is to create boxes that will display content and links to direct your fans — Facebook users who subscribe to your Page — back to your Web site. For example, you may want to show your logo and offer hyperlinks to specific content or products on your site. You can use FBML to invite fans to join your mailing list, get a discount on your site or even highlight a special promotion or contest you’re running in the box.

When you add the FBML application to your Page, you simply click "Edit," enter a title for the box, and then paste in the HTML code you want to render on your Facebook Page. If you have a lot of experience with HTML and scripting, you will be able to do a lot more with Static FBML — but even if you have just basic HTML skills, you can create an attractive and well-branded box for your Page.

In Figure 1, you can see an example of FBML in use on the Webopedia.com Facebook Page. This image shows a side-by-side view of how you customize the application to include your own HTML code, and how that code is rendered in a branded and customized box on your Facebook Page.

Display Custom Content with RSS Feeds

Figure 2
SocialRSS lets you display your site or blog RSS feed on your Facebook Wall.
(Click for larger image)
.

Another way to customize your Facebook Page is to display your RSS feeds. This can help automate the process of providing new content and updates to your fans each day. Social RSS (formerly RSS-Connect) is one of several apps for RSS feeds.

On your Facebook Page, you can display Social RSS on your Wall or as a Boxes tab. It will automatically update, and your fans can also subscribe to your feed right from the Facebook app. 

Once you add Social RSS to your Page, again you can click "Edit" and customize the app with your own feed URL.  Social RSS offers a number of feed settings. You can title the feed (e.g. use your site or blog name), choose how often to automatically check for updates, customize display options for the Facebook Box, and choose to send updates to your Facebook Page.

In Figure 2, you can see an example of SocialRSS in use on the Webopedia.com Facebook Page. This image shows a side-by-side view of how you customize the RSS Feed application to include your own blog or Site feed URL, and how your customized Social RSS box will appear on your Facebook Page.

Interact with Fans Using Facebook Events

Figure 3
Use Static FBML on your Facebook Page to display branded content, images and links.
(Click for larger image)
.

If your business is holding a special event — perhaps an open house or an online sale — you can use Facebook Events to tell your fans all about it. You can access Facebook Events by clicking the calendar icon under your Status Box. Once the Event details window opens, you provide a title, a location and the date and time for the event.

When your event is published on your Facebook Page, fans will have the opportunity to RSVP by selecting one of three options; Attending, Not attending or Maybe Attending. Fans can also attach an RSVP note and share your Event on their own Facebook Profile.

In Figure 3, you can see an example of Facebook Events in use on the Webopedia.com Facebook Page. The image shows a side-by-side view of how you add your details to the Event app, and how the customized Event notice will appear on the status feed on your Facebook Page.

More Facebook Apps for Business

While these apps let you maximize your own brand identity on Facebook,  there are other apps that you can use.  While most Facebook apps include advertising links, if you find an app that that has some value for your fans, you can add it on a secondary Boxes Tab so it doesn’t detract from your own branding on your Page’s Wall tab.

To view thousands of other Facebook apps, choose "Edit Page" from your Facebook Page, and then select "Browse More Applications." You can also search for apps from your personal Facebook Profile.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!


Comment and Contribute
* Required Field
Your email address will not be published


Note: No advertising, no spam, no keyword in name/nickname field. Thank you!

Free Resources

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter