Admit it: You wish your Facebook page was a little fancier. You look at big consumer brands such as Coca-Cola and Dell and you bemoan how sleek their pages look when compared with your brand’s, which is still stuck with all the default settings. Your page looks drab and boring. You post occasionally, but there’s nothing for your fans to do when you’re not adding content to the page.

You could pay someone to do a little custom tab development for you. You could even do it yourself — there are plenty of “codeless” development tools on the market, some of which are quite nice. But what if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure what you’re willing to spend? What if you’re not sure what you want just yet? Isn’t there some kind of middle ground?

You bet there is. Welcome to the wonderful world of free Facebook apps for business. You might be tempted to dismiss adding apps to your pages — after all, so many of them are frivolous, clunky or downright stupid. While it’s true that most Facebook apps on the market are aimed at consumers and most of them don’t offer much value to businesses, there are also plenty of enterprise-focused apps that can help enhance your page with minimal fuss.

They’re not easy to find though. Facebook doesn’t have an app directory anymore. There’s no iTunes-like marketplace of all your options, making comparison shopping a chore. In the spirit of making Facebook business apps a little more accessible, here are some of the better free applications out there. Note — I’ve purposely left out custom development apps, e-commerce apps and coupon/contest apps. Those will have to wait for their own posts.

  • SurveyMonkey: Polls and surveys are a great way to learn about your fans and to give them something to do on your page. They’re simple to set up and can yield surprising insights.
  • RSS Graffiti: Turn your page into a content hub with RSS feeds. This app has the advantage of being able to handle multiple feeds on multiple pages — perfect for administrators juggling more than one page.
  • Contact Me: Facebook wants you to keep all your relationship in one place. But chances are, you’d like your business contacts to be a little more portable. Help Facebook connections get in touch with you with this easily customizable contact information form.
  • NutshellMail: Keeping up with your page activity can be tough — especially when Facebook is constantly rejiggering its notification tools. Take some of the stress and the guesswork out of the problem with this handy app, which sends you a regular e-mail with an activity summary. And it works for Twitter too!
  • Jobcast.net: Maybe your next top employee is hiding in your fanbase. Help them learn about opportunities with your company, link to your external candidates page or even accept applications. This app also lets fans like and share job listings, helping you find the perfect fit for your new opening.
  • Livestream: Want to share a live event on Facebook? Livestream is the way to go. Let’s put it this way — when Facebook announced all those changes at the F8 conference, it used Livestream to share Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote with the world.

Of course, there are plenty of other great Facebook apps out there for the business crowd. I’m sure this is a topic we’ll revisit before too long. Until then, keep experimenting and share your findings in the comments. What are your favorite Facebook apps for business?

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25 Responses to “The 6 best free Facebook apps for businesses”

  1. chefforfeng says:

    I would add Networked blogs to the list http://www.facebook.com/networkedblogs.

  2. Suzzette says:

    Great article! I love HyperAlerts. Not sure how it compares to NutshellMail.
    My recent post Recording Artist Tells How to Get Thousands of Fans

  3. Thanks so much for this great article Jesse! I especially am intrigued by the RSS Grafitti because I have multiple feeds (blog, podcast, etc.) that I'd like to feature on my Fan Page and this may be handy resource.

    I appreciate you sharing this with us!

    Best regards,
    Sydni
    My recent post Top 10 Tools for Effective Content Marketing

  4. Colson says:

    Does the new HTTPS app requirements affect the use of any of these free apps? Or is everyone using these apps required to supply the secure certificate?

    • apps are basically web pages that sit on a server outside of Facebook. They should be SSL secured so that when someone is surfing in secure mode they won't get a warning and have to switch to un-secure mode to view the tab…
      another thing to remember is that some apps let you build your own tab but don't host the image files themselves, they usually make you supply a link to the image you want to use… the app itself may be on a secure site but the linked images also need to be on a secure server.
      My recent post What is a Favicon?

  5. Thanks for sharing the list. I use RSS Graffiti and have love it ever since. I'll definitely check out the other apps.

  6. Great post! Thanks for making Facebook easier for businesses. I'll be linking to this page from my company's Facebook (Facebook.com/anchormd) and Twitter (@anchormd) tomorrow.

  7. Thanks for list, i not usig any site of this list.

  8. Gerri says:

    I am already using RSS Graffiti and I love it! It makes a few Page related tasks that much easier. I will give the others a try and see if they are worth my while. Thanks for the list.
    My recent post Steve Jobs on “Connecting the Dots, “Love and Loss” and “Death”

  9. @KenBurgin says:

    NutshellMail is very good – it arrives in my inbox at 8am each day with a full report on the social media terms and numbers that I follow.

  10. @sherlaimov says:

    Nice post, thanks, will look into those apps.

  11. [...] reason for that: It wasn’t. But you don’t have to be limited by its original design. Six add-on apps will help you make Facebook a much more powerful business tool. And they’re all [...]

  12. [...] Jesse Stanchak published a blog on The 6 best free Facebook apps for businesses. [...]

  13. Duke Dillard says:

    Thanks for this. I'm definitely trying out a few of these.
    My recent post The Dark Side of Turkish Relationships – Relationship Part 4

  14. MyTradeZone says:

    There are some great apps to reach consumers, and I'm also wondering what business-to-business (B2B) apps are popular and effective on Facebook? It looks like most social sites are not ideal for B2B companies…

  15. Donna Maria says:

    Thanks for this super collection of ideas and apps. I wanted to remind people who may experience their eyes glazing over at apps and learning how to use them that you can also spice things up simply by adding a photo to each update your post to your page. Use the apps, yes, but if you can't do that right now, or if your schedule does not allow you to figure it all out at the moment, don't wait another moment to start attaching a picture to every single post at your Page. It will attract more attention and engagement and make whatever content you have more enticing. Everyone loves color! Thanks again for a super post!
    My recent post Transcript: #HandmadeChat #3: How To Hire A Virtual Assistant

  16. bpacana says:

    I would also add Social Raves for Facebook http://apps.facebook.com/socialraves. It's the only app for Facebook that lets you get referrals from satisfied customers. Also, it's the only app that pushes recommendations out to search engines via a raves page that's hosted on http://www.socialraves.com. It's free; premium services are not, but costs only $30/month. Definitely worth a look-see.

  17. Joseph Ryan says:

    eBusinessCard is something new to look into. It lets companies create and post business cards on their Pages for free. So each executive or each law partner can put his/her business card on a customized Contact tab. Potential clients can download the business cards for future reference. You can also use eBusinessCards as email signature. Extremely easy to use, too. The Facebook app Page is at facebook.com/ebusinesscard.

  18. Lee says:

    I would also add the "Work for Us" app. Anyone can easily create a job board on their Page where candidates can browse jobs by searching, filtering, or using its "SmartSort" feature. The app is also integrated with Facebook's ad platform and can automatically translate jobs into ad targeting options/specifics. The app has a free 30 day trial as well as a free version that allows for one job post at a time.
    http://www.workforusapp.com http://www.facebook.com/workforus

  19. Mark says:

    Excellent resource for smart apps that will only help business pages on Facebook.
    Currently researching some useful apps as part of a post i am putting together on how to easily create a Facebook page. Yes there are plenty out there but one more can't hurt can it?

    Mark from http://devcu.be

  20. Martin says:

    I own photography business and discovered amazing Portfolio tab application for my Facebook page from HostFB. See their free facebook apps at http://hostfb.com/apps

  21. great article but it's missing a few apps ;) my compnay (inlineVision) has created 3 apps so far with two more on the way.
    We have a Contact Form App that is pretty cool, a very simple Fangate App and a Twitter App – all have free and paid versions too.
    We are currently working on a YouTube App that lets you specify exactly which videos you want to have appear vs the involver app that changes up based on your youtube activity.
    We are also working on a Sweepstakes App that will be cheaper than others because we are going to have a one time fee so you won't have to pay by the week or by the campaign like others – You'll own it and be able to have as many sweepstakes giveaways as you want for as long as you keep the app.

    Check our Facebook pages to see them in action.
    inlinevision – http://facebook.com/inlinevision
    Me ;)http://facebook.com/miguelcurrey
    My recent post What is a Favicon?