Enhance Your Facebook Page with Free Apps

So, you took the plunge and set up a Facebook page for your non-profit? Well done - you are now part of the growing ranks of community and voluntary groups (75% and counting!) that already have social media profiles. The next step (yes, sorry - there is a next step!) is to take advantage of the free resources out there to make your Facebook page an even better communication tool for your organisation. And how can you do this? Simple - with apps...

What Are 'Apps'?

Apps - or applications - are basically like little online programmes that  you can 'plug'  into your social media profiles in order to make them do new and exciting things. Different platforms and different forms of technology (e.g. Facebook, as an internet-based social media platform or an iPod, as a distinct piece of technilogical equipment) all have apps of their very own, so you're going to be spoilt for choice. We're going to focus on Facebook here however...

So, where do you get these app things? Well, you can use the FacebookFacebook Like search to find interesting apps or you can get ideas on which apps might be right for your Facebook page by looking at what works for other similarly sized organisations on their social media pages. Even a quick Google search will soon have you wading knee-deep through apps (some more useful than others!).

Note of caution: some apps are created by malicious parties in order to compromise your Facebook security. Please only install those apps that you trust. Also keep in mind, some apps have a definite shelf-life and, after a while, may no longer function or be available - you just have to grab them while you can!

Some of the slickest and most useful apps, however, come from specialist social media websites that build fancy tools for Facebook and other social media platforms. Below you will find a selection of the best free Facebook apps available - all of which should enhance your ability to communicate with your 'fans' and build your online profile (you'll have to have a Facebook page set up already in order to install them)...

Static HTML App

Install directly from Facebook - straight forward, easy to use and well reviewed. Sounds good to me...

Involver.com

These social media specialists can do all sorts of free shiny and exciting things for your Facebook page, including:

Youtube Channel app - got a bunch of fundraising videos you want to collect in one place on Facebook? Then plug this app in to achieve just that.

Flickr app - you can install the free Flickr apps to give you an eye-catching way to present your fundraising photos to your Facebook fans.

Static HTML app - best of all, if you are a bit of a programming whizz (or if you can at least cobble something decent together), you can create a custom look section for your Facebook profile. Some Irish non-profits already use these sort of custom apps to very effectively showcase their various initiatives - see the Spunout.ie Facebook page, for example.

Wildfire Social Media Marketing

These guys are also specialists in social media and most of what they produce costs cold hard cash. For the next few weeks however (literally) you will be able to install their new iFrames app for your Facebook page. Similar to the Static HTML app above, this app allows you to create a custom section for your Facebook page. But, the really nifty thing about this is that you can choose to use the 'Fan Gate' option. 

The 'Fan Gate' basically means that, if someone does not already 'Like' your Facebook page, they will see different information to what those who are already fans of your page will see. This allows you to customize your information and create incentives for people to 'like' your Facebook page. For example, if you go to The Wheel's Facebook page for the first time, you will see an image inviting you to 'like' the page and so receive a 10 euros discount off of one of The Wheel's training events. Then, once you click 'like' for the page, you will then see the training calendar along with the information on how to claim your discount. It's yet another way to use social media to get your message out there...

Find out more about the Wildfire Fan Gate app now (before it's no longer free!)

A Selection of the Best of the Rest

Causes - recruit Facebook users to your cause and get the word out there with this effective app

Official Facebook app directory

Integrate your Picasa Photo Albums with your Facebook Page

Appbistro - find a selection of free Facebook apps here.

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