Ten must have Facebook applications for your business?

@Kevin | Social

The other day I came across a post via Twitter from Social Media Examiner written by Ruth M. Shipley that talks about marketing on Facebook. Basically the article says that the “Facebook Marketing for Dummies Book” is all you need to get going and talks about some general Facebook tips. At the end of the post is a list of the “Ten must have Facebook applications for your business”.

I always like checking out different Facebook apps and some of these I have never heard of. So I decided to check out all ten and write reviews on them expanding past this list that didn’t give a lot of information on the individual apps. Initially I thought all these applications could be installed onto Facebook Pages but that wasn’t the case, it was wrong for me to assume that.

1) My Network Value

What they say: “Your business and personal contacts make up a network, which can exert considerable influence on your professional life and career. If you can recognize the value of your network you can tab into it and use it. This application helps you to identify your network value and compares it to other values.”

What I say: This application is created by Xing and the last thing I would want to do is give Xing more information about me. This is kind of an ego stroke application created in the guise of creating a meaningful stat around your network. There really isn’t a lot of value here. (Can’t be installed onto a page.)

2) MyOffice


What they say: “Having a tough time getting your team on the same page? MyOffice lets you quickly and easily collaborate with your colleagues, partners, or clients on one or multiple projects.

Use MyOffice to:
* View recent activities for one or multiple projects in a dashboard
* Schedule and agree to meetings
* Organize events
* Discuss ideas and collect feedback
* Share files in one place
* Create to-do lists and track who’s responsible for what
* Set privacy to invite-only, network-only, or public
* Create, edit, and collaborate on documents

Ideal for:
* Event Planning (Parties, Birthdays, Trips, Corporate Events, etc)
* Fraternities and Sororities
* Associations and organizations (professional, non-profit, charity)
* Filmmakers, bands, and theater groups
* Startups and small and medium businesses
* Students and study groups
* Publishers and authors
* Web and print designers
* Freelancers
* Architects, lawyers, accountants, and consultants
* Marketing firms and ad agencies
* Research projects”
What I say: (Note: RWW has a really good write up of it.)  This can be installed on a page or profile and I think it is useful as a project management tool for small businesses and students but I wouldn’t say this is a “must install” app. It can be used as a substitute for Basecamp for projects that don’t require that much muscle. It is nice to see Facebook have some actual productivity applications available though and this does fill a need for some users.

3) Tag Biz Pro Business Cards

What they say: “Business networking is an essential, but often time consuming, activity. Tag Biz is designed to network for you, it will save you time and expand your business network. Anyone who is interested in doing business on Facebook should use Tag Biz.

Your business will automatically be listed in the Tag Biz business directory. The directory has over 7000 listed businesses and received over 125,000 visits in June 08 which makes us the largest and most active business directory on Facebook.”

What I say: This is another application that you can only install on your profile page, which is a bummer. Also there seems to have been a lot of problem with the app as it has a big apology about the issues and a statement that it has just been fixed right on the top of the application page. That doesn’t exactly create faith. Basically you can create a listing for your business and get it included in a directory that is searchable, I am not sure how much business this would generate but it seems like a harmless enough app to install. I put this application more in the “it doesn’t hurt you to use but it doesn’t really help you either” category.

4) LinkedIn Answers

What I say: It doesn’t exist…. That creates an issue when trying to review it.

5) SlideShare

What they say: “SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. You can:

* share presentations & documents with your Facebook network
* upload portfolios, resume, conference talks, PDFs, college lessons etc
* all formats supported: ppt, pps, pptx, odp, pdf, doc, docx, odt, Keynote, iWork pages
* embed YouTube videos in presentations, add audio to make a webinar

If you have a SlideShare.net account, you can import your existing presentations into Facebook. If you don’t have one, signup for it from Facebook to share your presentations worldwide and get more views/traffic.

SlideShare is present on both Linkedin & Facebook. Sync both these accounts with SlideShare and you have a holy triad. Upload to any one- SlideShare, Facebook or LinkedIn and it will shows up instantly on all three.”

What I say: I am a big SlideShare fan in general and am excited that this application can be deployed to personal or private pages. It is a really useful way to gain attention to your presentations for your Facebook friends and fans. Pretty straight forward, functional, and it is attached to a solid website in SlideShare.net.

6) Static FBML

What they say: “Add advanced functionality to your Page using the Facebook Static FBML application. This application will add a box to your Page in which you can render HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language) for enhanced Page customization.”

What I say: This is a MUST have application for pages. It gives you so much more flexibility with what you can do on a typical Facebook Fan Page by creating tabs that you can code up. The easiest call so far on this list.

7) FlashPlay

What they say: “FlashPlay allows you to add any flash file to your profile, visible to everyone. You may also browse our library to find a selection of popular games, animations and applications to add with the click of a single button.”

What I say: Lots of one star reviews on this, I tried it out on a test page and profile, didn’t work. Seems to be the common theme amongst the 11 whole people that reviewed this application.

8) PRX Builder

What they say: “Based on the original Social Media Press Release Template from Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications, enhance your press release with new media elements then distribute your release through PR Newswire.”

What I say: This can be installed to a page or a profile although it really doesn’t work. I got this notice when I set it up on a test page:

Update 2009-03-29: Newswire distribution is currently unavailable. Distribute your release to your blog, website, via email, or using your favorite newswire. PRX Builder is still fully-functional without newswire services.

It looks like you can conceivably still create a release through the software but there are a few boxes below the initial starting point that are blank and do not look like they are functioning, the link to the RSS feed or all recent releases doesn’t work as well. I would consider this a broken/abandoned application.

9) Page Maps

What they say: “Add a custom map to your business page or personal profile. Show your business locations or favorite spots around town. It displays a mini map requiring no additional clicks to see, with links to a larger map or directions.”

What I say: This works for pages which is great for people to find the location of your business. The drawback is the image for the map didn’t display at all. Which is kind of a problem and defeats the purpose of the map. The idea is good though the execution needs to be improved. It seems that the developers of this app have been listening to the reviews and making changes as different complaints are voiced which gives me hope because I think this is a logical app to add to pages for small businesses.

10) Phonebook

What I say: There is one app named Phonebook, which doesn’t function anymore, and another named Phone Book, which… doesn’t function anymore.

So out of the ten applications listed in the book and on the blog post five are either no longer around or broken. I don’t what that says about the application production on Facebook, specifically around business applications, but I do know that it shows a little lack of due diligence by the author of the blog post as well as the authors and editor of the book.

The book was published in November 2009 and I can’t say when it was written but some of these applications have been broken for more than a year going by the comments left on them. Kind of sad all the way around on this one.

What Facebook applications do YOU consider a must have for business?