If you visit the website of any major brand, chances are pretty good that you’ll find a page, or cluster of pages, that complement the main site. Nike has lots of these “microsites” for products such as FuelBand, Sportswear and NIKEiD to name a few. Volkswagen has microsites devoted to its various models, plus pages devoted to financial services and shopping tools.
While it might seem like a good idea to have your content sectioned off like this, users can easily get lost or find it difficult to quickly locate the information they want.
Using something like a simple Facebook app that can be embedded -- including on a website -- can lead your customers to exactly the information they want and ultimately increase conversions.
Here are five ways Facebook apps can complement your website:
1. They help highlight new content that could easily get buried on your website
On your website you probably have a number of pages where information is sorted. Most sites have About, Pricing, Support, Press and Products pages that users have to click through to find the information they’re looking for. If you use a Facebook app to house this information, the apps appear front and center on your Timeline. Three app thumbnails are visible at any one time -- plus “Photos” which you can’t move -- and you can shuffle the apps around, highlighting the content that is new. A Facebook page can have 12 live apps at any one time.
2. Links to apps can easily be shared on social media, increasing odds of virality
Within the status update box is a link to “Share” a post. This means that anyone who sees and likes the content you put in a status update -- including a link to an app -- only has to click once to share it. What’s more, you can actually see who shares your post, giving you one more opportunity to engage with them. Ideally you can set up your app in such a way that anyone who goes to the app can “Share with Friends” or “Share on Twitter.”
3. Apps make it easy to collect contact information from your fans/followers
With an app you can clearly explain how the information you’re collecting will be used, increasing the likelihood that your users will give your their email addresses, birthdays, etc. Why do you want this? So that you can easily reach out to them about upcoming promotions and events.
There’s a caveat here, though: resist asking for too much information from users. In fact, with each data field you ask for, the opt-in rate drops by 10 percent. Some people are reluctant to enter contests or use Facebook apps because they don’t want to give up too much personal information in order to enter a contest or download an app, so don’t scare them away.
4. Apps are relatively inexpensive and easy to build
Adding an app to your Facebook page can cost as little as … free! Depending on which platform you use, how many Likes you have and what kinds of features you want to include, a Facebook app is a cost-effective way to get different kinds of content in front of your fans. If your business often hosts special events, for example, or you own a restaurant where the menu changes often, you can quickly house the information on apps and not have to wait for your website to be updated. Here’s an example of how Guapo’s in Orleans, MA uses an app for menus.
5. Apps can motivate people to stay on your page
Every day I see amazingly innovative things that businesses do on their Facebook Pages using apps. For example, you can build product galleries like Lisa Mason at Social Media Satisfied did for the Doggie Clothesline. This app is a photo gallery devoted to wedding attire for dogs.
I hope you see how versatile apps can be, and how you can use them to enhance your online presence. You can house video galleries, blog feeds, shopping carts, coupons/special deal offers, customer service requests and so much more -- all on apps. And apps are a way to encourage visitors to spend more time browsing around on your page and, ultimately, interacting with your brand.
Editor's Note: Read more Facebook advice from Jim in How to Use Facebook's Four Most Popular Advertising Options