Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top Facebook Apps for Building Custom Pages

Custom Tabs: What You Need to Know

You can create a custom tab on your Facebook page with an iFrame application.

First, what are iFrames? iFrame stands for Inline Frame and is basically an HTML document embedded inside another HTML document on a website. An iFrame pulls the content from one website into another. So in the context of Facebook, an iFrame pulls the content of another website into an area on your Facebook page.

iFrames are very powerful because anything you can create on a website, you can bring into your Facebook page, providing a unique and rich experience for your community.

How to Use iFrames

Typically you’ll need your own graphics or HTML code to use these applications. Some are more customizable than others with drag-and-drop features that allow you to easily add videos, pictures or your email option forms.

Many of the third-party apps will “host” your content for you. Your content in this case will be either your image or your HTML code that you’re using to create your mini-webpage within your Facebook tab.

If you’re using an image, it’s best if it’s 520 pixels wide by 800 pixels high at maximum.

Many of these third-party apps also have the “fan-gating” or “reveal” option (also called “fan-only content”) where you have to Like the page before you see the next page. Giving visitors something for free (i.e., a coupon, a free chapter, a free report) is an added incentive to Like your page.

How to Install an iFrame Application

Before we get into the various applications, I want to cover how to install an application on your page.

Some of the applications will be installed from the websites given below (and I’ll indicate when that’s the case).

Other applications can be installed from the Facebook App page (the special page designed for the app you want to install). In those cases, you will click the “Add to My Page” link in the left-side bar and typically a drop-down menu appears to select the Facebook page where you would like to add the app.

After you have added the application to your Page, navigate to the Page and then it should be in the left side-bar. If not, you can go to the Page dashboard by going to Edit Page and then select Apps and find it listed there.

#1: Wildfire

Wildfire has several Facebook applications, most notably their contest and sweepstakes apps.

Their iFrame app is currently free and works very well. But, per their blog, they may start charging for the app at some point in the future (if you install it now, you’ll be grandfathered in for the free option). Wildfire is easy to install right from their website and has the option for fan-gating.

Once you install the app, you’ll see this screen on your page where you can either upload your custom image from your computer or add your custom HTML code.

#2: Involver

Involver also has a suite of Facebook applications and their iFrame app is called Static HTML.

To install it, just go to the Involver website and click “Install” next to the Static HTML app. Involver also allows fan-only content and one of the nice things about Involver’s app is that you can easily add multiple custom tabs by clicking “Add a Second Static HTML Application.”

Involver allows you to use two applications for free. If you want to use more, you have to switch to their paid plan. So if you’re currently using two of their other apps on your page, you’ll have to uninstall one of them to add the Static HTML app, unless you want to pay Involver.

#3: TabPress

TabPress is a free iFrame application developed by HyperArts that can easily add fan-only content. Install TabPress from the Facebook application page by clicking the “Add to My Page” link on the left side of the page under the profile picture.

TabPress does not host images, so you’ll have to upload them to a site and reference them using HTML code such as <img src=””> or wherever you have the photos hosted. Or if you have HTML code, just enter it in the boxes as shown in the image.

#4: TabSite

TabSite allows you to create multiple tabs within your custom tab so that you can create a mini-website. You design your custom tab on their website and then load it onto your page.

You get two tabs for free. If you want more tabs, there’s a monthly fee. You can see the app in action in the figure below where each blue bar takes you to a different tab within the tab.

#5: Static HTML: iframe tabs

Static HTML: iframe tabs is another free application and it doesn’t host your images similar to TabPress as mentioned in #3.

I found this app to be more accepting of some of the HTML and CSS tags than some of the other apps. To install it, go to the Facebook app page as linked and click “Add to My Page” on the right column. This app also allows FBML tags if you used those in the previous Static FBML app that came before iFrames.


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