Friday, 2 September 2011

Facebook Apps: Which Ones To Use

Facebook is, whether we like it or not, the most popular social networking website on the planet. Being able to share status updates, information and opinions easily is what makes it work for us. Apps add functionality as well as interest to what is already an excellent free service. These are my personal favourites.

5. Facebook Like

An excellent tool to encourage your friends to spread the good word about your blog, website, or whatever. I use the Like button extensively where there aren't other options such as Add This. It's one of those things that helps a link to go viral.

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So the rest of us need to use the Like Box. It's a bit more elaborate, but is pretty much the same thing. It can be customized to add as much or as little as you like, but its main advantage is showing off your fans.

<div id="fb-root"></div><script src=""></script><fb:like-box href=" Cockcroft/100002136226807" width="200" show_faces="true" stream="true" header="true"></fb:like-box>

Just enter that code where you want the boxes, replacing the relevant URL, and you're done. You can get custom code for Facebook boxes and buttons from your Getting Started area on your Fan Page.

4. Twitter

Apparently, Twitter is eclipsing Facebook as the site of choice for sharing news bites. However, Facebook offers a bigger canvas, more functionality and the ability to separate zones of influence via fan pages and privacy settings. For these reasons, Facebook will continue to be relevant as a social networking tool. In recognition of this, there's an app for letting Twitter post your tweets to your Facebook Wall and fan pages of your choice. Facebook status updates are posted to Twitter via the Facebook app on Twitter. This only works for fan pages. Mashable has a great article on apps that post to both. The main advantage of this is saving on duplication when announcing things or sharing a link online. Selective Tweets is particularly good for making sure you only get the tweets you want posted on your wall.

3. Networked Blogs

The two blog programs I use the most, b2evolution and WordPress, each have a plugin for posting to Twitter. There's an app for posting to your wall from WordPress, but I find that Networked Blogs is better because it doesn't matter what blogging platform you use. All you need to do is add the RSS feed URL to the system, and you're sorted. Add the feeds for as many blogs as you like, as long as you own them. This is the best part: your blogs are not only added to a massive directory and ranked by popularity, the app will publish links to your blog posts on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Again, it saves on duplication, and neatly solves the problem of needing a plugin on your blog to post to your social networking accounts.

2. LinkedIn

For those of us who use professional networking websites for marketing purposes, this really is indispensible. There's a new app on the Facebook block for professionals (it's got a button for importing your LinkedIn profile), but this one is great because, once again, it saves on duplication. There are a few of them, but watch out,

Unfortunately Facebook has recently removed the ability to add application tabs to a user profile. However, you can still add this application to a Facbook Page.

And they forgot how to check for typos while they were at it. So choose LinkedIn Tab For Pages and add your LinkedIn profile details to your fan page.

1. Facebook Connect

I love Facebook Connect. It's so handy, and, yet again, it saves on annoying duplication. Why create an account with a website when you have only to allow access to your Facebook account? You can use it for pretty much anything, including commenting on blogs, starting accounts with certain job boards, and social networking apps like Add This. At the last count, I was using it on 21 different sites. Twitter and Google accounts offer a similiar service, and now it's not unusual to be offered the chance to log in with any of those or Open ID.


Well, those are my personal favourites, and I daresay other people prefer others. If you do, let me know. I might end up using them.

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