If you ask any marketing professional how to grow your business, “Facebook” will probably be the first word out of their mouth. Still the question remains, what is the most effective way to market your business across the social networking giant? While setting up a page is a great way to establish your brand and interact with prospects and clients, there a few simple tools you can add to your company’s arsenal, which will make your companies Facebook page into a lean, mean, marketing machine.
Fanzila (note the one ‘l’ instead of two) is an Israel-based startup offering a set of applications that makes it easy for small to medium-sized businesses to integrate: blogs, contact management systems, forums, competitions, and more all into their Facebook pages simply by linking their Facebook accounts to the Fanzila system. The service provides a very streamlined experience for integrating the applications into your Facebook page virtually instantly after creating your account. Additionally, the applications are managed via a user-friendly interface, making it possible for you to customize and to manage the application yourself, as long as you are Facebook savvy.
Additionally, Fanzila provides customization panels for customizing the CSS and portions of code, allowing for more advanced customization if desired.
Pricing for Fanzila’s packages range from free to $99 a month, with a fully custom Enterprise package option offered for larger companies and brands that need enhanced capabilities, analytics, and support. Overall, the free service worked very well in my initial tests, with the only sticking point being that Fanzila had links to their site in the header and footer; however, that is a small price to pay for getting an excellent set of services for free.
Another company providing cost-effective solutions for supercharging your companies Facebook prescience is North Social, a division of Vocus Inc. Vocus is a provider of cloud based marketing and PR software, while North Social provides users with applications that interface virtually seamlessly with their company Facebook pages. Just like Fanzila, the applications all feature intuitive interfaces, which allow for full customization and control with minimal technical skills.
Although both products are very effective, there are two notable differences between the services worth mentioning. In terms of features, North Social holds an advantage over Fanzila due to the additional applications offered by the service. Groupon like deal sharing, exclusives for fans, donation management, and even e-commerce integration are a few of the notable features exclusive to the North Social suite.
On the other hand, Fanzila has an advantage within their pricing tiers. North Social begins their pricing at $20/month with plans going up to $149.99/month and has fan limits on all but the Enterprise plan – which is the top tier offered. As mentioned before, Fanzila offers a free service tier, with plans that go up to $99/month, and if your company needs enhanced capabilities, Fanzila also offers custom plans.
As far as picking a provider, both services are winners as they do an excellent job of providing business owners with cost-effective and quality solutions for supercharging their Facebook pages. As a web developer, I tend to be skeptical of any turnkey offering for companies promising to simplify coding, because for the most part they handle customer projects like cookie cutters – however Fanzila and North Social’s offerings do an excellent job of removing the complexity from Facebook page development; an area which is vital for any company with a social media presence.
Depending on your needs, hiring a developer to code a custom application might be a justified depending on the project, but for the average small business just starting out or looking to enhance their online pretense, both tools are valuable assets for any company.