Managing Facebook pages should be a top priority for any marketer or business owner, and here’s a closer look at ways to do it using desktop, web or mobile apps.
Before we get started, note that you can of course just use Facebook itself to update pages. Many of these apps offer additional features, like the ability to post to Twitter and other services. Mobile apps are especially key for anyone trying to manage a page while on the go.
Also, note that the option of updating pages directly from a third-party service only became available when Facebook introduced the OpenStream API in early August. Third-party services for using pages are still new and evolving.
Both Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop have built-in functionality to update your status on your Facebook page or pages. You can either duplicate your tweets or personal Facebook updates (although only if your tweets and updates are business-focused and use the voice you want for your brand) through a few simple settings.
In Tweetdeck, all you need to do is to go to Settings (i.e. the wrench) > Accounts > Add New Accounts > Add Facebook Account. When you add a Facebook account, you will see a button below called “Add Pages”. Click this, sign in with Facebook Connect and Tweetdeck will create a button in your main dashboard to update the Pages you administer. One thing that is important to note is that only the 0.30 version of Tweetdeck or newer has this functionality. On Seesmic Desktop, the procedure is Control Panel > Accounts > Click the + button > Add you Facebook account > Administered Pages.
The other desktop clients that we investigated were Yoono Desktop and PeopleBrowsr. Yoono’s customer service rep said that it is a highly requested feature, and they are working with Facebook on permission issues, and we review PeopleBrowsr’s client below, as it is basically identical to its web version.
We found three clients (well, two and a half as you’ll see) that support Page updates: Ping.fm, PeopleBrowsr and HootSuite. We also checked Seesmic’s web app and Brizzly, both of which do not support Page updates, as well as HelloTXT, which does, but requires you to install a Facebook App. Although these clients have varying purposes – PeopleBrowsr focuses on brand management, HootSuite is mainly a Twitter client, and Ping.fm provides a simpler interface but with the ability to update just about any social network – the core function of each is status updates, including to Facebook Pages.
Using Ping.fm, you can update Facebook Pages either through Ping.fm itself or within HootSuite, making HootSuite the “half” a client here. Setting up Ping.fm to update your Facebook Pages is very straightforward. The first screen you see when you sign up for the service is a list all of the social networks you can update from Ping.fm. Facebook Pages are listed third as if it was its own social network, right behind Twitter and Facebook itself (and before MySpace, which is a saying something on the importance of Facebook Pages). From there, you’ll just need to go through the Facebook Connect sign-in procedures and then you’ll be able to update your pages using Ping.fm.
One of the nice things about Ping.fm as well, is that they have multiple integrations with other services, as well as mobile applications that make it a good choice if you need to access your account from multiple devices. For example, as mentioned, if you are a HootSuite user, you can sign up for Ping.fm, add Facebook Pages as one of your social networks to update, and then update from HootSuite, through Ping.fm to your Page. So if you like the versatility of Ping.fm but prefer the slickness and Twitter feature set of Hootsuite 2.0, this is a good combo.
PeopleBrowsr is an interesting alternative, as their web app and desktop app are basically the same – however, to our knowledge, more people use it as a web app, so we’ll discuss it here. You simply sign in to my.peoplebrowsr.com using Facebook Connect, type in your status, click the “To” button, click the “More” link, and then just check off which page you wish to post to. What is interesting is that PeopleBrowsr allows you to post to any Page that you subscribe to as well as to those you administer.
Updating Facebook Pages by Mobile
Far and away, the best way to update your Pages using a mobile phone is to use Facebook’s iPhone 3.0 app. The app has integrated Page management functionality – something that even m.facebook.com (Facebook’s mobile web service) doesn’t have. Of all of the other apps we’ve discussed here, probably the one with the greatest crossover in terms of usage to mobile is Tweetdeck. But as of right now, Tweetdeck’s iPhone app does not support updating pages. As we mentioned above, Ping.fm offers a number of ways to update their service through a variety of mobile devices/brands, and is a good bet if you are not using an iPhone.
Unfortunately, there are no Facebook apps for Blackberry that support updating Pages. So Blackberry users will need to do what the majority of mobile phone users will need to do if they want to update their Pages on the go, which is to go to the full Facebook.com from their phone and navigate to the Page admin. Or just use Ping.fm.
Of all of the services reviewed here, Tweetdeck, Ping.fm, PeopleBrowsr, and of course Facebook itself, seem the most serious about Facebook Pages. These services not only make it really easy to update your Page, but Pages are also a prominent part of their services.