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Facebook is the do-it-all platform… except when it isn't. Fortunately, a number of apps have been developed that can extend the conversation and help your Facebook page really shine. Whether you're trying to collect ideas or input from your audience, or answer questions and solve problems they are having, there are apps for you!
Idea generation and problem-solving are the two largest uses for business interaction apps. Allowing customers to see the questions and complaints of others lets your brand's advocates and loyal users answer questions and suggest solutions to problems, and lets others having similar problems search existing solutions. When users can interact with ideas, especially by commenting, liking or voting, it helps the good ideas rise to the top for your company to execute. Here are apps which specialize in idea generation, customer service, or both.
Get Satisfaction for Facebook
Get Satisfaction is an app that lets users ask a question, share an idea, report a problem, or give praise – essentially, software-as-a-service for customer satisfaction. All of these actions are posted both on the Facebook page and anywhere else the company uses Get Satisfaction. Customers can also interact with each other's comments, and Get Satisfaction will suggest questions or problems that might be similar to the ones they just posted. The Facebook partnership is only one of the powerful partnerships provided by Get Satisfaction, and the ideas and questions posted by users are cross-indexed across anywhere your followers might see it.
Parature for Facebook
Focusing more exclusively on customer service, Parature for Facebook allows users to search for answers and ask questions directly on Facebook pages. A third tab gives users direct access to live representatives from the company, giving them the assurance that they are being heard immediately. Parature for Facebook also integrates with the Parature software companies can use to manage customer service tickets and delegate responses.
Software focused on generating ideas, UserVoice is available both via custom forums and through the UserVoice Facebook app. This app lets people vote on each other's ideas within Facebook, and comment to expand the scope of the idea or for the administrators to keep everyone up to speed on the progress. When ideas are completed, customers are notified. A couple years ago, UserVoice was declared a favorite by ReadWriteWeb, and it appears to have only gotten better!
Another idea generation tool: Spigit for Facebook. This recently-launched tool allows users to submit and vote on ideas. Clever features include the ability to see friends' ideas and related ideas. Currently, Spigit's own Facebook page is using its own app to power a contest. Spigit is also integrated into a number of other tools, including SharePoint and a mobile app, so growing its Facebook presence shouldn't be hard!
Beta: Brightidea Facebook app
Announced just a few weeks ago, Brightidea is rolling out a Facebook app for its current users. Installing the app allows Facebook fans to use your page to submit, vote on, and comment on ideas. Check out the announcement for more information.
Even if you don't have one of these apps, don't forget to use Facebook itself – regularly post status updates, pictures, or videos asking users for their best experiences, worst experiences, or ideas for your company. You might be amazed!