At work we started using a web application called Short Stack that allows you to easily create Facebook applications without dealing with a lot of code and has built-in functinalities that would take a lot of work if you were to code or manipulate manually in the Facebook developers section.  We’ve saved a ton of money by being able to create more dynamic and better looking Facebook applications in half the time we were developing them in the past. I now don’t balk at quoting to do a contest for a client. Here are some of the types of apps we’ve created for clients so far:

  • Fan Gate Welcome Tabs
  • Photo Contests/Giveaways with voting capabilities
  • Contact Form (submit straight from Facebook page and emails to recipients of choice)
  • Twitter Feed/Foursquare Feed
  • Mailchimp sign-up form

Here are some major advantages to Short Stack and why it makes sense for small and medium-sized marketing agencies and businesses looking to develop apps in-house.

  1. Cost-effective. If you have less than 1,000 fans, you can create apps for FREE! There are some limitations, but this is pretty awesome, because you can try the product with no obligation and no trial period.
  2. Ease of use. It’s all widget based, so it makes creating Facebook apps very easy, and you can install them on Facebook all through their interface.
  3. Manage multiple apps for multiple pages. You would be surprised how many app managers there are out there, but every one I came across required you to create a separate account for each fan page. Shortstack doesn’t work that way. You can manage unlimited apps for unlimited pages. Their pricing plans are based on the amount of fans, not the amount of pages.
Our company did a ton of research, and we looked at a lot of social media managers and Facebook app managers. Most of them are very expensive and are set up more for larger brands and large agencies. Check out Short Stack. I’m a big fan!