Ranging the gamut from individual developers you can hire to drag and drop tab platforms, your options are all over the place. The coding and design skills (and cost) needed to operate these solutions can also really vary.
A year ago I put out a tweet looking for a custom Facebook App developer. Within the hour I had received a message from a new platform called ShortStack Labs. Today, their robust design suite and simple pricing plan make creating amazing Facebook experiences easy for anyone with a little creativity and eye for design.
Rich Widget Set
Go simple or complex with Shortstack’s rich widget set. With a little tinkering, you are able to design amazing tabs in no time with little to no HTML or CSS experience.
You can select from a number of widgets that you pull into the workspace to modify, including rich text, photos, and links, plus more interactive features like promotion options, allowing you to run full-fledged photo contests with sharable voting widgets and all. (Running promotions requires Database space, included when you select a paid plan)
Integration with Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Foursquare, and MailChimp allow you to create integrated campaigns that live on a number of platforms, and throwing together a simple tab with these features takes literally just a few minutes. Shortstack even gives you a real-time live preview of your tab for guess-free look and feel.
The folks at Shortstack have gone so far as to include a number of premade templates where all you need to do is fit in the proper graphics and info.
With Shortstack, customizing the “little touches” are a breeze. Nearly every widget has a number of advanced options like visibility (to create a fan gate), commenting and share buttons. They make it simple to add backgrounds to each widget, so as long as you keep your sizes in mind, you can reskin the entire tab.
There’s also a full CSS editor too so you can go in and customize even further. Promotion widgets have been built to be compliant with Facebook’s guidelines, so when it’s time to launch, all you need is a good idea and the community!
Analytics and Support
Shortstack offers a Google Analytics widget you can build into your tab. Paid plans received their own dedicated analytics from Shortstack servers. Pair these up with trackable URLs and you’ll be able to have a rich idea of the data coming in and out of your Facebook campaign.
They also invest in their community, with forums offering new design ideas, troubleshooting and tips for using the platform. The tech leads host and save webinars designed to teach anyone how to use their service.
I watched one about CSS basics and by the end of the video was modifying their templates along with their step by step videos.
Their tiered pricing system is competitive with other services like Wildfire or FanAppz. Anyone can sign up and try their limited service (branded with no promotion widgets) which is free up to 2,000 fans.
Their Silver Dollar plan is designed for small companies/brands, and allow white label publishing to one fan page. The Short Stack, Full Stack, and All You Can Eat plans get into unlimited page uses, custom application publishing, and the full analytics package.
Shortstack Labs is almost perfect for any business from individuals to large brands, since it can be used in many different ways depending on your level of coding. The ability to turn out promotions and change tabs quickly makes this a solid tool in any strategist’s toolkit.