Facebook applications have become a standard procedure in acquiring more Likes on any given Facebook Fanpage – no news there. However, there is a luring tendency for companies to create apps for the sake of having an app with giveaways, raffles or competitions which provide little to no connection to the actual brand at hand.

An App for App's Sake

Admittedly, competition is fierce and the choice of prizes to be won or rewards to be handed out influences user choices in liking a page or not. Some firms opt for rewards which are potentially more attractive to the masses than their own products. This however is a slippery slope, as the potential consumer is then no closer to the brand as he or she was before.

Sure, if your main goal is to have more likes than your competitors, applications which are well advertised but entail little integrated branding can be effective as well. Another case scenario is that your brand already has a very established Facebook presence and seeks to merely entertain and engage its fans through app games or the like.

Integrated Branding: A wise Choice.

However, if you are starting out with Facebook apps and seek to get the most out of your budget,  integrated branding and even product placement best serves your goal of long-term customers (if that is your goal – but why wouldn’t it be?). The more a user engages with a brand or product, and links these to a positive experience, the more likely he or she will continue to follow the company’s activities. Choose quality content and branding strategies over more unrelated content and activities which have nothing to do with your brand (just for the sake of the Likes). In Social Media one Like is not necessarily like another; for a Like to bring added value to a brand it should ideally be based on genuine user interest. This can only be earned over time.

So why not make the most of your brand exposure like Heineken did? They had fans design their bottle for 2013.

The key is to identify and consider your company goals, the image and message you wish to project and the potential audience you wish to appeal to. I claim that if the content (and prizes) of an application are linked to your company brand, the likelihood of long-term customer relationships, loyal fans and a sale’s uplift increases.

Thus, seize the valuable opportunity of having customized applications on your Fanpage and create a campaign which stays true to your brand in order to gain continuous returns. If you’re new to the game: No point of throwing money into marketing channels without a clear strategy behind it. Facebook is not a magic money maker, but more like a playing field for your brand to recruit more players. Let them know how they can benefit from being on your team.

Build relationships. Experience the impact. Boom!