Facebook Fan Pages provide businesses with an amazing opportunity to interact, communicate and develop personal relationships with consumers. As more and more business begin to take advantage of this incredible tool, how can you make yours stand out? Engage your audience, get them involved, start the conversation! While this can sometimes be quite difficult, Facebook provides users with over 10,000 applications to help this process.

Here is my top ten list of the best Facebook Applications to improve your Fan Page.

1. Discussions

One of Facebook’s most useful applications, Discussions, is one of the tabs that automatically comes on a Fan Page. The Discussions application allows you to have open conversations with your customers. Ask for their input, listen to their advice and answer their questions. This application effectively breaks down many of the barriers between businesses and consumers, and humanizes your business. Bishop’s University has effectively used the Discussion tab on their “Incoming Students of 2010” page to communicate with future students.

2. Promotions

This application allows companies to launch promotions and marketing campaigns on their Fan Page. Through promotions, businesses can offer contests, sweepstakes, coupons and giveaways. By offering these promotions, you are driving customers to your Fan Page which will engage them and improve your relationship with them.

3. Flickr

 Tab

The Flickr application tab allows users to view your Flickr feed right from Facebook. Although Facebook has photo sharing capabilities, Flickr’s is much more sophisticated and presents the photos in a higher quality. This is great, because consumers don’t have to leave your Page to view these photos. Similarly, Facebook offers applications for Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. By adding all of these applications to your page, your customer will never have to leave your Fan Page.

4. Memorable Web Addresses

This is one of my favorites – and always one of the first I apply when I create a new Page. This application allows you to create your very own personalized URL for your Fan Page. However, there are three stipulations – you must have 25 fans to create a memorable web address, you cannot have the same URL as another user, and once you create your URL, you can only change it once. These are very minor obstacles considering the benefits of this application. By having a memorable web address, you can easily steer your customers to your Fan Page. Instead of giving them a long winded URL comprised of a jumble of letters, numbers and symbols, you can simply direct to them to your personalized, easy to remember URL. For example, become a Fan of WebFuel on Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/WebfuelCanada!

5. Static FBML

Have you ever searched for a Facebook Application, but couldn’t find it? Ever wanted to create a specific, personalized tab on your Fan Page? FBML allows you to do just that. However, proceed with caution. This application is a little more complex, and requires some HTML knowledge – but it’s extremely useful! By using simple HTML, you can create a personalized tab with any info you want in it – along with a customized name that will appear on the tab. For example, Bishop’s University created a tab titled “Future Students”. Under this tab, Bishop’s provides prospective students with all of the basic info that they would need to know such as academics, residence, campus tours, etc. Since FBML is similar to HTML, you can also customize the style of the content is this tab (fonts, sizes, colors, etc.) as well as provide links.

6. ShopTab

Does your business sell products online? If so, ShopTab is for you. This application allows you to create a tab where consumers can browse through the products that you offer in your online store. Users can purchase these products from the tab, and the transaction still goes through your site, so there is no third party involved. There is, however, a small fee involved. ShopTab is great because it allows you to sell your products right from your Fan Page.

7. Extended Info

As you may have already noticed, the first tab on your Fan Page is Info. You may also have noticed that it is pretty useless – and unlike other tabs, it is unmoveable. For those who want to provide their fans with more detailed, in-depth information about your business there is the “Extended Info” application. This application also supports HTML which allows you to customize your extended info with colors, fonts, links, etc.

8. Poll

Having trouble engaging fans? Want to start the conversation? The Poll application allows you to do just that. Ask your fans for their opinion on current events, industry trends, or even about your company, products and services. This is an excellent application to get your fans participating and for you to gain knowledge about what your fans like, and dislike.

9. Social RSS

If you’re like us, you love to blog. Blogging is a great way to communicate ideas, opinions and information to others. The Social RSS application allows you to promote your blog through Facebook using RSS feeds. As you write blogs, they will be automatically posted to your Fan Page wall, as well as on most of your fans’ news feeds.

10. Testimonials

Customers are constantly being told by business that they offer the best quality, longest lasting, most efficient, most amazing products and services ever made. Sometimes this is the case, and other times it is far from the truth But how many customers actually believe you? Consumers are much more likely to buy a product if it referred to them by somebody else who has used it. So why not let your clients do the work for you. The Testimonials tab allows fans to post comments and reviews about the work that you have done for them. This will be accessible to anybody who visits your Facebook Page.

By adding and effectively using these applications, you can engage Fans and make your Facebook Page stand out. How will you customize your Page?