There's nothing tiny about the power of a short stack--or of the DIY Facebook page builder ShortStack. Both the pancake order and its namesake company deliver results that won't devour your budget. The programmers behind ShortStack specialized in building Facebook apps before deciding to focus on a DIY service for business users.
"We saw an opportunity for Joe from Joe's Pizza to use this thing and make himself his own Facebook page," says Jim Belosic, ShortStack's CEO and co-founder. "It's kind of like WordPress for Facebook."Graphic designer John Kwon started using the tool when it was in its beta version last October. While he had little coding experience, within a month he was able to start developing Facebook pages for his clients--a service that's added 30 percent to the annual revenue of his Lomita, Calif.-based social media branding, design and marketing firm, Social Mediarts.
"It's even brought in clients who are social media marketers themselves," he says. "We do the design and hand it off to them to run with. This is something I never would have been able to offer."
ShortStack users can develop an unlimited number of custom tabs with themed content and, with more than two dozen widgets on tap, add Flash content, Google Maps, polls and product suggestions. Businesses can also offer browsers extra incentive to "like" their page by serving up just-for-fans content once they click on through.
Because the ShortStack team is completely focused on all things Facebook, they also keep up-to-date on the latest terms of service, making it easy to launch a contest or sweepstakes that won't get Facebook staffers' knickers in a twist. Contest information is not submitted to Facebook, but to the sponsoring company via the form, and notifications must be made outside of Facebook's communication channels. ShortStack also allows users to program content to refresh pages regularly. While ShortStack counts major brands including Volvo and Samsung among its clients, the service's easy-to-use interface and low price were designed to attract smaller businesses, Belosic says.
Companies with fewer than 2,000 "likes" get a free ride. Once the fan counter ticks past 2,000, a tiered pricing structure applies, ranging from $15 per month for up to 25,000 users to $300 per month for an unlimited number of users and support.