Mobility

Friendly for Facebook might be the app you and your business need

If you need Facebook to help promote your business, but aren't a fan of the official app, Jack Wallen highlights an alternative that brings instant messaging and the Facebook feed back together.

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Image: Jack Wallen

So many businesses, small and large, use Facebook. It has always been a great way to connect your business with clients and, in some cases, gage the needs of consumers or prospective clients. It's far from perfect, but when used correctly, it can be effective.

Thing is, when Facebook decided to isolate Messenger from the official Facebook app, en masse, people opted out of using the tool. Since then, the official Facebook app has added feature after feature that, for many, has lessened the experience and, in some cases, stripped the official app of reliability and efficiency.

That's where apps like Friendly for Facebook come in. This particular take on the venerable Facebook, built as an extension of the light Facebook mobile website, is a stellar solution for anyone who wants all of the functionality of Facebook rolled back into single app. With it you can enjoy:

  • News feed keyword filters
  • Feed sort by most recent posts
  • Ad block (in-app purchase of $1.99)
  • Fingerprint and passcode lock
  • Easily switch between multiple Facebook accounts
  • Material themes

For most, the simple integration of Messenger back into Facebook will be the big selling point of the app. This, alone, was the inspiration I needed for adopting Friendly. Having already to jump between multiple messaging apps was becoming a rather confusing dance. Did that client contact me from Messenger, Messages, or Hangouts? Having to deal with multiple applications for instant messages was becoming a bit of hassle. To that end, Friendly for Facebook was a breath of fresh air. No longer did I have to depend upon a separate app to communicate to friends, family, clients, or fans via Facebook.

The caveats

If there was one caveat to using Friendly over the combination of Facebook/Messenger is that you lose the ability to send money, ad GIFs, or play games. We are, however, talking business here, so the likelihood of needing GIFs or games is nil. As for the sending of funds, most likely businesses aren't taking advantage of this Messenger feature anyway. To that end, the caveats fizzle out and Friendly for Facebook becomes even more interesting.

The installation

Installing Friendly for Facebook is quite simple. Friendly is available for both iOS and Android. I'll demonstrate the installation on the Android platform. Here are the steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device
  2. Search for Friendly for Facebook
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Friendly App Studio
  4. Tap Install
  5. If prompted, tap Accept
  6. Allow the installation to complete

Once installed, you'll find the launcher for Friendly in your App Drawer and (depending upon your home screen launcher), your home screen. Tap the launcher to open the app. The first thing you will have to do is log into your Facebook account. Although you might already have the official Facebook app installed (and are logged into said app), you will still have to log into Facebook via Friendly. If you have two-step authentication for Facebook enabled (which you should), you will have to switch to the official Facebook app to retrieve the authentication code to allow Friendly access to your account.

Usage

Using Friendly for Facebook is pretty much a no-brainer, as it very much behaves like the Facebook app of old. From the main window (Figure A), you can access your page feed, messages, notifications, and the Facebook menu.

Figure A

Figure A

The Friendly for Facebook main page, as seen on a OnePlus 3.

One very nice addition to Friendly is the button in the bottom right corner. Tap the Friendly button to get quick access to the top of your feed, Settings, Feed Filters, and account switching (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure A

The Friendly button in action.

Feed Filters

This is one feature that should appeal to a lot of users. Tap on the Feed Filter button to gain access to the ad blocker (in-app purchase required), keyword filter, keyword/people hiding (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

The Friendly Feed Filter options ready to serve.

Adding accounts

If you want to be able to switch between your personal and business Facebook account (or between multiple personal accounts or multiple business accounts), do the following:

  1. Open Friendly
  2. Tap the Friendly button
  3. Tap Switch Account
  4. When prompted, tap Add Facebook Account (Figure D)
  5. Log in with the new Facebook account credentials

Figure D

Figure D

Adding a new Facebook account to Friendly.

Once you've added the new account, you can then easily switch between them by tapping the Friendly button, tapping Switch Accounts, and then tapping the account you want to use. It's that simple.

Make Facebook Friendly again

Since I started using Friendly for Facebook, I have been recommending it for anyone that wants to regain a bit of simplicity and ease of use with the mobile Facebook option. Once you start using Friendly, chances are you won't go back to the official Facebook/Messenger combo.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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