Facebook offers webmasters and bloggers a lot of options for integrating their platform onto websites. Consider the number of users that are logging into Facebook on a daily basis and staying logged in throughout the day while perusing the Internet.
It makes sense that website owners would want to take advantage of the power of Facebook on their own sites, especially since Facebook is the most used identity when it comes to people signing into sites, as shown in the infographic above.
The best part is that Facebook offers several social plugins that you can implement onto virtually any website, some with very little coding knowledge required. Let’s look at these plugins, and the reason why you would want to have a few of them on your site.
The Like Button is probably the most well known and recognized of the Facebook social plugins. Like buttons can be placed on any page of your website and can be targeted to like the page that the button is on, or a URL that you specify. For example, you can have a Like button on every page of your site that, when clicked, will create a Like to your homepage.
To get the code for the Like Button, simply visit the developer’s page, enter the URL you want visitors to like and then customize the other features such as layout style, showing faces of people who have liked it, width, wording (Like or Recommend), font, and color then get the code.
If you want to incorporate the Like Button on a WordPress theme (say in your single post templates to work with each of your posts), you can use the following code in place of the URL:
<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=<?php echo rawurlencode(get_permalink()); ?>&layout=button_count&show_faces=false&width=100&action=like&font=verdana&colorscheme=light&height=21" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:100px; height:21px;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>
This will dynamically put the current page’s permalink in place of the URL for the Like, as used in the blog posts here at Kissmetrics!
The benefit of using the Like Button? It is great social proof when people come to a page or domain to see a large number who have liked it. Also, when people like or recommend your page, it shows up on their personal profile…
…to be shared in their news feed with all of their friends.
The visitor benefit – it’s easy to use. One click and they have shown their support. For your website – it makes it easy for visitors to promote you to their friends as well as increase the social support count. A win-win situation!
The Activity Feed shows all of the recent activity on a website to anyone, whether or not they are logged into Facebook. The Activity Feed box will start with activity on a website by a user’s friends (if they are logged in), and also can show the number of times certain content on the website has been recommended.
This will help guide logged in Facebook users to the items that their friends have liked as well as the top items that others like. To add the Activity Feed box, visit the documentation page, enter your website’s domain, and customize options such as the size, header, colors, and font. Then check whether you want to show recommendations (which I would recommend) and get the code to place on your website.
Similar to the Activity Feed’s show recommendations option, the Recommendations plugin shows the recent top content and the number of times that content has been liked to users whether or not they are logged into Facebook. If the user is logged into Facebook, they will see any friends who have liked content on the site.
This will make it easy for you to highlight the top content on your site for new visitors to find. To implement Recommendations, visit the documentation page, enter your website’s domain, customize the design options, and get the code to place on your website.
The Like Box allows website owners who have Facebook fan pages to see how many users are fans of their page on Facebook, see recent Facebook fan page posts, and like the fan page directly from their website.
To place a Like Box for your website’s fan page on your website, visit the documentation page, enter your fan page URL, customize the design options, and get the code to place on your website.
The Comments plugin allows you to incorporate Facebook comments onto any part of your website.
This can be a great way for a static website to incorporate comments onto a feedback or other interactive page on their website. Why use Facebook comments? Some users will prefer to simply comment with Facebook because they won’t have to fill out any other information or register.
Users also have the option to publish the comment to their profile, which will include their comment plus a link to the page they are commenting upon. This is a great way to expose your page to a Facebook user’s friends through their news feed.
The catch with the Comments plugin is that you have to take an additional step beyond just getting the code from the plugin’s documentation page. First, you must register your website as an application with Facebook by creating an application. You will start by entering the App Name as your website or company name and agree to the Facebook terms and conditions.
Also, be sure to enter your website URL and domain so that Facebook knows to authenticate on the correct domain.
Once you have your application setup, you may need to wait a day or two to start using it.
To implement Comments on a web page on your site, head over to the Comments’ documentation page, customize the settings and get the code. After that, go to the Developer’s App and copy your App ID. Replace that number with the APP_ID in the Comments code. Then paste the code onto the page of your site you want to have Facebook comments.
The Login Button allows users to connect to your site through their Facebook accounts. This social plugin can be implemented simply to show how many people connect to your site, or using more complex aspects of your website application (the same one you create for the Comment plugin above) to pull in user information such as email, location, interests and more, or even publish information from your website application to the user’s profile.
The Facepile plugin allows you to show a row of users that have liked your page or connect to your site through the Login Button via the website’s application ID.
While this is a simple way to show how many people have liked or connected with your page, it is (in my opinion) not any stronger than the Like Button, and certainly not more powerful than the Activity Feed or Recommendations box.
Last, but not least, the Live Stream plugin allows you to create a real-time chat for users on your website or connected through your website’s application.
This plugin is useful when you are holding an event, such as a webcast, webinar, or online class. I haven’t seen any Live Stream applications in action, but it does sound like a good concept. You can learn how to implement this on your site on the plugin’s documentation page.
Your Thoughts on Facebook Social Plugins
There you have it – a roundup of Facebook plugins for your website. If you haven’t used any of them, you ought to try them out as Facebook is the second most popular website on the Internet.
What social plugins have you tried out on your blog or business website, and what kind of benefits have you seen from using them? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.