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Feed Your Facebook

10 Dec 2011 | Posted Under Internet
In my last blogpost I showed you how to break out of the next on Twitter by using hashtags.  This week I am going to show you how to build your following on Facebook without having to work up a sweat by employing plugins.

While many of you understand the importance of using Facebook to build an audience, precious few realize that there are a number of facilities built into the platform that can make the endeavor more proactive.  Below are a few Plugins to help you feed your facebook.

Plugin#1: Adding the Like/Send Buttons

Facebook offers a set of widgets called Social Plug-ins that you can drop into any web page.  One of the first you will want to familiarize yourself is the Like Button.  Adding the button isn’t all that difficult as long as you follow the instructions.  First you need to go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/ and look for the dialog box under the heading Step 1 – Getting the Button Code.  By simply copying and pasting the url of the page you wish to add the button and hitting the button that reads, “Get Code,” facebook will return both the Java and html code you need.  Simply paste the code where you want the button to appear and then follow the instructions below.

Direct from Facebook

The Like/Send buttons lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user's friends' News Feed with a link back to your website.

When your Web page represents a real-world entity, things like movies, sports teams, celebrities, and restaurants, use the Open Graph protocol to specify information about the entity. If you include Open Graph tags on your Web page, your page becomes equivalent to a Facebook page. This means when a user clicks a Like button on your page, a connection is made between your page and the user. Your page will appear in the "Likes and Interests" section of the user's profile, and you have the ability to publish updates to the user. Your page will show up in same places that Facebook pages show up around the site (e.g. search), and you can target ads to people who like your content.

I know what you’re thinking…“What the heck is the Open Graph Protocol?”  Don’t panic, it isn’t as complicated as you might think.  Follow the steps below to add the Like/Send Buttons it to your website.

To use Open Graph protocol, follow the following steps

 Step1: Add following tag just before the <head> tag on your web page:
<html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” xml:lang=”en” xmlns:og=”http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/” xmlns:fb=”http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml”>

Step2: Add following open graph protocol meta tags in the head section (<head>…</head>) of your web page:
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Enter title of your web page here“/>
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article”/>
<meta property=”og:url” content=”Enter the URL of your web page here“/>
<meta property=”og:image” content=”Enter image URL which represent your object here“/>
<meta property=”fb:admins” content=”Enter your facebook user ID here“/>
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Enter the name of your website here“/>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Enter one or two sentence description of your web page here“/>

Step3: Once you have added your special meta tags, you can now add the code of ‘like’ button into the body section (<body>..</body>) of your web page. You’ll need to include the JavaScript SDK on your page once, ideally right after the opening <body> tag. (Copy this from the top box of the “Your Like Button plugin code:”)

It should look something like this:
<div id="fb-root"></div>
<script>(function(d, s, id) {
  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
  if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;}
  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1";
  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>

At first blush all this sounds like a lot of work, but once you have done it even once, it takes less than 5 minutes.  Just make sure you dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s. You'll know right away if you have left something out of the equation, since the plugin will not display.   If you want to see what the finished product looks like, go to my blog at http://jacksonville-video-production.com/onlinetv.html  By right clicking and hitting “View Page Source” you can see what you need to include to get the buttons up and running.

Why should you add the Like/Send Buttons?   

This is a great way to increase your distribution with the click of a mouse. Whenever a Facebook user visits your site and clicks on the button, a link to your page will automatically be added to their activity stream. This also means that all of their friends can see and click on it which will send them to your page. Better still, when the friend arrives, the Like button shows which of their friends have already clicked it, and when they click on it, a link to your page gets added to their stream.

When someone Likes your page, it does more than just pass the link around. For instance, if you are an author touting a book and  I go to your fanpage and “Like” your book, Facebook will add a link to your book’s website in my profile. If I keep a list of my favorite books in my Facebook profile, a link to your website will be added there.

Now here’s the part you are really going to like.  Once you have the page configured per the instructions above, it is a snap to drop other plugins onto the page.  Below are a couple more that I use to increase readership.

Plugin2: Recommendations
 
The Recommendations plugin shows personalized recommendations to your users. Since the content is hosted by Facebook, the plugin can display personalized recommendations whether or not the user has logged into your site. To generate the recommendations, the plugin considers all the social interactions with URLs from your site. For a logged in Facebook user, the plugin will give preference to and highlight objects her friends have interacted with.

You must specify a domain for which to show recommendations. The domain is matched exactly, so a plugin with site=facebook.com would not include activity from developers.facebook.com or www.facebook.com. You can specify multiple domains and the results will be mixed together.

To add this plugin to a page, go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/recommendations/

Plugin3: The Registration 
This little beauty allows users to easily sign up for your website with their Facebook account. The plugin is a simple iframe that you can drop into your page. When logged into Facebook, users see a form that is pre-filled with their Facebook information where appropriate.  The registration plugin gives you the flexibility to ask for additional information which is not available through the Facebook API (e.g. favorite movie). The plugin also allows users who do not have a Facebook account, or do not wish to sign up for your site using Facebook to use the same form as those who are connecting with Facebook. This eliminates the need to provide two separate login experiences.

Go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/registration/ to obtain the code needed to install this plugin.

Plug This In

For a complete listing and description of available Facebook Plugins, go to
http://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/

Carl Weiss has been plugged into the Internet professionally since 1995. He owns and operates Access-JAX.com and Jacksonville-Video-Production.com among other sites.  If you want to turn your website from an E-brochure to a lead generating, cash register ringing machine, go to either of the above sites and click on the Free Web Presence Analysis form to find out how plugged in your company is online.


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