10 Ways to Add Facebook Functionality to Your Website

social media how toIntegrating Facebook into your website is an easy and free way to include a social dimension with the rest of your website business activity.

Facebook provides a selection of free plugins.

By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll understand your options for turning your website into a social hub and how to get started.

Why Facebook on Your Website?

Facebook has a grand vision: to connect the entire Internet, and every website on it, with a layer of social integration. The social network behemoth has been developing tools to assist in the spread of this vision since the introduction of the Open Graph in 2009.

Now, with over 10 social plugins available to the public (and free of charge!), website owners need to decide how best to utilize the available tools for their businesses. The first question you’re probably asking is: Do they even work?

Let’s look at some of the stats from SearchEngineLand:

  • The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic.
  • Users coming to NHL.com from Facebook spend 85% more time, read 90% more articles and watch 85% more videos than a non-connected user.
  • Outdoor sporting goods retailer Giantnerd.com saw a 100% increase in revenue from Facebook within two weeks of adding the Like button.

The research to date has pointed to the fact that Facebook integration helps drive traffic to websites and pages, as users interact with sites and increase the “earned media” of a brand (in other words, the mentions and exposure of branded content that the company didn’t pay for—the authentic word-of-mouth).

To decide which plugins are right for your website, check out the descriptions of each plugin below, along with recommendations for types of sites it is best used with.

#1: Like Button

The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click. 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.

like send

The Facebook Like button is a great way to direct traffic to specific items on your site that otherwise would not have gotten the fanfare.

This is a great way to direct traffic to specific items on your site that otherwise would not have gotten the attention. For example, if you include a Like button on every page and object on your website, you might find that one user who enjoyed a page enough to click Like draws an entirely new audience of his friends to become aware of your brand where they otherwise wouldn’t have seen it.

This approach worked very well for American Eagle, which reportedly added the Like button next to every product on their site and found that Facebook-referred visitors spent an average of 57% more money than visitors who weren’t referred by Facebook.

#2: Send Button

The Send button allows your users to easily send your content to their friends. It’s different from the Like button in that the content sent between friends is communicated via a Facebook message and not, by default, through a public news feed posting as a “Liked” item would be. This button is great for content that might be better served individually.

send button

The Send button is great for content that might be better served individually.

For example, if your business is a jewelry store, you should consider a Send button in addition to a Like button, just in case a website visitor is interested in sharing the page of a beautiful engagement ring he just stumbled across on your site with a specific few Facebook friends rather than his entire news feed (and ruin the surprise!).

#3: Comments

The Comments plugin lets users comment on any piece of content on your site. This plugin is especially handy for sites that are not built on top of a content management system (CMS) that already has comment threads built in.

For example, if your website only has product pages and no room for comments, and you’d like visitors to be able to leave comments on each page (or even only on some pages), the Comments plugin allows you this technical capability without having to build an entirely new comments solution for your web domain.

comments

The Facebook Comments plugin is especially handy for sites that are not built on top of a content management system (CMS) that already has comment threads built in.

#4: Activity Feed

The Activity Feed plugin allows you to show users what their friends are doing on your site through Likes and Comments. This is basically a listing of the most recent activity people have undertaken on your website (provided, of course, that these people also happen to be Facebook friends with the visiting user looking at the feed).

activity feed plugin

The Activity Feed plugin shows users what their friends are doing on your site through Likes and Comments.

Unless your website is heavily trafficked with a user base that takes many actions (also tracked by Facebook Open Graph tags), there is not a lot of use for this plugin on your page.

#5: Recommendations

The Recommendations plugin lets you give users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like. These “personalized” recommendations are compiled automatically by the plugin, using information from the most common activity on your site.

When a user is logged into Facebook and viewing these recommendations, the plugin also takes into greater consideration activity undertaken by that user’s friends (even if the user’s friends made less-popular choices than what regularly occur on the site).

Recommendations is similarly useful to the Activity Feed—if your site is not getting high enough traffic to fill in the plugin’s box with consistently updating recommendations, it can seem like a stale information feed, doing more harm than good.

recommendations

The Facebook Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site they might like.

#6: Like Box

The Like box enables users to Like your Facebookpage and view its stream directly from your website. You can toggle the stream of your Facebook page on or off with this plugin as well, so you have the option of showing a more detailed look into the types of content users can expect to see from your page when they commit to becoming a fan by clicking “Like.”

If your Facebook page messaging stream is consistently updated with interesting content that would be engaging even if taken out of the Facebook environment, keep the stream in the box. If, however, you don’t update your page regularly and the stream is stale, omit it from the Like box settings, as you don’t want to turn off users visiting your website from becoming a fan of your brand based on a seemingly outdated or disengaging stream.

find us on fb

The Facebook "Like" box enables users to Like your Facebook page and view its stream directly from your website.

#7: Login Button

The Login button lets you show profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button. This is only useful if you’re also going to add in a Registration function (below), which allows you to create a community of website users who are logged into your site (with their Facebook credentials).

When Facebook users login to your site with this plugin, they are also giving permission for your domain to access all the network-available personal information they’ve shared on Facebook, which allows your brand a greater understanding of the kind of users engaging with your website.

#8: Registration

The Registration plugin allows users to easily sign up for your website with their Facebook account. The registration process is simple for users, and generally includes input fields that are pre-filled with the users’ personal information if they are already logged into Facebook in another tab. This decreases the barrier to entry of signing up and becoming a user (and therefore a member of your community), because the pre-filled form takes one click to submit (whereas a typical account registration form has several blank fields to consider, plus that pesky process of creating a new login and password to remember!).

The Facebook Registration plugin is highly recommended to be included with any websites that require a login to participate, either in place of a traditional registration or in addition to conventional account signup options.

register

The Facebook Registration plugin is highly recommended to be included with any websites that require a login to participate, either in place of a traditional registration or in addition to conventional account signup options.

#9: Facepile

The Facepile plugin lets you display the Facebook profile pictures of users who have Liked your page or have signed up for your site. However, it only displays the pictures of a user’s friends (that the user is connected to on the network). It’s a visually appealing way to display the pictures of a user’s friends, especially coming in handy to surprise a visiting user when he suddenly sees his friend in an image on your site, realizing that his friend also likes the site.

facepile

The Facepile plugin displays the Facebook profile pictures of users who have Liked a page or have signed up for a site, but only if they are friends of the viewer.

If, however, the visiting user has few or even no friends who have Liked the page for your business, there are no pictures displayed. The Facepile plugin is appealing in that it can serve to entice visiting users who recognize a friend’s face in the pile to also click Like.

#10: Live Stream

The Live Stream plugin lets your users share activity and comments in real time as they interact during a live event. This plugin is similar to the Comments social plugin in that a visitor to your website can leave a comment on a page and also post that comment to his or her Facebook profile.

However, with the Live Stream plugin, visitors’ comments don’t remain permanently, and only the last 10 to 15 are displayed, depending on the height set for the plugin.

facebook

The Facebook Live Stream plugin is handy only if you anticipate hosting live events such as webinars, presentations, video viewings, etc.

Additionally, the moderator of the commentary (that’s you, the administrator of the website) cannot edit or remove comments (something you might want to do if comments are inappropriate). Instead, the administrator can ban users from the live feed.

This plugin is handy only if you anticipate hosting live events such as webinars, presentations, video viewings, etc. It should reside on the same page as the actual event, and need not be distributed on any extra pages.

Now that you know the best use cases for each social plugin, you can choose the integration(s) that are right for your site. When you do this, make sure to consider the amount of monthly traffic your site has been getting (and growing) month over month, to consider if some of the more recommendations-based plugins are right for you.

Note that the installation of each plugin involves technical implementation on the backend of your website (some demand greater technical depth than others), but Facebook has documented these details extensively to help you through the process.

What do you think? What social plugins do you already have on your website? Are you planning on adding any more? Leave us your questions and comments in the box below. We’d love to hear from you!

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About the Author, Maya Grinberg

Maya Grinberg is the social media manager at Wildfire Interactive. She specializes in corporate social media strategies and teaching businesses how to optimize them. Follow her on Twitter as @papayamaya or @wildfireapp. Other posts by »




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  • Greg

    Anyone have  good how to on the comments plugin?  Specifically how to moderate comments and such?

  • http://www.kimberlygauthier.com/ Kimberly

    I love these ideas; it’s amazing how much Facebook has become a part of my online experience.  I’ve really found the Facebook page like button to be helpful – I use the script that shows the number of likes and a few faces – I think it draws new visitors to like my page too.

  • http://www.urbanmedia.co.uk/ Urban Media

    Some great ideas here. It’s good to have an online presence across all channels - just make sure you don’t repeat yourself! The Facebook ‘Like’ button is definitely important and we try to incorporate social media for our clients. By setting up Facebook accounts, Twitter, etc as well as Website Design! Whatever we feel is right for the company/business/individual. Less can sometimes mean more!

    http://www.urbanmedia.co.uk 
     @theurbanmetro:twitter 

  • Maya Grinberg

    It’s not really possible to moderate them, there’s no real time holding queue that Facebook makes available. All you can do is flag and delete offensive posts after they appear live. 

  • Maya Grinberg

    Hi Kimberly! I wouldn’t be surprised if it did exactly that, just like it did for the websites surveyed by Searchengineland.

  • Maya Grinberg

    Hey Guys! Agreed that less is sometimes more. :) Thanks for the comment!

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  • Rebecca Watson

    Great article Maya. An additional piece of advice for publishers: if you want to get more value out of sharing buttons on your site, you can integrate a full-feature tool like Po.st. It enables you to show any sharing buttons (FB, Twitter, etc.) through one javascript tag, get all the data in one dashboard, and even generate revenue! Lots of publishers have chosen this approach instead of directly integrating the FB buttons.

  • http://www.leblogdumlm.com/ Armelle

    Hello, is there a way to know when somebody left a comment on your blog posts with the facebook comments plugin ? Thanks

  • http://www.wisnetsol.com/facebook-advertisement Facebook Advertisement

    Its really amazing, how Facebook has become integral part for every website serious to do business. Thanks for sharing the full list.

  • http://newhorizons123.com Julie Weishaar

    Facebook really IS taking over the world LOL – thanks for these great suggestions. I have a question about the  comments plugin. I am using EasyVideoPlayer and get the following error message: “Warning: this comments plugin is operating in compatibility mode, but
    has no posts yet. Consider specifying an explicit ‘href’ as suggested in
    the comments plugin documentation to take advantage of all plugin features.” – do you have any idea what that means or what I can do to fix it? I am a bit of a techno-moron. Thanks in advance for your response and this great post :)

  • http://askwendywebb.com/ Wendy Webb

    Thanks for this checklist!  I had already implemented most but did not fully understand the others.  Off to update!

  • http://singlemomweekly.com/ Single Mom

    We get a lot of questions on Facebook features from our readers.  Will send them here for an overview.  Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/isaiahmjackson Isaiah Jackson

    This is really awesome I never thought to use most of the ways discussed in this post. Will be implementing asap

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    You had me at . . . “The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic.” What a marvelous way to open the post. Great strategy to put up front why you should pay attention to the How-to’s that are about to come. 

    I’ve been lame about getting my business Facebook action all ninja-fied. Thank you Maya for showing me all this proof of why I need to sharpen my game and and what steps to take to do so.

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  • http://www.oluwatobisoyombo.com/ Oluwatobi Soyombo

    Great idea. I prefer the like and send buttons most. Thanks you for sharing this

  • Bonnie

    We are wondering if these plugins would be applicable to a catering business that is very individual rather than a corporate type of business.

  • Bonnie of Simply Dahlicious

    We are wondering if these plugins would be applicable to a catering business that is very individual rather than a corporate type of business.

  • Maya Grinberg

    Hey Julie! Thanks for your comment. You might find it useful to browse those more technical issues in the developer forums at Facebook– lots of great people there to help! Here is one article outlining in more detail the features of the comments plugin you’re trying to use: http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/472/

  • Maya Grinberg

    You got it! Thanks Wendy!

  • Maya Grinberg

    Thanks so much for the feedback, guys!

  • Maya Grinberg

    Glad to hear it, Isaiah!

  • Maya Grinberg

    Sweet, Lewis, thanks for the comment! I’m glad you’re getting Ninja-fied. Ninjas are the new rockstars are the new gurus! :)

  • Maya Grinberg

    You got it, Oluwatobi!

  • Maya Grinberg

    Hey Bonnie! It depends: do you want more customers than you currently have? Do you use any marketing materials or methods at all? If its a purely word-of-mouth or reference based business, and you don’t do anything to raise awareness of your brand, maybe not. But for all intents and purposes, if you advertise your business at all on the web, this is a great and free tool.

  • http://twitter.com/brandwithvideo Julie Weishaar

    Thanks so much Maya for the link. I will definitely be checking that out – like now :)

  • http://www.timtayag.com Jan Freud Gallon

    Awesome article Maya! I’ve been using some of the plugins for a while now and I am very pleased with it. 

    These plugins are pretty handy you just have to be conscious of how you place it on your website. Peppering your blog/site with too much might turn visitors away. Brand with caution use a decent combination of tools like the “Like Box” on the homescreen and the “Like/Send” button on articles. 

    With the comments box I suggest using another app like “DISQUS” to provide commenters with choices on how they want to be seen on your site.

  • http://www.timtayag.com Jan Freud Gallon

    Well you can use the Facebook profile as an avenue for customer service and a landing pad for future clients. It may be of help to you too, however you must maintain the account and check it from time to time. Just my two cents.

  • Johnib

    Techno Moron! I like that term! I am one too!

  • http://www.timtayag.com Jan Freud Gallon

    You might want to use another app for that. Try DISQUS your commenters can login and comment using Facebook, twitter, google, and yahoo. They also have an awesome moderation tool. Hey I don’t work for them hahaha I just find it useful.

  • http://www.dailytrader.com/ Global Wholesale Suppliers

    Face book has become very important part of every online user.You may start your business over here with  low investment  and may generate high revenue. I am really surprised and thankful to you for such a nice post and recommendations. If new entrants read it then they will definitely get benefits from it.

  • http://twitter.com/AimiablePaul Paul Fairburn

    Great summary.  
    On #8, there are 2 good reasons not to use only Facebook “in place of a traditional registration”. 1) Not everyone is on FB (I know!) …   and 2) Some workplaces don’t allow FB on their networks, so you’re preventing people who work there from registering.
    Use it alongside another registration method, and it’s great.

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Now-a-days Facebook became more popular social media in the network as compared to others. I am trying to add the Facebook functionality to my website for the last few days. I think this post would give better idea to me in adding its functionality. Thanks for sharing. Keep updating.

  • http://twitter.com/michalkonicek Michal Konicek

    Thank you for this post Maya, I love WildfireApp for multichannel promotions.

  • Steve

    Bonnie,
    I can see several ways that even a very exclusive catering business could benefit. Send me your contact info and I would be happy to review what you are doing and give you some ideas of other things that you could do to promote yourself to your target market. No cost or obligation. We deal with a number of high end businesses in a variety of industries and we, according to our clients, have done very well by them.
    steve@social-impact.com

  • Julia Mitchell

    Thanks for sharing some great tips here.  :)

  • http://www.smsproducts.com/brochure-boxes/brochure-boxes.htm Brochure Boxes

    There has to be a central hub for people to communicate, before it was AOL IM, now its Facebook and even Face Time for video. I even have used FB to do business and it helps. Tools are tools and we are going to eventually move on to the next thing but for now, we have our Like Buttons.

  • http://www.wholesalepages.co.uk/ Wholesale Suppliers Directory

    Facebook has become the power of  businessman now a days because of its feature and applications. It is providing chance to every kind of business in terms of improving traffic and customer size. Either you are in online business trend or any one else, you may get benefit from it by promoting your business over here. You may target a large number of people over here by advertising and marketing your product on facebook.

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  • Eric Sutherland

    Facebook plugins worth looking at to improve your site

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  • David Hughes

    OK, I must be missing great tools on Facebook and unfortunately I don’t know where to find these tools.  How do I access them?

  • http://iquariusmedia.com/ Dequeandreu

    Some nice info here on Facebook functionality to your website. Thanks

  • Karel van Tonder

    How do I set up this Like Page?  I have already set a page for Property Portil.  How can I set it up step by step for social marketing?  Kind regards.  Karel van Tonder. 082 454 1497

  • patelanjali

    The social network behemoth has been developing tools to assist in the spread of this vision since the introduction of the Open Graph in 2009.

  • http://www.yourdigitalspace.com/ Swamykant

    I use most these tools on my blogs. They do improve the engagement.

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  • http://naushad.me/ Naushad

    Great summary,

    How about adding an Event created at Facebook and allowing visitors on a website to directly “Join / Share” event ?

  • huntergraphicdesign

    i want to view my Face book events on my web site. like a gig guide. how can i wrapper it so that i am still on my site and view this.

    any help would be great

  • Jennief

    Im  def a techno moron. I can get the code for differnt plugsin as suggested above but wheer do you  put it. Idon’t html at all
    Help

  • sharegyan001

     If you are trading in NSE, BSE, MCX and in NCDEX then let sharegyan give you all stock trading gyan

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  • http://www.facebook.com/joomlashine Tam Ngo

    Hi Maya Grinberg, I have a small question to ask. Hope you can help me. I have a fan page and I see that everybody can edit the info. Now I want to set it private, no one can edit it but me, so how can I do that? :( I search in the setting but can’t find anything.

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  • http://www.lolntroll.com/ Ahsan Yousuf

    Thanks for the tip i’ll definitely use this in my site

  • http://crazy-cool-gadgets.blogspot.com/ John Script

    Folks fail to understand that Social Marketing is really important. A good FB Like button can boost your stats, and that’s a fact!

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  • Hina Roohi

    Hi,
    If one is using FB registration feature you mentioned above, is it possible to held registration requests for approval (by the owner of site)?

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  • http://www.breaks.com/ Breaks

    Interesting to see so many facebook integration options beyond the simple “like” button – food for thought.

  • http://twitter.com/sanjay_vaidik Sanjay Yadav

    I have a website and want user facebook feeds and twits on my website in customized format. is it possible?

  • hemant

    as a wedding photographer, social pluggins are essential for my website http://www.crystalvisualmedia.com

  • Guest

    How to i add “Facebook” activity feed into a web page..(preferably on HTML page)

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  • James Bishop

    Hi Maya,

    I’ve just started to play with the wordpress Facebook plug-in. Its good and seems to cover all the basis. I’ve set it up on one client test site and got it working, using an app on my own facebnook developer account.

    Anyway, i think my query relates more to facebook and how that works from a multi client perspective. I run a number of client sites. Some of those clients have personal facebook accounts, some dont, others have both a personal account and a business account/page.

    I’ve set up a developer facebook account on my personal account. I’ve created an app called ‘test app’. I;ve taken the app id and the secret from the facebook app and added them to the WordPress plugin. Hey presto, it seems to work.

    By just doing this, i seem to be able to get it all working on the client test site. However, there are somethings i’m finding it hard to get my head around.

    1)Is it practical (or even possible) to use my personal facebook developer account to run several different apps to manage multiple client integrations? or is this just going to link my clients sites to my facebook timeline? Ultimatley, i dont want my client’s sites linked to my facebook account/timeline as that will get confusing and i dont want data or updates crossing sites/feeds they shouldn;t be!!

    2)How can i associate a client company page account to my personal facebook account so that i can control the integration?

    3)Is it just going to be easier to set up the client with a facebook developer account and set up a facebook app on an individual basis? and again, if its running of their personal account, how do we get the focus on to the company page, not their personal page?

    Sorry if i’m not making sense!! I cant see the wood for the trees at the moment and its getting a bit frustrating. Facebook verificaiton and other bits are doing my head in!!

    Thanks in advace for any pointers.

    James

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  • http://www.facebook.com/niaz.eit Eittest Works

    Very helpful article.. Must Read for every Developer

  • kapush

    Thanks. This is the exact kind of post I was looking for – one that explains the uses of all these numerous apps.

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  • AKSHAY SARKAR

    Their is so much to learn in this industry..!! thanks for ur blog,really hellped out :)

  • sara

    can u tell me how to do it?!!

  • Jenz

    Is there any plugin for displaying profile image of users who liked your website. Like button is not showing images.

  • Sam

    Anyone please help me including signin option in my site “Signin with facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc.”

  • Ahmed Murad

    Roopokar is a website design and web development company
    located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We are offering high end website design
    and development for national and international clients.

    We also provide comprehensive digital marketing, app development and software
    development services. We promise international standard service within
    reasonable price.

  • Guest

    This is only a test.









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