social media toolsDo you want more of your content shared on Facebook?

Are you wondering how to make it easy for people to share your site or blog content on Facebook?

Which Facebook widgets are best?

Facebook recently introduced the Facebook Recommendations Bar—which is different from the Facebook Recommendations Box—and the Like Button and the Like Box.

But what are the differences and how do you decide what will work best for you? And then how do you install them?

recommendations bar announcement

Similar to the Like Button, when people like an article using the Recommendations Bar, a story is published back to their Timeline and friends' news feeds.

We’ll dive deep into those questions in this article (hint: your best solution may be a combination of the options).

#1: Recommendations Bar

First let’s talk about the newest plugin, the Recommendations Bar. This really is more of a popup box that is shown to readers of your blog post as they scroll down your post.

The Recommendations Bar is good for people who have blogs because it can help direct them to other blog posts that people liked on the site.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the Recommendations Bar:

  • Pops up inline with your blog post. You can choose what percentage of your article must be read before the box pops up.
  • You can choose to have the words Recommend or Like as the verbiage in the upper-left corner. That verbiage is then used in the Activity post.
  • When someone clicks Like or Recommend in the upper-left corner of the Recommendations Bar, that information is sent to the Activity area of readers’ Facebook Timelines and also appears in the Ticker for their friends to see.
  • Can be minimized by clicking the square in the upper-right corner of the popup box.
  • Only appears if the person reading your blog post is logged into their Facebook personal profile. If they are logged in as their page, it won’t appear at all. If the person is not logged into Facebook, the popup will appear but if they click Like, they will have to log into Facebook to complete the Like.
  • Shows how many people have liked the post, as well as whether a friend has liked the post, which is good social proof for your articles.

Here is a video tutorial on how to install and configure the Facebook Recommendations Bar using the Facebook WordPress plugin.

As mentioned in this video, use this post as a supplement to help you install the Facebook plugin.

recommendations bar inline

The Recommendations Bar can pop up at the beginning of the article and have the word Recommend rather than Like.

recommends bar activity

Different information appears in my Recent Activity if someone likes or recommends the article from the Recommendations Bar.

recommendations bar popup box

The Recommendations Bar shows how many people like the article and whether a Facebook friend of the reader likes the article.

When people see that one of their Facebook friends has also read and liked the article, they may be more interested in reading the article. The ability to keep people on your website reading your content and getting to know you better will help you convert readers to customers.

#2: Recommendations Box

The Recommendations Box is the older Facebook plugin (with the confusingly similar name). It appears in the sidebar of your website.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the Recommendations Box:

  • Showcases popular articles on your website.
  • Doesn’t have a social side to it.
  • If you click on one of the articles, you are taken to the article but it doesn’t appear as a like or recommendation in Facebook. It is just a way to show popular articles with the number of people who have liked them.
recommendations box

The Recommendations Box is displayed on the sidebar of your website.

This plugin is a good choice if you want to have a list of popular articles in your sidebar with some social proof listed underneath the article.

But Facebook has done some initial experiments and found that the Recommendations Bar was getting three times more clicks than the posts in the Recommendations Box, according to a blog post from Facebook developer Jeffrey Spehar.

Add the Recommendations Box to have a list of popular articles, but using both the Recommendations Box and the Recommendations Bar may be overkill. Choose the one that fits better with the design you want—inline with the Recommendations Bar or on the sidebar with the Recommendations Box.

#3: Like Button

You may be familiar with the Like Button already. If you click the Like Button, you’re sending the activity back to your Facebook personal profile that you like the article you’re reading.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the Like Button:

  • You can choose the verbiage Like or Recommend for the button.
  • The action of Like or Recommend shows in the Activity area and the Ticker, similar to the way the Recommendations Bar works.
  • You can choose if you want to display the number of people who have liked the article or post and even if you want to show the profile pictures of people who have liked the post (this will only show the profile pictures of someone’s Facebook friends who like the post).
  • Shows up with an indication that the button is there if someone is logged in as their page.
  • It can also easily incorporate the Send Button, which allows people to easily email the article.
like button

The Like Button can have the number of people who have liked the post and the Send button.

facebook like button switch back

Indication that the Like Button is there, and you need to switch to your personal profile to use it.

Use the Like Button when you have a lineup of social sharing buttons. People will look for your social sharing buttons all in one place. But if you have your social sharing buttons with a different plugin, then you may not need it.

If you are using the Recommendation Bar, you may not want to rely on that alone to allow people to like your post, since it doesn’t show up when someone is logged in as their page.

#4: The Like Box

The Like Box is different from the Like Button in that it allows you to bring your Facebook page to your website versus sending activity about your website to your readers’ Facebook profiles. The Like Box resides on the sidebar of your website.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the Like Box:

  • Can be configured to show the profile photos of people who like your page, the last few posts from your page and other design elements such as width, height, and color scheme.
  • Shows an indication that it is there if someone is logged into Facebook as their page with a prompt to switch back to the user profile, similar to the Like Button.
  • When someone clicks Like, they will automatically like your page but not leave your website.
  • If you have a Like Box with the stream showing (the last few posts), someone can click on the stream to be taken to Facebook or even click on the links you have shared on your Facebook page.
like box

The Like Box can be configured with faces and different styles and allows someone to like your Facebook page without leaving your website.

facebook like box configuration

Add the URL of your page and configure the Facebook Like Box.

The Like Box is a very useful plugin to allow people to like your Facebook page right from your website. None of the other plugins accomplish this, so it is a good one to keep if you don’t want to have people navigate off of your website to go like your page. You can configure the Like Box so that it doesn’t have to take up too much space on your sidebar.

Installing the Plugins

Now let’s talk about the easiest way to install many of the available Facebook plugins onto your website.

If you’re using WordPress, adding a suite of Facebook plugins is easy with the Facebook Plugin for WordPress. All you need to do is download a zip file, install the plugin and configure your own app on Facebook (which is completely outlined for you by Facebook).

Then you just choose which Facebook app you want to add.

These plugins are shown in the Facebook Plugin area of the sidebar: Social Publisher, the Like Button, the Subscribe Button, the Send Button, Facebook Comments and the Recommendations Bar.

Take a look at this post which shows you exactly how to install each of these options.

Then you’ll find the Facebook Like Box, Recommendations Box and even the Like Button and Send Button (another way to install them) in the widgets area of Facebook. Drag the widget over to your sidebar and configure it.

widget area

The Like Box and Recommendations Box are in the Widget area of your WordPress site.

If you have a non-WordPress website, then you’ll have to use the Facebook Developers site to get the code for each of these Facebook plugins.

Deciding What’s Right for You

Now that we’ve covered all the bases on the different plugins and you see the differences, you need to decide what’s right for you.

How much social interaction do you want? Do you want someone to be able to like your Facebook page easily or is that not as important as sharing your post with their friends? Maybe you already have social share buttons on your blog and you don’t want to add anything new.

A combination of these options may be best. At Social Media Examiner, we have a Like Box and the Like Button. Perhaps you want to experiment with the traffic generation of the Recommendations Bar to try to keep people on your site.

What do you think? We’d like to hear from you. What are your thoughts about all of the options? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Wow, I had never heard of the recommendations bar.  I love that new plugin and can’t wait to see it in action on my page.  Thanks Andrea!

  • I’ve been looking for a great popular posts widget for my website and I think I’m going to have to give the recommendation bar a try. Thanks for sharing. 

  • Hello Andrea,

    Great post! What I love most about facebook is it gets so viral. Those plugins you’ve mentioned indeed works if you want to drive more traffic to your content. Thanks again.


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  • Those are coming at very expensive price of website speed as adding few redirects and HTTP requests. On a busy website, this may turn into nightmare as most of those doesn’t offer asynchronous loading option. 

  • Andrea, thanks for the very potential article, according to my knowledge & experience Recommendations Bar is driving traffic and I have to give it a try on my site, your video tutorial is going to help a lot.

  • Thanks for sharing, Andrea! If WordPress used for site/blog, the plugin-pack “Facebook for WordPress” – – is recommended (Social Publisher, Like Button, Subscribe Button, Send Button, Comments, Recommendations Bar + 5 widgets)

  • T. Shays

     Same here – great plugin to know!

  • Awesome!  So glad to have helped.  The Recommendations bar is relatively new and I really like the way it works.

  • Good point Kaloyan!

  • I really like the look of the Recommendations Bar…thanks so much for sharing these valuable tips Andrea!

  • It definitely does – I love when people come to me and they say, I don’t know where I’ve heard of you but it’s been from several of my friends and I think the ease of sharing helps!

  • Thanks Tufail!

  • Yep, that’s the one you need!

  • Glad to help Anita!

  • Great list Andrea – thanks! 

    Would be great to see a list of plugins that work “the other way around”: thus WordPress plugins that create custom Facebook Tabs (such as WP4FB)!

  • I have came across all of them, except the recommendations bar. It seems rather of a new tool, so maybe that’s why. But I really like it and I will surely use it on my website in a near future, because all of these plugins are a great way to bring traffic to your site – helping you spread the word. 

    Thanks for the post, Andrea.

  • Anne

    Great explanation Andrea! Any recommendations for a plugin that shows the last posts you’ve put on your page and has a like box to like the page?

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Yes, it will be fun to see where this goes. I’m a bit wary of this being gamed though. Let’s see how it works 🙂

  • I am having an issue with that plugin and Open Graph. Anyone care to assist me?

    If I define an Action type, I get multiple errors. If I only define an object type, I get a warning about an image: 

  •  Great post! What I love most about facebook is it gets so viral. Those
    plugins you’ve mentioned indeed works if you want to drive more traffic
    to your content. Thanks again.

  • davidpierpont

    Sadly some of the “Like” button features are going away. So now you will not have an individual count per “Like” button, the number has to be associated with a public page and it’s like count.

  • AnnMullen

    Great ideas. I am not sure which ones I “like” the best. Thanks.

  • Andrea, just in time for my new blog and my new Fan Page! Thank you for the great
    information. I’ll be working on FB as on online marketing strategy to
    drive traffic to my blog but now I can drive traffic from my blog to my Fan Page as well!

    Thanks again!

  • Niveen Salem

    Andrea, just in time for my new blog and my new fan page! I’ll be using FB to drive traffic to and from my blog! Thanks again,

  • Andrea thanks for this info.  I agree with other users that the recommendation bar is a great new addition.  I’m liking the all in one WP plugin.  I’ve installed the like button and box as separate items.  Much nicer to have it all in one plugin.

  • Annie

    useful piece of info. thanks Andrea

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  • LAcroAt

    For a company that utilizes support, we’ve gone the route of enabling a LiveChat option for customers who come to our page. It allows them to have a better experience, get their issues fix, and it avoids the long wall discussions that you may run into when customers have complaints via Facebook.

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  • Thank you for another great article of recommendations. I just installed the Facebook Recommendations Bar and it looks great!

  • I haven’t had the easiest time installing this plugin, but it is at least partially working. I’ve been fooling with the recommendation bar and although I have it set to appear on all posts and all pages, it doesn’t seem to appear when is_home is_front_page, this is debugging code which I included in my theme so the recommendation bar is not appearing on the home page or the front page. I’m not sure it appears on any “index” pages and maybe it shouldn’t but the all posts and all pages setting versus the individual posts and individual pages implies that it should…

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  • As a new blogger, it is good to get to know how to do it correct 1st time.

  • All of the plugins above act as word of mouth marketing for our websites. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  • now i know what I needed to boost my facebook accounts.

  • now I know what Plugins on facebook will boost my followers.

  • Niveen Salem

    I’ve been having the same problem with the Recommendations Bar. It’s not showing on any of the pages although I have checked it off to appear as well, configured the Trigger and Read Time and saved it. This was done through Facebook plug in by Facebook – Version 1.0.2.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Thank you,
    Niveen Salem

  • I agree Facebook Recommendation Plugin helps increase fans and followers on facebook. Facebook Like Box and Like Button works like the same.

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  • thanks dear.great work.keep it up and more post.

  • Thank you so much. I really do appreciate this great post. I have successfully set up my app. 

  • Thanks for sharing, I’ve not gotten the Recommendation tool which is fab by the way!

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  • Chap Seakly

    Very good plugin to learn. thank a lots for your post.

  • Can anyone tell me why this facebook page
    ( does not work
    within the facebook like box social plugin? I am using the developer pages at

  • Amanda

    Ok, I have a Q. I shared an article link and after posting the article on FB, the preview image had a bar below it that said “Want to see more from ___?” Like (and there was a like button for their page, which automatically signed readers up to them just from my one article… I want to do this for my page. How can I do this? Is it a plugin i need to install?