Jan 11, 2012

Facebook Social Plugins

Facebook currently boasts a variety of Social Plugins. These plugins offer some awesome opportunities to amplify your business' social media marketing efforts. Let's cover the most popular ones and see how you can use them creatively and effectively on your website.

Like Button

The like button is probably the most common Facebook Social Plugin on the web, and I'm sure you've seen it on other websites and blogs already. The plugin allows users to share pages from your site on their Facebook profile with just one click. It's Facebook's official "share" button for the web.

Marketing Uses: The Like Button is a Facebook plugin staple. Adding it to your website will encourage readers to share your content with their individual networks on Facebook. Doing so will expose your content to potential fans and customers outside of your direct network and expand your reach. Here's a sampling of ideas for where you should add this button:

  • To every individual blog post you publish
  • To the landing pages for your lead gen offers
  • To your website's homepage
  • To you website's case studies pages
  • Any page you want visitors to share with their Facebook friends!

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page on the Like Button to learn how to install it on your website.

Send Button

What it Is: The Send Button enables your website visitors to easily send content to their friends in a private message, whether it's via a Facebook message, a wall post to a specific Facebook Group, or an email.

Marketing Uses: While this plugin, given it's more private applications, won't increase the reach of your content quite as much as the Like Button, it can offer your less public website visitors more sharing options for your content. In addition, if you're already planning on adding a Like Button to your content, you can create a combined button that displays the Like and Send Buttons next to each other on your web page. Use the Send Button anywhere you'd use the Like Button to provide your web visitors with additional sharing options!

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Send Button to learn how to install it (or a combined Like/Send Button) on your website.

Comments Box

What it Is: The Comments Box is a plugin that allows visitors to comment on your website. It leverages social signals to highlight the highest quality comments from users and are ordered to display the most relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most Liked or active discussion threads. If a commenter keeps the “Post to Facebook” box checked when posting a comment, a story will appear in his/her friends’ News Feeds mentioning that he/she made a comment on your website. It will also link back to your website. And if someone comments on the story on Facebook, the comment will get pulled into the Comments Box on your site as well!

Marketing Uses: At first glance, Facebook's Comments Box sounds a lot like the comments feature on your blog, right? But with Facebook's plugin, commenting becomes so much more social, as comments can get published to Facebook and attract even more attention to the page on which the Comments Box resides. Furthermore, the Comments Box can be added to any page on your site, even if it's not a blog. Consider the following places you can add a Comments Box to your website to increase social sharing, leverage transparency, and promote third-party social validation:

  • To your products pages
  • To you case studies pages
  • To your website's content library
  • To your testimonials page
  • To a dedicated landing page to generate discussion or feedback around a specific topic

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Comments Box to learn how to install it on your website.

Activity Feed

What it Is: Facebook's Activity Feed plugin displays the most interesting recent activity taking place on your website. The feed features content users have Liked on your site, content from your site that users have shared on Facebook, and content that users have commented on in a page's Comments Box (if installed).

Marketing Uses: The Activity Feed is a great way for you to feature some of your website's or blog's top content and attract/keep the attention of new visitors to your website. For a first-time visitor, a new site can be daunting. Where should they go? Which content should the check out? Use the Activity Feed to bubble up your top content to engage new visitors right off the bat and showcase your most recently published hits to returning visitors. A great place for this plugin is your blog, but you can also publish it to your homepage to surface your most popular content right off the bat. You can also opt to show recommendations in this plugin, which we'll discuss next. (Note: In order for this plugin to be useful to your visitors, your site needs to be generating a solid amount of traffic from users that take action by Liking, commenting, or sharing.)

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Activity Feed to learn how to install it on your website.

Like Box

What it Is: The Like Box enables businesses to attract new Likes (AKA fans) for their Facebook business page directly from their website. Site visitors can like their page with just one click without needing to leave the site to visit Facebook. The Like Box also shows how many other total Facebook users like the page, how many of the individual visitor's Facebook friends also like the page, and highlights posts recently published to the Facebook page.

Marketing Uses: Next to the Like Button, the Like Box is probably one of marketers' most useful Facebook Social Plugins. Essentially a "follow us on Facebook" button for your website, the Like Box is a great way to increase the following for your Facebook page and increase your Facebook reach overall. It makes it easy for site visitors to become fans, and eliminates the friction of requiring site visitors to leave your site to like your Facebook page. Great places to add the Like Box to your website include:

  • Your homepage
  • Your website's "About Us" page
  • Your website's "Contact Us" page
  • Your website's newsroom/press room
  • Your blog

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Like Box to learn how to install it on your website.

Subscribe Button

What it Is: The Subscribe Button is the equivalent of a Like Box for a personal profile. It enables a user to subscribe to a particular Facebook profile's public updates.

Marketing Uses: While you might think the Subscribe Button has little marketing application since it only applies to individual Facebook profiles and not business pages, there's actually a very effective use for it. Think about it: your reach on Facebook isn't limited to just your Facebook page. Chances are your employees are on Facebook, too, and it's likely they're already sharing information, content, and updates about your brand. Some of them probably have tons of Facebook friends, meaning they have a huge reach! If you have pages on your website featuring bios for your employees (or maybe just your executive management team), and they're on Facebook, it couldn't hurt to add subscribe buttons to those pages. Someone interested in your brand might also want to follow the individual updates of your company's CEO. Just be sure to encourage employees to share your business' content, too!

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Subscribe Button to learn how to install it on your website.

Registration Plugin

What it Is: Facebook's Registration Plugin enables users to easily sign up for your website using their Facebook account. When the user is logged into Facebook, it automatically populates registration fields with information pulled from the user's Facebook account to make signup quick and simple. If a user does not have a Facebook account, the same form can be used to collect registration information to create a seamless registration experience for both the user and the site.

Creative Marketing Uses: Considering that Facebook has accumulated 800 million users, using a Facebook-powered registration process will be helpful to many of your site visitors, eliminating time and effort. You can use this feature if you're implementing any sort of registration process on your website, whether your site includes a community element or you're attracting sign-ups for an upcoming event, webinar, or even content downloads. Keep in mind that Facebook's Registration Plugin doesn't need to be your site's only method of registration--it can be used in addition to other methods, providing another sign-up option for users.

How to Install: Visit Facebook's page about the Registration Plugin to learn how to install it on your website.

Hope this is useful to you!

In reference to a post on hubspot by Pamela Vaughan