Facebook is undoubtedly the king of the social media. This vast platform of millions of users is open for all kind of websites to interact with readers, build communities and increase engagement. Integrating Facebook into WordPress can enable your website to take advantage of Facebook's huge social media platform and massive user base. In this post we will look at how you can combine the power of Facebook into your WordPress powered website using plugins.
I am not including some popular plugins to add social sharing buttons and widgets in this post. The purpose of this post is to review plugins that provide more options to combine the power of WordPress and Facebook together.
WP4fb- WordPress For Facebook
WordPress for Facebook is a powerful plugin for creating facebook pages with WordPress. However, the reason I am mentioning this plugin here is not its ability create Facebook Fanpages with WordPress, but making your facebook fanpages go viral. This plugin is particularly useful for marketers, advertising and social media marketing agencies, brand managers, and anyone who wants to promote their viral content on Facebook's massive platform.
- FanGate, ShareGate amnd InviteGate allow people to see your fanpage after they have liked it, shared it, or invited their friends to an event. These features are particularly useful for promotions, contests, campaigns for brand pages.
- Viralcomments feature makes your facebook comments go viral. When a user comments on your content, their comment along with a linkback to your fan page appears on their wall.
- It can be used to manage unlimited Fan Pages. So if you have several facebook pages for different brands or clients then you don't need to worry about purchasing a new license for each page.
- This easy to use plugin comes in two flavors, free version which has only FanGate module and the paid version which has sharegate, invitegate and viral comments modules included as well.
Simple Facebook Connect
Simple Facebook Connect is a free and probably the most comprehensive facebook related plugin in WordPress repository. Written by Otto, a core contributor at WordPress and a moderator at official WordPress Support forums, Simple Facebook Connect has easy support available all the time. The plugin is well documented and comes in a modular form. This means that you can use only the modules that you want to use on your website. Currently Simple Facebook Connect has modules for:
- Login with Facebook
- User registration (must also enable Login)
- Like Button
- Share Button
- Publisher (send posts to Facebook)
- Sidebar widgets (enables all widgets, use the ones you want)
- Allow FB Login to Comment (for non-registered users)
- Integrate FB Comments (needs automatic publishing enabled)
- Photo Posting (integrate FB Photo Albums into the Media display)
Tip: You will not get to see the modules on the plugin configuration page unless you enter your App and Secret Keys and save changes.
Simple Facebook Connect automatically adds Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags to your website. Which allow your site to appear differently when a user shares, likes or recommends it. Simple Facebook Connect is modular and comprehensive so using it eleminates the need for using multiple plugins just for Facebook alone. It is easy to configure, but if you have trouble then there is a help button on top right corner of configuration page with detailed documentation.
Simple Facebook Connect »
WordPress Open Graph Protocol Plugin
WordPress Open Graph Protocol Plugin provides a simple way to just implement Open Graph Meta tags into your WordPress powered website. Open Graph Meta Tags tell Facebook how to pick up information to display when someone shares your page or likes it. WFBOGP is an excellent plugin to use if you are already using other Facebook plugins to display your fanbox, like buttons and other facebook social plugins.
- Picks up featured image or default image described by you to show with your posts when shared or liked on Facebook.
- Picks up description from excerpt, if no excerpt is given it picks up first 160 characters from your post's text.
- Uses post title in the title field and site name for the main page.
- Also provides snippet to Google+
Facebook WPress Viral tool for WordPress
Facebook WPress Viral Tool adds Facebook social plugins and Facebook connect functionalities to your website. This plugin allows users to sign in or sign up at your website using their Facebook credentials. You can store their name and email addresses to later use to send them newsletter or occasional promotional offers.
- Sign in or Register using Facebook credentials.
- Ask permission from connected users to use their email addresses for newsletter or marketing purposes.
- Ability to post on connected users walls.
- Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags implementation.
- Widgets to display fanbox, friends, connected users.
- Facebook Client for WordPress Plugin
Facebook Client For WordPress
Facebook Client for WordPress is a premium plugin that can turn a post or page on your website into a Facebook client application which visitors can use directly from your website by using connecting using the facebook connect. I particularly find this plugin very interesting and I think it would be very good addition to community, family, small business websites.
- Allow users to connect with your website using Facebook Connect.
- Ability to update status right from your website.
- Connected users can see their news feed.
- Users can comment and like their friends’ updates.
- Nice and simple user interface running on AJAX and JQuery so it is fast yet lite on resources.
Facebook AWD All in One Plugin
Facebook AWD All in One Plugin is a comprehensive package. It takes the same approach as Simple Facebook Connect by providing different modules/ plugins under one package. You can choose which features you would like to use and configure them. It is easy to install and configuration options are little too comprehensive for my taste, but I think some users who prefer attention to details would probably appreciate this approach.
- Implements Open Graph protocol by adding Open Graph meta tags.
- When a visitor connects to the site using Facebook Connect this plugin automatically registers them. This information is stored in your Database and is not removed even if the user unregisters from the site.
- Supports Multisite implementation.
- Facebook social plugins Like button, Fanbox and Activity Stream available through widgets and shortcodes.
- Design the look and feel of your like button, like box and activity stream.
Facebook Plugins, Comments and Dialogs for WordPress
This is a premium package of multiple plugins bundled together to provide a powerful solution. This package contains 7 plugins that provide different functionalities to implement on your website. It is easy to set up and configure. The like, recommend, like box options allow you to design how they appear on your website. It is not as comprehensive as some other plugins I mentioned above, but this plugin is simple and easy to use and implement with good documentation.
- Easy and quick implementation.
- Facebook social plugins Like button, Activity, Recommendation and Fan box included.
- Like or Recommend buttons can be included into posts automatically or you can use shortcode to add them manually into your theme.
- Open Graph Meta Tags used to display post image when shared.
- Implement Facebook Comments and Option to disable WordPress comments.
- It can create two type of dialogue boxes, one to post a status update on facebook, with optional link to your post with thumbnail. The other to add a user as friend.
Few Words on Using Facebook on your Website
Combining the power of two powerful platform, one Content Management System and the other Social Networking System, can be very helpful in promoting your website, brand, products or ideas. However, the key to success is not to go overboard with aggressive marketing. Try to make sure that your Facebook tools and utilities are not destroying the user experience on your website. Use these tools to generate user activity, engagement, communication, and you will find them rewarding.