Odds are if you’re responsible for the digital marketing or social media strategy of an athlete, celebrity, team, league, or business, you will be considering how best to leverage Facebook’s relatively new Social Plugins on an official website or blog.
If you meet this profile, you may find yourself asking “what features does Facebook now provide for my website, how easy is it to implement, and what does all mean”? For an in depth look into the last question, check out our blog post from last month on the f8 conference. For part one and part two, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a quick overview that should shed a little light on the basics.
Open Graph Overview
The Facebook Open Graph offers sports marketers access to three types of Facebook data. Choosing what type of social information to leverage depends on your website’s strategic goal(s):
- Registration – Enables users to see friends that have registered for your website encouraging more people sign-up
- Engagement – Increases user engagement by making your sports content more social, e.g. friends can recommend your most interesting content within your website
- Reach - Provides a direct line of communication between your website and the fans and consumers who want to receive your content within Facebook
Most websites will be looking to first increase engagement on their website with the goal of expanding their reach as a byproduct of creating a more social conversation between sports fans.
Breakdown of Social Plugins
The three buckets of user activity and information above can be implemented through eight different Social Plugins provided by Facebook:
The goods news is that each of the above plugins are embeddable social features that can be integrated in your website with one single line of HTML. However, for superior integration, you will need to add metadata tags which is a bit more complicated. For most digital marketers, someone on your team should be capable of implementing this code.
Something else to keep in mind is that Facebook’s developer pages can generate the code for you. Enter your website’s URL, tweak the widget to how you want it to appear, and Facebook will generate the applicable code. Depending on the plugin you are manipulating, it will look something like this:
As seen above, Facebook will give you the choice to integrate the plugin with your code in two different ways: either an iframe or XFBML. For most people, especially those who have built websites on open source platforms like WordPress, the iframe plugin is sufficient.
Hopefully this brief overview has helped with learning the basics behind Facebook’s newest evolution of their developer API. Happy social plugin development! Have you had success with implementing Facebook’s widgets?