Connect Facebook and your website to improve social marketing payback

There are now 1.9 million Facebook users in New Zealand, close to half the total population and too many to ignore. As you’d expect, they’re younger—80% are under 45 compared to 62% for the population overall. That still puts close to half a million in the prime, older book-buying age groups and there’s a 55% female skew which suits book marketers.

Booksellers are beginning to embrace Facebook with the local standouts being MightyApe.co.nz with more than 36,000 Facebook “fans” for its page, and Paper Plus with more than 5,000 including Kerre Woodham’s Books and Bubbles page.

Books and Bubbles with Paper Plus markets the book chain with events, photos and conversation with 'fans'

For many, though, the only connection with their website is a “Find us on Facebook” link buried deep in the home page copy. And with time short, the resources you put into updating a Facebook page too often come at the expense of your website, not to mention your real business. In fact, it often feels like all you’ve ended up with is two websites.

The good news is there are some simple things you can do to integrate these two sites and improve the value Facebook adds to your website and your business.

Before we look at a couple of them, it’s worth recapping some Facebook basics.

If you haven’t yet started, one of the most confusing things you’ll confront is that there are actually three different ways you can have a presence on Facebook.

  1. Facebook Profile. This is the core of Facebook and something that every one of its 670 million worldwide users, and 1.9 million Kiwis, has. A Profile is, basically, the page of an individual user and on Facebook that means a real person, not a company. Many people start their Facebook marketing via their Profile, especially if they’re strongly identified with the business. But you’ll soon outgrow it and many people prefer to keep their business and personal lives separate. Another important detail: it actually contravenes Facebook’s terms of use so your business dealings can’t be too obvious or you’ll risk being cut off. And, in any case, it limits access to some of the great tools being offered by Facebook and third parties to help marketers.
  2. Facebook Group. Any user (Profile) can start up a Group and some businesses have operated their Facebook presence as a Group—often because they didn’t understand the distinction between a Group and a Page. However, it’s not something Facebook encourages and, unless you’re really looking for a closed, moderated group discussion (maximum 5000 members) you should steer clear of Groups.
  3. Facebook Page. Formerly called Fan Pages, this is where the action is for businesses and where most of Facebook’s business-oriented tools are directed. One of the biggest benefits is that, unlike Groups and Profiles which are (mostly) visible only to invited Facebook users—“friends” in Facebook parlance—Pages are on the public Web, open to anyone to view. That includes search engines. With Facebook now one of the world’s biggest websites, its pages rank well, giving you another chance to be found in Google’s or Bing’s search results. (How you optimise your Facebook pages for search is a subject for another day).

The other thing you need to understand is the “Like” (or “Recommend”) button.

This has become increasingly ubiquitous around the web as website operators try to cash in on referrals from Facebook’s huge user base. Here’s what you need to kno

When Facebook users click the Like button for your Facebook Page, they join up, boosting the number of “fans” following your page. It also posts a note on the fan’s profile saying they like your page, and when you post an update to your page, it gets posted to each fan’s News Feed. So users don’t have to keep going back to your Page to get updates—and most don’t. Using a so-called social plugin, such as the Like Box (see below) you can let visitors to your website Like your Facebook page right from your website. No need to leave your site and visit Facebook to find you. You can also show them recent activity on your Facebook page, bringing it right into your website (shown below).

The Facebook 'like box' inside the Bookselelrs website

As well as Liking your Facebook Page, website visitors can Like one of your own website pages. Maybe your website has a page with book recommendations. You can add a Facebook Like Button to the page, typically near the top. When a Facebook user clicks on this Like Button, it posts a link to your page on their Profile and through it to their own network of Facebook friends. See below for how to do it.

Facebook calls these tools social plugins and you can find several of them here. Take a look and have a play with them.

Facebook's social plugins

Here are my two recommendations for starters.

Like Box. This will put a box on your website that looks just like your Facebook page, showing its latest updates and comments. It also has a Like button which a visitor to your site can click to sign up to your Page without leaving your website. You can customise the Like Box before adding it to your website, changing its width and a number of other parameters. You can try it out first to see what it will look like:

  • Go to your Facebook page and copy its URL (web address) from the address bar in your web browser.
  • Go to the Facebook Like Box link. Paste your page’s address into the box labeled “Facebook Page URL”. You’ll see it generate a sample using content from your own Facebook page.
  • Experiment with width and other parameters until it looks right for your website.
  • When you’re ready to add it to your website, hit the “Get Code” button.
  • Copy the code and paste it into the page on your website where you want it to appear. This is not difficult but you’ll need access to your website’s HTML code. D-I-Y types will know how to do this and it takes just a couple of minutes. Most content management systems have an “HTML” or “Source” button on their editors which gives you access to the underlying HTML code. If you prefer to use your web designer, it’s just a small job so it shouldn’t cost much.

Like Button. This lets you put a “Like” button (or “Recommend” if you prefer that label) on any page(s) of your own website. This means that, with one click, users can share that page with their Facebook friends. The process is the same as for the Like Box above.

  • Go to your website and copy the URL (web address) of the page you want to share from the address bar in your web browser.
  • Go to the Facebook Like Button link. Paste your web page’s address into the box labeled “URL to Like”. You’ll see it generate a sample of the link that you’ll place on that page of your site.
  • Experiment with the parameters until it looks right for your website.
  • When you’re ready to add it to your website, hit the “Get Code” button.
  • Copy the code and paste it into the page on your website where you want it to appear. As with the Like Box above, this is pretty easy but you’ll need access to your website’s HTML code or brief help from your web guru.

The Like Box and Like Button are a couple of my favorites but feel free to experiment with some of the other social plugins.

While you’re at it, you might also want to grab a Facebook Badge. It will replace that bland “find us on Facebook” text link with a nice graphic with your Page logo.

Finally, a note for the do-it-yourselfers. Some websites (including the Circle system used by many indie bookstores) have a policy of stripping HTML code from users’ website copy. So if you’re doing everything right and the code seems to disappear, this is probably why. You’ll have to contact your web developer for a workaround.

By Martin Taylor – publisher and consultant at Digital Strategies (pictured right)

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16 thoughts on “Connect Facebook and your website to improve social marketing payback

  1. Pingback: Connect Facebook and your website to improve social marketing payback

  2. sorry but i don’t want this info. ……. i want a link of my web page on my facebook page through click on that link goes to my web page …… is it possible …. please reply …. i need help about this …. thanks

  3. Hi guys

    Sorry I haven’t responded to these queries earlier. You are able to do this in the ‘about’ section of your Facebook page. If you put this into the ‘website’ part of your contact info, this will automatically go onto the front of your page down the left hand column.

    thank you, Sarah

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