Good news for the social media-minded business owner: Facebook has made it easier to integrate its social functions into many websites. The Menlo Park-based social media giant released its own pre-made plug-in for popular website and blogging tool, WordPress.
With the new plug-in, called Facebook for WordPress, website owners can add Like, Subscribe, Send and Recommendations buttons easily onto not only pages, but also to photo albums and online stores -- adding extra sharing and engagement options. One function called Social Publisher automatically posts new content on a website back to a company's Facebook page. There are also Insights functions, which track how much activity occurs.
Here are four reasons why a business might consider integrating Facebook features into its online experience:
1. It is easy to add.
Websites that run on WordPress should find the plug-in simple to download and to configure from the WordPress control panels. Options include color, size, and choosing which pages to place Facebook links on.
For sites that do not use WordPress, you can still add many of these features to your site. Visit developers.Facebook.com and choose from similar options. Facebook will then provide you with a few lines of code to copy and paste into the edit tools on the control pages of a website.
Related: 3 Ways to Supercharge Fan Engagement on Facebook
2. Gain new "friends."
By adding a "Like" or "Share" button on a page or post, businesses are allowing customers and visitors to easily share content on their own Facebook walls. This feature can help spread a company's message further, faster and helps information go viral.
Consider using Facebook's commenting feature, too. It allows businesses to prevent anonymous disparagers and puts real names and faces to comments.
3. Access more detailed analytics.
The plug-in's Insights feature can provide an added dimension to analytics for businesses. Firms already have access to Web log data for how many people visit their website and where they come from. But with Insights, businesses can tell how many visitors actually "Like" a page.
For example, posting a photo album that gets 100 views can be further analyzed by tracking which picture gets the most "Likes". The data you collect from Insights can help you improve customer engagement with your site.
4. Keep your brand socially relevant.
The plug-in makes it about as simple as possible to place a well-known icon such as the Facebook "Like" button on a company page. With more and more socially-aware customers, this can help add extra credibility to a site.
Upgrading a website with Facebook apps can signal to potential customers that a company is worth being friends -- and doing business -- with.