Facebook has created a WordPress plugin that integrates the social network’s functionality to a much deeper degree. It makes your WordPress site nearly an extension of Facebook itself. Once installed, each time you create a WordPress post, it automatically cross-posts to your Facebook Timeline and Fan page. You can also tag Facebook friends and other Fan pages so that your posts appear on those pages, as well.
In addition to the new publishing feature, “Like,” “Send,” and “Recommend” buttons are enabled, as are Facebook Comments and Subscribe functions. The plugin works on mobile devices and supports multiple languages. Facebook Insights integration is also included.
Installing the plugin requires some technical expertise. But you can accomplish it easily enough by completing the following steps.
1. Install the Facebook Plugin
Install the Facebook for WordPress plugin either via the WordPress.org plugin directory or by uploading the plugin to your server (in the /wp-content/plugins/ directory) using an FTP client such as Filezilla or CoreFTP.
After activating the plugin in your WordPress administrative console, you will be asked to set up a Facebook app. The following instructions will guide you through the process.
2. Set up a Facebook App
Step 1: Create an App
To set up an app for your WordPress site, go to the Facebook Apps page and click the “Create New App” button. You’ll see a dialog like the one below. Fill this in and click “Continue.”
Step 2: Set up the App
Next, set up the app so that it resembles the settings below. You will need to upload an app icon and image, as well.
The form fields that must be completed are:
Display Name. This is the name you will give your app, which can be anything you choose as long as it does not violate Facebook trademark agreements.
Namespace. This is used to define Open Graph actions and for the URL of the Apps on Facebook (e.g., http://apps.facebook.com/namespace). I suggest using a hyphenated version of your app’s Display Name.
Contact Email. Insert your email address.
_App Domains. Insert the domain name of your WordPress site.
Category. Choose a category and possible sub-category.
Website with Facebook Login. Use your site’s URL.
Mobile Web You can use the site’s URL or the URL to a mobile version, if you have one available.
Other fields are present in the form, but are not required for setup.
Step 3: WordPress settings
Based on the information entered in Step 2, fill in the “settings” form fields in the Facebook plugin located in your WordPress admin console and click “Save.”
Once the app has been successfully set up, you will be directed to a page called “Post and Page Settings,” which contains options that will appear on blog posts and pages.
These options include the following.
Social Publisher. Allows you to publish blog content to your Facebook Timeline and Fan Page. Authors can also mention Facebook friends and pages so that content receives even wider distribution.
Like Button. Lets a user share your content with friends via their Timeline.
Subscribe Button. Lets a user subscribe to your public updates on Facebook.
Send Button. Allows users to send content to their friends via email, in a message to Facebook friends, or to a Facebook group.
Comments. Enables user commenting on your site.
Recommendations Bar. Allows users to click to start getting recommendations, Like content, and add what they are reading to their Timeline.
There are some additional plugin options located in the “Widgets” section of your WordPress admin, which can be added to the sidebar. These include:
- Recent Activity;
- Like, Send, and Subscribe buttons.
Many of these functions have been offered individually by third-party developers for years, and you may have some of them already enabled on your WordPress site. If so, it might be necessary to deactivate them for the new plugin to work properly or to avoid duplicate functions, such as two Like buttons.
Publishing to Timeline
Finally, some additional steps are required for posts to appear in Timeline.
Click “Publish to author’s Timeline” under the Social Publisher option.
Go to the Facebook Apps page and click on the app you set up earlier.
Click the “Open Graph” link.
Click “Create New Action Type.”
Enter “publish” from the drop-down menu and click “Submit.”
Clicking the “Submit” link is required because any actions associated with Open Graph must be approved by Facebook. Once the above steps are completed, Facebook will also ask you to do the following.
Authenticate with Facebook in the WordPress control panel. You will see a status message at the top, asking you to do so.
Publish a post or page to your WordPress site. You should see the post appear on your Timeline.
If you do not see the post in Timeline, go back to the Open Graph tab in your app settings and click on the “Submit” link again to ensure that it is submitted for approval.
The steps required to enable the new Facebook plugin may seem to be more trouble than they are worth. However, taking the time to follow these steps will make your WordPress site much more social where Facebook is concerned, and create new opportunities for your message to spread virally among your Fans and their friends.
For additional information in setting up the plugin, visit these Facebook pages.
- Facebook for WordPress
- Facebook Integration for WordPress