How to Integrate WordPress and Facebook with Plugins

Integrate Facebook and WordPress
WordPress’ adoption numbers are quite high with over 145 million downloads and powering 16.7% of the entire Web! As a cornerstone of the blogging and CMS world, it is natural that it must eventually meet head on with another online platform that has met meteoric success, Facebook.
The social media giant’s ubiquity is not particularly obscure, but when defined in hard numbers it accounts for 1 in 5 page views, is the most frequent individual search term, and has actually bridged generational divides with near parity in terms of use across groups. A robust number of plugins have emerged to enable WordPress developers and the users that visit their websites to leverage the interconnections and social data that are available through the network.

Official FaceBook Plugin
As of June 2012 FaceBook started offering a plugin for WordPress (compatible with version 3.3 and higher) developed by internal staff and open-source developers. It offers the following key features:

  • Social Publishing and Mentions
  • A post can be distributed automatically to user’s FaceBook timelines and can even be done so by including the user in a “mention” contained in the post (much the same way FaceBook automatically links to connected users with a drop-down and autocomplete when they are mentioned in comments).

  • Social Plugins and Widgets
  • These include “like,” “send,” and “follow” buttons, a recommendations bar to help the user discover related content, comment moderation, and recent activity.

  • Publishing to Author’s Timeline
  • Through the use of Open Graph the author can create an automatic association with their FaceBook timeline.

Third-Party Plugins
A host of other plugins exist for FaceBook and WordPress. Some are coupled with features to access other social media sites such as Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. Some are commercial and others are free. The range of plugins is extensive and many offer features identical to those provided by the official plugin. However, due to the possibilities that access to an interconnected network with all of a user’s acquaintances and tastes can bring, they cover a wide range of capabilities. Here is a sampling.

  • Exit through FaceBook Like
  • This plugin raises a popup box when a user clicks an outgoing link on the site, which gives an invitation to like the FaceBook page. This plugin costs $6 for a license.

  • WordPress WassUp
  • This plugin leverages FaceBook to provide real-time tracking of visitors, including location, search results, and page views. The aim is to offer an idea of what users are doing while engaged with the site.

  • WP4FB
  • This plugin allows the user to create and publish highly optimized and professional FaceBook fan pages from WordPress. There are a few pricing options with the least expensive at $67 for a single Facebook page.

  • Social Image Hover
  • This plugin is used to instantly share images on FaceBook and other social networks instantly through a hover-over interface. The cost for this plugin is $14.

This is a small sampling of plugins that integrate WordPress with FaceBook, though it is apparent that there are many possibilities when the largest social network meets with one of the leading CMS technologies.