Facebook “Like” Buttons and Other Social Media Plugins for WordPress

If you spend much time in the blogosphere, perhaps you’ve noticed the recent proliferation of Facebook “like” buttons, and similar social media plugins on blogs.

Back in 2005, it was all about having a line of “feed reader” buttons on your blog. Then around 2007 or so, bookmarking on del.icio.us and a slew of others was all the rage. Then 2009 was the year of “tweet this” buttons, and 2010 has been the year of FB “like” buttons.

The other thing we’ve seen a lot of this year is Facebook-integrated commenting on blogs and product launch pages.

My first question is…

Are social media “sharing” plugins effective?

Between my own experience, and a fair amount of research that I did before writing this post, I’d say that it’s overrated.

Clearly, social media sharing CAN be effective. We’ve all heard stories of bloggers being rocketed from obscurity to temporary superstardom as a result of a “digg this” button, or other viral mechanism. However, those examples are few and far-between compared to the countless bloggers who are putting these buttons on their blogs.

In other words, adding social media sharing capability to your blog is not inherently going to result in more web traffic to your site. Those plugins can help, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Here are some other pieces that will increase your chances of success:

1) You have to start with compelling content that people will WANT to share. This is critical, and you can’t fake it. Sure, you could game the system by using robots or overseas workers with fake accounts to post your content to social media sites. But that won’t result in meaningful or profitable traffic. The kind of traffic you desire is the kind that results from REAL people sharing your content and giving their vote of confidence.

2) You have to have a social media-using audience. Of course it helps that most of the world is now on Facebook. But still, not all those people are interested in sharing your stuff in their Facebook feeds. Here is a good article about Facebook “like” buttons, as they relate to your audience demographics and the nature of your content: Article on Problogger.net

3) Test it, just like you should test everything else on your site. For example, some bloggers have found the buttons get clicked more at the top of the post vs. the bottom. You can test sizes, location, various social sites, etc. It’s obvious that some social sites just aren’t getting used much anymore. I just checked, and I’ve received 66 bookmarks in del.icio.us from my readers over the past few years, yet it’s not unusual to get that many links from twitter or Facebook from a single post.

That brings me to my next question…

Is Facebook the most important social site to integrate with your blog?

From everything I’ve seen lately, the answer is yes.

The statistics are staggering. Facebook is sucking the life out of Internet users around the globe, and sucking traffic away from Google.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of those “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” situations. I’m not a big Facebook fan… in fact I deleted my personal account a few months ago. But I am a marketer, and if everyone is logged into Facebook all day long anyway, I might as well use that to my advantage.

So the question becomes…

How should I integrate Facebook with my blog?

A quick search on WordPress.org reveals 573 Facebook-related WordPress plugins.

Among those plugins are many “like” buttons, “share” buttons, comment plugins, syndication tools, photo galleries, and more.

For new blogs without much following, or if you’re struggling to get comments and interaction, I do recommend integrating Facebook commenting. Facebook users are accustomed to commenting on their friend’s posts, pics, etc, in Facebook. So when they see that same format on your blog, it makes it easy. The fact that they’re already logged into their Facebook account makes it even easier.

In addition to the ease of use for your readers, it also gives you the opportunity to get extra traffic. When a Facebook user comments on your blog, the comment ALSO appears in their Facebook feed, so all their friends can see it (and respond to it, like it, etc.). It’s a great model of viral marketing.

These factors are the reason why Facebook comments have been working so well for product launches lately (during the pre-launch phase). They allow the creation of a lot of perceived social proof, combined with a viral component.

Here are some cool-looking FB comment plugins:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-comments-for-wordpress/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-facebook-connect/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/disqus-comment-system/
If you want to make your own comment box, you can use Facebook’s code:
http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments

If you do decide to enable Facebook commenting on your blog, I recommend using a plugin that still writes the comments to your WordPress database (out of the above, I know Disqus does this… not sure about the others). This way you still retain “ownership” of the conversation, and if you remove the plugin all your comments won’t disappear.

That having been said, there are some reasons you might not want to use Facebook commenting on your blog. In my case, I already have a loyal readership, and I prefer to keep the conversation inside the gates of my own community. Some may call it anti-social, but for me it’s simply a business decision.

Another reason you might not want to use Facebook comments on your blog is that it may “cheapen” the perception of your blog. While Facebook would love for all of us to blur the line between Facebook and the rest of the web, I’d rather keep my website a “destination” rather than just a piece of the conversation.

Maybe I’m being a snob about the commenting, and maybe I’ll change my mind in the future. We’ll see.

In the mean time, I’d still like to tap into the viral nature of Facebook to gain additional readership. So while I’ve opted not to use Facebook comments, I’ve added a Facebook “like” button to the bottom of my posts.

For the past few years, I’ve used the ShareThis plugin. The ShareThis plugin (along with other aggregators of social sharing, such as AddThis), was a great idea. It integrated many social sharing options into one easy button.

However, it didn’t seem to get used very much. So I’ve replaced my ShareThis button with a simple Facebook “like” button. There are literally hundreds of Facebook “like” plugins, so this isn’t a recommendation per-se, but the one that I’m using for now is called Simple Facebook Like Widget

What do you think?

What are your thoughts about Facebook and other social media plugins for WordPress, which ones do you use, and what has been your experience with them?

Also, would you prefer that I integrate Facebook commenting on this blog? I’m open to a change of heart.

Please post your comments below using my old-fashioned WordPress comment form. Oh, and be sure to hit the FB “like” button if you found this to be an interesting post 😉

Have a great day!

117 comments on “Facebook “Like” Buttons and Other Social Media Plugins for WordPress

  1. Joseph Varghese

    Hi Eric,
    Good conversational post. I use Facebook for relationship building and I feel that in that regard, there is tremendous power. Is fb gets more and more saturated in a sense ADD rich, it becomes more critical to provide better value through videos and quality content.
    For the time being, I’m joining them and continuing to create re-purposeful quality material.
    Cheers,
    ~Joseph

    Reply
  2. caesar

    The facebook like button is popular now and I think is trending upwards But how do you install it on wordpress?

    Reply
  3. AnxietyCurePanic Cure

    Hi Eric, I am a follower of you and I learn a lot. Unfortunately I cannot comment here as I have not explored the benefits of FB. (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???) It seems I am missing out big time!! Best Wishes.

    Jim

    Reply
  4. OnlineDon

    Hi Eric,
    I have used Facebook along with Twitter.
    I find it to be similar to CB (Citizen Band Radio of the 70’s through the 80’s)

    At that time it was a growing social media explosion, everyone had a set.

    But soon it became riddled with what we now call spammers, who would build mega-stations of 100 watts or more and just drown everyone else s single out.

    So if you wanted to be heard, you would have to build a bigger station…. Finally No One Could be Heard Over All The Static…

    I guess my point is this…
    With the amount of people using FaceBook service, (I read that it’s population would be equal to major country within it’s self..

    And Google manipulating traffic
    How are You going to be heard above all the static…

    Just my thoughts

    Reply
  5. Gerhard

    Hi Eric

    In my opinion it’s all about targeted marketing and it depends on who your “friends” are on FB. Are they a “targeted marketed” or are they more interested in sending you all sorts or quizzes and hearts and who knows what! I agree with you that if you can’t beat them, join them…but try and add “friends” who have similar interests. Again most are promoting and trying to sell you on their program or product instead of buying and will always comment on what you have said on FB with some sort of hidden ad inside their comment. in my eyes that is blatant spam, period. I did not ask for their product to be shoved into my face. Again, I suppose it works a little differently on social sites. My few cents worth.

    Reply
  6. OnlineDon

    P.S. I have to also say that Your blog is in the number one category as far as giving the best possible information on the How To Get Started Online With Internet Marketing 🙂
    Keep up the great work that you do!
    OnlineDon

    Reply
  7. Denis E.

    Karn! How insightful you are! FB is (at the moment) fashionable. Can it be used to increase the number of people one helps/influence? The answer definitely depends on who you talk to. ( Clue: Read the comments ) Do use it as a tool for as long as it (FB) is viable. Leaving the impression that something new may take FBs place. Endeavor to Persevere.

    Reply
  8. stargaterich

    I see no harm in using social media networking sites such as FB to gain more publicity and hopefully more backlinks to my website or blog.

    After all, it is zero sum game in the sense you don’t need to spend much time and money to maintain your presence in FB. It is free traffic so why not just get into it?

    On the other hand, we should make sure that we don’t put all eggs in the same basket so to speak.

    I think it is worth to consider social media sites as additional marketing channels to reach out to potential customers. Our primary efforts and focus should still be on SEO and paid search traffic pertaining to search engines.

    Google is still king with regards on getting targeted traffic to websites. You get better sales conversion through Google and other search engines in comparison to FB.

    I think the main reason why we should not overlook FB is that mobile marketing is a huge market and FB presence in the mobile arena will continue to dominate and perhaps overtake Google.

    Reply
  9. Harry

    Hi Eric,

    Whether we like Facebook or not .. the truth is Facebook is predicted to soon be and is turning into the largest group of people interacting with other people online daily.

    250 Million ??? Billion ??? or something like that … a ton of people.

    More people than the Current Internet God we follow and call … Google.

    If you sell online or offline you have to be among these Facebook people in order to sell them exactly what they want!

    Facebook in nature also provides some tools so you can .. find out what those things are!

    Do I like Facebook ? that’s a mute point ..

    What I do like is being able to participate in this vast marketplace Facebook has created where all kinds of people are numerous times everyday .. doing their business – Social or otherwise and that means $$ for sellers who are there as well.

    The potential this new and probably long lasting marketplace provides, where people go to keep up with other people multiple times a day up is definitely a place we as marketers can’t afford …
    not to be!

    Like it or not.

    Harry

    Reply
  10. Kathy

    Hi Eric,

    yes from what you say about them the hackers looking as though they are from FB as, my son say’s ” mum don’t open them delete,delete etc but if you ask me maybe- they should be using their internet experience they could be making money in the so called 6 figures rather causing us pain in the derriere!!
    What a waste these people can be!!!!

    Reply
  11. gvoconference

    I like your Like…Facebook button/plugin and will be adding it thanks… Eric!

    Reply
  12. Dan

    Maintaining my inactive profile in FB is like pure gold! Saves me a LOT of time. I can think of 99 ways to spend my time better, than searching for 1% stuff I like in FB, I’d rather be fishing.

    @ Eric BTW: Your plugin for these nested, threaded comments/answers is awesome, can you let me know where to download this?

    Reply
  13. Hale

    That was a wonderful post. Well thought out, researched, and carefully written. You seem to always post really useful information. That said, I’m like a lot of other people commenting in that I have yet to integrate FB into any of my marketing projects, mostly because of time. But the “like” button seems like a fairly easy way to get started, and is hopefully less intrusive, than others. Keep us posted on how things progress for you.

    Reply
  14. Pat Lesaux

    I really don’t know how I can top any of these great comments Eric, but my concerns with Facebook is that there will be a stopping point on what what you can do and what you can’t do on Facebook.
    I have been on Facebook for about 2 years now and they are not allowing me to add more friends even for business, I find that awe-full when trying to build a list of friends and when you look at other people’s friends or business list they are full to the max. I do believe that Facebook is a great place to advertise, it’s a very big place and is growing quickly.
    These are the only comments I can come up with.
    Pat

    Reply
  15. Emmanuel (Jesus) Azuma

    Some use automatic social bookmarking tools to submit social bookmarking, how effective is that one Eric?

    Reply
  16. Leonel

    I think the social media its like find your all remembers your old friends and site to sale something or when your feel alone…in the business it has to relative the same interest to the others contacts…

    Reply
  17. Russ

    I’m still working on getting a blog started.
    I joined FB as an experiment to see how viral
    it really is. In less than two weeks I had over 600 “followers” even though I hadn’t accepted anyone or even posted to anyone. Most were friends of friends, or of relatives. Most were only interested in interactive games and social
    exchanges. Even though you can become “known” virally I didn’t see even one real opportunity for establishing a sound business following.
    I’m still waiting to see how FB evolves into a business support mechanism like Google.

    Reply
  18. Tom

    Hi Eric,

    I use Facebook to keep intouch with friends and family only. Not too sure I want my business and family/friends life to mix. Some of my friends although I love them to death, ….well they have no regulator if you know what I mean. LOL

    Reply
  19. Scott

    Thanks for sharing your blog, Eric. Maybe Facebook will someday generate more internet traffic than Google. However, there will always be people who will still use Google for their key word searches. Personally, I think it is a good idea to use both Facebook and Google for internet marketing.

    Reply
  20. Andre Arnett

    Good info Eric. Not being a big Facebook user myself I have seen how effective it can be. And like you I have added the like button onto my blog. Not sure it is doing very well right now but as I put more useful and good content on my blog maybe it will…

    Reply
  21. Eric Post author

    Actually that method can be OK, if not used in a spammy way. For example, a good use would be to use automated tools to submit one instance of each new blog post you make, to each social bookmarking site. It could result in a little bit of initial traffic, if you have compelling article titles and if people on those bookmarking sites are compelled to check out your content. But equally important– it helps build up backlinks over time.

    Reply
  22. Eric Post author

    That’s true. One thing I didn’t mention in my post is that there is actually a limit of “likes” that you can have. Depending on how many friends you have, it may be limited to 500 to 2000 likes.

    Reply
  23. Eric Post author

    I show how to install a plugin in lesson #35.

    Reply
  24. Pingback: LESSON #35: WordPress Themes and Plugins | Eric's Tips

  25. James

    Facebook is getting popular with numerous politicians and celebs these days. Where we couldn’t find them by email, we could do so by contacting them through Facebook perhaps. LOL!

    Reply
  26. Juzar Noorani

    Hi Eric,

    Facebook can be a really powerful marketing and link building tool with a 500 million user base and a share button to facebook or twitter is really something that you could give happy readers of your blog or website users to share their experience with their peers.

    Reply
  27. Claude

    Hi Eric,

    I was using Twitter and Facebook as a way to send out links to sales pages etc, to my followers. Then I read a great article that changed my approach to sending out links to sales pages. Since reading that article I no longer do that. I use Titter and Facebook to tell my friends and followers about events, products I like and sharing stuff my followers on Titter decided to follow me in the first place. On Facebook I can talk about these things in greater depth. The idea of running a business and trying to get a bigger list just doesn’t work and I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that using my first approach was more like spamming of which I am not a fan.

    All the best Eric!

    Claude
    Ontario, Canada

    Ps: Thank you for guiding me to the other site Prayerway. I have been comforted in a wonderful way when I needed a hand.

    Reply
  28. Heather

    I believe it depends on your target market and the product you are selling, as with all media. If you are selling a product that is for the mass market, for facebook savvy, (younger) people, I would certainly make the most of fb. However for civil engineers, accoutants, other professionals etc, who may not be interested, or have the time to use fb as much, a more professional and upmarket way is better. As with all advertising/marketing research is essential.

    Reply
  29. Drew H.

    Hey Eric Like the Above Article,and I like The Way You Include Us(Your Audience) By Asking our Experiences.I Can Say That Using Facebook and Other Forms of Social Media Has Helped Me A lot.Its Not So Much The Immediate traffic Benefits: Has Much as The Long Term SEO Benefits for One the Page rank Of The Links,But it Goes Beyond That “Social Media” is The New SEO Google for Years Has Known its “Bots” and Systems are Imperfect Thats Why It Has Valued “DMOZ” Links So Much Because They’re Human Edited Well With Social Media Google Know Realises The Web is Turning Into a Big kinda “DMOZ” And is Now placing More Value On Social Media Links.So Social Media Has a lot Of Value To Those Wanting the “1rst Page Of Google’ Drew H.

    Reply
  30. Tim

    FACEBOOK SUCKS!!!!

    They cut my access for NO reason, then asked me to ID people I’ve never seen!

    And just try to get FB support to return an e-mail!

    Reply
  31. Michael

    Well I am new to blogging I am still getting me WP site set up But this post will help me a lot with the plugins for FB

    Thanks Eric

    Reply
  32. Kofi Baruti

    To be perfectly honest with you I haven’t use facebook plugins because I am just really learning about Facebook applications and how you can use them to market your product.

    Reply
  33. Timothy Leyfer

    Your post is right on Eric,

    I have been a member of facebook for quite some time. I have a few programs that do various automatic things for me on facebook, even post to my account.

    I have six thousand plus followers and I follow six thousand others, but I have yet to understand how to use face book to get targeted traffic to my blog.

    I have this blog, on Crystals and Gems that talks about the healing and transformational energies of gemstones and I need to find ways to drive traffic to my Blog.

    So what I have decided to do is create a face book page for people interested in this subject and drive traffic to that page. Has anyone else done this? How did it work?

    Thanks for the great post Eric! Made me Think…

    Tim

    Reply
  34. David Perkins

    Like many others who have commented, I waited (maybe) too long to get started on Facebook as I saw my kids playing Farmville there and that’s all I thought Facebook was for.

    Now I view it as a tool that some serious marketers are using, especially with “Fan Pages” to promote various items and earn serious incomes by writing reviews and complimentary articles about these things and offering links where readers can find the item and… friends are asked to share it with THEIR friends too… Seems to be working for some who are “ahead of the curve!” Thanks for the thought provoking article.

    David Perkins
    http://on.fb.me/a0Iw6l

    Reply
  35. Jack

    Facebook SUCKS!!

    Reply
  36. Mike Broadway

    I was told by coaches that a essential part of online marketing included a facebook account. I admit that I am not a big fan and have given them hundreds of dollars worth of ad money with no results. This is definitely something worth considering. My fan base is small, so it would not be as effective with one who had several thousand. Thanks for the info!

    Mike

    Reply
  37. Johan

    I totally agree with you Eric that the social media is overhyped. I do think that it can work very well to a certain extent especially for non profits or charity as this gets passed along easier. Personally I get less conversions from social media compared to search, so for me its more of a branding tool but who know’s maybe in the future it will convert more.

    What we have to remember though is the reason why ppl use facebook, to hang out with friends and socialize. So the mindset is very different from search. By the way, Facebook removed their conversion tracking in the ppc, which is kind of strange. Usually you want to measure your campaign in ROI (at least for most businesses) but wonder why they really did this? Is it because they know that their conversions is not high so therefore they using other metrics like social media impressions etc etc, which are metrics I am not so interested in…As far as integrating the facebook to your site, it could be a good move as facebook has more traffic than google now according to the latest stats and you can possibly go more viral using facebook…Thanks for the article..It was a very interesting read…I hope I was able to

    Reply
  38. Choy

    As of now, I’m just enjoying my social sites, like FB. How to use them for effective traffic sources for my websites, that still remains to be seen. But they say it’s more effective now than google for ads. So, I’m just hanging on.

    Reply
  39. colin cowell

    I have tried to avoid facebook entirely but only with 99% success

    Reply
  40. munongeli

    hi Eric

    i must say facebook is good at the right time and bad at the wrong time.and its addictive when you ar new to it.

    this was great 1

    thanks eric

    Reply
  41. David T. McKee

    You said it early on in your post: Content. Content is king, and is the currency of the net. If you content is good enough, it will draw traffic even it your site is an old ’90’s style with moving gif animations. What will happen, of course, is that your content will find its way to these new sites anyway…if it is good. Social networks are great if the individuals who are networking are interested and knowledgeable about your topic – things can spread fast that way.

    Facebook is really nothing more than an automated webpage template – a simplistic word press if you will. It allows a person who has no idea what HTML is to never have to know, yet still have a sophisticated presence on the web. In other words, it has taken social networking to the level of a daily use appliance like a TV – well…all the big boys market on TV, so it stands to reason that Facebook, when properly used with the correct content, is a gold mine.

    You just have to know how to look for the gold.

    -David T. McKee

    Reply
  42. Richard Rogers

    As a one man business I’m straped for time, and marketing on facebook seems very time consuming, so I don’t do much with it except announce my sales. After reading these comments, though I am going to put an opt in form on the fan page.

    Richard Rogers
    http://www.tie-dyes.com/

    Reply
  43. Tameem Y Garga

    Yap thanks

    Reply
  44. Jenna

    I left FB
    I left FB
    I left FB
    It is abusive intrusive and ways too many backlinks. Not monitored well, not cared for and i was not helped in the manner that i thought appropriate.

    Reply
  45. Chis Harris

    I tried for 6 months to get any traction with I.M. affiliate stuff. I used every tool and training to no avail. I am desperate and confused as I don’t believe that this medium is profitable anymore. The amount of scam is overwhelming and those I have contacted are very wary of anything that smacks of rip off. Not to mention that F.B. is primarily for personal use, not business related.

    Reply
  46. Eric Post author

    This is one reason that the business model I teach is to have your own niche product(s). While affiliate marketing is still profitable, I feel that most people have a better chance of success by building their own business with their own products. Also affiliate marketing becomes an easily viable income stream when you have your own customer database and prospect list to market to.

    Reply
  47. Chris leBarron

    I think one thing that should be considered, in my opinion much of facebooks traffic is mobile, these users arent interested in advertising and if they are your site had better be very mobile freindly..

    Reply
  48. Chad Carlton

    Wow, that is a ton of great info! Thanks especially for all the resources to the various plugins.

    I’m just now starting to use social media plugins on my blogs. Also, I’ve just started implementing what I’ve learned about SEO over the last year. Everyone say’s good content and social media is a must have ingredient if you want to get on page one of the SERP’s.

    Research does show Facebook is sucking the life out of Google so in my eyes it is a must have element especially if your just starting out. And, I feel a fan page for your online business is a must have.

    As I mentioned, I’m just starting to implement so, I don’t have any results but I think #3 above says it best… Test, Test, and Test Some More and that’s what I’m doing.

    Create Awesome unique content, share it everywhere you can, never stop testing, do what works, trash what doesn’t, never, ever give up and you will make it.

    Chad!;-)
    A great marketer said it best…
    How long do you need to continue working on and promoting a domain…
    Until the day you that you stop wanting to make money from it!

    Reply

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