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8 Send Share or Like Facebook Is Getting It Right

Last week Facebook added some new tools to its public sharing toolbox and is aggressively whittling away at one of the most vexing issues in the social network world – unfiltered sharing.

See, lots of folks have built large Facebook followings and currently try to use their Facebook profile to share what’s important in their work world mixed with what’s important in their 3yr old niece’s world. The unfiltered nature of sharing stuff on Facebook and other social networks remains a business challenge. A like is a like on your profile whether it’s an industry article or a killer black dress.

Facebook introduced something called Groups a while back and I think this was a great start. The idea here is that you could segment your friends into groups, such as Family or Coworkers, and then post content on your profile and to push it out to members of a selected group. I don’t think small business owners are using this as effectively as they could, but the use is growing.

Clicking the Send button launches a pop-up that allows you to choose who receives your send

Last week Facebook added a new button option called the Send button. This button is similar to the Like button, but with a selective twist. When you click a Send button you are presented with a pop-up screen that gives you the option to select the friends you wish to send (much like a share) the content of this page to. Couple this with use of the Group function and all of a sudden you have a very useful tool for selectively sharing content on Facebook. Now the industry article is shared with Coworkers and killer black dress is shared with your sister.

With this addition Facebook users have the ability to share content privately with as little as one other friend if they like. I think this is a tool that will be adopted and added to Web pages as thoroughly as the Like button as it presents some functionality that has long been missing.

The official announcement from Facebook can be found here – The Send Button, Because Sometimes It’s Private

The good news for those that have already installed the Like code on their pages is that you can install the Send button like I have done side by side at the top of this post by simply adding the Send attribute to your existing XFBML code. (send=”true”) You can also generate new code for your specific pages by visiting the Send plugin page

If you are just getting started you should read my post on adding the Like button as it also discusses adding the Open Graph Protocol data that allows you to dictate what content, image and title is shared automatically for the page when someone clicks on your Send button.

7 Adding the Facebook Like Button Revisited

I wrote a post about Facebook Like buttons some time ago, but a few things have changed and I thought it might be time to further clarify this play.

Adding the Facebook Like button to web pages and blog posts has become even more beneficial as Facebook has consolidated many of the various social actions to make the Like a very powerful sharing tool. Facebook changed its “Like” button to essentially give it the same functionality as its “Share” button. Before this change, “likes” appeared on a wall grouped with other actions with little or no detail other than a small notice that the user had “liked” something. “Shares” were more prominently displayed and contained more detail. Now “Likes” show an image, link and content from entire post or whatever is being “liked”, on the users Facebook wall.

Facebook Like Social Plugin

Some folks kind of feel this is another classic bait and switch with Facebook, but web site owners will certainly benefit from more exposure if they take advantage.

Here are few things you need to know.

You don’t add the Like button to your own Facebook Page

I add this here because I get tons of questions about this. When I talk about adding the Like button I’m talking about adding it to pages outside of Facebook – your blog for example. A lot of new Facebook page admins believe they need to do something to add the Like button to their own Facebook page because it doesn’t show up when you log in if you’ve already “Liked” your own page – an act that most do. So, rest assured, if someone visits your page that has not already clicked the like action, they can see the Like button.

Add the code anywhere on any page you can edit

You can produce the HTML code for any web page you can edit from the Facebook Developer’s Social Plug In Tool. Simply add the URL to the specific page you want to create the code for, edit the settings for width and style and hit get code. Copy the code and paste it anywhere on your web page where you want it to show and presto, people can like your page. I suggest doing this for any web pages where you have content, products, reviews, service descriptions or anything else people might choose to share with their Facebook fans.

Adding Facebook Like code to web page HTML

Add the code to every individual WordPress post and page

If you want to manually add the Facebook Like code to your WordPress theme and you can edit the individual theme files, you can add the same code as created above to the page, single and index files but replace the URL with this code to allow WordPress to automatically insert the individual blog post for each Like – href=”< ?php the_permalink(); ?>” Place this code in where you would like the Like button to appear. This approach may not be for beginners as you need to know your way around WordPress theme files, but the good news it there are plugins mentioned below that can do the work for you.

The Open Graph Protocol

If I may, I’m going to get a little geeky on you because I think this is a topic that is going to get increasingly important due to Facebook’s support and that’s the Open Graph Protocol. The Open Graph protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to enable any web page to have the same functionality as a Facebook Page. To turn your web pages into graph objects, you need to add basic metadata to your page like you may have done for keywords and description. This additional data gives your post even richer detail on Facebook.

Think of this additional data as way to optimize the Like button on your site.

Here’s an example of og metadata for a movie

The WP-OGP plugin adds meta data to your WordPress blog so it can better interact with Facebook and other services that use the open graph protocol. This is something that I recommend, but it’s not the first order of business if you are still figuring this blogging thing out. A couple of things to note, you’ll need to know your Facebook ID and you’ll need to get a Facebook developer ID. Both of these are explained here and in the set-up panel of the plugin once installed. In Facebook’s eyes you are actually creating an application that will integrate with Facebook, so that’s why you must register your site and application, but it’s note really that complicated. You will also want to check and make sure your blog theme supports the WordPress feature image function because you’ll need to set a feature image for each post to have it shown on Facebook pages with your post. (More on feature image here)

How to designate a feature image in WordPress

Two WordPress Plugins

If you run a WordPress site your best bet in the end might be to use the Like Plugin or the Like Button for Facebook Plugin as they both have great reviews and do pretty much everything explained in this post, including adding the Open Graph data. Again, you’ll need your Facebook ID and developer ID so that your site can interact securely with Facebook, but I think Facebook has made this a step most site owners should take.

4 Weekend Favs April Twenty-Four

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Image credit: k1llYRid0ls

Good stuff I found this week:

Keynote for iPad: Best practices for creating a presentation on a Mac for use on an iPad. Keynote pros will quickly learn that there are a few things you need to do a bit differently when designing a presentation for the iPad.

Facebook Open Graph: The Definitive Guide For Publishers, Users and Competitors. So, what does it all mean – anybody’s guess for now.

Facebook Connect WordPress Plugin – Adds the new Open Graph Social Plugins (New!), like, activity and recommendations