One of the keys to getting readers and comments on your blog is to connect them to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Ideally, we would like the flow of information to be both ways – both TO and FROM Twitter and Facebook. In other words, when you publish a post, it is helpful to announce it on both Twitter and Facebook, and if someone replies on Twitter or Facebook, it would be good for that reply to be posted as a comment on your blog. It would also be nice if all of this was automated so that you could focus your time and energy on writing quality content.
Right now, through our Feedburner feed, we have the blog setup to send notification to Twitter that a new post has been published. But that is it. We don’t have a way to receive notifications back from Twitter, and we have nothing at all set up for Facebook.
There is one plugin that quickly and easily meets all of our Facebook needs. It is the Add Link to Facebook plugin, and is one of my 10 Essential WordPress Plugins for the new blog. This post explains how to set this plugin up.
This plugin has frequent updates, and so from the time I wrote this post, until the time I published it, there have already been numerous good changes to the plugin. So what you install may not look exactly like the screenshots below. I will try to include a brief summary at the end of the post of some of the changes that have been included.
Install Add Link to Facebook Plugin
The first thing to do, as with all plugins, is install it from the WordPress Dashboard.
Configure Add Link to Facebook Plugin
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you will be greeted by the following screen, which tells you that the plugin needs configuration.
When you click on the “Needs Configuration” link, you will be taken to the screen with the Easy Setup Instructions. This really is easy, if you just follow the instructions provided by the plugin.
Create an App at Facebook
From within WordPress, click on that blue link which says “Click here to create.” Don’t worry, you will not need to know anything about coding in order to create an app for this plugin at Facebook.
Once you click on the link, you will be taken to Facebook. Ignore that green box inviting your to add Facebook to your site. What you want to do is click on “My Apps” on the upper right hand side of the screen.
When you enter into the page with your Facebook apps, you want to click the button which invites you to “Set Up New App.”
Below is the screen for Creating an Application in Facebook. As you can see, you must name your app. You cannot use the word “Facebook” in your App Name, so make up something else. You an see that I named mine “Grace Blogger Posts.”
Once you have named your app, you will be taken to a screen which give you your Application ID and your Application Secret.
Make sure you click on the “Web Site” tab and enter your Site URL where the application will be used. In my case, as you can see from the screenshot below, it is my blog.
You need to copy and paste the Application ID and the Application Secret back into the Add Link to Facebook plugin configuration page in your WordPress blog.
Once you have pasted your App ID and App Secret into the Configuration page, click “Authorize.”
When you do, you will be taken back to Facebook again, where you will be asked if you want to Allow the Request that the plugin is making.
You definitely want to allow it. Otherwise the plugin will not work.
Once you have allowed it, you can go back to the plugin settings and set everything how you want it to behave.
Add Link to Facebook Settings
Below are all the settings I use for this plugin. Note that in the first screenshot, I forgot to put anything in the “Facebook Comments” section, and so that is in the screenshot that follows.
Let me work through the options above.
Link Picture – The plugin adds an image to the link on Facebook. This section wants to know which image to add. In each post there is a way for you to specify exactly which image you want, but if you ever forget to choose one, this option here is the default setting for which image gets chosen. I always try to select an image as the featured image, but if you don’t do that, you might want to choose the “First attached image” option or one of the others.
Facebook Page – In this option you can select which page you want the post to appear on. This is helpful if you have more than one Facebook page. If you choose this option, you will have to authorize the Plugin app again to post on your page.
This is done just like you did it before:
And allow the Facebook app again:
Facebook Group – Just like the page option, if you want it to post to a group, select that option here.
Link Appearance – These options determine how to the link on Facebook looks. I toy around with these options from time to time just to see which format generates the most comments and the most referrals from Facebook. Currently, the settings above are the ones I use.
Facebook Comments – When I took this screenshot, I forgot to set these settings. So see the image below for this section.
Facebook Like Button – I don’t like the like button to appear on my posts and pages. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe some day I will add it in. But even if I do add it, it will not be on the individual posts and pages, but on the Floating sidebar which is a feature of the Standard Theme.
Miscellaneous Settings – In this box, I only check the last one. I did go rate it, and gave it 5-stars. I love this plugin.
Administrative Settings – I left all these options alone.
Now, let’s get back to the Facebook Comments settings:
This is one of the most beautiful aspects to this plugin, and on one of my other blogs, has singlehandedly caused the number and frequency of the comments on my blog to skyrocket.
Prior to installing this plugin, I would often have one conversation going on Facebook, and another, different conversation going on my blog, and it was always frustrating for me. I wanted all the people to interact. Now they can.
If someone posts a comment on Facebook, it also creates a comment on my blog. If someone makes a comment on my blog, it also creates a comment on Facebook. This way, everyone is interacting with each other and more comments get made in both places.
(Don’t take this blog as a good example yet. I am still getting it set up and going. I like it that I don’t have too many comments yet, because for 99% of the bloggers out there, this is what will happen to you as well. Later, once I have some quality posts built up and have tweaked the site appearance a bit, we will really work at getting more blog readers and blog comments. And of course, I will show you how to do it).
You are now done installing and setting up the Add Link to Facebook plugin.
Using the Add Link to Facebook Plugin
The plugin added a little option field inside your Post Editing screen:
The way we have set it up, it will automatically send a post to Facebook. You can allow it to automatically choose the first attached image and randomly choose an excerpt, or you can manually select and insert these yourself in other fields on the Edit Post screen. I will show you more of that when I show you how to write a post in WordPress.
Once you have added a link to Facebook, it appears like the posts below:
Oh, and if you haven’t already, make sure you “Friend” me on Facebook. I would love it if you did!