I don’t think that in this day and age that I would have to convince anyone that Facebook is kinda a big deal!  The most recent stats that I could find at the time of writing this  stated that Facebook has 1.59 Billion active monthly users; trailing only slightly behind oxygen, water, and food.  In this post, I’ll show you a few simple ways that you canIntegrate Facebook with WordPress to leverage the power of social media to increase your traffic and engagement with your content.

The increase in engagement is due to the fact that we are by nature social creatures.  We develop social networks, and we value the opinions and interests of those in our networks above those of perfect strangers. While the mediums we use have evolved rapidly in the last decade, the idea is as old as society itself.  You can see Socrates saying to Aristotle, “C’mon, everybody’s doing it.  You’ll be sooooo popular”

Social vs Marketing

General perception is that most marketing is at least a little bit slanted, or in some cases, completely fabricated.  Why should I trust you to tell me why your product or service is so great.  You have more than a vested interest in the matter, and consequently your opinion will hold less sway than the opinion of someone that I know and for whom I have at least some degree of trust.  If a particular piece of content is shared by a friend, we are much more likely to at least give it a look.   So as those who are trying to harness the power of social media to promote something or other, let’s look at some practical methods that we can connect our content to social media.

Share/Like Buttons

Facebook sharing bar

This sharing bar is from the Monarch Plugin by Elegant Themes

So this morning I’ve read an article about Trump’s campaign.  As I read the article, I begin to feel ever so slightly grateful that I am, in fact, Canadian.  Canadian or otherwise, I am a human being, and as such I have an opinion about Donald Trump.  Sharing that opinion is not only cathartic for me, but it also gives a bump to the website that wrote the story.  Simply by putting a Like button, or a share button next to the post, I make it very easy for myself, or anyone to offer a snide comment or a thunderous endorsement.

If your site is built on WordPress, there is a good chance that your theme comes packaged with some sort of social sharing tools baked in.  If not, a quick search of the Facebook plugin repository will yield a plethora of results.  Pick one…it’s not really that complicated.  Personally I am using the Monarch Social Sharing plugin from Elegant Themes, but there are a gaggle of great options out there, and they’re all pretty easy to configure.

Facebook Comments

facebook comment box

Anyone who has done any blogging knows commenting.  WordPress uses a comment system that is tied in to Automattic’s WordPress.com (not to be confused by self-hosted WordPress.org sites).  The size of the network is a drop in the bucket compared to Facebook, so there are plugins that allow you forgo the WordPress commenting in favour of Facebook comments.

Facebook comments have a couple of really great advantages.  Firstly, users don’t have go through the extra effort of creating a user account on your site to leave a comment.  If they have to do the extra work, many people will just move along without engaging with your content.  Also, the Avatars on WordPress comments are tied into another Automattic service called Gravatar (Globally recognized Avatar) which for the most part is just for WordPress.  If users don’t have Gravatar account, then they don’t have an avatar, and it’s just a whole lot of comments from people without profile pics.  The second advantage is that with one check box, the commenter can choose to also publish their comment, and a link to your content to their Facebook timeline, which increases the chance that others will see your content.  As with Like and Share buttons, there are a lot of different options available, but the setup of them is a tad more involved; you will need a Facebook App ID, and an App Secret, which will require you to sign up as a Facebook developer.  The nuts and bolts of this is beyond the scope of this post, but you can learn how to do it HERE.  Don’t be intimidated by the fact that it is telling you to create a new App.  You don’t actually need to program anything; you just need the numbers that it gives you to configure your Facebook comments plugin.

Facebook Feedsfacebook feed

Finally you can add a Facebook feed to your site.  I am far less bullish on this than the other options, because they really don’t increase engagement of your content on social media.  Rather than taking content from your website and propagating it via social media, they take content from your social media and display it on your website.  It’s fine, but not particularly useful.  Also they tend to be relegated to sidebars and footers which get less attention than the main content areas of you site.

Content is King

Perhaps I should have led with the fact that the biggest key to getting engagement with social media is to have content that people want to consume.  If people aren’t interested in reading, watching, listening to, clicking on, or otherwise engaging in your content, you will have a difficult time using social media to bring traffic to your site.  Make sure that you spend tim considering your content, and not just content delivery.

Take some time and sit down to create some content.  Start thinking of ideas that you would find interesting to explore, and hopefully others will feel the same way.  Once you’ve got an idea or three, start putting them out there, and then use the power of your social networks to expand the reach of what you have to say…about Donal Trump…or perhaps something else.