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April 30 2012

13:00

Why Does Google+ Bring More Business To People Than Facebook?

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

Google+, sometimes abbreviated as Google Plus or G+, is a social network developed and maintained by the tech giant Google. The network was released in beta to the public 9 months ago, by the end of June 2011. The full release came in September. While the network was supposed to be a strong opponent for Facebook, it was never even close to it. The fact that many people use it today is entirely based on curiosity and mostly on Google’s name and powerful brand and not because it brings something new to the business. Or is it…?

Google estimates the social network will have around 400 million users by the end of this year, while Facebook approaches a billion. Twitter only has around 100 million users while LinkedIn with 30 million users more than the micro-blogging platform.

But while Google’s last addition to its huge portfolio doesn’t bring many new things to the table, it is a powerful tool and it is arrogant to ignore it as it incorporates great features. Actually, after closely studying and researching behaviors there, it seems Google+ can actually be an influence on your business and bring you more clients than initially expected. This might be because of the more professional look and feel G+ has in comparison with Facebook, or just because some features are better developed. While G+ will probably never reach Facebook’s success, the truth is that it doesn’t even need to – quite frankly, their niches are different.

1. Communicating with targeted potential customers

Google+ incorporates a service called ‘circles’ which allows users to define the feeds displayed on their home screen and who can see them. Privacy settings also allow users to hide the list of members in their Circles. Everything is done quick through a drag-and-drop interface. Specific content can be sent out to targeted groups or individuals instead of everybody in your network. This means that the content you deliver will only reach the people you want to.

Image by Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net.

G+ Circles mostly replaces the typical “Friends” list you have on Facebook and allows you to define your own groups. The default Circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following. A definition of the “Following” circle would be “People who don’t know you personally, but whose posts you find interesting“, according to Google. Quite like Twitter I would say.

This function makes the platform valuable because it allows everybody interested in your services, posts or updates to follow you and stay in touch.

2. Easily reaching prospects

If you have a company, then you are also in need of clients. They are the ones bringing in the profit and allowing us to continue. If something is crucial, then reaching out to them is it. Moreover, the need to communicate with prospects and potential clients is very important, as it might as well be the difference between landing a huge project or failing miserably at maintaining your company on the lifeline.

The platform allows G+ users to connect with these people and more others, including influencers and people in their respective industry. This happens first because of what described above – everybody can follow everybody’s updates without needing a friend request to be accepted. This element is quite similar to the one on Twitter, where you can follow everybody you are interested with and interact with their content. You might ask yourself why use G+ when there is Twitter. Well, firstly, G+ does much more than just allowing you to follow people. And secondly, the user’s database is to be four times bigger on G+ than on Twitter by the end of this year, according to estimates.

Image by CubaGallery.

G+ also allows you to share information with only the right people, instead of sharing it with everybody who follows you. This is something Twitter does not allow you to.

Finding people on Google+ is also really easy thanks to the powerful search function. But more about this later.

3. The professional environment

Maybe the main difference between G+ and its bitter rival Facebook is the professional and business-like environment. Although possible for them to register, 15-year-old high-school drama queens simply don’t find G+ interesting. The same with Justin Bieber male fans from all over the world. Google Plus is clearly for people interested in doing business. In this matter it is quite similar to Twitter and LinkedIn. It just attracts the right crowd.

Basically this means on G+ you will in most cases find only people whom you have something in common with, have a company, are part of the same industry or share the same interests. And this will only get better with more and more people registering and being active on their G+ accounts.

4. +1 and the search function

Google added a +1 button few months after the beta release of the service and this only improves the experience. A +1 is similar to the “Like” on Facebook. But while the “Like” doesn’t mean much more than an ego-booster, a +1 helps the user much more beyond personal fulfillment. The more +1 an update gets, the higher the chance to be found through a Google search will be. And with Google still being the most powerful search engine in the world (and will remain like that for many years to come), this is a strong feature nobody else can offer. Linking the two services was probably the smartest move of Google+.

Image by west.m.

Users can get a lot of exposure thanks to the +1 buttons, which are available in everything that can be shared on the platform, including images. And while the feature is already incredible, bear in mind that Google Plus is still in its early development phase and improvements are likely to come.

5. The showcase features

Although Facebook allows you to do this as well, the capability of turning your G+ profile into a showcase portfolio is really well developed. Google Plus not only allows you to make it a visual portfolio, but also to make it in a written format like a classic CV. Again, some similarities can be drawn with another service – LinkedIn. You can say G+ gets the better out of two worlds.

Not only the pictures can be used in order to create a visual impact, but the “About” section is much more complex than on other platforms. It contains a big range of materials, links and details about where you’ve lived and how can you be contacted.

6. Google+ Hangouts

A strong feature Facebook and the other social networking platforms lack is the video chatting capabilities. Well, just for your information, even the US President used G+ Hangouts for a press conference several months ago. This allows you to communicate with up to 10 people on your network instead of asking them to call you or contact you on Skype or other service. You have everything under the same roof and gives Google a strong advantage over its competitors.

Bottom line

Google Plus has always been an underdog to Facebook and, in the beginning, even to Twitter and LinkedIn. But it seems people found the good in it and start using their accounts much more often. And while individuals still try to get a grip of it, companies and freelancers already use it to its full potential and land clients and projects through it.

Until next time, what is your experience with G+? Why it is exactly you use Google+ instead of letting go of it like many others do? Have you ever landed a gig on Google Plus?

April 18 2012

13:00

Facebook Buys Instagram. How Will Microsoft React?

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

Instagram is a free photo editing and sharing application which was launched in October 2010. It allows its users to take photos and apply one of the many digital filters available, then share it on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. When the application was launched, it was only available for Apple mobile users (iPod, iPhone, iPad) but in April 2012 they made it available for Android as well. The application is being distributed for free via App Store and Google Play. Because of the application’s popularity, many social networks made modifications and tweaks on their websites for Instagram users because only after one year of existence, Instagram had 10 million users already.

About The Purchase

Image Source

On April 9, 2012, Facebook made an announcement regarding the upcoming purchase of Instagram. Instagram, with only 1 application, only 13 employees, is supposed to receive $1 billion in cash and stock. Until now, Instagram had only two rounds of funding, first in February 2011 when the company raised $7 million from a variety of investors and $50 million in the first week of April when the company was valued at $500 million. While these funding rounds, especially the first one, helped the company grow and expand, no one had ever expected this purchase to be worth $1 billion. While this may sound like the “purchase of the year” and there aren’t doubts it can be it, Facebook played very well. It is being said that Facebook itself, is worth $100 billion which is exactly one hundred times more than what they are going to pay for Instagram. While someone may think it is a lot for a company to give such a big sum when it only holds $10 billion in its hands, it isn’t exactly like that. Probably Facebook and specifically Mark Zuckerberg didn’t care much about the sum paid. Of course they won’t go insane and pay dozens of billions but keeping away such an amazing start-up from the hands of Google or Microsoft, is worth much more worth than the money they paid. It was probably thought by the “Big Daddies” that Instagram would be killed on its development road. Facebook has waited for a while before they decided to purchase Instagram, it’s most likely they’ve understood its real value only after the second “wave” of funding and after extending its market. We can remember the “Flickr Story” when in 2005, Yahoo (a prosperous company at that time) acquired Flickr , for only $30 million making it the most popular photo-sharing web site.

Microsoft At the Moment

Image Source

Over the years, Microsoft has been building a series of successful products, making the company stronger and stronger.. It survived many civil actions against it. However, even if it has been really stable and growing over the past decades, it now faces a few problems. In 2011, it has been reported that Microsoft, Dell and Intel combined are worth the same as Apple. This makes Microsoft leave the leader position on the technology market. Microsoft has always been recognized for its Windows operating system, it isn’t so successful with web products. The company tried a few products which only became stable but not phenomenal. Bing, their search engine, is well known for being stable and receiving a majority of its traffic from Internet Explorer users, who represent  52% as of 2011. Since 2007, they have renovated and updated their products, by releasing: Windows Vista, Widows 7, Windows Mobile and recently announcing the beta consumer preview of Windows 8. An unexpected move by Microsoft was done in May 2011, when the company decided to buy Skype. Skype was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion , the biggest purchase the company has ever made. A very large amount was indeed invested but probably having Skype under its wing, Microsoft will get on the top of the leaderboard soon. We only have to wait and see how Skype will evolve and what marketing strategy will be used by Microsoft to keep this product alive and attract more users to it.

Why Microsoft Doesn’t Buy Successful Web Companies

Image Source

We can see that Microsoft isn’t very successful at building web products if they aren’t associated in a way with its OS or big properties the company owns. That’s why the company should make the appropriate conclusions and with the financial possibilities it has, either investing a lot into themselves, so they could become the leaders again, or, begin buying successful web products and companies that will have success. Except Skype, Microsoft hasn’t bought anything very significant that would still be appropriate to show as an example, a few reasons this hasn’t happened are:

  • The Company Sees No Benefit in Spending More Money

I highly doubt this is the main reason why Microsoft didn’t please us with a revolutionary web product with the current value of approx. $200 billion. However, it could still be a reason. There aren’t any financial details how much was spent on developing the Windows 8 OS so we can’t rule out anything, at least for the time being.

  • There aren’t Opportunities on the Market

Well, this is more possible but still it depends on what the heads of Microsoft would like to aim at. While there aren’t any revolutionary ideas available for purchase, there are more possibilities in the social media sector. I suppose that Microsoft has an eye on both, Twitter and Pinterest. While Twitter is a more stable, day by day growing social network with a really unique idea, they may aim at Pinterest more because even though it was launched only in May 2010, it has become the third most visited social network, overtaking such networks like Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn. In my opinion, Pinterest isn’t a great business opportunity for Microsoft because it may fail in a year or two. I wouldn’t give Pinterest a longer lifespan than 3 or, at most, 4 years. Twitter has been around for a while, and while it’s been quietly killed by millions of spammers using Twitter for their benefit, a radical change in user policy and a better fight with the audience which isn’t using Twitter as it has to be used, can solve and make Twitter a very prosperous company.

  • They are Preparing their own Product

This is the most possible prediction I can think of. I think, they will be releasing a product to rock the web together with the new Windows 8. Its has been already said that Microsoft has success with almost every product related to its OS, so, why wouldn’t they use this benefit and release a web service really close to the new OS? They could even win some mobile audience if this service will be implemented as a primary one on the Windows mobile as well.

Microsoft, Twitter & Facebook and Instagram

I don’t believe Instagram is a big opportunity loss for Microsoft. For Twitter? Most likely, but not for Microsoft. Microsoft aims on software and products used by masses. I think a mobile photo sharing service wouldn’t interest Microsoft because of one important factor. They don’t have any acceptable space to use the respective service. Facebook will be using Instagram as an addition to its mobile version, as the current Facebook version for phones isn’t very well thought out and isn’t ready yet to be used by masses. Instagram will be the “final touch” which will encourage Facebook users to use the mobile version of the site more. I suppose Twitter was thinking about having a collaboration with Instagram, but definitely not buying it. Twitter can’t afford paying 1 billion for a photo-sharing company with the 2010 estimated revenue of 140 million dollars.

Conclusion

I believe Microsoft isn’t really worried about the recent acquisition of Instagram. Microsoft has other priorities at the moment and if they are not planning the release of any social network in the upcoming days, then, they don’t have much to lose with the loss of Instagram.

Sponsored post
feedback2020-admin
04:05

March 30 2012

13:31

Join Us on Facebook for Exclusive Freebies, Discounts & Wallpapers!

We’re excited to let you know about our all-new Facebook page designs, and we’re kicking off a big promotion to offer lots of awesome content for our Facebook fans! Read on to find out how to access our exclusive tutorials, book discounts, and all-new wallpaper pack…


All-New Facebook Page Designs

We’ve launched a series of awesome re-designs across our Facebook pages with new cover images, and the updated timeline design! Now is the perfect time to swing by and take a look:


Exclusive Freebies & Discounts

Facebook Freebies

We’ve also announced a series of awesome freebies and discounts for all our fans on Facebook. All you need to do is head over to the page for your favourite site, and hit “Like”. It’s that easy! Here’s what you’ll receive as one of our fans:

An Exclusive Tutorial

Each of our Facebook pages has a brand new, exclusive tutorial that isn’t available anywhere else. These are all top-notch educational content, of the standard you’ve come to expect from Tuts+!

Bonus Resources & Assets

We’ve collected some of our favourite freebies, resources and assets, and put them all in one place for you to download. Whether you’re looking for an icon set, a texture pack, or a bunch of WordPress cheat sheets, they’re now all available in one place.

10% Off Your Next Rockable Purchase

Rockable Press publishes a wide array of different books for creative professionals — everything from the latest web development techniques, to photography and freelancing!

As our Facebook fan, we’d like to offer you a 10% discount on any purchase from Rockable. Just use your exclusive coupon code when checking out through eJunkie!

Our All-New Tuts+ Wallpaper Pack

And if that wasn’t enough, how about a Facebook exclusive wallpaper pack for your favourite Tuts+ site? It comes in 11 different styles, and sizes are included for a desktop monitor, iPhone, and iPad.

Don’t forget that each of our Facebook pages has a unique set of freebies… You can check out each page for a different set of downloads!

Check out the Nettuts+ Facebook Page



March 23 2012

21:00

Unleashing Facebook Page Timeline Tips with a Riveting Showcase

After Facebook launched Timeline for profiles, it was pretty obvious that the social media giant would eventually push similar changes to Pages. Are you excited about the new Timeline for your Facebook Business Page or do you dislike the change? Unfortunately, you don’t have a say in the matter. On March 30th, Facebook will automatically convert your page to the new Timeline format. Numerous changes affecting designs, analytics, postings, and more will take effect, so before you make a move, take a look at some of these important Facebook Page Timeline Tips.

Cover Image

The cover photo encompasses the width of your Page with a dimension of 851 x 315 pixels. Facebook recommends using the image as a creative representation of your brand or product offerings and forbids advertising and self-promotion. The cover image should not include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
  • Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.

Scroll down to see some creative uses of the cover image.

Tabs and Apps

The tabs located below your profile image will be automatically transferred to the right side below your cover photo once the Timeline publishes. You are allowed 12 total apps. Four apps are displayed while users must click to see the remaining eight. The Photos app cannot be moved.

Social-Stars-Apps-Facebook-Page-Timeline

  • The app size has increased from 520px to 720 px.
  • Facebook allows a custom thumbnail image (size is 111 x 74 pixels) to showcase each app.
  • These images can be used for call-to-action, specials, or to call attention to your Welcome Page. (See next section)

The Problem!

If you were directing “non-fans” to a default landing welcome page, you are now out of luck. In what seems to be an attempt to urge businesses to use advertising, Facebook removed the ability for Page admins to send non-fans to a default welcome page unless they pay for advertisements. Your welcome page will still be present but it will be transferred to your apps.

How do you get around this default landing page problem? Here are some creative tips:

  • Draw attention to your Welcome Page app by making the custom thumbnail image a different color so it stands out from the background.
  • Add text to compel the visitor to click.
  • Direct outside traffic to your Welcome Page app instead of directly to your Timeline. You can still use the “Like gate”.
  • Pin a post so it is featured above all others on your timeline. (See post section below)

Need a little inspiration? Here are some Facebook Pages that creatively use their Welcome Page apps:

Social Identities

Notice the welcome page (I added the arrow for emphasis)

Social Identities also directs outside traffic to the welcome page. When you click the Facebook icon on the website, the link directs you here:

Rocket Media

Rocket media used colors that stand out.

Social Stars

Profile Image

That small square on the lower left of the cover photo is the profile image. Choose wisely because this becomes the thumbnail for your Page featured next to your posts and other content on Facebook. It measures at 180 x 180 pixels, but should be scalable to 32 x 32 pixels. This space is the recommended spot for logos and brand identity images.

Posts

Posts have new functions which can be changed by clicking on the upper right corner.

Post-Options-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Star a post to increase its size and expand it to both sides of the timeline. Change the date to make a post appear at any location of the timeline. If you “pin” a post, it will appear at the top of your timeline for up to seven days.

The Timeline wouldn’t be what it is without the ability to add Milestones. Milestone posts extend the entire width of the Timeline and allow businesses to chronicle important times in history. Coca-Cola and the New York Times have used this feature to display life-altering historical events and interesting company facts.

Liked Button

When you “like” a Page, the “like” button changes to “Liked”. When you hover over it, Facebook gives you the opportunity to remove posts from your news feed, which is close to “unliking the Page”, or add it to an interest list.

Interest lists are similar to Twitter lists. Encourage your fans to add you to an interest list.

There is also new research that suggests that addition to interest lists increases your EdgeRank score.

Direct Messages

Customer service is enhanced with the new direct message feature. Fans can contact you and have private conversations.

Page Name Changes

Facebook allows you to request a name change for your Page. Here is a link to the request page: Click here

Admin Panel

The new admin panel is user-friendly and tracks your activity from one interface.

Activity Log

Within the Activity log, manage your post functions and control what appears on your timeline.

Activity-Log-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Additional Resources

Before we move on the amazing Showcase of Facebook Timeline Pages, I wanted to give you some additional resources that discuss the Timeline and its many features:

Also, do let us know your experiences with the Facebook Page Timeline in the comments section!

Showcase of Facebook Page Timelines

Many businesses have already jumped on the bandwagon and launched their Timelines. Here are some examples for creative inspiration:

Make Use Of

Toyota USA

Ford Motor Company

Fox News

Red Bull

Magnolia Bakery

Social Ups

Fabienne Fredrickson

Smart Women’s Institute

Smart-Women's-Institute-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Pic Scatter

PicScatter-Facebook-Page-Timeline

Dressing Your Truth

Dressing-Your-Truth-Facebook-Page-Timeline

February 29 2012

16:00

How to Use About.me as Your Online Business Card

You would probably ask, ” I already use so many services – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, YouTube etc on a regular basis, what’s the need for another one?”

Well, about.me is not really just ‘another one’ , it’s a service meant to put together all your other services. It’s a neat way to merge your multiple online profiles scattered across different service providers in one single identity – either for your personal use or for professional purposes.

For me the professional angle sounds more interesting. Imagine if you could have clickable links on your business card to your LinkedIn, your resume, your portfolio, client testimonials etc, about.me is exactly like that. It’s basically your business card online with links to the services which promotes you and gives the visitor an idea as who you are. So next time rather than providing someone with multiple links to your online accounts just direct them to your about.me page.

In this post I will walk you through the story of about.me in brief, then visit some nice about.me pages to gather inspiration and then proceed step by step to create one.

The Story

Launched in December 2010, by Ryan Freitas, Tony Conrad and Timothy Young, the San Francisco-based startup was acquired by AOL within four days of launch. Brad Garlinghouse, President of Consumer Applications, AOL, quoted “about.me is more than just the aggregation of social profiles, it allows people to easily express themselves in an increasingly noisy environment full of disparate social experiences”. The acquisition according to Young will enable the service to “piggyback” on the AOL’s large userbase.

The success of about.me, I believe comes from the fact that a true personal brand identity is associated with the .me domain. The site uses a very simple user interface, allowing users to set  up their page in a few minutes, backed by strong back-end analytics which make it easy for a user to see how many people viewed their profile pages and which social networks they went on to view from there, thus providing users with deeper insight into how to build and market themselves online.

Inspiration

For inspiration you can checkout the pages in the featured section found on the bottom of the first page and the pages of the founders of the site.

Featured pages

Page of Tony Conrad, one of the founders of about.me (http://about.me/tonyconrad)

Page of Ryan Freitas, another founder of about.me (http://about.me/ryanchris)

Creating your own page

Step 1 : Sign up

Start by signing up and creating a unique url for you as about.me/your-name

Step 2 : Register

Register your name, write a short biography about yourself or leave it for later. Choose the tags which you think are appropriate to you or your work.

Step 3 : Customize Background

Your page is now online! Customize your page by changing the background, there are some in-house templates that you can use. However since about.me is all about branding yourself try using a high-resolution image of your own to fill up the entire screen, works pretty well for most of the pages

Step 4 : Biography

The next step is writing a short Biography, here you can write something about who you are and what you do, if you have skipped it in step 2.

Step 5 : Color and Font settings

Edit the colors to suit your background and your taste. Change the font likewise.

Step 6 : Add services

Now this is the most important part of setting up the page, adding the services. There are a few popular services. Choose the ones you are subscribed to and would like to add to your profile. Once you click and choose any of them you will be redirected to the website of the service, where you need to login once and approve permission. You are automatically redirected back to your about.me page once you have authorized the use of the service.

Step 7 : Add contact preferences

Set up your contact preferences using the contact tab. I have selected email contact and AOL chat option, which remains visible on my profile.

Step 8 : Using Analytics

Click on the Dashboard and select ‘Profile Statistics’ to view how many people have visited your website.

Click on the ‘clicks’ tab and you can view the statistics of your added services that were visited in the selected timeframe. I believe this is a very good feature in analyzing which of your online profiles are most viewed, and as I have said earlier it can serve as a useful insight to brand yourself.

Step 9: Find friends

Click on the Account and select ‘Find Your Friends’ option to see who are already on about.me. Once you find your friends from your other networks you can ‘fave’ their profile, and it will be added to your favorites.

Step 10 : Ready to go

The last step is sharing your newly made page with your friends on other networks who are not yet on about.me or are not aware of this service. Inspire them to join or have a look at your page by selecting ‘Share Your Profile’ from the Account tab. You can alternatively send emails with link to this page using the e-mail option.

So there,my friend is my business card online. Its simple, sleek and easy to share.

February 28 2012

10:00

11 CMSs to Help You Create Your Own Social Networking Website

This is the era of social networking. Websites such as Facebook and Google+ dominate the time we spend on the internet. Needless to say, most (if not all) of us find them addictive or, to say the least, interesting.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the CMSs that can be used to create  social networking websites.

1. Dolphin

Dolphin is a CMS that lets you create social networks, dating sites and web communities. It comes loaded with video chat, recorder, video player, forums, groups, events, video messaging, emails, file sharing as well as desktop and mobile apps.

Pros: Wonderful mobile apps, good support for multimedia file types

Cons: Update frequency can be better

Dolphin

Dolphin

Demo | Download

2. Jcow

Jcow is a flexible social networking CMS coded in PHP. It features news feeds and ad blocking scripts. The community isn’t very large, so don’t expect instant replies, and the documentation isn’t the best out there.

Pros: No-nonsense interface, easy to get a hang of

Cons: Documentation isn’t up to the mark

jCow

JCow

Demo | Download

3. Oxwall

Oxwall is a swift and easy to use CMS that caters mainly to social networks and communities, but can also be tweaked for usage in enterprises and other collaborative environments. Oxwall can power many types of websites, including educational networks and other specialized genres of sites.

Pros: Easily extendable/scalable

Cons: Slightly less extensions/templates

Oxwall

Oxwall

Demo | Download

4. Beatz

Beatz is another CMS that focuses on social networks and community websites, though it is more apt for social communities related to music and artists.

Pros: Ideal for creating a music social network

Cons: Difficult to extend

Beatz

Beatz

Demo | Download

5. Etano

Etano lets you create a social network, dating website and other collaborative sites. It doesn’t really offer many unique features, but it can surely suffice for a small social networking project.

Pros: Good for smaller networks, customizable

Cons: Slow updates, less readymade extensions

Etano

Etano

Demo | Download

6. PeoplePods

PeoplePods claims to be “a developer friendly social software toolkit”. The CMS is flexible and is well-backed by active development.

Pros: Flexible, easily customizable, good documentation, active community

Cons: Free extensions can be better

PeoplePods

PeoplePods

Demo | Download

7. Elgg CMS

Elgg is a powerful open source CMS that has a strong community and loyal user base. It can cater to different types of sites and is not strictly meant for social networks. Some of the major sites powered by Elgg include UNESCO and The World Bank.

Pros: Active community, great documentation, good update frequency, decent set of extensions

Cons: Can be confusing for a newbie, slightly steep learning curve

Elgg

Elgg

Download

8. MonoX

MonoX is a social networking CMS based on ASP.NET Its documentation, though decent, isn’t really backed by a super-active community.

Pros: Ideal for ASP.NET users

Cons: Community support can be better

MonoX

MonoX

Demo | Download

9. LiveStreet CMS

LiveStreet CMS lets you create social networks and team blogs. It offers many extensions and multilingual translations.

Pros: Awesome extensions, language packs, etc.

Cons: Not the most nimble or swift CMS

LiveStreet CMS

LiveStreet CMS

Demo | Download

10. Pligg CMS

Pligg CMS is one of the easiest to use CMSs that can power social networks and other interactive websites. Just like Elgg, Pligg too caters to different types of websites.We once did a review of Pligg.

Pros: Easy availability of plugins/templates, good documentation, active community

Cons: Most modules are paid/premium

Pligg CMS

Pligg CMS

Demo | Download

11. Hotaru CMS

Hotaru CMS can be used to create social networks and other such websites. It is a robust CMS and offers numerous plugins and themes.

Pros: Good community support, good documentation, nice repository of themes/plugins

Cons: Even though CMS updates are regular, patches/fixes for extensions take their share of time

Hotaru CMS

Hotaru CMS

Demo | Download

With that said, you can also use mainstream CMSs such as Drupal, WordPress or even BuddyPress for powering social networks and collaborative sites. Here are two working examples: DesignBump (Drupal) and Wordtaps (WordPress).

What do you think of these social networking websites’ CMSs? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments!

February 27 2012

10:00

5 Commenting Platforms to Make Your Blog Less Boring

As bloggers, we all are aware of the importance of comments. While it is true that some blogs/websites tend to disable comments entirely, those are special instances where the websites do not essentially require comments. However, in general, comments form an integral part of any blog, be it a personal one or a magazine site. After all, what good is any info unless it provokes a healthy discussion?

All blogging platforms (including WordPress) come with native support for some sort of comment mechanism which seems to suffice for most bloggers. But sometimes, users may require some dedicated or specialized comment mechanism. This is where third-party commenting systems come in handy.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the major third-party commenting mechanisms. But before going any further, let us assess the pros and cons of using or not using such third-party commenting systems.

Why Should You Use Third Party Commenting Platforms?


The advantages of using a third-party commenting system are many, and now we shall take a look at some of the major ones.

The foremost advantage of using a third-party comment system is the support for social networking sites. Almost all third-party comment systems offer excellent integration with social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, and some even go to the limits of carving their own user base along the lines of a social network. This enables users to seamlessly share their comments and the articles they read on their social networking profiles, thereby spreading the word and driving more visitors to your website.

Third party comment mechanisms also offer real-time updates and email alerts, good RSS support allowing users to keep track of their comments and take part in discussions in a more organized manner.

Furthermore, most such platforms support a single sign-in with many IDs, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or OpenID. Naturally, this helps in getting comments from different types of users, as well as wards off spam quite effectively.

And lastly, most such systems allow readers to rate the comments too – you can give a ‘Thumbs Up’ or ‘Thumbs Down’ to comments you like or dislike respectively, and you can flag comments and mark them as spam. Obviously, such ‘community recognition’ of comments goes a long way in helping users take the discussions more seriously.

Why Should You Use the Default Comment Mechanism?


At times, we simply don’t need (or don’t want) the third-party commenting facilities. For starters, the default commenting facility blends well with the design (irrespective of whether we use a free theme for our blog or a premium one, the default system for comments doesn’t really look out-of-place).

Often times, third-party commenting systems are notorious for increasing the load time. While they do not really take AGES to load, they do slow down the load time, in comparison to the native commenting mechanism. The reason for this is that third-party systems are not integrated within the blog’s design base.

Next, in order to get the maximum out of third-party systems, your users should essentially have an account. Yes, such systems do allow the users to comment anonymously, but if they are to get the optimum out of the mechanism, an account is necessary (this applies most emphatically to Livefyre). While such accounts do help in killing spam, they are often a deterrent. A native commenting system, on the other, requires at the most an email address – you can let Akismet take care of the spam comments!

Lastly, the in-built comments system is hosted, well, as part of your own website. It is not dependent on a third-party server, and you don’t have to worry about their server being slow to respond, and so on.

With the advantages and disadvantages out-of-the-way, we shall now take a look at the major third-party commenting systems.

Disqus


Disqus is a comments platform built along a community model. It is one of the most popularly used comment mechanisms and is backed by numerous addons.

Disqus

Disqus

Major Features:

  • Disqus supports realtime comments in a fast and intuitive interface. You can even get email notifications for follow-up comments (and reply to the responses by replying to that email).
  • It is well-integrated with services such as YouTube and Flickr, and you can easily embed or attach media such as photos or videos to your comments.
  • You can login, like and share stuff using social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, the USP of Disqus lies in its integration with social networks as well as its own community model, wherein users can keep track of their comments and share things they like in an easy manner.
  • Disqus also comes with moderation tools and an in-house anti-spam technology that ensures that your site is safe from spammers. You can restrict certain keywords within comments and add blacklists or whitelists as and when need be!
  • Finally, Disqus offers good support for mobile devices, has been internationalized well and comes with plugins/modules for WordPress, Drupal and easy integration for Blogger, Tumblr and many other platforms.

Disqus is used by the likes of CNN, Time Magazine, Fox News and Engadget.

IntenseDebate


IntenseDebate is a commenting platform from the stable of Automattic, the good folks behind WordPress. It is a wonderful commenting system, that has several good features.

IntenseDebate

IntenseDebate

Major Features:

  • IntenseDebate provides a decent set of community tools, including integration with services such as Facebook Connect and OpenID.
  • It supports nested comments, email notifications and reply-by-email.
  • Just like Disqus, users can have their own profiles with full social networking integration.
  • You can moderate comments, use blacklists or whitelists, and even assign other admins for the task. Spam protection, of course, is provided by Akismet.
  • IntenseDebate is supported on services such as WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, and many others.

It is used by websites such as Infectious Creed and ScreenCrave. Obviously, the user base is not as impressive as that of Disqus, but IntenseDebate is rising at a good (though still not ‘great’) pace.

Livefyre


Livefyre is a real-time conversation platform, that aims to “turn your content into a catalyst for meaningful live conversations.” Ok, that’s good use of English, if nothing else!

Livefyre

Livefyre

Major Features:

  • Livefyre, just like its competitors, offers good integration with social networking services. When you comment, you can tag your Facebook friends right away, and thereby bring more people into the conversation.
  • Comments are published in real-time, and it also shows a live stat of both those commenting and listening.
  • Livefyre comments are SEO-friendly and this helps you increase your page rank.
  • Users can create their profiles on Livefyre, and gain additional features, such as the frequency of email responses, linkbacks and credit points on their comments.
  • Just like Disqus and IntenseDebate, Livefyre also offers powerful moderation tools and anti-spam measures.
  • The USP of Livefyre, arguably, lies in its eye-candy element. It has a beautiful interface, and new comments, for example, are shown as a bubble pop-up at the bottom.
  • For general usage, Livefyre is free. But can get a Custom Solution if you need additional features such as developer support, on-page branding, guaranteed SLA Uptime, emails via custom domains and page views over 2 million per month.

Among major websites that use Livefyre, the most noteworthy ones are The Sun, The New York Times, Tennis.com, AOL, M Tv and Bloguin. Clearly, Livefyre caters to some of the biggest names.

ECHO


ECHO, formerly known as JS-KIT, is another real-time commenting system, that offers several Premium features. Strictly speaking, ECHO is a complete real-time web platform, inclusive of forums, polls, real-time sharing and comments, among other things.

ECHO

ECHO

Major Features:

  • Just like most other platforms, ECHO too supports real-time comments with no need to refresh the page in order to display new comments.
  • ECHO comes with in-line sharing, enabling users to post their comments to social networks at the same time.
  • You can sync comments from platforms such as Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter conversations and (soon to be added) Google+ – all in a side stream or even a separate tab.
  • ECHO also provides wonderful moderation and analytics’ tools. Plus, it is fully customizable.

However, ECHO is more of an enterprise solution and you can’t simply ‘download’ it for free and start using it. Their website doesn’t actually talk about any pricing, but it does have a Contact Formwhere you can get in touch to learn more.

Major users of ECHO include The Washington Post and ESPN, among others.

Facebook Comment Box


If you tend to engage your blog users with Facebook in particular, you can try using Facebook Comments Box plugin for your blog. While this clearly does not beat Disqus or Livefyre in terms of features, it has certain unique benefits of its own.

Facebook Comments' Box

Facebook Comments' Box

Major Features:

  • FB Comments Box plugin sorts comments on the basis of relevance. Comments or topics that have received preference from friends (and friends of friends) are ordered first, while comments marked as spam are hidden from view.
  • Users can easily share comments on Facebook by leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ tick box checked. Naturally, since FB itself is a huge social network, this can drive new visitors to your website.
  • The plugin also provides certain moderation tools, grammar filters, mobile version and support for third-party login. Currently, only Yahoo! AOL and Windows Live accounts are supported, as per the documentation.

On the downside, FB Comments Box plugin is rendered as an iframe, and many search engines do not crawl content within an iframe. So this plugin might not give you the SEO boost that you’re expecting from the user comments.

With that, we come to the end of this round-up. Which comment system do you use for your blog? How is your experience with it? Feel free to let us know!

Reposted bythatsridicarus thatsridicarus

February 17 2012

10:00

Why Your Business Must Go Social [Infographic]

Your grandma is probably on Facebook by now. So why on earth isn’t your business?

It’s time to get real, and come to terms with the fact that social media networks are not just for teenagers anymore. Even setting up something as simple as a customized Facebook fan page can enhance your brand online. Studies show that socializing is important for maintaining a happy and a healthy lifestyle. So it kinda makes sense that the same holds true for businesses, no?

Read on for some cold hard facts about why social networking is a must for you and your company.

Shared by our friends from Wix!

your wix business must go social
Via: Wix.com

February 16 2012

21:00

How to Twitter and Facebook and Still Get Things Done

It almost seems like magic the way that most social media juggernauts tweet, update Facebook, upload YouTube videos and respond to comments, seemingly nonstop, all while still managing to get work done. This is an issue that I have struggled with for quite some time. Recently, however, I have been exploring techniques to help myself better manage my time during the day, get more work done, and still remain engaged in social media.

Scheduling in time for social media


Once I began scrutinizing my daily work flow, one of the first things I discovered was that, while I was keeping a steady stream of engagement, the stream of engagement was chaotic and sporadic. In the social media world this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, if you are trying to get real work done it is actually a huge distraction.

Every time I broke my train of thought to answer a tweet or respond to a Facebook comment, I was breaking down my productivity and inevitably getting less work done. So I hit Google with a few quick searches, looking for some advice. I quickly realized that the main problem was in my lack of planning and scheduling. Maybe if I devoted a fixed amount of time to social media engagement I could keep from breaking my concentration multiple times an hour.

Image by Habatares

I decided to make a list of the most important social media interactions and execute them all within 10-15 minutes. My initial list looked something like this:

  • Browse Dribble, bucket a few great pieces, follow a few great designers, comment on any good shots.
  • Check Google Reader and add any worthwhile articles to Buffer (will talk more about this later)
  • Respond to any @ replies on Twitter
  • Respond to any interesting Tweets in my HootSuite feeds
  • Browse StumbleUpon and find something worth sharing
  • Reply to any comments on my blog

This list is in no way complete, nor is it a one size fits all. Your list might look completely different. Maybe you find the best engagement on Facebook. Maybe you’re more of a Forrst user. Maybe you’re an avid Yelper or Stack Overflow user. Your list should be tailored to your preferred networks and preferred level of engagement.

Use it


You’ve got the list, now use it. And if you can’t accomplish it in 10-20 minutes, keep working on it until you feel it can complete it within a reasonable amount of time. Now go through the list once in the morning, then put it away, focus, and get some work done.

Making the most of your time


Now that you have a simple strategy for social media engagement without wasting time, using different tools can really help you get the most out of these small windows of interaction:

Scheduling tweets


An obvious problem with the 10-20 minute strategy is that you run the risk of flooding your streams with links and content in a really short period of time. Some of your followers/friends might not care for this as it feels spammy and can be kind of annoying.

Using a tool like Buffer can minimize this by scheduling your tweets to be shared at different times of the day. I’ve never been a huge fan of scheduling tweets but I have realized that, like most social media techniques, there’s a right and a wrong way to use it. Putting link shares on a schedule is fine because there’s no time factor. No one cares whether you actually shared an article right at this moment or shared it this morning and it’s just now showing up. However, any tweet which answers the question “What’s Happening?” should not be scheduled as it can be really misleading to your followers. I’m open to other opinions here, this is just how I’ve come to see it.

Social media dashboards


Social media dashboards can help you manage your social feeds and allow you to engage more quickly, efficiently and maintain a higher level of quality within your interactions. I’ve used a few social media dashboards here and there but the one I’ve settled on is HootSuite, mainly because it works well overall and is free. I also recommend Seesmic or TweetDeck, both of which are pretty solid and well vetted. If you know of any others which are worth mentioning, please share in the comments section below.

Practice makes perfect


The first time you employ the 10-20 minute engagement strategy, you may be left feeling like you haven’t done enough. This technique isn’t common and is pretty much the opposite of the way we are used to doing things. Just stick to it and you’ll start seeing the benefit within the first day. The more you work at it the better the engagement will become.

Social media apps and integration tools


In the past, social media apps and integration tools which cause mobile alerts and desktop notifications have led me to dramatic decreases in productivity. This might not be a huge distraction to everyone but, if you’re like me, when you see a growl notification, a red number on top of a dock icon, or hear your phone vibrate on your desk, you can’t help but check it.

If this sounds like you, the main advice I can give you is to examine your social media apps and tools and ask yourself if you really need them on during the day. Are they really worth the distraction and loss in productivity? If the answer is no, uninstall and stick with the 10-20 minute strategy we discussed earlier. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when work has actually been done :)

Social web browsers


A social media web browser can be a great way to stay connected to your various networks during the day. Be careful though, as they can quickly become a hefty distraction. I don’t personally recommend using a social media browser while you are working but, during down time, they can be really useful and a great way to keep up with your networks.

An obvious contender here is RockMelt. I have a couple pals who use it and rave about it. RockMelt renders like Chrome, but as I mentioned above, I don’t recommend using it for development.

I haven’t come across many other decent social web browsers (aside from the now deadpooled Flock). Do you know of any other contenders? Let me know in the comments section below!

Going Dark


The best thing you can do to minimize social media distractions is to go dark. The goal here is to cut yourself off from the networks which are distracting you and taking attention away from your work. Pretty much anything which produces alerts, notifications or messages is a potential distraction.

This concept was tough to wrap my head around at first. Once I gave it a try, though, I saw immediate results. My time in the “zone” increased and I felt more accomplished at the end of the day. This might seem scary at first, but try it for an hour, then two hours, then three and you will see a notable increase in productivity.

If you want to get extreme, I recommend shutting off your phone and logging out of your email as well. It might not be wise to ride a blackout like this for too long, but a little time in the dark side will help you appreciate the light side even more!

Conclusion


Engaging in social media is one of the best things you can do for your digital self. Creating relationships and engaging others is extremely important. It only becomes a problem when social media engagement interferes with your other projects and tasks. Hopefully I have helped you come to realize that the solution comes down to scheduling, proper time management, and of course the occasional blackout :)

Do you have any other tips for keeping up with social media without losing productivity? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

January 05 2012

10:00

Facebook Timeline: Quick Tips And Smart Examples

A lot has already been covered about Facebook Timeline. A lot of critics (as expected) have negatively criticized Facebook Timeline while others consider it as the biggest gamble (which seems to be working) by Mark Zuckerberg. I will try not to bore you by discussing the same stuff over and over. Facebook Timeline is here to stay and we can either sit on the sidelines and let Timeline take control of the social world or we can be a part of this new movement.

Though I am a firm believer of swimming-against-the-tide yet, on this rare occasion, I will suggest you to enable Timeline on your Facebook Profiles. It is time that you become accustomed to the new social networking phenomenon.

How to Enable Facebook Timeline with Just Two Clicks?


It is easy. Really. Follow the steps below:

  • Hit this link.
  • Hit the green colored “Get Timeline” button on the bottom bar.
  • Now, hold on. Before your second click I will suggest you go through your Timeline and make whatever changes you want in your timeline.
  • Once you are happy with your Timeline then hit the green colored “Publish Now” button on the top horizontal bar.

Wasn’t that really easy? Have fun with the new Facebook profile and keep reading to make it more attractive.

Quick Facebook Timeline Tips


The new Facebook Timeline looks a bit complex though it actually isn’t. Let me take you through some of the tips that will come in handy when you start using Facebook Timeline.

  • Click the “Star” button on the top right corner of any item in your Facebook Timeline to expand it horizontally. Once you do so the item stretches across both columns and is easily visible to the viewer. This feature can be used when you want to emphasize soemthing in your Timeline.

  • You can remove the items that you don’t like from your timeline. Besides deleting the item you can perform various other tasks (like editing the date, adding the location, marking spam and a lot more) with that item as seen in the image below:

  • You can get rid of the useless adverts that show on the right sidebar of your Facebook Timeline. All that you have to do is hover your mouse pointer on that advert and click the “X” button that becomes visible. Facebook will hide the advert but might ask a quick question which will help them improve their advert service. Be generous and leave your answer.

  • Just like the older version of Facebook, the timeline has the option to let you see how your timeline will look like to the general public. Just look for the View As option on the top of your timeline and test it out.

  • Although you will hide most of the useless content from your timeline, there will be times when you want to see everything that is actually part of your activity on Facebook. Look for the “Activity Log” button below your Facebook header image and click on it. You will now see everything that you have been up to on Facebook. You can filter the content by many fields and analyze it as much as you want. Know your activity and improve your social media experience.

Fresh Covers For Your Facebook Timeline


Once you are accustomed to Facebook Timeline then it is time for some sort of beautification. Facebook Timeline provides the option to have one large image displayed on the top of your profile which gives your profile a completely new look. No other social networking website gives you the sort of look that the Facebook Timeline has to offer. Let me take you through some of the unique Facebook Timeline Covers that you can use right away on your Facebook Timeline.

Goodbuy to Evolution

Cycle of Life

Sonic The Hedgehog


Dance

United Kingdom Flat

Believe

Mila Kunis

Windows Phone Lover

Focus

Its About The Story

Inspirational Facebook Timeline Profiles


I told you how to swim with the tide and be a part of Facebook Timeline phenomenon. I introduced you to some of the tips that can come in handy when you are about to use Facebook Timeline. Lastly, I presented some of the cover images that you can use on your Facebook Timeline. Now, before I wrap up, I will show some of the unique Facebook Timeline ideas that have garnered a lot of attention lately. These people were some of the very first people who successfully experimented with Facebook Timeline profile. Let us begin:

Andrew Grojean

Andrew seems to be obsessed with the old look of Facebook. The obsession pushed him to give the new Facebook Timeline the look of old school Facebook. Pretty innovative I would say.

Mathew Baker

Mat’s Facebook cover page surely attracts attention when you look at it for the first time.

Ekkapong Techawongthaworn

His Facebook Timeline profile goes with his name. Complex to figure out though simple once you know what it is.

Niels Langeveld

Though there isn’t much that is unique with this Timeline Profile it’s still worth a view.

Andy Hirsch

This is one rare Facebook Timeline profile that makes use of holiday seasons at its best.

Tom Lambie

Ever saw the Facebook Timeline style 404 error? Here is one for you to enjoy. It was sure that some will come up with a 404 Error page on their Timeline headers but this is pretty much the most different approach towards the 404 error page.

Robert Falken

Robert’s Facebook Timeline Cover can easily be tagged as the most confused cover of them all. He still does not know what is on his mind!

Rodney Hess

Can’t explain anything about this Timeline profile. This has been doing rounds on the Internet due to its approach and it pretty much attracts all.

Mohammad L. Azzam

Another unique approach to Facebook Timeline Cover image.

Lawson Hembree V

Didn’t I tell you that QR Code‘s have their own marketing power? Here is another way to use QR code and attract attention.

January 04 2012

21:00

25 Best Infographics Of 2011 That Are Still Relevant Today

The year of 2011 went very fast for us in the development world and I am sure some of you accomplished important things for your career during this year. But besides our personal achievements, the whole industry managed to reach something that was unthinkable around 10 years ago. To show you how the web progressed during the past year, I collected a series of infographics from the internet and hope, by the end of this article, you will realize what huge potential this year of 2012 has. Most of the images are not in full here, so you might want to click on them and read the whole infographic for an overall understanding of the presentations.

1. 60 seconds on the web

This one shows what happened on the web during 2011 in a timeframe of 60 seconds, if we minimize the whole year to it. 600 new YouTube videos, almost 700,000 search queries on Google and Facebook status updates and close to 100,000 tweets should say enough about what power the internet holds nowadays.

Source

2. Disruptive Companies

It is easy to see how Apple, for example, disrupts today’s web. The iPhone and iPad start to replace the computers and old phones and always bring new ideas to the table.

Source

3. Instagram’s Fun Facts

Source

4. User Generated Content

Nowadays people say “Content is King” and after reading this infographic you will see why they mean it. There is so much content on the internet that is really difficult to keep up with, therefore we have to sort out the things we are interested in and only follow those.

Source

5. App Store Info

Want to see some interesting information about the apps in Apple’s Store? Then this infographic is for you.

Source

6. Foursquare Reaching 10 Million Users

This is an animated .gif and you might want to see it in full.

Source

7. Spam

Source

8. How Busy are Americans

Source

9. Facebook Relationships

This infographic is not only about Facebook users, but also about their relationships. Very good to understand how Facebook works for us and how we interact with the others.

Source

10. Bugs in your Open Source Code

Source

11. Twitter History

If you tweet a lot, you probably already know some of these, but otherwise this is an interesting read about the records on Twitter and some other statistics. It is not only for 2011, but includes some events from last year.

Source

12. Farewell to Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the former genius and Apple co-founder, died in the latter part of 2011. This infographic is more or less dedicated to him and tells us the important milestones in his life.

Source

13. iCloud

Apple’s new technology is shown and explained in this infographic.

Source

14. iPhone Users and their Security Concerns

Source

15. Online Hiring through oDesk in the Bay Area

Source

16. Future Social CEO

Source

17. Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

Source

18. How does Google make a Profit

If you still ask yourself where does Google, a free service, make its money from, then this infographic will definitely provide an answer to you.

Source

19. The Life of a Facebook Photo

Source

20. Differences Between Mac and PC Users

Source

21. The Apple Products Tree Since its Foundation

Source

22. Online and Offline Marketing

Source

23. Social Media Marketing and its Effectiveness

Source

24. The StartUp ToolKit for Online Entrepreneurs

Source

25. A Day in the Life of a CEO

Source

December 13 2011

21:00

15 WordPress Plugins For A Better Facebook Experience

With hundreds of millions of users accessing Facebook on a daily basis, it’s important to take advantage of everything the social network has to offer. Facebook plugins give businesses the ability to create an enhanced experience for their audience so users can share content easily and effortlessly.

Facebook plugins are centered on users and their experience with your website, blog or Facebook Page. Plugins make interacting and communicating with your content simple by providing users with many reasons to share and interact, receive friend’s recommendations or “like” your Facebook Page.

Below are 15 of the top WordPress Facebook plugins in use today:

1. WPToFacebook


WPToFacebook-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

WpToFacebook can transfer your WordPress content (manually or automatically) directly to one or more tabs in Facebook.

Some features:

  • Unlimited connections to Facebook
  • Options to make content visible or invisible to fans
  • Order content by title, date or in descending or ascending order
  • Choose pre-existing templates or create your own
  • Multi-language capabilities

2. JSL3 Facebook Wall Feed


JSL3-Facebook-Wall-Feed-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

This WordPress plugin displays a snippet of your Facebook wall on your website via a widget.

3. Add Link to Facebook


Add-Link-to-Facebook-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

This plugin automatically posts your content from WordPress to a location on Facebook, whether your fan page, a group, or profile wall. You can customize the way links appear and choose to add your own image to the post on Facebook. If you do not choose an image, the plugin will display a default image.

With this plugin you can also display “Likes” for the post on the original content from WordPress and link comments from the two locations together. The comments and likes on the post in Facebook will appear on the blog post in WordPress.

This plugin also allows for remote posting from Android or iOS devices or by using Windows Live Writer, BloGTK or Blogilo.

4. Cardoza Facebook Like Box


Cardoza-Facebook-Like-Box-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

The Cardoza Facebook Like Box is a visual box displayed on your website that introduces visitors to your Facebook Page. The box will showcase how many people “like” your page while showing your visitors which of their friends like it as well.

You can customize the Like Box to include your recent posts and allow visitors to “like” your page while remaining on your website.

5. Facebook Comments for WordPress


Facebook-Comments-for-Wordpress-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

Your blog visitors may refrain from leaving comments because they do not want to take the time to register a new login for your site. This plugin will make commenting easier for your visitors by giving them the option to login and comment on your posts with their Facebook or Yahoo! account. If readers are logged into Facebook, they will automatically be able to leave comments using their Facebook profile without any extra effort.

You can customize the order of the comments, their visibility, and the manner in which you will receive notification when a user publishes a comment. The user will also have the option to publish the comment to their Facebook wall which can help to grow your business as well.

6. WP Greet Box


WP-Greet-Box-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

This plugin will help to increase awareness and readership for your blog. It targets visitors based on where they came from before landing on your website. With a greeting message you can customize it depending on the referring url. For example, if a visitor arrives from Twitter, you can create the welcome message about Twitter and include a link to follow or interact with you there as well. You can also set a default greeting message that is not connected to any referring url.

Some features:

  • Auto-insert greeting messages at different locations in your post
  • Customize user settings and whether or not user can close the greeting
  • Plugin automatically detects visitor’s searched keywords and displays related posts under or above the greeting message
  • Customize settings so visitors will only see the greeting message once, regardless of how many times they visit your site.
  • Customize rules to exclude specific referrer urls
  • Greeting message box is completely customizable (with CSS)
  • Plugin includes long list of referrers with the ability to easily add more as you please

7. Facebook Share Button – NEW


Facebook-Share-Button-Top-15-Most-Popular-Wordpress-Facebook-Plugins

This Facebook Share Button plugin is a new version of the old plugin. It allows blog owners to add a Facebook Share button to any blog post and now provides a count as to how many times your content is shared.

You can position the share button before or after your post or page by using the shortcode [fbshare] or by manually inserting it in the code. You can also customize the button using CSS and choose to opt out of displaying the share count. The plugin works with the Google +1 and Tweetmeme buttons as well.

8. Wordbook


Wordbook-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

Wordbook is a Facebook plugin that allows you to automatically post your blogs to your Facebook wall for your friends to view from their news feeds. Friends can also comment on your posts directly from Facebook.  

9. JanRain Engage


JanRain-Engage-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

The JanRain plugin allows your visitors to login to your blog via many social networks such as Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, MySpace ID, Windows Live ID and OpenID (18 supported networks).

The users’ icons will be seen alongside the comments and users can also easily share the content with their friends on their social networks. Optional displays include share buttons on each comment or at the beginning or end of posts.

The plugin also collects email addresses if the login does not pass a verified email check.  Existing users can also login with their current account details.

10. Simple Facebook Connect


Simple-Facebook-Connect-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

Simple Facebook Connect is a robust plugin that allows your visitors to comment on your content using their Facebook profile. In addition, you can automatically publish posts to your Facebook profile, fan page or an application.

Some other great features as listed on the plugin page:

  • Enables your site to connect to Facebook with JS SDK
  • Implements OpenGraph tags, entirely automatically
  • Comment using Facebook credentials (with Facebook avatar support)
  • Automatically Publish new posts to Facebook Profile or Application or Fan Page
  • Manually Publish posts to FB Profile or Application or Fan Page
  • Integrate comments made on Facebook back into your own site
  • Login with your Facebook credentials, optionally using Facebook avatars instead of Gravatars
  • New user registration with Facebook credentials (using the Facebook Registration Authentication system)
  • Facebook Photo Album integration in the Media uploader
  • Like Button and shortcode
  • User Status Widget and shortcode
  • Live Stream Widget and shortcode
  • Fan Box Widget and shortcode
  • Fan Count Chicklet and Widget
  • Activity Feed Widget
  • “Share” button and Shortcode (reworked version of Like button, as Share button is no longer supported by Facebook)

11. Facebook Fan Box


Facebook-Fan-Box-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

This plugin is another popular Facebook Like Box for your WordPress website. Display your fan page updates in real-time on your blog for your visitors. It also shows the number of fans and gives you the ability to customize the appearance, dimensions, stories and number of fans displayed.  

12.WP-FB-AutoConnect


Facebook-Auto-Connect-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

The FB Auto Connect is similar to Facebook’s registration plugin. The plugin offers registration and login templates so your visitors can easily connect with your site. Users can login to your blog with either their Facebook account or WordPress details.

Some additional features:

  • Full support
  • Facebook profile pictures for avatars
  • Fast page load time since connection with API is not needed after login is complete
  • New user accounts retained even if you remove the plugin
  • Notifications when user connects with Facebook
  • Easy to customize

13. Gigya Socialize


Gigya-Socialize-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

Gigya Socialize gives users the ability to connect with your blog through many different accounts such as:

  • Facebook Connect
  • Twitter
  • MySpace ID
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • AOL
  • LinkedIn
  • Any OpenID provider

You can also update your social sites and invite friends to visit your content via the plugin. It is easily customizable and helps visitors stay on your blog longer by giving them an array of easy login options. It also makes sharing your content very easy, which will help to increase blog traffic.

14. Fotobook


Fotobook-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

Fotobook imports your photos and your albums from Facebook. You can import photos from multiple Facebook accounts, insert single photos in posts or display photo albums on a WordPress page. The admin panel is easy-to use and widgets displaying random photos can be easily added to the sidebar.

15. Facebook Share Statistics


Facebook-Share-Statistics-Top-15-Most-Popular-Facebook-Plugins

This is a great plugin to help you track your visitors’ activities on Facebook. The backend panel displays statistics and charts of the posts that have been shared or “liked” as well as the number of comments and visits from Facebook.

Do you use any of these plugins or have any other recommendations? Please share!

December 12 2011

21:00

7 Social Media Myths That You Should Bury Deep In The Ground

Social Media is huge today and each week we see lots of new headlines about companies developing their own platforms, Facebook having even more visitors, or Paris Hilton’s account being hijacked on Twitter. These things happen more often nowadays especially because social media is part of our lives and some of us could not imagine their life without it.

For freelancers it might be a bit difficult to handle social media, because of the loads of information on and about it. There are many myths about social media oand I will list some of them here, so you will not have to think about them anymore from now on.

1. Social Media Equals Immediate Success


Well no, it doesn’t. As much as I would like to say it does, instant success is not something social media guarantees. If you created a page for your company on Facebook, it’s very unlikely for you to get the first client within a week. You need to spend time and maybe even money to bring people there, while also spending time and money on trying to make them want your services.

The best way to have success in social media is spending a few hours each day on it, not getting burned out by working 24/7 work for weeks in row, because this doesn’t guarantee the success will come faster – the probability is actually lower.

So don’t think that having social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook will bring you success right away, because it is not like that. Use social media wisely and wait to see the results – good things come to those who are willing to wait for them.

2. Be on Every Platform


Photo by Lee Traupel

This is another false myth people talk about all the time. It is not a requirement to be on all the social media platforms, although it could be an advantage. On the other side, being on all the platforms (in case you are a small company) might actually do less than you thought. This might turn out bad because as a small company you probably do not have somebody employed just to take care of your social media responsible, therefore you probably do everything. This means there will not be enough time for every platform and some of them might get left behind. This will do anything but create a good impression for your clients, so avoid signing up everywhere if you are not confident you can handle all of them.

Moreover, not every new platform will reach success like the big ones, so make sure you have accounts on the big social media platforms and take it from there. If you think some other minnows have chances as well, have an account there too, but keep in mind that you do this for the sake of your clients. If they are not present on the respective platform, there is not need for you to be there either.

3. Social Media Replaces a Website


No, it doesn’t. I can’t stress enough about how important it is to have a website – separate from your social media accounts. The web 2.0 platforms are there to only aid your website, not to replace it. The most important thing about your website is that you have total control over it – from the host and domain, to platform and content. This is different on a social media platform where you are restrained by different rules. Whereas a website is yours as long as you want, a social media platform where you have all your clients can fail and cease to exist in a matter of days – if you have no website, how will you regain contact with your  clients?

This can’t happen with a website, which is yours and where only you decide on the content and layout. Nobody changes the rules without you knowing and if the host company goes bankrupt, you always have your backup (providing you actually do, which is a good thing to keep in mind) and can move in an instant to another provider. Social media does not replace a website because they have totally different purposes. This is why you should always have both of them.

4. No Contacts Are Made Through Social Media


This is another one which should totally be ignored. Clients can be landed through social media, this is something that I did before and that I will continue doing. Sure, social media is for fun and in our private circle we use for a total other purpose, but in a business environment clients are often landed through social media. Now if you are a freelance editor, don’t expect to land Darren Rowse and start writing for him immediately, because this will not happen. However, it is very possible to land any kind of client on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and, after building a strong relationship with him, to actually make him pay for your services.

5. Social Media is a Waste of Time


This couldn’t be more wrong. Not only is social media is important for any kind of business, it will also bring you clients and make you more popular on the internet – which, last time I’ve checked, was the second most used media in the world – far more used than radio or newspapers and close behind TV. You could consider that for some people social media is a waste of time, but I repeat, this is for some people. Companies need social media like air, especially because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because of many others.

If you have a strong social media strategy and want to invest time and money into it, social media will transform into a way of keeping your clients closer. Think they would rather read about your latest information on your Facebook page than get a weekly e-mail from you, which will end up sooner or later in the spam folder. You are the only one who can make your social media strategy transform this channel into a useful one.

6. High Number Equals Good Results


If your social media strategy is having as many followers as possible, then it is probably a waste of time for you too. Having numerous uninterested and untargeted followers will never bring the results you look for and you will end up thinking social media is a waste time. The large number of followers does not impress too many people when you are a business or a freelancer, if they are not interested in what you have to say. You can be followed by 1.000 people in the first two weeks, if only three of them interact with your, that is your real audience.

Try to target your audience a bit more and learn something about each one of them – at least while you still have a small number of followers. Clients feel when companies make an effort for them and appreciate it, so jump into this right away when you sign up on a social media platform.

7. Not Everything You Say or Do Matters


Unfortunately it does. If you don’t believe me, try to look for the stories about people who were fired from their jobs because of social media mistakes. Employers, employees, clients and prospects follow you closely and weigh every sentence and answer you make public. When you are a freelancer it might not cause that much damage, but if you are a company it might tear you apart – especially with the press following social media today as well, so pay attention to every detail of your conversations online (and for that matter offline too).

Conclusion


Social Media is huge today and if you are still not convinced about this, then there is something wrong. Try to take a look around you and realize everybody is active there and your clients are probably part of “everybody”. If your prospects are there, you have to be there too, otherwise they will move to another freelancer or company who is active on social media, and you will remain with those few faithful contacts everybody has.

Use social media wisely, have a strategy beforehand, follow it, be ready to invest in it; closely follow your discussions and watch for conversation mistakes and you will be just fine. Before considering these myths and many others, try to conduct some research yourself and you will realize most of them are false.

Do you know some other myths about social media? Do you ignore them or do you believe in them?

December 01 2011

18:00

Wrangling with the Facebook Graph API

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your applications more social with Facebook? It’s much easier than you think!

In this tutorial, we’ll be building an application that reads and publishes data to and from Facebook using Facebook’s Graph API. Interested? Join me after the jump!


A Short Introduction to the Open Graph Protocol

Facebook Open Graph

Open Graph Protocol

Image courtesy of http://ogp.me

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 allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook.

While many different technologies and schemas exist and could be combined together, there isn’t a single technology which provides enough information to richly represent any web page within the social graph. The Open Graph protocol builds on these existing technologies and gives developers one thing to implement. Developer simplicity is a key goal of the Open Graph protocol which has informed many of the technical design decisions.

In a nutshell, the Open Graph Protocol turns any web page into an object in a huge graph. Each object, at least in Facebook’s graph objects, can have many other objects linked to it. For example, a Facebook Page can have multiple Post objects, which are posts made by that page. In turn, each Post object can have multiple Comment objects attached to it, referring to comments written by people on the post. This relationship between graph objects is the basis for Facebook’s Graph API, which in turn allows us to do CRUD operations on these objects.

In this tutorial, we’ll be learning how to use and integrate the Facebook Graph API into an application. We’ll also learn how to use data from the Graph API to do operations like logging in a user via their Facebook account. Ultimately, we’ll be creating a small application than allows people to create and read posts from a Facebook Page they’re managing, similar to HootSuite or TweetDeck.


Step 1: Create a Facebook Application

The first thing you should do when you’re planning to use the Facebook Graph API is to create a Facebook application. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be putting the application on Facebook (although we can); we just need a Facebook application (specifically an APP ID and APP SECRET) to access the API.

Open http://developers.facebook.com and click on the Apps link in the navigation bar.

Facebook's Developer Site

Facebook’s Developer Site

You’ll be prompted to log in (if you’re not) and allow the Developer application to access your account. Just click on Allow and you’ll be redirected to the Developer App homepage.

Allow the Developer application access

Allow the Developer application access

On the Developer App homepage, click on Create New App in the upper right corner of the page.

Developer App homepage

Developer App homepage

You’ll be greeted with a modal window asking for an App Display Name and App Namespace. Provide anything you want here, but for the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll be using Nettuts+ Page Manager and nettuts-page-manager respectively. Click on Continue.

Birth of the Nettuts+ Page Manager

Birth of the Nettuts+ Page Manager

After some obligatory captcha checking, you’ll be redirected to your newly-minted application’s page. Here you’ll see the APP ID and APP SECRET that we need. Copy and paste these values somewhere for later use.

The APP ID and APP SECRET

The APP ID and APP SECRET

When that’s done, go to the lower part of the page and click on the “Website” box, and below it should appear a form that asks for a Site URL. Since I’m just using my local machine to build the application, I’ll use http://localhost/nettuts/pagemanager. When you’re done, click on the Save Changes button below.

Nettuts+ Page Manager Settings

Nettuts+ Page Manager Settings

Step 2: Download and Set Up Facebook’s PHP SDK

Facebook's GitHub page

Facebook’s GitHub page

Our next task is to download and set up Facebook’s PHP SDK. The best location to get it would be on Facebook’s GitHub page, since this is where the latest and greatest version of the PHP SDK will be.

Downloading Facebook's PHP SDK

Downloading Facebook’s PHP SDK

Point your browser to https://github.com/facebook/php-sdk and click on the “ZIP” button. This should prompt a download for the latest version of the SDK. Save it anywhere you like.

Now, extract this into PHP’s include_path to make it accessible by any application. Alternatively, if you’re just using this for one application, extract it inside the application’s folder — just make sure to take note where, since we’ll have to include facebook.php in our code later.


Step 3: Read from Facebook via the Graph API

Let’s start creating our project and using the Facebook Graph API to read information from Facebook. For starters, create an index.php file where a user can log in via Facebook. The index.php file should contain the following code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
	<title>Nettuts+ Page Manager</title>
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/reset.css" type="text/css" />
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/bootstrap.min.css" type="text/css" />
	<script src="js/jquery.min.js"></script>

	<style>
	body {
		padding-top: 40px;
	}
	#main {
		margin-top: 80px;
		text-align: center;
	}
	</style>
</head>
<body>
	<div class="topbar">
		<div class="fill">
		<div class="container">
			<a class="brand" href="/">Nettuts+ Page Manager</a>
		</div>
	</div>
	<div id="main" class="container">
		<a href="connect.php" class="btn primary large">Login via Facebook</a>
	</div>
</body>
</html>

If you’re wondering, reset.css is just your standard stylesheet reset, and bootstrap.min.css is Twitter Bootstrap. I’ve also added jQuery into the mix to make it easier to do client-side stuff. Now, if you refresh the page, it should look something like this:

Nettuts+ Page Manager First Run
Nettuts+ Page Manager First Run

Now let’s create our connect.php file, which will enable us to connect a user’s Facebook account and the pages that he or she manages. Let’s start by including the Facebook library we downloaded earlier. Instantiate it using the APP ID and APP SECRET:


//include the Facebook PHP SDK
include_once 'facebook.php';

//instantiate the Facebook library with the APP ID and APP SECRET
$facebook = new Facebook(array(
	'appId' => 'REPLACE WITH YOUR APP ID',
	'secret' => 'REPLACE WITH YOUR APP SECRET',
	'cookie' => true
));

The $facebook variable can now be used to make API calls to Facebook on behalf of the application.

  • The appID setting tells Facebook which application we’re using.
  • The secret setting “authenticates” our API calls, telling Facebook that they came from someone who owns the application. This should never be shown to the public, which is why it’s named the “Application Secret.”
  • The cookie setting tells the library to store the user’s session using cookies. Without it, we won’t be able to know whether the user is logged in via Facebook or not.

Now, we check if the current user has already allowed access to the application. If not, the application has to redirect them to Facebook’s “Allow Permissions” page.


//Get the FB UID of the currently logged in user
$user = $facebook->getUser();

//if the user has already allowed the application, you'll be able to get his/her FB UID
if($user) {
	//do stuff when already logged in
} else {
	//if not, let's redirect to the ALLOW page so we can get access
	//Create a login URL using the Facebook library's getLoginUrl() method
	$login_url_params = array(
		'scope' => 'publish_stream,read_stream,offline_access,manage_pages',
		'fbconnect' =>  1,
		'redirect_uri' => 'http://'.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']
	);
	$login_url = $facebook->getLoginUrl($login_url_params);

	//redirect to the login URL on facebook
	header("Location: {$login_url}");
	exit();
}

Essentially, this is all that happens here:

  • The application makes a simple API call to get the user’s Facebook User ID (also known as FB UID) via the $facebook->getUser() method.
  • If the $user variable has a value, it means that the user has already allowed basic permissions for the application.
  • If not, then it means the user hasn’t allowed the application permissions yet, and the application needs to redirect to Facebook’s permissions page to get the necessary permissions.
  • It then generates a Login URL, which is where the application should redirect the user to show Facebook’s permissions page for the application. The getLoginUrl() method takes in the following parameters:
    • scope – this is a comma-delimited list of permissions the application needs
    • fbconnect – this should be 1 to tell Facebook that the application will be using Facebook to authenticate the user
    • redirect_uri – this is the page Facebook redirects to after the user has gone through the Facebook permissions page

    You can read more about the getLoginUrl() method here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/php/facebook-getLoginUrl/

  • Afterwards, the application redirects the user to the Login URL and the user sees Facebook’s permissions page.
Facebook's Permissions Page

Facebook’s Permissions Page

Facebook Permissions

Let’s take a minute to talk about Facebook permissions. Similar to when you install an application on your Android phone, Facebook permissions are various levels of access a Facebook application can do on behalf of a user. For example, if we wanted access to user’s email address, we can add the email permission to the scope setting we use to generate the login URL.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so make sure to only use your permissions for good, not for evil.

It’s important that your application only asks a user for permissions that it actually needs. If you only need to authenticate a user via Facebook, you don’t even need to ask any permissions at all! Remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so make sure to only use your permissions for good, not for evil.

In the app, we use the following permissions:

  • publish_stream – allows the application to publish updates to Facebook on the user’s behalf
  • read_stream – allows the application to read from the user’s News Feed
  • offline_access – converts the access_token to one that doesn’t expire, thus letting the application make API calls anytime. Without this, the application’s access_token will expire after a few minutes, which isn’t ideal in this case
  • manage_pages – lets the application access the user’s Facebook Pages. Since the application we’re building deals with Facebook Pages, we’ll need this as well.

There are a lot more permissions Facebook requires for different things. You can read all about them in Facebook’s documentation for permissions.

Going back to the application, now that the user has allowed the permissions required by the application, we can do some API calls to Facebook! Place this inside the if-else block from the code above:

<pre>
//start the session if needed
if( session_id() ) {

} else {
	session_start();
}

//get the user's access token
$access_token = $facebook->getAccessToken();

//check permissions list
$permissions_list = $facebook->api(
	'/me/permissions',
	'GET',
	array(
		'access_token' => $access_token
	)
);
</pre>

The first thing we do is get the $access_token for the user that the application just authenticated. This is crucial, as the application will need this access token for almost everything we do. To get it, we use the getAccessToken() method. The $access_token acts as a ‘password’ for the user. It’s always unique for every user on every application, so make sure to store this when needed.

Afterwards, we can see how to make API calls to Facebook using the api() method. This method takes in the following parameters:

  • $graph_path – this is the Facebook graph path, which is essentially the “URL” to the open graph object we want to access. This can be any graph object on Facebook, like a Post (e.g. ‘/<post_id>’), a Comment (e.g. ‘/<comment_id>’), or even a User (‘/me’ is a shortcut for the current user whom the $access_token belongs to. It can also be ‘/<user_name>’ or ‘/<fb_uid>’, but the $access_token you’re using must have access to that user, or you’ll only be able to get the user’s public information).
  • $method – this is the kind of method you want to do. It’s usually GET when you’re trying to “get” information, and POST when you’re trying to “post” or update information and DELETE if you want to remove information. If you’re not sure, the Graph API documentation tells you which method to use for specific API calls.
  • $params – these are the parameters that come with your API request. Usually for GET methods you only need to supply the user’s $access_token. For POST methods though, you’ll also need to provide other parameters. For example, if you want to post a new status update, you’ll provide the status update message here.

Alternatively, we can also use the api() method to execute FQL (Facebook Query Language) queries, which lets us get data via SQL-style language. This is great for retrieving information not available in the Graph API, as well as running multiple queries in one call. For example, we can get a user’s name and other details through this FQL API call:

$fql = 'SELECT name from user where uid = ' . $fb_uid;
$ret_obj = $facebook->api(array(
   'method' => 'fql.query',
   'query' => $fql,
 ));

We won’t need this for this tutorial, but it’s good to keep this in mind when you come across something the Graph API can’t get.

Now that we have the list of permissions the user has allowed for the application, we need to check if the user gave the application all the necessary ones. Since Facebook’s permissions page allows users to revoke certain permissions, we need to make sure that all of them have been allowed to make sure the application works. If the user has revoked one of the permissions, we’ll redirect them back to the permissions page.

//check if the permissions we need have been allowed by the user
//if not then redirect them again to facebook's permissions page
$permissions_needed = array('publish_stream', 'read_stream', 'offline_access', 'manage_pages');
foreach($permissions_needed as $perm) {
	if( !isset($permissions_list['data'][0][$perm]) || $permissions_list['data'][0][$perm] != 1 ) {
		$login_url_params = array(
			'scope' => 'publish_stream,read_stream,offline_access,manage_pages',
			'fbconnect' =>  1,
			'display'   =>  "page",
			'next' => 'http://'.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']
		);
		$login_url = $facebook->getLoginUrl($login_url_params);
		header("Location: {$login_url}");
		exit();
	}
}
var_dump() of the $permissions_list variable

var_dump() of the $permissions_list variable

When that’s done, it means we’re all set and we’ll be able to run the application without any problems. Let’s start by doing another API call, this time to retrieve the list of Facebook Pages the user has administrative rights to, and saving these into a session variable. Afterwards, we’ll redirect the user to the manage.php page, where the page management code will be.

//if the user has allowed all the permissions we need,
//get the information about the pages that he or she managers
$accounts = $facebook->api(
	'/me/accounts',
	'GET',
	array(
		'access_token' => $access_token
	)
);

//save the information inside the session
$_SESSION['access_token'] = $access_token;
$_SESSION['accounts'] = $accounts['data'];
//save the first page as the default active page
$_SESSION['active'] = $accounts['data'][0];

//redirect to manage.php
header('Location: manage.php');
var_dump() of the $accounts variable

var_dump() of the $accounts variable

The /me/accounts graph path gives us a list of the pages that a user has administrative rights to. This returns an array of all of the pages, plus specific $access_tokens for each of these pages. With those $access_tokens, we’ll be able to do API calls on behalf of the Facebook Page as well!

Save these in the $_SESSION array and redirect to the manage.php page.

Let’s start working on our manage.php file. Remember that we’ve saved the user’s $accounts list into the $_SESSION array, as well as set the first account on the list as the default active page. Let’s GET that account’s news feed and display it:

//include the Facebook PHP SDK
include_once 'facebook.php';

//start the session if necessary
if( session_id() ) {

} else {
	session_start();
}

//instantiate the Facebook library with the APP ID and APP SECRET
$facebook = new Facebook(array(
	'appId' => 'APP ID',
	'secret' => 'APP SECRET',
	'cookie' => true
));

//get the news feed of the active page using the page's access token
$page_feed = $facebook->api(
	'/me/feed',
	'GET',
	array(
		'access_token' => $_SESSION['active']['access_token']
	)
);

Again, the application does the intialization of the Facebook library, and then another api() call, this time to /me/feed. Take note that instead of using the user's access token, we use the active page's access token (via $_SESSION['active']['access_token']). This tells Facebook that we want to access information as the Facebook Page and not as the user.

var_dump() of the $page_feed variable

var_dump() of the $page_feed variable

Wow, that’s a lot of information about a Facebook Post. Let’s dissect a single Facebook Post object and see what it’s made of.

The Facebook Post Object

Facebook Post Cheat Sheet

Facebook Post Cheat Sheet
  • id – this is the Post‘s ID
  • from – contains information about the user who posted the message
  • message (red) – the message component of the post
  • picture (orange) – a link to the photo attached to the post
  • name (blue) – the “title” of the Facebook post
  • link (also blue) – the link to where the name goes to when clicked
  • caption (purple) – a few words to describe the link
  • description (pink) – more than a few words to describe the link
  • icon (grey) – a link to the icon image used
  • actions – Facebook actions you can do to the post, such as Liking it or Commenting on it.
  • privacy – the privacy of the post
  • type – the type of the post. A post can be a status, link, photo or video.
  • created_time – the time when the post was created
  • updated_time – the time when the post was updated
  • comments – comments on the post

It would be wise to keep a copy of the cheat sheet above, since we’ll be using that again when we publish Post objects to Facebook.

Moving on, let’s display the news feed in a more pleasing way. Add the following HTML below the PHP code:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
	<title>Nettuts+ Page Manager</title>
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/reset.css" type="text/css" />
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/bootstrap.min.css" type="text/css" />
	<script src="js/jquery.min.js"></script>

	<style>
	body {
		padding-top: 40px;
		background-color: #EEEEEE;
	}
	img {
		vertical-align: middle;
	}
	#main {
		text-align: center;
	}

	.content {
		background-color: #FFFFFF;
		border-radius: 0 0 6px 6px;
		box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.15);
		margin: 0 -20px;
		padding: 20px;
	}
	.content .span6 {
		border-left: 1px solid #EEEEEE;
		margin-left: 0;
		padding-left: 19px;
		text-align: left;
	}
	.page-header {
		background-color: #F5F5F5;
		margin: -20px -20px 20px;
		padding: 20px 20px 10px;
		text-align: left;
	}
	</style>

</head>
<body>
<div id="main" class="container">
	<div class="content">
		<div class="page-header">
			<h1>
				<img width="50" src="http://graph.facebook.com/<?php echo $_SESSION['active']['id']; ?>/picture" alt="<?php echo $_SESSION['active']['name']; ?>" />
				<?php echo $_SESSION['active']['name']; ?>
				<small><a href="http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=<?php echo $_SESSION['active']['id']; ?>" target="_blank">go to page</a></small>
			</h1>
		</div>
		<div class="row">
			<div class="span10">
				<ul id="feed_list">
					<?php foreach($page_feed['data'] as $post): ?>
					<?php if( ($post['type'] == 'status' || $post['type'] == 'link') && !isset($post['story'])): ?>
					<?php //do some stuff to display the post object ?>
					<?php endif; ?>
					<?php endforeach; ?>
				</ul>
			</div>
			<div class="span6">
				<h3>Post a new update</h3>
			</div>
		</div>
	</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

We make use of a simple Graph API trick here: the Picture Graph API object. Basically, you can take the Graph path of any User or Page object (e.g. http://graph.facebook.com/293518907333589), add /picture in the end and you’ll get a 50×50 photo of that object. For example:

http://graph.facebook.com/293518907333589/picture

Becomes…



Demo Picture Graph API Object

Going back, when we refresh the manage.php page now, it should look something like this:

Add this inside the <?php foreach($page_feed['data'] as $post): ?> to display the feed from the page:

<?php if( ($post['type'] == 'status' || $post['type'] == 'link') && !isset($post['story'])): ?>
<li>
	<div class="post_photo">
		<img src="http://graph.facebook.com/<?php echo $post['from']['id']; ?>/picture" alt="<?php echo $post['from']['name']; ?>"/>
	</div>

	<div class="post_data">
		<p><a href="http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=<?php echo $post['from']['id']; ?>" target="_blank"><?php echo $post['from']['name']; ?></a></p>
		<p><?php echo $post['message']; ?></p>
		<?php if( $post['type'] == 'link' ): ?>
		<div>
			<div class="post_picture">
				<?php if( isset($post['picture']) ): ?>
				<a target="_blank" href="<?php echo $post['link']; ?>">
					<img src="<?php echo $post['picture']; ?>" width="90" />
				</a>
				<?php else: ?>
				&nbsp;
				<?php endif; ?>
			</div>
			<div class="post_data_again">
				<p><a target="_blank" href="<?php echo $post['link']; ?>"><?php echo $post['name']; ?></a></p>
				<p><small><?php echo $post['caption']; ?></small></p>
				<p><?php echo $post['description']; ?></small></p>
			</div>
			<div class="clearfix"></div>
		</div>
		<?php endif; ?>
	</div>
	<div class="clearfix"></div>
</li>
<?php endif; ?>

When you refresh the page again, it should look something like this:

Looks good, right? We’ll have to thank the Twitter Bootstrap CSS for that!

Now, let’s add a top navigation bar to help us switch from one page to another. Add the following HTML after the <body> tag and before the <div id="main" class="container"> tag:

<div class="topbar">
	<div class="fill">
	<div class="container">
		<a class="brand" href="/">Nettuts+ Page Manager</a>
		<ul class="nav secondary-nav">
			<li class="dropdown" data-dropdown="dropdown">
				<a class="dropdown-toggle" href="#">Switch Page</a>
				<ul class="dropdown-menu">
					<?php foreach($_SESSION['accounts'] as $page): ?>
					<li>
						<a href="switch.php?page_id=<?php echo $page['id']; ?>">
							<img width="25" src="http://graph.facebook.com/<?php echo $page['id']; ?>/picture" alt="<?php echo $page['name']; ?>" />
							<?php echo $page['name']; ?>
						</a>
					</li>
					<?php endforeach; ?>
				</ul>
			</li>
		</ul>
	</div>
	</div>
</div>

Don’t forget to load the dropdown JavaScript library from Twitter Bootstrap’s JavaScript page. You can download it here.

<script src="js/bootstrap-dropdown.js"></script>
<script>
$('.topbar').dropdown()
</script>

Lastly, let’s create the switch.php file, where we’ll set another page as the active page:

<?php
session_start();
$page_id = $_GET['page_id'];

foreach($_SESSION['accounts'] as $page) {
	if( $page['id'] == $page_id ) {
		$_SESSION['active'] = $page;
		header('Location: manage.php');
		exit();
	}
}
exit();
?>

Refresh the manage.php page again and you should see something like this:

And now, by using our dropdown switcher, we’re able to switch pages.


Step 4: Publish to Facebook via the Graph API

Now we’re ready to publish new updates to our page! First of all, let’s create the HTML form where we can set what we’ll publish. Add this below the <h3>Post a new update</h3> HTML:

<img src="post_breakdown.png" alt="Facebook Post Cheat Sheet" width="340" /><br />
<form method="POST" action="newpost.php" class="form-stacked">
	<label for="message">Message:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="message" name="message" placeholder="Message of post" />
	<label for="picture">Picture:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="picture" name="picture" placeholder="Picture of post" />
	<label for="link">Link:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="link" name="link" placeholder="Link of post" />
	<label for="name">Name:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="name" name="name" placeholder="Name of post" />
	<label for="caption">Caption:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="caption" name="caption" placeholder="Caption of post" />
	<label for="description">Description:</label>
	<input class="span5" type="text" id="description" name="description" placeholder="Description of post" />

	<div class="actions">
		<input type="submit" class="btn primary" value="Post" />
		<input type="reset" class="btn" value="Reset" />
	</div>
</form>

Refresh to see how it looks:



Loving Twitter Bootstrap’s default form styles

The Post cheat sheet should come in handy when we’re figuring out what to put in the fields. Now, let’s create the newpost.php file where we’ll actually use the Facebook Graph API to publish to the page’s feed.

Start by creating the file and initializing the Facebook library like we did for the other pages:

<?php
//include the Facebook PHP SDK
include_once 'facebook.php';

//start the session if necessary
if( session_id() ) {

} else {
	session_start();
}

//instantiate the Facebook library with the APP ID and APP SECRET
$facebook = new Facebook(array(
	'appId' => 'APP ID',
	'secret' => 'APP SECRET',
	'cookie' => true
));
?>

Afterwards, let’s get all of the content we received from the POST request:

//get the info from the form
$parameters = array(
	'message' => $_POST['message'],
	'picture' => $_POST['picture'],
	'link' => $_POST['link'],
	'name' => $_POST['name'],
	'caption' => $_POST['caption'],
	'description' => $_POST['description']
);

Let’s not forget to add the $access_token for the page to the parameters:

//add the access token to it
$parameters['access_token'] = $_SESSION['active']['access_token'];

Now that we have our $parameters array, let’s build and send our Graph API request!

//build and call our Graph API request
$newpost = $facebook->api(
	'/me/feed',
	'POST',
	$parameters
);

Take note of what difference the $method can make. A GET API call to /me/feed will return the news feed of that particular object, but a POST API call to /me/feed will post a new status update to the object.

To publish a new Post object to Facebook, the application needs to make a call to the /<page_id or /me>/feed graph path, and it needs to supply the following in the $parameters array:

  • access_token – the access token of the account we are publishing for
  • message – the message to publish
  • picture (optional) – a link to the photo of the post
  • name (optional) – the “title” of the post
  • link (optional) – a link to where the name will go to when clicked
  • caption (optional) – a few words to describe the link/name
  • description (optional) – more than a few words to describe the link/name

You can see that the only parameters that are required are the access_token and the message parameters. By providing only these two, we can publish a simple status message, like so:



Status Update Example

Everything else is optional. However, if you provide a name, link, caption, or decription, you have to provide all four. As for picture, if a parameter value is not provided or not accessible, the post’s picture will be blank.

Finally, let’s try publishing to Facebook using the application! Go back to the manage.php page and fill up the form, then press Post:

Afterwards, you should be redirected back to the manage.php page, but there should be a new post on the feed!



Publishing to Facebook successful!

You can also check the Facebook Page itself. You should see the new post there:



Publishing to Facebook Page

Conclusion

By now, you should already have a clear grasp on how to use the Facebook Graph API to both read and publish to Facebook. In this tutorial, we only cover the basics — there’s a whole lot more you can do using the Graph API. Stuff like real-time updates, which lets you subscribe to events that happen to your application’s users (e.g. when a user changes his/her profile photo) or the Insights Graph object, which lets you get the statistics of an application, page, or domain the user has access to.

Of course, the best resource for learning more about the Graph API is undoubtedly Facebook’s Graph API documentation, but I also suggest taking a look at FBDevWiki, which is a third-party hosted wiki for Facebook Development documentation.



FBDevWiki.com

Additionally, there’s also a special Facebook version of StackOverflow you can visit at http://facebook.stackoverflow.com. The questions here are all about Facebook and Facebook Development, so it’s well worth visiting if you need any help or have any questions on the subject.



Facebook StackOverflow

Hopefully, you’ve learned from this tutorial how easy it is to use the Facebook Graph API to make your applications more social.

Have you used the Facebook Graph API in a previous project, or are you planning to use it now? Tell me all about it in the comments below and thank you so much for reading!


September 23 2011

07:58

A Roundup of Valuable Facebook Tools


  

Not long ago we had a post featuring some valuable Twitter tools, and we received requests to do the same kind of post for Facebook. In the interest of giving our readers what they want, and the community content that is useful, this post was born. Today we are presenting a list of tools to enhance your Facebook experience.

Even with Google+ on the virtual horizon, Facebook remains a major social media platform that many users never foresee leaving. So for designers and developers compiling tools for making the most of Facebook will never go out of style. Hopefully in our post today you will find some new tools that will optimize your own Facebook ventures, or those you are preparing for clients.

For the User End

Facebook Tools for WordPress is a WordPress plugin that allows you to auto insert OpenGraph tags, insert a like button, send button, and comments box, and retrieve Facebook comments on your WordPress blog.

Media Feedia is a complete Facebook tool for businesses. It allows you to manage multiple accounts at once, get email notifications from your fan pages, set admin’s to your account and protect your page, and schedule posts with pictures and links.

Buddy Media offers a variety of Facebook tools allowing you to grow and connect with your Facebook fan base, drive traffic to your website, and monitor fan usage and feedback.

AllFacebook Stats lets you track and compare the performance of your Facebook pages and places with deep analyses in the fields fans, interaction and content, benchmarking vs. competitors and best-practice examples, the ability to manage large amounts of pages/places in one place, and a customizable dashboard with all your important stats on one page.

ShrotStack lets you customize your Facebook Page with contests, sweepstakes, videos, custom forms and more.

Wildfire lets you track up to 3 different Facebook pages allowing you to track your own stats along with those of your competitors and receive alerts to changes and trends.

Pagemodo is another site that lets you easily create a custom Facebook fan page including free and paid options.

Webtrends for Facebook pulls data from your Facebook pages and apps using Facebook API. Additional conversion data is available with the Webtrends tag. Within a couple of clicks and less than 30 seconds, you start seeing ideas about what’s working and what’s not.

Vitrue is a social relationship management platform that offers a variety of Facebook tools including a Facebook page evaluator, custom wall apps, the ability to customize the look and feel of your fan page, and more.

How to Design and Program a Facebook Landing Page is an an introduction video tutorial teaching you how to design and program a Facebook landing page using iFrames.

For Facebook Developers

For any developer looking to work within or link with the Facebook Platform with their own work, Facebook Developers is an invaluable resource amassed by the FB team to help you out. With a plethora of tutorials and tools collected there, we could not do this roundup without a nod to this virtual toolbox. Straight from the horses mouth, here are some developer specific tools.

Tools

  • Like Button – The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click.
  • Comments – The Comments plugin lets users comment on any piece of content on your site.
  • Login Button – The Login Button shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button.
  • Registration – The registration plugin allows users to easily sign up for your website with their Facebook account.
  • Javascript Test Console – A simple way to learn, test and debug the JavaScript SDK. It also includes a large number of working examples.
  • Debugger – Helps you debug your Open Graph protocol pages. Having problems with the Like button or our other Social Plugins? Start here.
  • Test User API – A test user is a user account associated with an app created for the purpose of testing the functionality of that application. Facebook Platform supports the creation of test users via the Graph API for manual and automated tests.

Tutorials

  • Canvas Tutorial – This document walks you through the key steps to getting your app up and running within the Facebook chrome.
  • Apps on Facebook.com – Building an app on Facebook gives you the opportunity to deeply integrate into the core Facebook experience.
  • Page Tab Tutorial – One of the most interesting features of Apps on Facebook.com is the ability for your app to be used within the context of a Facebook Page.
  • Mobil Apps – This guide walks you through the basics of creating mobile apps that leverage Facebook Platform.

(rb)

Tags: Tools Facebook

September 13 2011

18:12

Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD

Advertisement in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD
 in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD  in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD  in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD

Today we are glad to release a yet another freebie: a Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD, designed by Hike and released for Smashing Magazine and its readers. The PSD will speed up the process of creating previews, thus sparing you from drawing all the comps and letting you customize all the texts, buttons and data as you need. All layers are vectorized, allowing you to scale up the GUI without loss of quality. The mock-up is 100% pixel-accurate, it has 4 viewing modes (default wall, wireframe wall, default tab, wireframe tab), all layers labeled and grouped. Smart guides are included. The PSD is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS3+.

With every update Facebook performs to its fan page design, Hike reproduces it 24 hours later and updates its download link with the latest version. The main idea behind this PSD was to provide all designers and agencies with a useful tool that will improvs their daily workflow when it comes to preparing Facebook-related previews for their clients or internal presentations. As usual, the goodie is absolutely free to use in private and commercial projects.

Release in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD

Download the PSD for free!

You can use the freebie for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. Please link to this article if you want to spread the word. You may modify the file as you wish.

Preview in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD

Features

  • 100% pixel-accurate
  • 4 viewing modes (default wall, wireframe wall, default tab, wireframe tab)
  • Fully vectorized
  • Limitless scaling
  • All layers labeled
  • Smartly grouped
  • Completely editable
  • Includes smart guides
  • CS3+ compatible
  • Always up to date

Previews

Tab Wireframe in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD
Tab wireframe (large preview)

Wall Default in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD
Default wall (large preview)

Wall Wireframe in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD
Wall wireframe (large preview)

Layerpalette in Freebie: Facebook Fan Page GUI PSD
Layer Pallett (large preview)

Behind the design

As always, here are some insights from the designer:

“From our own experience we knew how time consuming it could be to have to recreate or prepare a decent Facebook template that allows you to implement custom tab graphics, profile banners etc. It’s a real pain and waste of time and it only takes away your focus from the actual artwork. At Hike we once decided to invest multiple days into creating a complete Photoshop template that would allow us to create design previews on the fly.

What sets this PSD apart from similar files is the fact that with every update Facebook performs to its fan page design, Hike reproduces it 24 hours later and updates its download link with the latest version. As listed under Features above, we actually reproduced each and every pixel of Facebook’s fan page UI. The PSD includes 4 viewing modes for the most common design tasks and it’s fully vectorized. Thanks to smart grouping and clever labeling, everybody will easily get along in our PSD. If you have suggestions for improving the file or feel like something is still missing, feel free to post it on our Fan Page wall and we will respond. Follow @HikeSocialApps for updates!”

Thank you, guys! We appreciate your work and your good intentions.


© Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

August 28 2011

16:16

Facebook sfida Google nella ricerca online

Facebook potrebbe entrare nel mercato dei motori di ricerca già a partire dagli inizi dell’anno prossimo. I rumors sull’intenzione di compiere il grande salto da parte del social network di Zuckerberg circolano ormai da diverso tempo e un articolo pubblicato ieri su TechCrunch sembra fissare la previsione per il lancio delle nuove funzionalità non più tardi dei primi mesi del 2012.

L’obiettivo di Facebook è quello di aggiungere alle proprie funzioni sociali anche quelle della ricerca sul web, con lo scopo di diventare il principale hub di informazioni per tutti gli utenti che hanno un profilo attivo sul popolare social network, erodendo così sensibili quote di mercato a Google nella pubblicità online, la cui crescita non sembra conoscere rallentamenti.

Secondo i dati riportati da eMarketer, infatti, durante gli otti mesi del 2011 i ricavi della ricerca di Google hanno raggiunto gli $8.83 miliardi di dollari solo negli Stati Uniti e si prevede si attesteranno intorno ai $10,2 miliardi di dollari entro la fine dell’anno, con un ulteriore incremento del 15,7% rispetto alle stime attuali.

Sono cifre considerevoli che fanno gola anche a Facebook che, dopo il lancio di Google+, ha preso come una seria minaccia l’invasione di campo da parte di Google nel mercato dei social network, e sa bene che la sua sopravvivenza nel tempo è legata a quanto saprà innovare rispetto al principale avversario di Mountain View.

Non è ancora chiaro come le nuove funzioni di ricerca saranno implementate ed incorporate all’interno dei profili ma la cosa certa è che ormai la guerra tra i due giganti del web si combatte, sempre di più, sullo stesso campo.

August 21 2011

10:00

The Effective Ways To Increase Your Facebook Fans

Facebook is one of the leading marketing tools that businesses use these days to find new customers, stay in touch with their existing customers, provide assistance to their existing customers and promote new products. While Facebook is the best social media platform to connect with your customers will Facebook serve as an effective marketing tool for you too?

The best way to use Facebook as a marketing tool is to create a Facebook Fan Page that is related to your business, but the fans on that Facebook page don’t appear magically. You have to compel Facebook users to click on that ‘LIKE’ button on the top of your Facebook Page and make you feel good about using Facebook for your marketing. Everyone nowadays wants more and more fans but it’s not that easy to get them. I have worked on many start ups, and have helped those start ups increase the number of Fans on their Facebook Pages from nil to a respectable number, and thus from that experience, I can talk about some effective tricks here, to help you raise the number of fans on your Facebook Page, and make you feel good about it.

Embed a Facebook Fan Box on Your Blog/Websiteincrease your facebook fans

This is the most common method to increase the number of Fans for your Facebook page. The Facebook Fan Box is actually an application, and rather a plugin on the Facebook, whose code can be copied from there and easily inserted in your Website/Blog. The design of the Facebook Fan box is already very compelling, having a ‘LIKE’ button at the top, but it can be optimized and designed better so that it increases the chance of your Blog/Website’s visitor becoming a Fan of your Facebook Page.

You can choose to show the stream of your Facebook page in that Fan box, or just show the ‘LIKE’ button and a few of the fans, but the stream will give an idea to your site visitors that your Facebook Fan Page is also interesting which will encourage them to click the ‘LIKE’ button.

Use Facebook Ads

This method is a pretty effective one because it targets the right customer/user/reader and thus has a high chance of making the viewer of the ad a Fan. Advertising your Fan Page is very easy to do and can easily be done by going through the Facebook ‘Advertising Wizard’ which you can reach by clicking on ‘Advertising’. When you make an Ad, try to include something in it that is recent and will capture the reader’s attention. There is no need to think about new ways, so just read some Facebook ads that you see and have a look at their number of Fans, and with the help of this comparison, come up with something that will give more effectiveness to even the best of the idea you derived from the Ads already there.

Tag Pages in your Updates

When you update your Facebook Fan Page’s status or you are posting something and are adding a description you can tag a Fan page in that status too.

increase your facebook fans

In order to do it, you must have already liked that Fan page, and the Fan Page should be of the same niche. Try to mention them on a creative post and type something which also gives the Fans a good impression of them. The reason behind this is that when you update the status, mentioning them in it, your update will appear on that Fan Page’s wall, and if your update is a spam, or offending to them, they might remove your post from their wall. And if it stays there, then millions of Fans that those pages  have might find you creative and of the same niche, which will make them become your Fan too.

Mention to ‘Follow Me On Facebook’ Everywhere

This is one of the most simple and effective methods to increase your number of Fans on a Facebook page. When you write a new blog post, you should add a clickable link at the end of your post, asking the reader to become a Fan of your Blog/Website on Facebook. This can be done either by editing the theme of your Blog/Website or with the help of a Social Bookmarking Plugin, which would help you insert that link at the end of every post automatically.increase your facebook fans

Another way to transform your reader into a Facebook fan, is by adding a ‘LIKE’ button either at the end or at the start of a post. This button can easily be inserted into the html of your blog/website and the code can be copied from Facebook Social Plugin’s page. The ‘LIKE’ button won’t tell your reader whether clicking it makes him like the post or the page, and so unintentionally he becomes your Facebook Fan by clicking it. Even if the ‘LIKE’ button is for the post only, put there with the help of social media plugins, clicking it will post the image on that reader’s Facebook wall, and would bring in more traffic to your blog/website from his friends.

The ‘Follow Me on Facebook’ should also be used at every other place you are signed up at, including StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter, and even in your Email Signatures. This will also help you increase your number of Fans on your Facebook page.

Regularly Create and Post Creative and Targeted Content

This is a very crucial thing you should take care of in order to get more fans, and also not to lose the current fans. When you post good and creative content on your blog, your readers after reading it, likes it. This posts a post on their Facebook wall, which is visible to their friends and they may become your Fan too. Your current fans can also share your post, which would add ‘Via your-fan-page-name’ above the shared post on their walls, and seeing that, your fan’s friend will think of you as a reliable and good source of such creative posts, and they would become your Fan too.

It’s not necessary that you only post your own blog/website’s content on your Facebook page. You can also promote and share someone elses content, but in the same niche, and which is creative of course. And again, that content will be either shared or liked, resulting in more Fans.

Like Exchanges with Admin of Other Pages

This step can be the first after you create a Facebook Fan Page of your own. Start searching for Facebook Fan Pages in your niche and obviously those with a lot of fans. After you are done with making up a list of such Fan Pages, contact their admins and talk about posting a like of theirs on your Facebook Page and whether they’d be willing to do the same for you. The link exchange doesn’t literally mean putting up their links on your About sections of your Facebook Page, because that won’t even be visible to your Fans most of the time. The process to do it, is by changing your identity, from your Personal Facebook Profile, to your Facebook Fan Page, and like those pages of the same niche and with lots of Fans. This automatically puts up their names on the left panel of your Facebook Fan page, in the ‘LIKES’ section. If they do so, your Facebook Fan Page would show up on those pages too.

There could still be some Fan Pages whose admins that may not agree for a link exchange for the reason that they have millions of fans, and so here you can spend some money if you want and talk to them about this. Pay them via PayPal, or Western Union and keep being friends with them, even after this transaction takes place, so that you get to know them and for the next period, they don’t ask you for money and let you have your Fan Page name on their  Page.

Use Facebook as  a Fan Page

increase your facebook fansIndeed every new change brings in something bad and something good, and the good thing with the new changes to Facebook, is changing your identity from your Personal Profile, to your Facebook Page. This option is available on your Facebook Page, top-right side. When you click on ‘use Facebook as ‘your-fan-page-name”, you start using Facebook being your Facebook Fan Page. This option comes in very handy in bringing in traffic towards your Facebook page, who might become your Fans too. When you start using Facebook as a Fan page, what you can do now, is that you can like other pages and can comment on their photos, links, statuses and videos.

The best way to use this option is to start liking Facebook Fan Pages in the same niche as your own Facebook Fan Page but opt for Fan Pages with a large number of Fans. Now wherever you see activity start commenting and communicating with the fans of that Facebook Page and always try to leave a good impression on them and bring them to your Facebook Page, because when you comment there, the name that shows up is your Facebook Fan Page’s name. This is just like getting traffic from commenting on other blogs.

Run Contests on your Blog/Website

You can run contests and giveaways on your Blog/Website and in the requirements to enter the Contest or get listed for the Giveaway, the contestant has to be or become a Fan of your Facebook Page. This method is used by many blogs out there and it turns out to be a good way of increasing your number of Facebook Fans.

Connecting Facebook to Twitter

It might be possible sometimes that you have a pretty good number of Followers on your Twitter profile, whether it be your personal profile or your Website/Company’s profile. You can convert your Twitter followers into your Facebook Fans by connecting your Facebook page to your Twitter account. This is very easy and there are a lot of applications on Facebook to help you do so. Then whenever you update your status, post a photo, link, make a note or make any new event on your Facebook page, a tweet will be sent out by your Twitter profile automatically to let your followers know what is going on, on your Facebook page.

Unlike the 420 words you’re allowed on Facebook, Twitter only allows 140 words for an update, and thus if your Facebook activity is over that word limit, Facebook automatically adds a ‘bit.ly’ link at the end of the 140 words that leads to your Facebook page. The ‘bit.ly’ link is beneficial for us, as bit.ly’s website allows us to track the link that it shortened, and so you can check the click stats of the link which got tweeted from your Twitter profile. In order to do so, just copy the tweeted bit.ly link on your Twitter, to your address bar on your browser, and add ‘+’ at the end of it, which will lead you to the stats page.

Other than connecting your Facebook page to your Twitter profile, you can also put a link in your ‘About Me’ on Twitter, which might also bring in some fans to your Facebook page. One more way to use your Twitter profile, is by optimizing it a bit more. You can make your own background image for your Twitter profile, keeping in mind the dimensions that you might need. Type in something about yourself on that background image and also add a link to your Facebook page. The text on the background image should be visible after you put it as your background on Twitter. To do this, as I told you already, you might need to keep in mind the dimensions of the streaming bar on your Twitter profile.

Mention Your Facebook Page on Your Personal Profile

If you have friends that are interested in the niche of your Facebook page, well then of course they would have already liked your page from their own research, but it happens a lot less that your other friends like your page when you invite them with the help of ‘Suggest to Friends’ option on your page. And thus you can put a link to your Facebook page, on your own Personal Facebook profile.

Previously when the Facebook was in its old version, the About me section used to come just underneath your profile picture, but now we have a new design for our Facebook profiles, and thus you can add the link to your Facebook profile and a little description about it in your About Me section on the Info tab.

And for your information, be sure to add http:// to your Facebook Page’s link, because the www’s are not clickable on Facebook.

Create An Appealing Welcome Tab

We discussed many ways to help bring traffic to your Facebook Fan page, but is it obvious that they would click on the ‘LIKE’ button on the top of your Facebook Fan Page? Well of course not, and that is where this method comes in handy. You should make a compelling Welcome tab for your Facebook fan page, which could include a video of you, telling people about your Facebook page, about the contests you run and many more things that could result in converting the Visitors to Fans.

Just don’t reply on your Facebook Fans and keep on putting in your hard work into your Blog/Website/Business for that is the first factor in the increase of your Sales. Good Luck.

August 09 2011

21:24

Facebook svela il nuovo Facebook Messenger

Facebook continua a sfornare nuovi prodotti ad un ritmo frenetico e dopo l’introduzione delle videochiamate e del nuovo sistema di commenti, nonché dopo i rumors di un rinnovo del News Feed, del tasto like e dell’interfaccia del sito, si butta a capofitto nelle applicazioni mobile.

Proprio oggi infatti il colosso di Palo Alto ha svelato Facebook Messenger, una nuova applicazione standalone pensata per le device mobile (iPhone e Android) esclusivamente dedicata all’invio e alla ricezione di messaggi tra utenti o piccoli gruppi di utenti.

Messenger è sostanzialmente una specie di hub, separato dall’attuale app di Facebook in circolazione tra i vari dispositivi mobile, in cui confluiscono tutte le conversazioni del proprio profilo quali chat, e-mail e messaggi. La nuova app integra le funzionalità dell’attuale piattaforma web-based di messagistica del social network e consente in più di restare in contatto non solo con gli amici di Facebook ma anche con i contatti della rubrica presente sul proprio device.

L’obiettivo di Facebook è quello di semplificare e rendere le conversazioni tra gli utenti più rapide e semplici anche se la scelta di separare così nettamente le funzionalità di messaggistica, da quelle dell’applicazione principale per la gestione del profilo, desta non poche perplessità. Il risultato è quello di dover tenere aperte due applicazioni distinte per svolgere attività che, dal punto di vista dell’utente, è preferibile siano invece integrate in un’unica app. Quanto questa scelta sia opportuna lo dimostrerà solo la reazione degli utenti rispetto all’adozione della nuova app.

Il blog ufficiale del social network riporta che Messenger è già disponibile nei vari App Store delle varie piattaforme ma in realtà, almeno per quanto riguarda l’App Store di Apple, per iPhone non se ne ha ancora traccia. Nella home page ufficiale di Facebook Messenger compare ancora questo messaggio “Messenger will be available soon. Please check back later.” Il lancio sembra comunque imminente.

August 04 2011

20:33

Facebook aggiorna News Feed, Like e prepara un restyling del sito

Facebook continua a lavorare a ritmo serrato a nuovi aggiornamenti della propria piattaforma di social network e, dopo le videochiamate e il nuovo sistema di commenti, si appresta a rilasciare nuove funzionalità che riguarderebbero il News Feed, il bottone Like e l’interfaccia del sito.

Il social network di Zuckerberg starebbe per lanciare a breve una versione rinnovata del proprio News Feed, la funzionalità che mostra agli utenti, nella propria home page, l’attività degli amici attraverso uno stream di aggiornamenti di stato. Secondo quanto riportato dal Wall Street Journal, la nuova versione del News Feed dovrebbe contenere maggiori informazioni rispetto a quelle mostrate dalla versione attuale che, invece, filtra i post in maniera selettiva secondo una serie criteri imposti da Facebook.

L’intenzione di Facebook è quella di migliorare le modalità con cui gli utenti interagiscono sul social network, dando maggiore visibilità ad un numero più significativo di aggiornamenti di stato che renderebbero la pagina “home” una sorta di timeline alla Twitter.

Nuove funzionalità sarebbero previste a breve anche per il bottone Like che, dalla sua comparsa sul Web nel 2009, nel giro di un paio d’anni, ha progressivamente conquistato la rete dando la possibilità agli utenti del social network di esprimere l’apprezzamento per un dato contenuto, non solo sulle pagine di Facebook ma anche su quelle presenti su qualsiasi altro sito web. Al momento però non trapelano informazioni su quanto il nuovo Like sarà diverso dal bottone attuale e quali saranno le nuove funzionalità implementate anche se pare scontato, la nuova versione manterrà la stessa facilità ed immediatezza d’uso.

Infine, continuano a circolare voci di un possibile restyling del sito che prevederebbe il ridisegno di una nuova interfaccia più moderna e funzionale di quella attuale entro forse, addirittura, la metà del prossimo anno.

Con l’entrata di Google+ nel mercato dei social network, Zuckerberg gioca in attacco e si prepara a lanciare le prossime novità per contrastare l’ascesa della piattaforma di Mountain View, perché sa bene che un passo falso, in questo momento, potrebbe costare a lui e alla sua creatura un rischio che non vuole assolutamente correre.

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