interconnection

Add Facebook Feed to a Website

FB Like boxWith the holidays, it’s been a while since I posted. Good to be back!

My last post was about how to put a news feed (RSS) onto your organization’s Facebook fan page.  You can also very easily put a box on your website that shows the posts from your Facebook Fan page.  It’s called a “Facebook Like Box”.

To install this box, you will need to be an administrator on your FB page, as well as have access to the “backend” of your website.

To generate the code you will need, go to your FB page, and under the picture in the upper left corner, click on “edit page”.   On the page that pops up, in the left side menu, choose “Marketing”, and then “Add a Like Box to your Website”.  (You can also just click here.)  In the dialogue boxes, put the required information.  As you enter the info, the application changes to show how your box will look.

To get the URL (web address) of your FB Fan Page, go to your page, then refresh the page once to remove leftover tracking code, then copy the entire URL (including “http://www.”).

You might not know exactly how wide you want your box to be, so pick a ballpark number, knowing that you might have to come back a couple of times to refine the size.  Just for reference, the post box in this blog is 490 pixels wide.  Start small (say 300) and work your way up.

There are a few other choices there– click and unclick them to see what they will look like.  When you have your box looking like you’d like it, click on “Get Code”.  A box pops up with two sets of codes– use the “iframe” code.

Copy this code to your clipboard.  Then navigate to the edit function of the page you’d like it to appear on.  You will embed this code differently depending on what content management system or website builder you are using.  You may have to search in the support area to see how to do this.  Hint: Google calendars use the same iframe ebedding, so you might search for “Google calendar embed”.

I use mostly WordPress sites with my clients.  In WordPress, you’ll need to enter the code in the HTML editor in the placement on the page that you want it.  It may take a little guesswork, but you can usually figure this out.  WARNING: iframe codes do not “like” switching between the HTML & the Visual editors in WordPress and this will cause errors, so make sure that you don’t need to go back to visual editor before you embed the iframe.  (If you accidentally go back to the Visual editor, don’t panic. When errors display, go back to HTML editor, remove the iframe code, save the page/post again, fix any problems in visual if needed, then generate the iframe code and start again.

You won’t want to create a round-robin of updates between FB & your site, so decide if it makes more sense for your organization to put news feed posts from your site onto FB, OR your FB updates in a Like Box on your website.  I’d love to hear from you in the comments: does your organization send FB posts to your site? Or a news feed from your website to your FB Page?

Add a Feed to Facebook

 

It’s easy to add an automatic feed from any webpage, news feed or blog to your Facebook Fan Page.

Last week, I blogged about how you can use a blog feature to create a news feed for your organization, and why you might want to want to do that.  One way to share what you’ve put up on your blog (whether it’s educational or promotional) is to post links to it from your Facebook Fan page.   Usually, the link and a small “teaser’ of the article content are posted– not the whole article.  This will drive interested readers back to your website.

To add an automatic feed from your blog/news feed to any FB page you are an administrator for, first go to Appbistro.com.  Login through your FB signon.  If you “Allow Appbistro to manage my pages” during sign-on, you will greatly simplifiy installing applications.   Appbistro has dozens of applications for FB pages.  If you are the admin for more than one page, select the FB fan page you wish to install to in the upper left.  Then search for RSS apps.  Most apps on Appbistro are free or very low cost.

There are several RSS apps to choose from, but right now, I’m using “RSS Graffiti” as my app of choice.  Click on the title of the app, and it will take you to the app’s page, with an option to install to FB.  Use that option.  Usually, you will have to configure the feed back on FB on your page.  The app will install a new tab, and that’s usually where you configure from.

8/16/11:  Some time in the last few months, this has apparently changed– RSS Graffiti is no longer on Appbistro.com. To install “RSS Graffiti” on your FB page, go to that app within FB (http://apps.facebook.com/rssgraffiti/) Add it to your profile and then configure it for any pages you are an admin for.

[back to orginal post]

Note that most of RSS apps have the option to install multiple feeds.  So you could have a blog “column” from the executive director or pastor, and another promotional news feed from the organization both posting to your FB page.

Just a tip: you will want to enter the URL of the “feed”, not the URL of your blog.  One simple way to get this is to go to the home page of your blog and click on the RSS symbol in your browser.  It should open up a dialogue box to confirm a subscription to that site, giving you the feed address, which you can copy and paste into the FB app.  (You can of course, cancel the subsciption.)

Hope this is helpful for folks!  In the comments, I’d love to hear how you are connecting up your blog/news feed & Facebook pages.

 

Use Blog for a News Feed

When I say “blog” to some non-profit folks, what they seem to think that means is either “opinionated editorials” or “narcissistic what-I ate-for-breakfast-reports”.  But blogs can be a great tool for non-profits.

A blog can be editorial or inane, but more basically, a blog is a special kind of website (or a specific function on a website), usually managed by blog software like WordPress (what this blog uses), Blogger, or others.  Articles (aka “posts”) on a blog are arranged on the blog home page in chronological order, with the most recent on top.  Each post also has it’s own stand-alone page too (usually accessed by clicking the title of the post).  Most blogs also allow readers to comment or question in response to the post, but this feature can be turned off.

Lately, I’ve been recommending to non-profits that they develop a “News Feed” by using a blog.  Most blogs allow multiple authors, so several staff or leaders can contribute.  Posts can be:

  • news about the organization (“We’ve just received an award”)
  • educational (“Here’s what we do to help”)
  • promotional (“Attend our big event”)
  • seeking help (“We need furniture donations for a family”)
  • prompting action (“Come serve at the soup kitchen”)
  • and probably a dozen other ideas!

The real power of the blog as News Feed is when you link it to your other media.  The blog posts can be longer and have more detailed information that is really practical in a single email, an email newsletter or in social media like Facebook.  With the News Feed, you have a location for that longer info (without having to put it up and take it down off regular webpages) and you can put links to it in those other medias.  For example, a short “teaser” couple of sentences in an email newsletter, concluding with a “Click here for more info.”

A best practice would be to use the URL of the stand-alone post page in your link (instead of the chronological-order home page), since by the time your reader gets to the home page, you may have made other posts, so what they are looking for won’t be on top any more.

A blog may already be a part of your established website, or you may be able to easily add a blog.  Having your news feed be a part of your larger site is ideal, but if it’s not feasible, WordPress.com and Blogger and other blogging sites offer free (but limited feature) blogs.  Most of those services also allow you to buy a domain name to use with that free blog (this can be less than $25 per year).

In the comments, please post ideas about how you are using blogs for your organization.

Next week: setting up your News Feed to automatically post on your FB Fan Page.

 

Email Sign-up on Your FB Page

If you use Constant Contact, you can sign up contacts from your Facebook fan page.  It’s easy to install.  Instructions are here.

This is just one aspect of “inter-connecting” your promotional media.  Don’t think of your members as interacting with only one type of content from you, for example, only your website or only your Facebook page.  Think of all your promotional media (including your “old-fashioned” print newsletter) as part of a giant wheel or web.  Different constituents will access different types of media as a first encounter, but you want to  make it both easy and desirable for your constituents to access different parts of that wheel.  Make sure there are links and connections from each type of media to the others– especially the media that forms the core of your communications efforts.

How do you inter-connect your media efforts?  Post your ideas in the comments– they may help out others!

 

Tips for Online Communities

A couple of weeks back, I blogged about using private online communities for your organization.  This week, I ran across a great post giving some tips for using this platform. Geoff Livingston at Mashable offers 5 Tips for Creating Online Communities.  I especially appreciated these tips:
Listening to your community remains a core social media principle.
The classic community mistake is to use a network to drive information out into the public as opposed to creating a compelling experience for members.
This is SO important!  I find that organizations that are just getting started in social media tend to think of their Facebook page or Twitter account as a bulletin board “driving information out into the public.”  Social media is about relationships, and relationships involve two-way communication.  Listen more often to what people are saying, both about their questions and concerns, and what they are saying about your organization. And, did you catch the last half of that second quote: “creating a compelling experience for members.”  That’s what you want to be thinking about in creating an online community: connecting your online members in a compelling way.  What can they experience in your online community that they cannot experience anywhere else– even when they are face-to-face? I also appreciated Geoff’s last tip, which has to do with inter-connecting all your various communication platforms.  This kind of interconnection is not a one-way connection, but moves communication in both directions.  Facebook can serve as a “beachhead” to steer folks toward your online community, but you also want to have your members communicating about your organization’s activities back in the wider online community. What do you think?  Might some kind of private online community become a part of your organization?  I’d love to hear about your thoughts! .

Constant Contact

Constant Contact

Resources

Christian churches may be interested in the resource Spiritual Formation Newsletter Content, and online resource that makes available short articles on spiritual formation appropriate for email newsletters.