There are a handful of plugins that will connect your WordPress to a Facebook page or Facebook app. Each of them is designed to link Faceboook’s social features to your WordPress, and make it easy for people to share your content in their newsfeed.
If you’ve got a Facebook app built for a site or a brand, one or more of these plugins will be essential for your site’s content to to be shared.
The problem is there are more than a dozen Facebook plugins that you can install, and I spent a few hours going through them figuring out which one adds the functionality I actually need. So I decided to break it down into 3 plugins that will add Facebook Connect, User Profiles, Autoposting ability, Facebook Comments, Like and Send Buttons, among a few other things. They also add Facebook’s open graph meta tags to each of your posts. Without these tags, your content’s title, description, images, and metadata may show up incorrectly and need debugging when a visitor shares your link.
If you want to get all the functionality for free, it will take two plugins, Simple Facebook Connect and SEO Facebook Comment. And if paying for the plugin is worth saving some time, WPMU has a paid option, Ultimate Facebook that I recommend.
Everything but the comments
Simple Facebook Connect – This is a comprehensive Facebook plugin. It takes care of the open graph tags, adds social buttons like the Like and Share buttons, you can login using Facebook credentials, Facebook albums, and on. You can turn each module on and off inside the settings, and then set the plugin to auto-post to Facebook each time you publish. It’s the best free option, and the only feature this plugin doesn’t add is Facebook comments on your posts.
Adding the comments
The SEO Facebook Comment plugin will work right out of the box, and it doesn’t interfere with Simple Facebook Connect. The plugin also adds Facebook comments into the WordPress database, using them to boost your SEO. Facebook comments are one of my favorite additions because it allows a reader to add comments to the same thread from Facebook and your WordPress. You can moderate comments, and customize the look and feel of the comments from the editor.
All in One Solution
The only way to get comments and the rest of the Simple Facebook Connect features is a paid plugin from WPMU. The Ultimate Facebook plugin collects all the functionality into one, and deserves a mention. From this plugin you can add widgets for photo albums, Facebook events, customize the Like and Share buttons. It will also customize Facebook logins for users. There’s also a button to import all your comments from Facebook to the database, getting that content for your SEO.
Which setup is right for you?
Breaking down the functionality, the “Like” and “Share” buttons are easy to get from other plugins, that also integrate other social options, so that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Having content automatically posted to your page is one of my favorites. The key functions for most sites will be Facebook Login, which is big for sites that want high social engagement, automatically adding the Open Graph tags, and then integrating existing Facebook comments into the app. From there, it’s a democratic decision about which setup gives your WordPress the most functionality, and gives you the right about of control.
What about you? Which Facebook plugins have you used for your site?