Recently I have seen more and more websites utilizing the facebook social plugin. Let’s look at why this is a HUGE mistake.
First, what is the Facebook Social Plugin?
It’s a simple tool that you include on your website, showing fans of your business page. It is a display box which shows postings from your Facebook Page, a sampling of pictures of people who “Like” it, and it also includes the ability to “Like” your Facebook page directly from your website, via the integrated box.
Example of the plugin on a website is this Video Editing Software Review: http://www.clicknewz.com/3439/
Why are people using the Facebook Social Plugin? Because, in a really straight forward way, it shows your business Facebook page, it allows for a quick “Like” and, in a way, it shows how popular you are. It can be effective at driving “Likes” to your Facebook page.
Why you should NEVER use the Facebook Social Plugin! Because you don’t have any control over who “Likes” your page! Yes you can ban people, but you cannot keep people from liking your page. Why is this a problem??? Because unscrupulous folks are on Facebook. We have all seen them. Beyond that, there are REAL friends of yours that will change their profile photo to something inappropriate for business because they are not using their facebook for business, but YOU ARE! Because you cannot control what fans profile pics show via the Social Plugin, you are creating the opportunity for disaster.
So how can the Facebook Social Plugin ruin your business? Think of this extreme example. I concede that this example is extreme, but you should understand that it could happen nonetheless. You post a cool product link on Facebook with a coupon code or information to drive fans to your website. The fans click it and are delivered directly to your site, exactly what you wanted… Success! Then they see the site and they see the Facebook Social Plugin which loads 10 Facebook Fan Profile photos. However, recently, you were not aware that you got hit by a Facebook Spam bot and received 50 new likes from fake profiles that promote Online Drug Sales, or worse yet, Adult Related Content. Your user sees the profiles on the plugin, and out of 10, 3 are inappropriate. Even though you had no control over those profiles being seen on the plugin, your prospect or client immediately connects that action to you the business owner. It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. Furthermore, what do you believe the action of your prospect would be? I believe the greater percentage of prospects will choose to never return to your website because they were offended by the spam-generated profile picture, and they will likely “Unlike” your Facebook page and unsubscribe from your email newsletter. Finally, you have done irreparable harm to your company because of the inclusion of the Facebook Social Plugin.
The Solution So, if you cannot include the Facebook Social Plugin on your website due to potential harm, what should you do to drive prospects to your Facebook business page and notify them that you have a Facebook page?
Answer: Use the Social buttons that identify Facebook and other Social Networks that most people use. Try, if at all possible, to get these buttons “Above the Fold”. “Above the Fold” means that you won’t have to scroll to see the buttons from your landing page, which may also be your home page. Make sure you are not looking at your website with a resolution set to 800×600, as very few people use that setting any more.