Sunday, 4 March 2012

Should Every Page On Your Website Have A Facebook Page?

If like me you're a fan of Dan Slee's blog you've no doubt read his excellent article on creating lots of little Facebook pages. As usual he's spot on, and in this piece I'll look at going one further and putting every page of interest on your website, on Facebook.

By adding Open Graph tags (code containing meta-data about the page) in the Head each of your pages you can tell Facebook (and other sites that can read Open Graph tags) a lot more about what each page is. I blogged about defining your website pages a objects so I won't bore you again with this. Add a Like button to every page too, and when a user clicks on it, they create a new page in Facebook. I realise this is a bit techy but if your site uses a content management system, this is easy for a web designer or developer to do.

Doesn't this create a huge overhead in having to administer potentially thousands of Facebook pages? The simple answer is no. A page is only created when someone clicks Like which means pages on your site with no Likes don't have a Facebook page, after all what would be the point in creating a Facebook page if no one is interested in the page on your website. You can also define if you do or don't want a Facebook page to be created when someone clicks Like in the Open Graph tags, so you can exclude sections or individual pages from this process. 

Assigning specific user permissions to pages can also ease the administrative burden and have other benefits. For example, allowing the staff at this childrens centre to post to the people that Like their page's Timeline would mean quicker updates as they wouldn't have to be added via a central Comms Team or Customer Services, though of course the central team could add updates if they wished.

Dan already highlighted the benefits of having lots of little Facebook pages, you can target very specific audiences and with the Open Graph approach you don't have to create the pages themselves, your website users are creating them.

There are other advantages of this approach too, you can social plug-ins like a Comments Box to each page and moderate all comments through one Facebook application. The Like button also acts as a barometer of how popular each piece of content on your site is. You might find that a page you hadn't thought would be popular becomes so, and of course you can then publish to the users that Like this page's Timeline. 

If you've done all this can then start looking at custom Open Graph types and aggregating them in users' Timelines, however that's an article for the future.

I'd value any feedback and if you'd like to know more of have any comments you can find me on Twitter.

This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.