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Whether you love it or hate it; Facebook is here to stay, and no serious community should ignore it’s power. There are several ways to integrate Facebook with your BuddyPress community, and it can greatly help you gain members quickly, and get more content on your site. Listed below are five tricks that you should know about.

1: Using WP-FB-Autoconnect for easy member sign-ups through Facebook

There are many Facebook Connect plugins available for WordPress and some of them seem to work fine when you just start using them. But as soon as you start using them in combination with BuddyPress you run into trouble. Member usernames contain weird characters, or email addresses are not fetched. Sometimes these plugins require your members to sign-in with Facebook every time they want to login to your site, basically forcing your members to keep using Facebook for logging in to their accounts, which is a bad thing.

Luckily there is one plugin that does not any of the problems describe above, and is built with BuddyPress in mind; WP-FB-Autoconnect from Justin Klein. A short description from the author:

The simple concept behind WP-FB AutoConnect is to offer an easy-to-use widget that lets readers login to your blog with either their Facebook account or local WordPress credentials. Although many “Facebook Connect” plugins do exist, most of them are either overly complex and difficult to customize, or fail to provide a seamless experience for new visitors. I wrote this plugin to provide what the others didn’t.

Luckily for us, this is exactly what the plugin does, and it provides a seamless experience for your users. Your members sign up through Facebook once and a normal BuddyPress account is created when they log in for the first time. It even fetches the Facebook profile pic and uses that as the avatar of the user. The username that is given to the user is the first name they filled in on Facebook. So in my case that would be “Bowe”.

Unlike other Facebook plugins it also fetches the user’s email from Facebook (if the user gives permission for that on sign up) and this means that members signing up through Facebook have complete BuddyPress profiles from the moment they sign up! If you want to try it out, just sign up on BP-Tricks using the “Login with Facebook” button at the top of the sidebar on this page (I’ve disabled the profile picture fetching though).

Setting up the plugin is easy and is described in detail on Justin’s website. One thing that a lot of users seem to forget, is enabling the BuddyPress integration on the plugin page:

buddypress facebook login

Premium Version

There is also a premium version available that adds even more functionality to the plugin. For a full list of features about what it adds to the existing functionality you can read this

2: Use BuddyStream to allow users to sync their Facebook updates with their Activity Stream

BuddyStream is an awesome plugin created by Peter Hofman that allows your users to sync their BuddyPress profiles with popular networks like Flickr, Twitter, Last.FM and of course Facebook.

BuddyStream is a BuddyPress plugin that will synchronize all of your favorite networks to the BuddyPress activitystream. The plugin is easy to set-up, operate, and for your members to use. Each Social Network has its own admin panel where you can see which users are using the network, view cool statistics, and manage the advanced filtering settings.

Here’s what it does in combination with Facebook;

  • By using BuddyStream, your users may synchronize their Facebook accounts’ with your BuddyPress Website:
  • The Facebook synchronization (previously known as Facestream) imports all the user’s wall items.
  • When BuddyStream user’s post an update they will have the option to also post it to Facebook.
  • This same posting functionality is also possible while creating new forum topics or replying on forums.
  • A built-in URL function will create a shortlink with your DOMAIN NAME and will post and update link to all of your friends on Facebook so that they may “fast-click” to your topic.
  • All items available on the Facebook wall will be imported: status updates, links, images, and even videos!

Reading the list above gives you a good idea how much extra content this can generate on your network! People that are new to your network, and might not feel the urge to start posting status updates, can still share their thoughts by simply posting on Facebook (who doesn’t do that these days?!). In the long-term you might want to re-think the use of this feature, because it might mean that people will only post on Facebook and never contribute any original content within your community. But to get things started this can do wonders for your community.

3: Using BuddyPress Share for easy content sharing

BuddyPress Share is a simple but very effective plugin from ModemLooper which allows your members to share content from across your BuddyPress community to social networks like Twitter, Delicious, Digg and once again; Facebook. When you’ve installed this plugin it will add buttons on the following places;

  • Activity Stream Entries
  • Group Homes
  • Forum Topics
  • Blog Posts

Here’s an example of how it looks here on BP-Tricks:

Simple but very effective!

4: Adding Facebook Like buttons to the Activity Stream and Member Profiles

A similar integration is adding Facebook “Like” buttons to members profiles and activity stream entries. Sarah Gooding of WPMU.org wrote a great tutorial on how to do this a while back. The tutorial is well written and explains you Step-by-Step what to do.

Read the Tutorial

5: Using the social plugins to add Facebook interaction to your Community

Facebook has written a few plugins that are extremely easy to integrate with your community. Taken from the Developer section of these social plugins;

Social plugins let you see what your friends have liked, commented on or shared on sites across the web. All social plugins are extensions of Facebook and are specifically designed so none of your data is shared with the sites on which they appear.

Sounds run right? So let’s take a few minutes and add a nice Activity Feed widget to our site. This widget displays the most interesting recent activity from your community, that has been “liked” by your members.

Setting up the Widget

You can configure the widget by going to this page: Activity Feed Widget and configuring the settings as you like. Simply fill in your domain, and style the widget as you see fit. When you’re done click on the “Get code” button. You’ll now see a nice modal window showing you the code that you need to add to your website. Since we are not using the Facebook SDK (we might cover this in a later Trick) we’ll use the iFrame implementation. Just copy the code you see in the box, and we’ll move on to the final step…

Adding the code to a text Widget

Go to your WordPress admin panel and drag a new text widget into your sidebar. Text widgets allow the use of HTML so you just paste in the code you got from Facebook and give the widget a title. Save the widget and check out the result on your website!

Conclusion

There are many ways to put Facebook to promote or enhance your community. Some might not “like” it (see what I did there?) but ignoring its potential to promote your own BuddyPress powered social network, would be a mistake. I hope that these tips were useful and if you have other great Facebook tricks to share feel free to leave a comment or just submit a trick!

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13 thoughts on “Five ways to integrate Facebook with your BuddyPress Community

Author gravatar

hi, very helpfull hints or even complete way’s of doing it – thanks again! 🙂

Using facebook as an additional channel is necessary or even essential for any community to work out.
– another time, instead of adding additional plugins or hook-ups (i do not know right now), i’ll post my thoughts:

– GROUPS: does exist in FB and BP, so it would be great beeing able to connect (sync) them. A group-post in BP should also be posted in the FB-group (and vice versa).
In addition to that the possibility to assign the main-activity of BP to a certain FB Group or a User (again vice versa) would be a great functionality.

Sso the idea of connecting user-activity directly to their facebook account is present and useful. But the possibilitie’s of having the Activity-Streams (main and groups) globally synced to and from a certain FB-Group or User would open another bunch of possibilities i do think. The idea is to have something like a collective Facebook-Gateway to the BP Community – a FB dependence / representation.

please do not hesitate to upbraid me if im missing the point of that website (its called bp-tricks and not bp-thoughts), myself beeing already suspicous about my own post and if it should not better be placed in another more discussion like env. But i really love to take the chance to reach active devs and not (only) talking to think-tanks 😉

best
roman

Author gravatar

to make it short:
im looking for the possibility to:

1.)
– automatically post the main activity stream to a certain facebook group.
– automatically import the posts of the same group to the main activity stream.

i do not want to give every user the possibility to add facebook posts to the main activity stream (only if they post through the special fb-group).

2.)
if the first thing isnt possible with any existing plugin is there a plugin to post the main activity stream to a facebook-site?

best regards
roman

    Author gravatar

    Hi Roman,just check out Facestream plugin.may get any help from this plugin.

Author gravatar

I’m quite competent with PHP and Buddypress but the first two plugins have never seemed to work. If you have a step-by-step guide, it would be appreciated. Facebook is extremely uncooperative.

    Author gravatar

    Hi Jack – I was able to get the FB Connect working (#1 above) but not #2 either.

    Can I help you with #1? Once I got the keys from FB everything fell in to place with it.

    #2 I couldn’t get the cron job scheduled on my server. They said there was some error with it and I know nothing about writing cron commands.

Author gravatar

The login with facebook button is not showing up in my bp-slick 1.1 it works fine in the default buddypress though. The dev eloper said “if a theme calls the correct hooks where it’s supposed to, it will work”
Does anyone have any tips to help me fix this

Author gravatar

How can I let Facebook autoconnect give the ability to let user create their user id in the site whatever they want?

Author gravatar

Hello,
thx for the usefull tips & tricks. I am looking for a BP plugin that posts user’s status updates automatically to Facebook and/or Twitter but does not fetch any content from their wall or timeline. Do you have any advice?
Thank you in advance.

Author gravatar

Is anyone still able to help integrate #1 with a Buddypress install? It would be absolutely perfect for my site.

Author gravatar

Great article. I was able to use several of these plugins to increase the user registration rate and participation levels on a few of my BP sites.

Author gravatar

Hey, great article. I’d have one question though. It’s great that for sign up i people can use facebook account. I need a membership site with some paid levels can this be done without extra registration just sending a payment…?

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