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:
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
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.
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!
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!