Integrating Facebook with your blog comments

Combining conversations from different platforms

It started with a moan over dinner. I was chatting with sometime Smart Insights blogger Yusuf Bhana about how well things were going on the Musicademy Facebook Page but how frustrating it was that we end up hosting one (somewhat limited) conversation about a blog post on the blog and then another (altogether more animated) conversation about that same blog post on the Facebook Page.

“My philosophy has always been to host conversations in the places where your community want to have them and over the years as Facebook has become such a mainstream place for content marketing for many consumer brands, inevitably a lot of the buzz we create online has moved there, away from the blog”.

Centring your content sharing and discussion on Facebook has advantages in terms of virality (albeit organic reach right now is shockingly poor do to yet another algorithm change designed to force brands to pay for content). But it’s been sad to see what used to look like a really thriving blog turn into something of a ghost town. We were still getting loads of views, and great dwell time, but the conversation about the content was happening over on Facebook where I will have posted a link to our latest piece of blog content. We were also aware that all that lovely keyword rich comment content was moving out of our owned space into the poorly indexed Facebook domain. Added to that is the fact that we have a sizeable proportion of customers who really don’t like Facebook and are vociferous in telling us so. It frustrates them that we are always suggesting that people head over to our Facebook page to read all the awesome comments. How to continue to use the platform of choice for so many without alienating the few?

“The holy grail I was seeking was a way of posting to the blog and Facebook but have the blog pull all the Facebook comments back into itself and benefit from the SEO to boot”.

Yusuf reckoned he could code something that would do the trick so the next day I set about briefing him. In the meantime I happened to mention it to another Smart Insights collaborator, Carlton Jefferis, who, from his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things technical said “You want what TechCrunch have”. The TechCrunch solution is a free WordPress plugin by LiveFyre called LiveFyre Comments. It replaces the default comment on the blog with real-time conversations capturing and integrating all the conversations about the posts across Twitter and Facebook. As Livefyre themselves say it can “turn your blog into the hub of engagement”. We were previously using Disqus to manage our comments on the blog and the switch to Livefyre was very simple.

So what does it look like?

Here’s a very old post which we did a fresh link to in a recent Facebook post. This is how the comments look on the blog post – note the little Facebook icon indicating which have come across from Facebook. livefyre example

Here is the Facebook post that includes the link to the above article. You’ll note that Facebook is displaying oldest comments first, whereas LiveFyre shows the most recent first. The crucial thing, however is that ALL the Facebook comments are surfacing on the blog – even comments written years ago!

facebook livefyre example

What about SEO?

We’re yet to fully test this but our understanding is that LiveFyre works well for SEO. This post compares the three main comment management systems – Disqus, IntenseDebate and LiveFyre concluding that with LiveFyre “All comments, even those from Facebook, can be indexed from your blog by search engines”. The Musicademy blog has fared well with the most recent Google algo changes. As a site that has always focussed on great content rather than generating masses of inbound links, we do appear to have finally been rewarded by the search engines. I’m hoping that LiveFyre will enable us to benefit even further from the User Generated Content that our posts are delivering in social channels.

What are the drawbacks?

Not everyone is delighted with LiveFyre, partly due to spam issues. See for instance this post. It’s too recent for us to see whether these issues pose complications for us.

Can you do it the other way around?

So LiveFyre is great for pulling in conversations from Facebook, what about pulling in posts to the website from Facebook? I tackle that in my next post.

  • Pingback: Integrating Facebook with your blog comments | socialmediabizuk

  • Guest

    Nice article Marie – and thanks for the mention. Ironically TechCrunch has since switched solely to the Facebook Social Plugin for WordPress. Four reasons worth mentioning:

    1. Users constantly complained about LiveFyre. I don’t think this had anything to do with LiveFyre per se, it was more to do with users needing to register with yet another commenting service. TechCrunch had previously used Disqus before the switch and users complained about that too! TC has made a habit of switching commenting systems every ~18 months.

    2. They were plagued with spam and troll comments. When you run a site as busy as TC that’s one heck of challenge to keep on top of. Neither LiveFyre or Disqus does a good job of handling spam from an admin perspective.

    3. This is the killer one in my view: TC realised a huge chunk of their engagement happened over on Facebook anyway and that almost all readers had a FB login. So they made a business decision to switch off all other forms of commenting. This sorted 1 and 2 by default. Naturally there were *some* people who didn’t want to use FB to make a comment but those people were more likely to be the ones who caused the spam and worthless comments. Everyone else was already using FB to comment so it was a painless – and practically unnoticeable – transition.

    4. TC is a numbers business centred around ad impressions. Facebook comments provides a valuable organic distribution channel for their content, generating more page impressions and thus more ad revenue.

    In a perfect world it’s great to “own” the comments yourself without relying on a 3rd party. But times change and people want convenience so if like you everyone is commenting on Facebook you need to go with the flow.

    I still absolutely believe LiveFyre to be the best of the “best of both worlds” options where you want to encourage commenting on whatever platform works best for the user.

  • Carlton Jefferis

    Nice article Marie – and thanks for the mention. Ironically TechCrunch has since switched solely to the Facebook Social Plugin for WordPress. Four reasons worth mentioning:

    1. Users constantly complained about LiveFyre. I don’t think this had anything to do with LiveFyre per se, it was more to do with users needing to register with yet another commenting service. TechCrunch had previously used Disqus before the switch and users complained about that too! TC has made a habit of switching commenting systems every ~18 months.

    2. They were plagued with spam and troll comments. When you run a site as busy as TC that’s one heck of challenge to keep on top of. Neither LiveFyre or Disqus does a good job of handling spam from an admin perspective.

    3. This is the killer one in my view: TC realised a huge chunk of their engagement happened over on Facebook anyway and that almost all readers had a FB login. So they made a business decision to switch off all other forms of commenting. This sorted 1 and 2 by default. Naturally there were *some* people who didn’t want to use FB to make a comment but those people were more likely to be the ones who caused the spam and worthless comments. Everyone else was already using FB to comment so it was a painless – and practically unnoticeable – transition.

    4. TC is a numbers business centred around ad impressions. Facebook comments provides a valuable organic distribution channel for their content, generating more page impressions and thus more ad revenue.

    In a perfect world it’s great to “own” the comments yourself without relying on a 3rd party. But times change and people want convenience so if like you everyone is commenting on Facebook you need to go with the flow.

    I still absolutely believe LiveFyre to be the best of the “best of both worlds” options where you want to encourage commenting on whatever platform works best for the user.

  • Pingback: How to embed Facebook posts on your website by Marie Page | Pennington Consulting Group Blog

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