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The New Facebook Comments Plugin

Author's avatar By Danyl Bosomworth 03 Mar, 2011
Essential Essential topic

What you post on Facebook stays on Facebook. Err, not anymore.

The new Facebook plugin allows asynchronous posting between web site comments and Facebook posts. This is the first time Facebook has enabled this kind of automatic external posting - and in truth it's also something that nobody else can currently offer - a killer feature? We think so.

This means that the new Facebook comments system enables you to leave a comment on the host site (SmartInsights.com, if we had it installed) and opt to have that comment shared to Facebook, too. If a friend in Facebook then leaves a comment on Facebook about my comment, their comment will be posted back to the host site, SmartInisghts.com. In other words, any discussion that my comment sparks between my Facebook friends in Facebook will be seen on SmartInisghts.com as well. That’s very powerful I think.

Using the Facebook comments plugin on a host web site

What else is interesting to marketers?

  • It's fast and easy to use, if your site user is already logged into Facebook, they won’t have to click though any authentication steps before commenting
  • User comments are left under the users real name, bad news for spammers - a likely increase in the quality of comments and interactions with a reduction in the overall volume of comments being likely
  • Users will see comments in order of "social relevance", so people in their network will be at the top - not chronological
  • Users can switch between multiple accounts when commenting - their personal account as well as any Facebook Page that they are admin of (say, a work page)
  • With extended visibility, there's much more opportunity for interactions (comments, like and reply's) to take place given comments are viewable in Facebook (news and wall feeds) and outside, so great for News Feed Optimisation which we've posted about in the past - don't underestimate this one
  • If another user comments (or Likes) your comment, then you'll get notified of that within Facebook, encouraging users to keep the dialogue burning
  • There are many admin options to allow spam management and moderating those comments include filters to protect against offensive words and phrases
  • The best bit - a simple line of code and it's added to your web site

View and interact with the same comments inside Facebook

Potential problems?

  • Limited login, many won't like to use Facebook to leave comments - so it's limiting if enough of your audience either aren't in, or may not want to use, Facebook. That said - Techcrunch report that Facebook is adding the ability to use multiple ID's to add accounts to Facebook, namely Twitter and Google, and has already launched Yahoo ID's - problem (soon to be solved)? We hope so
  • Some people may foresee an SEO issue in that comments are on Facebook and not on the site - I'd suggest this is offset by Google's own search visibility and your growing presence on the worlds largest social network
  • Load time - you'd expect that since it's an asynchronous frame, the load time may increase on long comment threads
  • Bugs - given it's free, any problems will be done in time by the Facebook team, so if they loose service it's not like you can call up and complain

That said, with the continually important role of Facebook, this plugin is a real gift for savvy marketers trying to build their brand online and engage more users, more often, in more places.

Mari Smith does a great blow-by-blow review of the community plugin here if you want more detail.

Author's avatar

By Danyl Bosomworth

Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.

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