Sunday, 29 August 2010

Connecting Facebook and your brands website - The secret to creating a dynamic link between your content and constituents

Currently available on more than 50,000 websites+, devices and applications, including CNN,, Digg, Yelp, YouTube, Xbox, and Nintendo DSI - Facebook is today the epicenter of our social activity via APIs (or whatever "Connect" is called this week).  With just a bit of code, Facebook Connect enables seamless integration between Web sites, pages, communities, and networks and the Facebook identity system.

For example, if you’re commenting on a blog, you can now login with your Facebook details and not only will your comment and link to your Facebook profile appear on the blog, the activity of commenting is also linked back into your activity feed for your friends and colleagues to see. Digg, another example that was shared on stage, also supports FB Connect, making it possible for Diggers to log on using their centralized Facebook ID and for each story they digg, the activity is documented back on their profile.

FB Connect API's transform the social network into a portable profile that travels with you across the Web, placing you and your brand at the center of the experience.  The ongoing integration of support for social services in the Facebook NewsFeed is aggregating and expediting personal lifestreams and quickly becoming representative of our true online activity, painting a vivid picture of who we are and what we represent online and in the real world.

Static websites should therefore socialize and focus on creating a dynamic link between content and people.  As great example is Levi's (above).  As businesses and communities can now directly connect corporate brands with personal brands, and more notably, the people behind them, it stems to reason you should capitalize on this.  The good news is that social networks build and leverage expertise and reputation.  They also carry thought leadership, preferences, causes, and relationships from community to community - - effectively changing your shotgun into a sniper rifle. 

Facebook Connect is a powerful catalyst for investing in and increasing Social Capital, and optimizing SEO (as Facebook “public” pages are heavily indexed in online search engines and can be among the top results when your name is searched).  

Here are just a few of the features of Facebook Connect:

Trusted Authentication
Users will be able to connect their Facebook account with any partner website using a trusted authentication method. Whether at login, or anywhere else a developer would like to add social context, the user will be able to authenticate and connect their account in a trusted environment. The user will have total control of the permissions granted.

Real Identity

Facebook users represent themselves with their real names and real identities. With Facebook Connect, users can bring their real identity information with them wherever they go on the Web, including: basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more.

Friends Access
Users count on Facebook to stay connected to their friends and family. With Facebook Connect, users can take their friends with them wherever they go on the Web. Developers will be able to add rich social context to their websites. Developers will even be able to dynamically show which of their Facebook friends already have accounts on their sites.

Dynamic Privacy
As a user moves around the open Web, their privacy settings will follow, ensuring that users' information and privacy rules are always up-to-date. For example, if a user changes their profile picture, or removes a friend connection, this will be automatically updated in the external website.

YOUR Homepage

Shopping is better with friends. By using the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugins on the homepage, users can see what their friends are liking and sharing on your site. Instead of only navigating to old favorites or promoted items, users are compelled to check out what their friends are interacting with, too. This creates long term engagement between the user and your site, and the social context encourages them to interact with the content.

YOUR Products

When you add a Like button to products in your store or merchandising platform, you give users the ability to express themselves and create long-term connections with things they like. Specify an image for the product so that when a user adds a comment, the feed story becomes more attractive and effective at driving users back to your site. Once a user establishes this connection, you can publish to their stream whenever you have news or updates about that product. For example, if a user likes a particular style of shirt, you can send them updates when the shirt goes on sale, or when you offer the shirt in extra colors.

YOUR Local / Categories

Users want a personalized shopping experience. By adding the ability to like specific categories like "Toronto restaurants," "Beauty products," or "Petite styles," users can express what they care about. Once a user establishes a connection with these topics, publish relevant content pertaining to the category. Share new styles or secret tips and menu items at restaurants. Allow users to interact with the category in a way that is personal and fun to keep them coming back to your site.
Need some help adding Connect to your online platform.  Give us a shout.  We're happy to help.