How Your Website Can Use the Facebook Send Button

The following is an excerpt from the Facebook Marketing Bible, the comprehensive guide to marketing your company, app, brand, or website using Facebook. The full version of this article is available through a Facebook Marketing Bible subscription.

Released yesterday, Facebook’s Send button social plugin for third-party websites allows users to quickly share a web page either as a post to the feed of one of their Facebook Groups, as a Message to specific Facebook friends, or as an email to entered addresses. It complements the Like button, which allows users to share to all of their friends on Facebook.

The Send button can help sites drive traffic and purchases by making it easy to send personal recommendations to friends that recipients may trust and follow more than those broadcasted to a user’s entire set of friends.

Here, we’ll walk through how to generate and embed the Send button, discuss innovative ways to use it to maximize the plugin’s value for businesses, and look at the ways its been implemented by some leading websites.

Generating the Send Button

The Send Button social plugin can be generated as a standalone button for a site, or as a combination Like / Send button so the two plugins are automatically shown next to each other. Since the button is built on XFBML, it dynamically resizes to its allotted space.

Full walk-through of generating standalone and combined Send buttons and a discussion of when to use the two different styles is available in the full version of this entry

Where to Put Your Send Button

Here, we’ll list where different kinds of websites can add their Send buttons, along with analysis of when a Send button may be more appropriate than a Like button.

Media Publishers

  • Articles
  • Media such as photos, videos, or songs
  • Authors
  • Content categories
  • Paywalls or subscription sign-ups
  • Newsletter or RSS sign-ups

Publishers of niche content, such as industry or interest-specific blogs and sites, partisan political news sites, or other publishers where content might only be relevant to, or could offend some of its users’ friends are especially good candidates for the Send button.

Placing Send buttons on paywalls or subscription sign-ups can allow users to inform friends that they’ve just bought a subscription, and encourage them to do the same.

Ecommerce and Brands

  • Products
  • Group buying options
  • Custom designed products
  • Product categories such as clothing types or designers
  • Sales collections
  • “What’s New” sections
  • Special promotion details pages for offers such as “free shipping” or “20% off”
  • Lookbooks or catalogues
  • Gift card options
  • Loyalty programs
  • About pages
  • Customer service
  • Mailing List sign-ups

Sites that offer group buying, where multiple users contribute funds to a single purchase, can especially benefit from the Send button’s microsharing options. If a site allows custom design of products, the Send button can make it easy for its customers to collaborate with friends on a design project, such as making uniforms for a team.

Vendors of specialty goods, such as wedding dresses, can encourage users to share by limiting a post’s audience with the Send button.

Implementation strategies for community/review sites, web apps, business to business and enterprise software, and social games available in the full version of this entry.

Best Implementations of the Send Button

As of April 25th, 2011, many prominent websites have installed Send buttons. Some of the best implementations include:

Media Publishers

The Washington Post: Displays a combined Recommend / Send button in the sharing panel shown after the first two paragraphs of its articles. This gives users some time to begin reading the story before they decide whether to share it, but before the end of the article at which point users may have already left the article or might be thinking about what to read next.

Ecommerce and Brands

American Eagle Outfitters: Displays the combined Like / Send button next to its products so users can gain advice from select friends about whether to make a purchase, or show the product to friends who are specifically interested in clothing.

More examples of how these types of sites, as well as community / review sites, business-to-business services and social games, are taking advantage of the Send button, plus more implementation strategies and a walk-through of generating the code for Send buttons can be found in the full version of this entry, part of the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s complete guide to marketing and advertising using Facebook.