Despite the growing interest in Facebook Connect as a way to integrate Facebook identity and sharing features on any site around the web, one of the untold stories about sharing on Facebook is the simple power of the Facebook Share button. With the latest Facebook home page redesign, the Facebook Share button just became a lot more powerful: now, every shared item is guaranteed to show up on users’ friends’ home pages.
By optimizing the way your site supports Facebook Share, webmasters can get as much as the 20-30 clicks per feed story that some Facebook Connect partners are seeing with much simpler integration work (it can be as simple as adding one line of code). Here’s how to optimize your site for maximum Facebook Share click-through traffic.
1. Add the Share Button to Your Site
There are 4 different versions of the Share button: icon only, link only, link and icon, and share button. Grab the code here and put the button you like best on all pages you want your visitors to share.
2. Make Sure Facebook Can See Your Title and Description
When sharing content on Facebook using Share, Facebook looks for a title, description, and thumbnail image to pull into the feed story. While Facebook will always try to find this for any shared link, you can actually specify this copy for the Facebook crawler if you want to have more control over the copy or images that show up in Facebook.
At the very least, you should test out sharing content from your site in order to make sure Facebook is picking up a title and description for pages shared from your site. Just make sure you’re setting these two lines of code in your site’s header:
<meta name=”title” content=”SXSW Driskill Flashmob: When Friends Converge & Create Memories” />
<meta name=”description” content=”When we peer into the looking glass into what truly made SXSW Interactive a unique and successful culmination of culture and real life networking, we see something very different and exceptional.” />
3. Specify a Particular Thumbnail Image
Once you have the basic plumbing in place, Facebook gives you the option to explicitly specify which image shows up next to content your users share. If you don’t specify what to pick here, Facebook will choose images from the page and let users pick which to show.
If you want to specify a particular image for Facebook Share, add this line of code to your header:
<link rel=”image_src” href=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3640/3354626316_25f2e12dbf.jpg?v=0″ />
Here’s how it would look inside Facebook:
4. Optimize for Multimedia
In addition to basic content sharing, Facebook also makes it possible to add metadata to your page to make audio and video sharing more powerful. When you use these tags, your shared content can be playable directly in the feed.
First, you have to add this line to your site’s header to let Facebook know which type of multimedia it is:
You may also specify the type of content being shared by using the following tag:
<meta name=”medium” content=”medium_type” /> (where medium_type could be “audio”, “image”, “video”, “news”, “blog” 0r “mult”)
<meta name=”title” content=”video_title” />
<meta name=”description” content=”video_description” />
<link rel=”image_src” href=”video_screenshot_image_src url” />
<link rel=”video_src” href=”video_src url”/>*
<meta name=”video_height” content=”video_height” />
<meta name=”video_width” content=”video_width” />
<meta name=”video_type” content=”Content-Type header field” />
<meta name=”title” content=”page_title” />
<meta name=”description” content=”audio_description” />
<link rel=”image_src” href=”audio_image_src url (eg. album art)” />
<link rel=”audio_src” href=”audio_src url” />
<meta name=”audio_type” content=”Content-Type header field” />
<meta name=”audio_title” content=”audio_title (eg. song name)” />
<meta name=”audio_artist” content=”audio_artist_name” />
<meta name=”audio_album” content=”audio_album_name” />