Adding Joomla! blog posts to Facebook pages

February 6, 2011

A Facebook page (a Fan Page) is essential to any blogging or social media campaign. If you’re using social media to build your brand and you don’t have a Facebook page, well... you’re probably not serious either about social media or brand management.

I detail here how to add your website blog posts to your Facebook page. This is a simple but important means of integrating a blogging campaign with Facebook. My focus here is on Joomla! sites, but most of this is true for any website.

Okay, so here’s how it’s done:

Meta description tips:
  • Google searches shorten meta descriptions to 150-160 characters.
  • Facebook shortens meta descriptions to 300 characters.
  • Don’t use non-alphanumeric characters in meta descriptions.
  • If you must use quotes, use single quotes – Google has problems with double-quotes.
  • Make your meta descriptions keyword rich.
  1. In your Joomla! site, create your blog post/article. Before you save it, be certain that you’ve added a meta description for the article. And be sure to save the article at public access level. After all, if you’re blogging to a Facebook page, you’ll want the public to be able to see your post!
  2. Log out of your Joomla! site.
  3. Go to the frontend of your site (stay logged out) and find the article you’ve just added. If you have a list of blog posts, click the link to your new article: you need to be viewing the article on its own, not as one of a series of articles.
  4. Copy the page URL to your clipboard.
  5. Log into Facebook and head across to your site’s Facebook page.
  6. At the top of your page’s wall, click on Link. Paste the URL into the input box and click the Attach button. A short intro to your post should appear at the top of the page.

    Facebook should be using your article’s meta description in this intro. If you failed to add a meta description or if you added the meta description after saving your article for the first time, you will see your site meta description rather than that of your article.

    This is a nuisance. You can’t now go into your Joomla! site, add a meta description and redo this step: it will still bring up the site meta description (or at least this is what I’ve found to be the case for several Joomla! 1.5 sites). I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect it may be due to an issue with the Joomla! RSS feed. Only solution is to trash the article and start again at step 1.

    The moral: get the meta description right when you first create your article.
  7. Choose the thumbnail that best suits your post. If you used an image in your Joomla! article, you should be able to choose a thumbnail version of that image.
  8. Add a mini blog post about your article to the input box below the intro. This post can’t be longer than 420 characters. Keep it under 320 characters and folks won't have to click a More link to see the final 100 characters.

    This post should be different to the meta description, as the meta description will appear below your mini blog post. Try to sell the article to the reader: explain how the reader will benefit from reading the article. It's often good to end the post with a question, e.g. "What do you think?". This may get a conversation started and thereby increase the visibility of your post.

    When you’ve written your mini blog post, click the Share button.
  9. In a similar manner, add your post to suitable Facebook fan pages that permit public posts,... but be tactful. A page administrator will delete your post if it doesn't add value to their page. At the very least, mention in your post the page to which you're posting. For example, if you're posting to the Chatham House Facebook page, you might start with: "Members of Chatham house may be interested in...".

And that's much of what you need to know. For a masterclass in Facebook page management, check out Barack Obama’s Facebook page:

A detail from Barack Obama's Facebook page

Barack Obama’s Facebook page is an expert example of how a Facebook page should be managed.

Like buttons
If you’re serious about social media, your site at least needs a Facebook like button. You may wish to use one of the like buttons that come with the free Add This widgets.

Site thumbnails
You may want to add a Facebook thumbnail image to your site. This will become the default thumbnail for any article posts made to Facebook from your site. Just add a piece of code like this between the your <head> and </head> tags:

<link rel="image_src" href="http://mysite.com/mythumbnail.png" />