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Sharing website content via Social Networks like Facebook (A Short Guide For Webmasters)

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So you’re interested in sharing your webpages on Facebook and other Social Networks…great idea! Especially Facebook…they’re on track to be the #1 Social Network!
Sharing the content you have on your website isn’t hard, there’s two main steps and you’re well on your way.

Step 1: Get an AddThis Social Bookmarking toolbar for your website. They’re free and they take alot of the guesswork out of sharing links to your content. They include functions for Printing, Emailing, and Sharing for your content pieces automatically, and they do a decent job. If you don’t want to give people all those options (there’s alot!) then you can handpick which networks you want them to be able to share on. Check out their Help section for more info on all of the capabilities of this tool.

Step 2: Read and understand Facebook’s rules for Sharing so that you create the best content piece possible. Normally when you share on Facebook, it grabs your content blindly and tries to present it for the Facebook Preview in a usable fashion.  It doesn’t always get it right, which is why you NEED to tell it what to put in the link. You want your Facebook Previews to be perfect so that when people share your pages, their friends will actually want to click on the link and view your page. Read up on the rules here.

I personally like to have a “Share on Facebook” link (you can get it from the Facebook rules page) and also a separate link for other sharing options.  If you use the AddThis bar for printing and email, try to make it obvious to visitors that the link will do those things.

If you want to add Sharing to your WordPress Blog, check out the Add to Any Plugin.  It’s easy to use and installs in a breeze.

 

NOTE:  After you setup the Meta Tags for Facebook’s Previews, you need to understand that as you test it out, Facebook will cache the results.  In order to do testing, you can either change the URL as you test so it’ll cache a new one, or you can simply wait for the cache to expire (24 hrs I think) and then check it out again. 

If you have more Advanced questions beyond what’s answered by Facebook’s Share Partners page, then you may wish to visit here.  This guy did some extensive testing of how Facebook’s preview bot works and posted the results. If you’re in a bind then check it out. It may help you.

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