Keeping users engaged with Facebook social plugins / by Mike Takahashi

At UCLA Happenings, we are constantly trying to improve our site and keep our users engaged. A while back we integrated comments for every event via Facebook's social plugins. Facebook also makes it very easy to integrate these plugins with little work. In most cases, only a few lines of HTML code need to be added and you're ready to go. We've seen activity and usage steadily grow as many users have begun actively engaging with our site.

Recently, Facebook launched a new plugin called Recommendations that allows users to recommend any piece of content on your website. We've decided to implement this feature for every event on UCLA Happenings. Users can now recommend events they like by clicking the "Recommend" button when viewing an event.

Screenshot of Facebook Recommend button

Once clicked, the event is also published on their Facebook profile so that other Facebook users can see which events they have recommended.

Screenshot of Facebook profile

Additionally, we also display the number of recommendations each event has on our summary of event listings. By doing so, we hope to encourage and engage our users to check out more events that have been recommended.

Screenshot of Facebook Recommend listing

What's also important to note is that our users are creating word-of-mouth for events. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the most powerful tools of marketing. According to a survey conducted online by Nielsen in 2009 of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries, 90 percent of its consumers surveyed trust recommendations from people they know.

The power of content sharing through mediums such as Facebook's social plugins can help leverage your brand and create word-of-mouth. Your sites can become more social and engaging and have the potential to reach a vast network of users. It's a service that's worth trying and it's easy to implement.