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bcfacebookpageWe’ve recently setup our very own BigCommerce fan page on FaceBook (we’d love you to become a fan and connect with us!) and let me be honest with you – it wasn’t a walk in the park. FaceBook now has so many buttons, tabs, applications and settings that it took us quite a bit of time and research to work everything out, but now that we have I wanted to share what we did so you can do it too.

Something like 70% of people in North America have a FaceBook profile and creating your own FaceBook fan page is a great way to connect with your customers. If you have a blog you can automatically setup your fan page so that new blog posts appear on your wall. You can even create a FaceBook fan page widget and put it right into your BigCommerce store, which is what I’m going to teach you how to do in this post.

Creating Your FaceBook Fan Page

The first thing you need to do is create your own personal FaceBook account. If you already have an account then you should use that – and don’t worry, your personal photos, wall, comments, etc won’t appear on your FaceBook fan page – you will simply be the owner of the page.

fbcreatepagebuttonOnce your personal account is setup, go to this page and click the “+ Create Page” button. You’ll now see a few different options for the type of page you want to create. If you’re selling online then you’ll either want to choose “Local” or “Brand, Product or Organization” and then choose an option in the dropdown list that best represents your company, products or services. Finally, enter your company name in the “Name of Page” box and click the “Create Page” button.

Here’s a sample for an online store that sells coffee:

fbpagesetup

Your fan page will now be created and should look something like this:

fbfanpagebasic

Adding Your Logo

Pretty boring, right? Let’s spice it up. Firstly, see the big question mark image at the top of the page? That’s where we want your logo to appear, so move your mouse over it, click the “Change Picture” link and then choose “Upload a Picture” like so:

fbchangepicture

If you don’t have a copy of your logo on your computer then you can download the logo from your BigCommerce store (if you’re using an image as your logo not text through the logo builder). Just go to your store in a web browser and right click on your logo at the top of the page. You should see a “Save Images As…” (or similar) menu option which will let you download your logo to your hard drive.

Here’s how my sample fan page looks with a logo I created in Photoshop:

fbpagewithlogo

Adding New Blog Posts to Your FaceBook Wall Automatically

Next let’s setup our fan page so that our BigCommerce news posts are automatically added to our wall (the wall for your fan page, not your personal FaceBook account). That way you can add news to your BigCommerce store and have it appear on your FaceBook fan page automatically, without you having to do anything.

To do this we need to install the “Notes” application on our fan page, so make sure you’re on your fan page then click the “Applications” bar at the bottom left of the page and choose the “Browse More Applications” link, like this:

fbappdropdown

Now type “Notes” (without the quotes) in the search box at the top left of the page and press enter. A list of applications will appear. Click the first one:

fbappsearch

When the page loads click the “Add to my page” blue link on the left and then choose your new fan page if prompted and click the “Close” button. The “Notes” application will now be available on your fan page, so the next step is to tell the “Notes” application where your blog is.

Your BigCommerce store includes the ability to push your own blog posts (or news items as we call them) which will appear, by default, at the bottom of your home page in the “Recent News” section like this:

fbnewsbc

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create at least one blog post before you’ll see the “Recent News” section. From your store’s control panel click the “Website Content” tab and choose the “Create a News Item” option. You can then create a news item and it will appear on your store’s home page. Easy!

You should now have at least one news item displaying on your home page. To add your blog posts to your FaceBook fan page automatically we need to get the RSS feed for your BigCommerce blog, which is simply a file containing all of your recent posts. To get this, click on the orange icon next to the “Recent News” heading on your home page:

fbrssbc

After clicking the RSS icon you want to copy the website address from the address bar in your web browser, so right click on the text in your address bar and choose the “Copy” option. Your website address should now look something like this:

http://awesomecoffee.mybigcommerce.com/rss.php?action=newblogs&type=rss

The front part of your website address can be different, but the part in bold above should be the same. Now jump back over to your FaceBook fan page (you might need to click your browser’s back button 3 or 4 times to get back to it) and click the “Edit Page” link under your logo image. Find the “Notes” application and click its “Edit” link, like so:

fbnotesedit

When the page loads you’ll see a link that says “Import a blog >>”. Click on it and in the “Web URL” box right click and choose “Paste” to paste in the address of your BigCommerce RSS feed which you copied in the last step. Finally tick the check box and then click “Start Importing”:

fbimportblog

After the import is complete you’ll see a preview of how the posts will look on your wall. Click the “Confirm Import” button on the right side of the page and you’re done. Any new BigCommerce blog you create will appear on your FaceBook fan page within a few hours of being posted in your store. Here’s how our AwesomeCoffee sample FaceBook fan page looks.

Adding the FaceBook Fans Widget to Your BigCommerce Store

OK now that our fan page is setup let’s create a widget which will show our fans and recent wall posts in our BigCommerce store. The widget is a great (free) way to drive more fans to your FaceBook page. To get the widget, click here and choose the options you’d like to appear in the widget. I recommend including both recent streams and fans. Finally, click the “Other” button to see the JavaScript code which you should copy to your clipboard by right clicking in the box and choosing “Copy”:

fbwidgetpage

Now we need to use BigCommerce’s design mode feature to add the JavaScript of the widget into our store.

Adding the Widget to Your Store Using Design Mode

Design mode is a feature unique to BigCommerce which let’s you edit the layout, text and HTML in your online store. To enable it, login to your store’s control panel and click the “Store Design” link at the top right of the page, then click the “Design Mode” tab. After clicking the checkbox/button you should see the design mode toolbar when viewing your store, like this:

fbdesignmodebutton

For this example I want the FaceBook widget to appear on the left under my newsletter box, so I’ll right click the newsletter box and choose the “Edit Panel” option, like this:

fbmenu

A window will now open which contains the HTML for the newsletter box. Don’t worry – you don’t have to edit any HTML. Just paste the JavaScript from the FaceBook widget at the very bottom of the HTML code, like this:

fbpaneledit

Click the “Save” button at the top of the window and then when you reload your store’s home page in your web browser you should see the FaceBook fan widget like so:

fbwidgettoowide

Now as you can see, the widget is too wide. We need to make a small change to the JavaScript of the widget, so right click on the newsletter box again, click “Edit Panel” and notice the “width” attribute which I’ve highlighted in yellow below:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://static.ak.connect.facebook.com/js/api_lib/v0.4/FeatureLoader.js.php/en_US”></script><script type=”text/javascript”>FB.init(“d7f985e0ed5b8318daa7c52be5710748″);</script><fb:fan profile_id=”165603319018″ stream=”1″ connections=”10” width=”300″></fb:fan><div style=”font-size:8px; padding-left:10px”><a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/BigCommerce/165603319018″>BigCommerce on Facebook</a> </div>

Change it from 300 to 160, like this:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://static.ak.connect.facebook.com/js/api_lib/v0.4/FeatureLoader.js.php/en_US”></script><script type=”text/javascript”>FB.init(“d7f985e0ed5b8318daa7c52be5710748″);</script><fb:fan profile_id=”165603319018″ stream=”1″ connections=”10” width=”160″></fb:fan><div style=”font-size:8px; padding-left:10px”><a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/BigCommerce/165603319018″>BigCommerce on Facebook</a> </div>

Now click the “Save” button and reload your store’s home page in the browser. It should now sit perfectly!

fbwidgetfinal

In this example I decided not to include the stream in the widget and just the fans, and I’ve used our BigCommerce fan page for the widget in this example. As I mentioned earlier, it’s quite a complicated process to create a FaceBook fan page, but luckily it’s easy to embed the widget into your BigCommerce store.

If you do setup your own FaceBook fan page and integrate it into your store we’d love to see it – just post a link to your store in the comments below! Finally, don’t forget to become a fan of BigCommerce on FaceBook :)

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  • Thank you so much!! I finally add the like box to my website!!

  • Liz

    The only issue is FB has apparently changed how it’s done so this no longer applies.

    For instance, there is no option for “other” types of code. It gives you an IFrame and an XFBML code but neither will allow the box to show up on my website when I add them to the script. :(

  • Hi Carlie
    What file did you edit to put the facebook fan stream underneath the latest news like that. Thats what I am trying to do but no luck so far

  • Howdy John. I keep things simple. I have a $500 HD camera with a small tripod and use iMovie to import the video, add sounds and transitions. I then upload it directly to YouTube from within iMovie. For me it means I can (and do) record videos from anywhere – here in Sydney, from our Austin TX office or even when I’m on holidays. Hope that helps!

  • Great instructions Mitch, thanks! You can now see our “Like Box” on our store’s bottom right side. I’ve actually been getting a lot of really good marketing tips from you, and applying them all. I’d like to know what you are using to design your videos before you upload them to You Tube? The video market is really where it’s at now… thanks again, looking forward to hearing back about the video creation software, please.

  • Hi Arielle. That’s more than a blog post unfortunately. It’s a HUGE amount of work but it’s on our feature list so rest assured, we’ve got you covered :)

  • Hi Mitchell, I submitted a support ticket about Facebook single login feature but decided to post here as I think it will benefit everyone. It would be great if you could post an entry about how to implement single logon like Facebook, Google, Open ID as it really does increase traffic.

    Thanks a lot :)
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  • Hmmm not sure Lowell. It works on ours (see the right side of the blog). Maybe email Facebook??

  • Do you know what has happened to the Facebook Fan Box? It is not longer an option on http://www.facebook.com/facebook-widgets. I have had a fan box on my blog for months now, but recently the pictures of the fans are not showing up.

    I notice it on other sites as well… I clicked Huma’s site link (noted in the post above) and fan pictures on that website are not showing up either, as is the case with mine. The Facebook logo is present as is the link back to my fan page, but no pics of fans – just white space.

  • Mitch,

    Any idea when the next release will be available for upgrade?

  • Hi Huma. We’ve added a lot of the new Facebook F8 announcements to the next release so for now there’s not much we can offer because it takes a bit of programming to get them all working together. If you can wait for the next release I’m sure it will be exactly what you’re after.

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  • Hey,

    Thanks for the helpful instructions on how to setup the FB Widget but I need your help in taking this a bit further.

    I’ve added the FB recommendations app on my homepage but I want to add a category specific recommendations box on every category page so that the customers can see what their friends are liking/sharing within that particular category. As all product categories use the same template, I for the life of me can’t figure this one out!

    Also I want to add FB Like button on all product details pages like on your blog so the customers can see if any of their friends like the product they are viewing. However, I’m facing the same issue with this as all product detais pages use the same template. I’ve added the AddThis share button but it doesnt show the customer personalized information as the Like button.

    Can you tell me how to go about this…

  • Hi Meghan. Your website looks incredible – well done. Your product looks cool too. I couldn’t see the widget on your page but if you add it back and message me on Twitter (@mitchellharper) I’ll take a look for you.

  • Hi Mitch,

    I followed your instructions exactly and when I add the widget to the panel it just says “Soho Scrubs on Facebook” in small font and there is no Facebook logo.

    I tried signing out of Facebook, but this doesn’t fix the problem.

    Any suggestions would be great!

    Thanks,

    Meghan

  • Try signing out of facebook, if your signed in, it won’t say “become a fan” thats what happened with me

  • Hi Jae. I created our page when logged into my personal Facebook account and didn’t have any problems. Did you create an actual page instead of a completely new account?

  • I created a page for my books (I’m an author), but i already have a personal FB page. I think i was supposed to create a fan page the second time, but i believe it ended up another personal page…Now i can’t figure out how to manage them because when i’m logged into one, I can’t be logged into the other, and when i am in my personal page and go to pages & ads, it pulls up the second page I created – does that mean they are linked, even though i used a different email, user name and login? This is so confusing! And i’m a webmaster, so i know I’m not the only one with this problem. Can anyone tell me how to go about clearing up this mess?
    thanks for any insight.
    Jae

  • Very nice!

  • Hi Jose. Hmmm not sure to be honest. You could just put the button in and link it to your FaceBook page if that helps?

  • Hi Shannon. There isn’t but that’s a great idea. If you’d like to vote for it feel free to submit it as an idea at http://www.getsatisfaction.com/bigcommerce

  • Tim

    I can import the external blog to my personal page, but if I copy and paste the same URL (http://www.replaymarket.com/rss.php?action=newblogs&type=rss) to my ‘Replay Market’ page, I get a ‘Can’t find a feed using the URL you provided’.

    Has anyone else run into this?

    I also noticed this feed doesn’t have the lates news I just put in. Is there a delay?

    Thanks

  • Mitch,
    (Mitchell Harper (December 14th, 2009, 10:01 pm)

    Hi there. As mentioned in the post, we do have a complete blogging system built in. It’s under the “Website Content” tab in the control panel. We call the posts “News Items” but they’re essentially blog posts…)
    is there an option to put the new items in the top menu bar and change the name to blog?

    thanks,
    Shannon

  • Hey Mitch,
    I really thought that in the page would show only the “facebook” and “become a fan” logo, instead of the contents under, fighting with the rest of the page. We're novices here…lol… Is there a way to do that?
    By the way, with the instructions was really a “walk in the park”,

    Thanks a bunch!

  • Hi Mitch,

    I don't have the news feed on my home page http://www.yotari.co.uk – Before I can link up to Facebook I need to get the news items appearing on the yotari site! I have tried amending the layout in design mode, but I'm not sure which panel I need – can you help please?

  • Oooh, Frontline Gifts — I like your store set up. From a girl who spent a decent amount of time setting ours up (linuxjournalstore.com), I have much appreciation from yours. I may borrow a couple elements, in fact. Nice!

  • We added a Facebook widget to our Big Commerce store, http://www.linuxjournalstore.com/ . Love it. Only shows up on the store's home page, just after “Recent News”. Perfect. Thanks, Big Commerce folks. :)

  • A really helpful post – this has inspired me to a) set up a facebook fan page, and b) write some news items.

    Way to go…

  • http://www.wearwoof.com.au now with facebook widget

  • http://www.witsendbakery.com
    Yeah, that was pretty tricky, but you did an excellent job of walking me through it.

  • robertfarago

    Excellent how-to post.

    Now the hard work begins: creating content to keep the community active, engaged, happy and growing.

  • robertfarago

    Excellent how-to instruction. Now the hard work begins: providing regular compelling content to keep the community active and growing.

  • wtf u looking at?
  • Thanks for that – just added the fan page and connected the news. Can I use the same technique to add the new items feed into the facebook fan page? Do I need to create a second notes page?

  • Customer

    But this isn't seo-optimised. It pulls the meta tags of the homepage and so are the tags pages etc….

  • Darren

    Mitch

    When i get to the option to import an external blog and i enter the URL i get the following error
    Import Failed
    We couldn't find a feed using the URL you provided.

    I have followed the instructions word for word, so what could be wrong?

  • stevespolar

    Thanks for the Facebook info – already had a fan page, but just followed your instructions to add the widget to my site. You said you'd love to see it so here it is: http://www.frontlinegifts.com. Looking forward to the new store designs!

  • No it doesn't, so it's really easy to keep your personal FaceBook and fan pages separate if you want to.

  • Hi there. As mentioned in the post, we do have a complete blogging system built in. It's under the “Website Content” tab in the control panel. We call the posts “News Items” but they're essentially blog posts…

  • animationalley

    Fantastic! Thank you so much!!!

  • Big Commerce Customer

    Oh, additionally, when you open a fan page, will this tell you which personal profile had opened that fan page?

  • Big Commerce Customer

    Hi Mitch,

    It would be nice if there is a built in blog (preferrably wordpress) in our ecommerce shop. Why open up another domain (free or paid) when you can populate pages within your site. This will hopefully make google visit the site more frequently. The only downside I can think of might be the bandwidth premium.

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