If you’re looking for ways to drive more traffic to your blog content using social media, Facebook offers two new solutions.  The recently introduced Facebook Recommendations Bar, and the Facebook Recommendations Box.

If you’re wondering what the differences are and which one may be best suited for your site, here is a summary of each plugin:

Recommendations Bar

The Facebook Recommendations Bar is a good tool for blogs.  Once added to your site, the plugin allows your readers to Like content, get recommendations of other posts on your blog, and even share what they’re reading with their friends.

The Recommendations Bar is more of a popup box that resides on the lower right (or left) side of the screen and is shown to the readers of your blog post as they scroll down your post.  As they near the end of your post, the bar will expand and display a social recommendation of the next post or two to read on your site.

Some of the features of this plugin include:

  • You can choose whether you want the box to display the word “Like” or “Recommend” in the upper-left corner of the box.
  • When someone clicks on “Like” or “Recommend”, that information is sent to the reader’s Activity Area of their Facebook Timeline and is also displayed in the Ticker for their friends to see.
  • You are able to choose what percentage of your blog post must be read before the Recommendations Bar pops up.
  • The box can be minimized by clicking the square in the upper-right corner of the box.
  • The Recommendations Bar is active if the reader is logged into Facebook as their personal profile.  If they are logged in as their page, it will not appear at all.  If they are not logged in, the box will appear, but if clicked, they will be required to log into Facebook to use the features.

The Recommendations Bar plugin can be easily installed on a self-hosted WordPress site.  To install, go to your WordPress admin dashboard, then to the Plugin section and search for “Facebook Recommendation Bar”.  The “Facebook plugin should appear near the top of the search results.

Recommendations Box

The Recommendations Box plugin was released prior to the Recommendations Bar and appears on the sidebar of your site.  This plugin is useful if you want to have a list of the more popular articles on your site with an indication of how many people thought it was helpful (social proof).

Some useful information about the Recommendations Box:

  • The widget merely showcases your popular blog posts.
  • It doesn’t allow readers to interact socially with your content.
  • If a reader clicks on one of the articles listed in the box, it takes them to the blog post, but it doesn’t display as a Like or Recommendation in Facebook.

The Recommendations Box plugin can be easily installed on a self-hosted WordPress site.  To install, go to your WordPress admin dashboard, then to the Plugin section and search for simply “Facebook”.  The “Facebook plugin should appear at the top of the search results.

Both Facebook plugins have good uses and can be effective depending on your goals.  However, using both may be too overwhelming for readers.  Choose the one that best fits your blog’s design and your social media marketing goals.