We’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.
Once 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:
Your fan page will now be created and should look something like this:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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”:
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
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:
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:
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:
Change it from 300 to 160, like this:
Now click the “Save” button and reload your store’s home page in the browser. It should now sit perfectly!
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 :)