Managing social media content campaigns in a non-centralized way is no easy task. You have to walk through each social media page, add the desired content, select the targeted audience, add the tracking parameters to your site and finally publish.
Although there are tools on the market which provides social media aggregation, there aren’t may which could be integrated directly in your website in order to keep everything centralized.
On this chapter, Sitecore does a good job with mostly out of the box features. It provides support for adding like, share, +1 buttons, social media posting and as well user login with social media accounts. Furthermore, for each feature, it provides good analytics.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to configure a social media network, specifically Facebook in Sitecore 8.x and how to associate specific social content to a published page from the website.
Step 1: Create a Facebook App and Share Its Details with Sitecore
I will assume in the tutorial that the Facebook app is created. If not, on the Facebook website you can find a very good tutorial to do it. Once the Facebook application is available, the next thing to be done is to share its credentials with Sitecore.
You can do that by going to the following Sitecore folder: /sitecore/system/Social/Applications/Default and click Insert -> New Application.
Next, you need to fill in the credentials on the application screen, and from the Network dropdown, you need to choose Facebook.
At the end, Save and Publish the item.
The application should look like in the image below:
NOTE: Please make sure you whitelist in the Facebook page the domain of your website. It’s hard to debug this if you don’t do it initially.
Step 2: Create a Facebook account to establish the link with Facebook.
The next step in the process is to assure the link with the Facebook application. In order to do that, you need to create a social account.
You need to go to the following Sitecore folder: /sitecore/system/Social/Accounts and click Insert -> New Facebook Account.
Next, a wizard will appear which will conduct you through the configuration of the Facebook account. You have there the options to select which persons will see your posts and where they can be published.
In the final step of the wizard you are prompted to select the content approval workflow. In case you don’t have one configured, you can select the Sample Workflow or if you want that everyone to be able to publish to social networks, leave it empty.
You can see how the Review panel looks like in the image from below:
A the end, click Save and Publish the item.
NOTE: If you happen to see a message in the wizard which says that there are no applications associated with the Sitecore Social Connect module, then you have to go to the Sitecore item created in the first step and publish it once more.
SECOND NOTE: Sitecore allows multiple Facebook pages to be configured. Just simply follow once more the steps from above for any additional social account.
Step 3: Associate Content to Page and Publish it to Facebook.
As of now, the configuration is complete. The next step is to start adding social media content to the website pages.
Let’s say you have a Press Releases section on the website. Or maybe every now and then you release a new products categories to the website. And you want that each and every time a new page is created, to publish a small promo description on Social Media in order to attract visitors.
To do that, you need to select your Sitecore item which represents your page, then from the Publish Ribbon menu, click on the Messages button.
You should see a window like the one from the following image:
Next, you need to click on the Facebook icon, then fill in all the info needed for the post. Make sure that you select the right social media account to be used for publish. Once you click Ok, you should see the post as present in the image from below:
The final thing to do is to publish the article on Facebook. You can do it by clicking on the “Post Now” button. Once the process is completed, you should see the new post of Facebook. Here how mine looks like:
What is also super nice is that you get to see analytics from your Facebook post directly on the messages panel. He is how my message looks like after a while:
The tutorial is now complete!
As you can see, in terms of social media integration, you can achieve a lot of things with Sitecore. You can connect multiple Social Networks with more than one account per network and you can associate social content with almost any Sitecore item.
Out of the box Social Network capabilities covers Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
You can of course add additional social media networks but it will require some coding. However, there is plenty documentation on Sitecore website.
Thank you! I hope this post will be useful for you on the next Sitecore implementation!