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I'm anonymising this situation a bit, so I apologise if the scenario seems a bit contrived, but the question is a genuine one I need to address.

I'm working on a website for a web-based company which acts as an intermediary or broker between public speakers and people who want to hire them. The company wants to tie into social media, so I've added Facebook etc. like/share buttons. Each registered speaker has a separate page with its own OpenGraph metadata and so they can be independently "liked".

The front page also has a "like" button for people who appreciate the service provided by the site instead of / as well as individual speakers. The company also has a Facebook Pages page. The question is how to tie them together.

Is there a "Best practices" approach to handling the relationship between the company website and the company Facebook Pages page?

In particular, should I replace the Like button on the front page with a link to the Facebook page (or perhaps change the OpenGraph metadata for it to set the Facebook page as og:url - although my instinct is that that's a bad idea)?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There's no written "best practice" guide for integrating Facebook pages with a corporate website, but you can learn a lot from the way established companies do it. Predominantly, they combine 'Like' buttons with links, and I suggest you do that too.

For example, Apple has official Facebook pages for iTunes and the App Store. The App Store page gets no mention that I could find, but the Facebook page is currently featured prominently on the iTunes product page, with a 'Like' button and a link to their Facebook page ('Become a fan...'):

Apple's Facebook link for iTunes

To do this, they're using a lightly customised version of the Facebook Like Box, with the 'show faces', 'show stream', and 'show header' boxes unchecked. You could adopt this for your site too, unless you prefer their other widgets.

If you're going to adopt social media tools at all, it makes sense to do as much as you can to build a following without ruining the usability and readability of your site. As such, there are few reasons not to include both a 'Like' button and a link; you don't have to choose one or the other. Do both.

Creating a canonical URL from the main page that refers to your Facebook page is probably a bad idea as you suggest, because you'll send any search traffic to Facebook instead of your own site. There are times when this might be a good thing -- Sony have been known to redirect the entire minisite for a product to their Facebook page during the launch campaign, for example -- but it tends to be only for time-limited campaigns where the focus is to build a Facebook presence around a single product.

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I wasn't aware of the Like Box plugin - that looks like a good solution, so I'll see what the client thinks. I think I've misled you a bit with my comment about the canonical URL - I was referring to the <meta property="og:url" ... /> tag, not the <link rel="canonical" ... /> tag. –  Peter Taylor Jun 14 '11 at 14:02
    
Thanks for editing your post to remove the 'canonical' reference; I understand what you mean now. Pointing the og:url to the Facebook page isn't necessarily a bad idea if your client wants to send traffic to their Facebook page instead of their own site. (Don't forget that a story appears in the user's friends' News Feed with a link to whatever you specify in the og:url each time someone Likes your site, so just consider where you want to send that traffic.) –  Nick Jun 14 '11 at 14:25
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