Integrating Social Media Plugins with Drupal CMS: A Guide

Written by Robin WildingFebruary 17, 2011

In typical Drupal fashion, you are provided with a wide variety of tools when integrating a social networking solution with your site. In fact Drupal.org has a huge community of developers that have created in-depth forums and documentation that will help you choose the right social solution for your needs (and developing skills). There is a full list of social networking-related modules on the Drupal.org site, click here.

Advanced developers are able to use the Drupal platform to create their own rich Facebook and social networking apps—But if you are that much of a developing genius then you probably aren’t reading this. For the rest of us, you can either hire one of those super-smart developers that aren’t even reading this… or you can consider some of the pre-made Drupal modules below.

Social Networking Modules for Drupal

Drupal Module for Twitter 
This module interacts with Twitter accounts and provides notifications for each new post. Users also have the ability to connect to their own Twitter account and tweet about your site through a custom format string.

Facebook Social Plugins Integration for Drupal
This module focuses on all the major FB plugins. Social Plugin’s beauty is that it works without a full-fledged application that requires maintenance or user authorizations. This module also allows you to access users social graph information.

The Social Plugins toolbox includes:

  • Like Button
  • Comments
  • Like Box
  • Recommendations
  • Facepile
  • Live Stream
  • Activity Feed

Facebook Status 

The FB status module is perfect for personal sites or blogs only as it is a great simple FB connecting tool. This module will aggregate your FB updates into a personalized RSS feed that will be prominently displayed on your site. Drupal applies its permissions, which means that you can control who sees your new content, updates and statuses.

FBConnect
This module is a more in-depth FB tool to use. The module allows users to sign into your site via their FB account and it gives them options to import their public profile (following the current Facebook Connect API terms of use rules). Their sign-in will create a FB story feed and they can also invite friends.

Drupal for Facebook
Drupal for FB is an all-encompassing module, sub-module and set of themes. This module was designed primarily for developers who want to begin developing their own Facebook apps. For non developers the freedom this module brings is still highly beneficial as you can pick and choose from the integrated apps including Social Plugins, FB Module, and Facebook Connect.

There is a large community around this extensive toolbox, including an in-depth forum for developers here.

Something to Ponder

Increasing the social media networking status of any CMS-powered site can direct large amounts of traffic—which is good. Unfortunately it can be more than you are ready for—which is bad. There is a user who documented a 2300% increase in visitors, which would have crashed his site if he had not been ready. Read his tale here. The following 5 tips should help ensure that your site continues to function well regardless of social networking-induced traffic spikes:

  1. Lower Your File Count with CSS Aggregation
  2. Speed Up your Drupal site with Page Caching
  3. Disable Bandwidth-Intensive Blocks
  4. Improve Page Load Times By Optimizing Images
  5. Move to a reliable web host

Following the above advice will ensure that your Drupal-based site functions well regardless and continues to loads quickly.

Conclusion

Many users have boosted their readership and sales via social networking modules for their Drupal site. These effective tools can work well in conjunction with proper developing and design that can handle the following social media traffic spikes. For an example from Drupal on how to leverage these modules to benefit your site, click here.

 

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