Facebook embedded posts good for business

Analysts say new embedded post program could boost Facebook's business users

Facebook announced a new program this week that lets websites post public Facebook posts to their sites. And that could be a boon for businesses, says industry analysts.

"This could be very attractive to Facebook's business users," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "With this, they might be able to capture positive customer comments and append them to their webpages or other marketing material. Since the post retains the Facebook formatting, I think it conveys a greater sense that the statement is genuine and unsolicited."

On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it was launching the embedded posts program.

The embedded post will show any pictures or video attached to it, as well as the number of likes, shares, and comments that the post has, according to the social network. Only public posts from Facebook Pages and profiles can be embedded.

"Embedding posts will let people using your website see the same rich information that is shown on Facebook.com, and they will enable people to follow or like content authors or Pages directly from the embed," the company noted in a blog post.

At this point, the program is only available to what Facebook calls a "handful" of news publishers. A broader rollout is being planned.

This embedded program will help Facebook reach beyond its own site and get even more eyeballs on Facebook content, noted Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.

But this isn't just good for Facebook. It's also good for enterprises that want to show off what users are saying about them on the world's biggest social network.

"This could improve the Web experience for these sites by enabling real-time content and interactions with their customers," said Moorhead. "This increases stickiness [on their websites] and increases the chances users won't bail out."

Any business, like Ford Motor Company or JetBlue Airways or even a small mom-and-pop shop, eventually will be able to sift through Facebook to find complimentary posts from consumers, and then use the posts on their websites and in their online sales and marketing materials.

As usual though, this could be a double-edge sword.

Olds noted that while one company could be embedding positive posts about itself, its competitor could be embedding negative posts about it on its own site.

However, Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said there are far more upsides to this for businesses.

"If I'm JetBlue and I had a user rave about a JetBlue flight, I could grab the post and put it on my site," he said. "It gives the same look and feel of Facebook. It's familiar to people." "It's like having a bunch of mini Facebooks all over the place," Kerravala said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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