I’ve been asked a number of times if it’s possible to import RSS feeds — Twitter, Blogs, etc. — into a Static FBML tab. Well, the answer is “No”! You need to use a scripting language — PHP, ASP — to parse an RSS feed, and Static FBML boxes cannot parse any scripting languages, period.
Given this unfortunate (but understandable) fact, how can you add blog feeds, Twitter feeds or other feeds to your fan page? There are basically 3 choices:
- Third-Party Applications, such as Involver or Social RSS;
- Facebook’s “Notes” application;
- Custom canvas page application.
How to add RSS feeds to your Fan Page
Third-Party Facebook App Providers
There are a number of third-party Facebook applications that allow you to add an RSS-feed tab to your page.
You can add up to 2 Involver apps to your fan page for free. They offer an RSS feed app and a Twitter feed app.
- Go to the Involver website and click the blue Facebook “Install” button under “Free Applications”;
- On the next screen, select the Facebook page on which you’d like to install the app;
- After selecting the page to which you want to install the app, click “Add RSS for pages” button;
- Enter the blog feed URL in the next screen.
- To have a Twitter feed, add the Involver app called “Twitter”, also under “Free Applications” and follow the same drill as above. Instead of a feed URL, you’ll just have to enter a Twitter username;
- You’ll then see detailed instructions for adding the tab.
You can configure this app to automatically pull in updates from any RSS or ATOM feed and display them as posts on your Fan Page, either on a dedicated tab, a wall tab (on the left side) or as part of your core news feed.
- Go to the Social RSS page and click “Add to my page” link under the avatar in upper-left of page;
- In the popup window, select the page to which you want to add the application, the click “OK”;
- Go to the page to which you added the app, and click “Edit page” under the avatar;
- Scroll down to the Social RSS app, and click “Edit”;
- In the Social RSS screen, you can enter one or more feeds, and set additional parameters. If you have multiple feeds, they will be available via a pulldown menu on the “RSS/Blog” tab (the default name which can’t be changed);
- When you’re done, click “Update”.
Import your blog using the “Notes” application:
You can also use the Notes application which is present by default.
- Click on “Edit Page” (under your Facebook avatar);
- Scroll down to the Notes application, and click “Application Settings”;
- Next to “Tab:” it should say “Remove”; if it says “Add” then click “Add”, then “OK”;
- Click back to your page (you can click your avatar at the top of the Edit page);
- Click on Notes, which will either be in your top tabs or under the “>>”;
- Click ;
- At the top right, click ;
- Click “Import a blog” on the next screen:
- Follow the instructions, viola!.
Create, or have someone create for you, a Facebook canvas application:
Because the code for canvas apps is not hosted on Facebook servers, there is not the restriction around scripting languages that exists for Static FBML.
You will need to install an PHP RSS parser on the server where you host your canvas application. A Google search on “RSS parser PHP” will provide plenty of options.
And here’s a very helpful tutorial on creating Facebook canvas applications for beginners.
There are a couple drawbacks to using the third-party RSS Feed applications, mostly around branding or ads, as well as limited customization and naming the tabs. And the Notes application only allows the importing of one blog feed.
A custom canvas application is the best solution, but it’s also the most costly. And it’s best to have this done by a professional developer.
If anyone can add to the above information, please do so in the comments. Cheers!