Big River allows you to engage your supporters to share your pages on social media to get your desired message intothe social channels of your supporters. Let's see how….

Embedding Social Tags in Forms and Receipts

You enable social sharing on your pages by using the #{SOCIAL} merge tag, which is backed by the Social Settings options on forms. Different pages can have different content, and you can reuse common content across multiple pages as well. You can insert the tag into your Page Frames or Layouts, and you can reuse the tags multiple times on a page.  Note that the Confirmation page for Catalogs and Peer to Peer forms includes this tag by default.

The #{SOCIAL} merge tag on forms displays icons that are links to social media sites that you select. Note that we include email in this list as a means of sharing.

Each of these icons is a button which pops up the appropriate tool for sharing to that platform.

The content for these popups is defined largely by the social media platform by reading your pages and extracting data from them - a process called "scraping". Big River provides default values for this data from your form definition, and allows you to expand on this with richer data through the Social Settings tab.

We'll see how this works after showing how social media works on your pages.

Facebook Sharing

Big River uses Facebook's Sharing API to put an attractive, user friendly social prompt on your page:

You can specify the title your page will have when it appears in Facebook, and the description and image associated with it. One thing you cannot do is pre-populate the message your supporter is editing (this is prevented by Facebook policy, see the technical details below for additional information).

Twitter Sharing

For Twitter, Big River pops up the tweet dialog, and creates an attractive 'card' tweet on your supporter's twitter feed:

You can specify the title, description and image as in Facebook. In Twitter you can also specify the default content of the tweet for your supporter to edit.

Google+ Sharing

The Google+ options follow the Facebook model, the Google+ popup is populated by the title, description and image.

Email Sharing

The email icon creates an email in your supporter's email client, ready to send.

You can set the default subject and content. Restrictions in the way web browsers pop up the email client restrict your content to plain text.

The collection of settings can be reused across many forms, and are named so you can keep track of them.

What kind of social media content can you specify?

The first group of options on the Social Media tab contain content that supports multiple social media platforms:

  • Title - the title for the page as it will appear in that platform
  • Description - the body of text describing the page on the social platform
  • Image - the image associated with the page on the social media platform

Facebook and Google+ content is limited to these options. For Twitter you can also specify:

  • Twitter ID - your organization's Twitter ID, necessary for Twitter cards to be open by default when tweeted\
  • Twitter Content - default content to put in your supporter's tweet

By default, Big River populates the tweet with the short URL version of the link to the current page.

For email you can specify default content for your supporter's message:

  • Email Subject - the subject line for the email
  • Email Body - the default content of the email - note that this must be plain-text, HTML is not supported

Big River merge tags are supported in the body of the email, in particular

  • #{REFERRALURL} - the link to the current page

How to point social links to other pages

By default Big River shares the same page that the supporter is viewing or, if the sharing is done from a confirmation page, that they just made a transaction from. You can override these defaults to have the social media links share a different page. You can also override the page that is shared based one whether a specific item was in the transaction.

If you want to populate social messages with a link to a page other than the one from which the social share is generated, identify that URL in the field labeled "URL".

Note that the destination URL must have social metadata in its header in order for the social media platforms to present good information.

The technical stuff - Facebook

Big River uses Facebook's advanced Sharing API in order to customize the sharing features, giving you more control over the content and providing a better experience for your supporters:

Custom buttons - instead of the Facebook default 'Share" or "Like" buttons, Big River displays a more attractive consistent icon

Popup dialog - Big River pops up the Facebook dialog in the context of the current page, instead of operating silently or distracting the supporter by opening a new browser tab

Custom URL - by default the Facebook share button points at the current page. You can specify the URL that the share points to, in order to direct people to other landing pages, for example the one for your general website or category page.

Big River's use of Facebook's Sharing API ensures that changes by Facebook will be supported with no impact on existing pages. But there are some constraints as a result of Facebook's protection of that API. The Facebook API requires the use of a code called an Application ID, which is created on Facebook's developer page. This 'appId' is necessary to get the sharing popup to properly contain your content. Big River has one appId installed by default for pages that are published using the domain. However, Facebook restricts each appId to apply to only one domain. Customers who have their own custom domain enabled in Big River need their own appId to cover that domain. When Big River works with you to set up your own domain, Big River creates an application in Facebook linked to your domain, and adds that appId to your profile to ensure that your Facebook links will work correctly.

Facebook gets the content that appears in the sharing popup, and is posted to a person's page, by scanning the page periodically, looking for certain data like the page title, description and image. That's the content that is set on the Social Settings tab on your page definition:

Facebook, and other social media sites and search engines learn about web pages by reading their content, interpreting it and storing pieces for later use. Web pages tell these scanners what information they want to be known for. For example instead of using a file name as the title in a search result, the scanner looks for a tag in the web page named "<title>". Facebook in particular looks for similar tags with the following information:

og:title - The Title for the page

og:image - the image associated with the page

og:description - the description of the page

og:url - the URL for facebook to point to and scan, if you want it to be different that the current page

Big River sets these headers for your pages based on the information in the SEO/Social Setting tab. You can see all those on this example:

Note how much you can customize how your pages get promoted. This is the information Facebook uses to build the story about a web page, and if specific content like an image is not defined, Facebook will look for some content in the body of the web page to fill that in. This is why you sometimes see web pages on Facebook with weird images or descriptions.

Big River allows you to specify the title, URL, description and image via those fields on the SEO/Social Settings tab for your pages. Note that if you use the URL setting, it must be in the same domain or subdomain of Big River pages. Remember, Facebook doesn't allow us to cross domains! Also if that URL is not a Big River page, your web team will have to make sure the tags that Facebook is looking for are in that web page's header.

Note that Facebook prevents us from pre-populating any content in the popup box. This is documented at:

Note that your page has to be public for Facebook to be able to scan it. Otherwise you will receive an error.

Also Facebook will store this error data as the sharable data for your page. Facebook only scans pages about every 30 days, so

Big River prompts facebook to re-scan your page every time you save it.  

If you would like to see detail on how facebook sees your page, go to the Facebook 'linter' page at

Twitter Metadata

Twitter has similar metadata tags as Facebook and Google+:

twitter:url - the URL the tweet points to, this defaults to the current Big River page twitter:title - the title of your page as it appears in the tweet twitter:image - the image that appears within the tweet

twitter:description - the description of your page within the tweet

twitter:site - your organization's twitter ID

In addition Big River sets the "twitter:card" to "summary_large_image" which displays the metadata in twitters large card format on supporters' feeds.

Note that the card may not be expanded by default on someone's twitter feed unless you add your twitter ID to your SEO settings. This seems to be an undocumented feature or bug in twitter, and Big River continues to research it.

Twitter has a website where you can see how your card will appear on your supporters' feeds at: