On using Twitter and Facebook with a blog: It’s Complicated

Social media policy sandwich board at the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse This sandwich board in the front of one of my regular Northfield coffeeshops, the Goodbye Blue Monday, caught my eye, not only because it’s clever (“Look for us on Facebook & Twitter – but you won’t find us”) but because I’ve been trying to get smarter about how Twitter and Facebook can complement a blog, both for me, my clients, and here in Northfield.

Of course, no one approach fits all. Social media tools should be deployed in specific ways in order to achieve a specific outcome. But that generalization aside, I’m trying to determine what the issues are to consider for those who are wondering how Twitter and Facebook can be complementary to their blogs.

Kim logo I started thinking about this in earnest a week ago when I read blog developer and WordPress consultant Kim Woodbridge’s post from June 2009 titled Twitter and Facebook Integration: Stop Making Every Tweet Your Facebook Status. Kim argues that “posting automatically takes some of the social out of social media” but concedes that time is a big consideration for some people. The commenters on that blog post seem split on the issue.

I’m always coaching leaders on the importance of using an ‘authentic voice’ with their blogs.  In the past, however, I’ve rarely used an authentic voice on my own Twitter account, and likewise for the group Twitter account for our community blog, Locally Grown. It’s mostly been a manual Tweeting of blog post headlines. And on our Locally Grown Facebook fan page, the blog post headlines with excerpts are posted automatically to both the Wall and a special RSS tab.

So today I checked out some of the other web-savvy people who I follow to see how they’re using these tools.

Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan has a blog, an all-purpose Twitter feed, and a more focused Twitter feed. He doesn’t publicize his personal Facebook account. He also has a company, New Marketing Labs, with a blog, Twitter feed and a Facebook fan page. The company blog auto-updates to its Facebook Wall.

Brian Clark
Brian Clark has a blog, a Twitter feed, and a several other websites (eg, Teaching Sells) but no Facebook fan page. He doesn’t publicize his personal Facebook account.

Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett
has a blog, a Twitter feed, and several other websites (eg, Authority Blogger) but apparently no Facebook fan page. He urges people to follow (friend) him on Facebook.

Seth Godin 
Seth Godin has a blog, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook fan page. His blog posts are automatically posted both to his Twitter feed (“This is a retweet of my blog”) and his Facebook fan page (“This is repost of Seth’s blog”). He follows no one on Twitter.

ktwitnew2
Kim Woodbridge has a blog, a Twitter feed, a company (Anti Social Development) Facebook fan page, and urges people to friend her on Facebook. She manually updates her company’s Facebook Wall with her blog posts but also has her blog auto-update to a separate RSS feed tab.

All these people, with the exception of Seth Godin, are very engaged with their Twitter followers, creating somewhat of an online-community feel to the feeds.  They’re master curators, as they nearly always add value (and in a personal way) to whatever they decide to retweet.  They use Twitter as an extension of their brands which they’ve already built elsewhere (blogs, books, speaking gigs, etc.). To me, this is somewhat similar to using content platforms like WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad to build a space for your online ‘presence.’  Twitter, however, is in a class by itself because its viral value rises as more people use it.

Facebook is less a content platform like WordPress and more a social platform, where conversations and interactions occur in a complex viral stew. But it’s not your ‘property’ like your blog or your Twitter feed. (I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d advise someone to first start with a Facebook fan page before creating a blogsite or a Twitter feed.)

But because Facebook is so big, creating a presence there (beyond your personal account) has to be considered as 1) a way to drive traffic to your own properties (your blog, your Twitter feed); and 2) as a place to engage your audience, even if you’re creating content elsewhere.

So for me, my inclination is to:

I’m hoping that the smarter that I get in my own use of Twitter and Facebook, the more helpful I’ll be to my clients and to the community of Northfield.

  • http://www.kimwoodbridge Kim Woodbridge

    I’m impressed by how well thought out your plan is. I jumped into things without really giving it a lot of thought beforehand. For example, I initially created a Facebook fan page because I wanted to learn how to make one and write about it – not because I thought it was something my site needed. And then surprise! It’s turned out to be very useful.

    I use Networked Blogs on Facebook, which I had before the fan page. This is what created the Blog tab that is automatically updated. I’ve left it alone because there are a number of people who seem to use and follow new blog posts via Networked Blogs – at least based on traffic to my site.

    I will continue to update Facebook and Twitter manually. Initially I automated both because of advice from other articles but found I lost out on engagement with followers and fans.

    Thank you so much for including me in your article.

  • http://wigleyandassociates.com Griff Wigley

    You’re welcome, Kim. But, like you, I also jumped into Twitter and Facebook a while back without much thought. As I commented on FB, I often have to stumble, bumble and fumble for a while before I can pose as an expert!

    I’ve likewise kept Networked Blogs activated for our Locally Grown fan page, only for the Blog/RSS tab, not the Wall.

    Another plus to all this is that it has prompted me to change gears with our community blog’s group Twitter account which, up till now, we’ve used to only post Tweets of our blog posts via DM… in a boring way, natch.

    So far now (two days and counting), it feels much better. Thanks to you and your post for whacking me upside the head on it.

  • http://wigleyandassociates.com Griff Wigley

    You’re welcome, Kim. But, like you, I also jumped into Twitter and Facebook a while back without much thought. As I commented on FB, I often have to stumble, bumble and fumble for a while before I can pose as an expert!

    I’ve likewise kept Networked Blogs activated for our Locally Grown fan page, only for the Blog/RSS tab, not the Wall.

    Another plus to all this is that it has prompted me to change gears with our community blog’s group Twitter account which, up till now, we’ve used to only post Tweets of our blog posts via DM… in a boring way, natch.

    So far now (two days and counting), it feels much better. Thanks to you and your post for whacking me upside the head on it.

  • http://designresumes.com/ Julie Walraven

    Griff, Kim has been teaching me for a long time and also been my WordPress expert on multiple occasions. I came to visit you because of your comment on her blog.

    I love it that you are working a strategy and learning from the masters… we have different masters we learn from but I am much more strategic about my social media interaction than I was in the beginning.

    I also had to learn that smaller is better — following large numbers cut off the conversation for me on Twitter. ON Facebook, I have favorites and building interaction on my FB page is harder than on my personal page.

    Interesting post!

  • http://designresumes.com/ Julie Walraven

    Griff, Kim has been teaching me for a long time and also been my WordPress expert on multiple occasions. I came to visit you because of your comment on her blog.

    I love it that you are working a strategy and learning from the masters… we have different masters we learn from but I am much more strategic about my social media interaction than I was in the beginning.

    I also had to learn that smaller is better — following large numbers cut off the conversation for me on Twitter. ON Facebook, I have favorites and building interaction on my FB page is harder than on my personal page.

    Interesting post!

  • http://wigleyandassociates.com Griff Wigley

    Thanks for stopping by, Julie. Apologies for not approving your comment sooner. It got lost midst the spam!

    I’ve been happy with my shift in how I use Twitter and Facebook in conjunction with our community (Locally Grown Northfield) blog.

    I’ve yet to learn the art of fostering interaction via Twitter (replies, DM’s, etc). Stay tuned.

  • http://wigleyandassociates.com Griff Wigley

    Thanks for stopping by, Julie. Apologies for not approving your comment sooner. It got lost midst the spam!

    I’ve been happy with my shift in how I use Twitter and Facebook in conjunction with our community (Locally Grown Northfield) blog.

    I’ve yet to learn the art of fostering interaction via Twitter (replies, DM’s, etc). Stay tuned.