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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.