After the last post on social media, I needed to go deeper with this “linking social media accounts” thing. This may interest you if you’re a blogger or business owner who uses social media (or plans to). If you don’t fall into either of these categories you should read this post about Yoruba names that make it hard to live abroad or this post about sickle cell disease.
When I talk about linking social media accounts I mean:
- when you link your Twitter account to your Facebook profile or page, and your tweets or retweets automatically publish to Facebook
- when you link your Instagram account to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr (to name a few), your Instagram updates are automatically published on the platforms you’ve selected
Mo’ platforms, mo’problems?
I get the appeal of linking: you’re busy, there are so many platforms and only so much time! There’s pressure if you’re building a brand to be everywhere, so it’s convenient for you because you can give the impression of being everywhere when you might only “really” be in one or two places, but let’s think about someone else: your loyal fan. This person who’s most likely following you on all the platforms you’re on. What are they getting out of this? How are you rewarding their loyalty? Showing them the same thing at the same time on a few platforms is not a reward! If you post the same image, use the characteristics of each platform to share things differently—more details below.
F A C E B O O K
You can post anything you want on Facebook: short amounts of text, long amounts of text, text and images, links, images alone, groups of images, you get the picture. The jury’s out on how valuable hashtags are on Facebook but they’re definitely supported (i.e. they will become a clickable link if you include them in your post). When your text is accompanied by a picture it receives more engagement.
Best use: sharing an inspirational quotation on an eye-catching background, personal stories (preferably accompanied by at least one image), linking to blog posts (an excerpt of your blog post will automatically appear when you include a link with your Facebook update)
Take advantage of: the ability to associate several images with a single Facebook update
I N S T A G R A M
Instagram is all about visuals (in fact, every update must have an image), so this is where you should post your most gorgeous pictures or graphics. Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in your updates, so link-heavy text should be used elsewhere (i.e. Facebook). Unlike Twitter with its character limit, you can include lots of text with your Instagram update. A word of warning though: Instagram does not allow you to break your writing into paragraphs while you’re typing it, and long blocks of text are really hard to read. Get around this by using another app to type your update the way you want it to appear (I use Notes on my iPhone) before pasting it in Instagram. Instagram images also have to be square, so if necessary, crop your image to end up with the best image possible. You can also add filters to your pictures but I’ve never really gotten into that.
Best use: sharing gorgeous graphics or images, with personal stories attached to the image
Take advantage of: hashtags—it’s the one platform where strangers will come across your profile through hashtag searches
T W I T T E R
Unlike the other platforms I’ve mentioned, Twitter limits your sharing to 140 characters. Twitter’s the best place to go to find out what’s happening in the world, and if I’m not mistaken hashtag usage took off because of Twitter. Each day brings new hashtags that invite your participation—find one that speaks to you and join the conversation. You can post the same information several times in one day on Twitter because the timeline moves quickly so most of your followers don’t see all your tweets. The low character count makes it easy to rework the info in a tweet for subsequent tweets on the same topic. Links and images (you can post more than one image with a tweet, like with Facebook) work well on Twitter. Don’t forget my 6 ways to be awesome on Twitter!
Best use: one-on-one interaction with followers by either “mentioning” (putting an “@” before their username) the person you’re reaching out to or sending them a direct message (if you’re following each other); this has also been a good way to reach brands in order to get their contact info
Take advantage of: the Lists feature, which allows you to create private or public groupings of tweeters that you follow (or not)—once you have a list you can choose to view tweets sent by that particular group, but there are other great uses for Lists
These are the three platforms that I see most often linked, so I wanted to focus on them. Now I’d like to show you a practical example. Let’s say you’re a blogger who’s also a mom, and you’ve written a blog post about your week’s adventures with your kids, seeing as they’re out of school. Your blog post has all the details (including nine pictures!) and you want to entice your fans to come and read your blog post (because let’s not forget: whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, the whole point of social media is to drive people to your blog or website). Here’s what you can do:
Here are two options (you can even do both, but space them out in the day
- Share the link to the blog post—as I mentioned Facebook will share the title and an excerpt from your blog post (both of which can be edited!) and will also pull one of the images from the blog post into your update—you can flip through the images and select the best one.
- Upload 2-4 pictures from the blog post to Facebook, write a quick summary of the blog post (two or three sentences), with teaser information to bring people to your blog.
Select the image that, when cropped to a square, looks amazing, and share that and parts of your blog post (or a story about that specific image that may not have been captured in the blog post). As I mentioned Instagram doesn’t make the links within your post clickable; a common workaround for this is to change the one clickable link that you are allowed—the one in your profile—to the latest blog post link.
Draft three to four tweets with slightly different content but the same link to the blog post and send them every four or so hours. For this specific example they could be something like:
Need fun summer ideas for the kids? Check out my latest blog post for inexpensive ideas: http://linktoblogpost.com
My kids’ favourite summertime activity this week was not what I expected! Read more at http://linktoblogpost.com
[Fresh post] Give your kids a memorable summer by planning some of these activities: http://linktoblogpost.com
You get the message! Some of these tweets can include one or more images from the blog post.
What I’ve described is more work than linking your accounts but you’re providing way more value and that’s what’s important. You don’t even have to create the content from scratch: it’s all in your blog post. Just be creative with how you use the content and I’m certain your social media following and traffic to your blog will improve. To save time, look into automation tools like Facebook’s built-in one for Facebook pages, and Hootsuite or Buffer for Twitter (there are many more paid options too).
If your social media accounts are linked, have I convinced you to unlink them? If they were not linked, do you have some new ideas for how you can share blog posts?