The other day a friend made a comment that really made me think about how I am using online networking sites. The friend, who also happens to be a client, mentioned to me that often when she sees my posts on her Facebook page, she just scans down to find other more personal posts. So it made me think that there are probably a number of my Facebook friends that feel the same way. That is one of the problems with mixing Facebook business with Facebook pleasure, your old high school friends may not be interested in your online marketing facts. Was I imposing my “Twitter” style on my Facebook Friends?
When I started to think of how to present my posts in a more digestible format on Facebook I realised that much of this information could be compiled into blog posts — and haven’t I agreed over and over again that Twitter was really eating into my blogging time. So now is the time to address the issues of how to determine where and how to present all of my very useful information across the wide range of online networking sites that I belong to. Here I am going to focus on Twitter, Facebook and blogging.
When you post – whether it be micro-blogging, on a social networking site or in a full blog post – you really have to consider the people in your audience and their preferences and viewing habits Follow what is acceptable and practiced amongst your circle of online friends and in the application you are using.
– On Twitter it is much more common to see people mixing business with pleasure. In fact, amongst my follows/followers our conversations go from “What’s your favourite blogging application?” to “Who’s going to this conference on Friday?” to “The tooth fairy forgot to visit last night” and “This is the best Chinese restaurant in New York.”
– Twitter is about telling your followers what you are up to at the moment, as well as any other interesting bits of information you think they may be interested in: links, images, videos, weather reports, etc. So Twitter users expect a number of posts to be put up; and applications created to use Twitter are made to help people view a lot of posts from a number of different people in the best manner. Twitters own web interface isn’t as good for this, which I only realised when a couple people said to me, “I only use Twitter via the website and all I’d see were a big list of your posts and nothing else, so I ‘unfollowed’ you.” I support their right to ‘unfollow’ and believe that we should all exercise this right as needed. I have a good number of followers on Twitter, so think that there are a number of people that are happy enough with my volume there.
– You can pop in and out of Twitter as you have time so it takes as little or as much time as you would like.
– You can have any number of accounts on Twitter that you think you can manage. @ann_donnelly is my main account and I do mix personal and business replies. I also have @omahonydonnelly that I just use for business items, mainly for my partner, who isn’t on Twitter himself.
– On Twitter you get a lot of off the cuff responses to new and current events. It’s meant to be up to the minute and you may not have time to study up on a topic, but you can always come back later with an update.
– On Twitter you see so many posts that are correcting a previous post with a typo. You are typing quickly, you may be on a mobile phone, so a lot of typos happen. I don’t bother correcting my typos like that, unless I think people will misunderstand the post. That just shows the style on Twitter. You are limited to 140 characters, so you use all sorts of abbreviations – official and unofficial – to fit in what you want to say. You may be responding quickly as part of conversation (or to enter a competition) or just to be a crazy little know it all, which we are all guilty of some of the time. Sometimes you do get into an actual back and forth conversation with someone, but many just use private ‘DMs’ for that. A proper instant messaging application would be better suited.
– Initially Facebook seemed to be mainly for keeping in touch with ‘real’ friends and family; but now that Facebook allows you to set up pages for businesses there are many more people that are using Facebook for business purposes. My partner used to think that Facebook was just for personal friends, but as he has a number of clients located all over the world and now sees many are on Facebook, he sees that it could be another good way to keep in touch with them.
– On Facebook you can also group your ‘Friends’ and also choose not to see someones replies in your stream, so it makes it easier to throttle between work and personal topics, but this is a recent change and many people haven’t set it up properly (including me).
– Your Friends on Facebook are more likely to be people that you have met, so you would probably like to keep them. Here it is more important to mind the volume and make sure that the posts are relative to the audience. Also, on Facebook most people set their accounts so only friends can view their stuff, so if you lose a friend that really cuts that person out. On Twitter, only a few people make their posts private, so the posts are open to the world, so easy to see what people outside your circle of follows/followers are saying pretty easily.
– As you don’t see what your Friend’s homepage looks like, you may not consider if your numerous posts are taking over, so you do need to be considerate.
– Like having multiple Twitter accounts, I have multiple blogs. This blog is for business related posts and Tales from West Cork is for personal posts and I also have a weight loss blog (and Twitter account) that is separate as it’s even more personal and specific in topic.
– In an informal Twitter poll, I got feedback that a blog post should take 2-3 hours to properly research and compose, and that many do such well thought out posts 1-2 times a week, with a few quick, timely posts in between. So here quality is more important that quantity. I do agree, but in my case I need to be better about scheduling those 2-3 hours in 1-2 times a week so that the posts get done. This is where I need to cut down on my Twitterage and focus on bloggage.
Just because it’s easy to post something on a networking site, it doesn’t mean you always should!
So when deciding where and how to post an item, think about:
1) What audience is the item suited to, and
2) What application will best communicate the information.
In many cases it’s best to use all of your applications. When I finish this blog post, I will post the link on Twitter and it will automatically be posted to my business page on Facebook — and many other online networking sites that I have this blog feeding into.