The Problem: I keep talking about sharing blog posts on social media, but that’s a lot of work! You want your blog to do it automatically, but you’re not sure how to link up your social media to your WordPress site. And when people share your blog posts, you want to know!
Why Is This A Problem? Many bloggers share their social media links somewhere on their blog. Either they’re got Widgets sort of figured out (that’s a future post!) or they simply type out their links to social media on the “About Page,” which means readers have to do a bit of searching. Asking your readers to socialize with you is a good first move, but having them typed out or in a Widget, instead of linked, is not doing much work for you! When people share your blog posts, for example, on Twitter, they’re seeing something like this:
Notice how it says “via @wordpressdotcom.” When someone who follows your blog shares a post, you get no credit for it if your social media isn’t connected — and no notification — on Twitter. You want those notifications and credit so that people can click your handle and check out your Twitter account! (Be sure to put your blog URL in your Twitter profile!)
When I share a blog post on Twitter that gives me the generic @wordpressdotcom, I remove that part and try to find the blogger’s Twitter account (in a Widget, in the “about” section… by the way, if your readers are using their phones, they don’t see your widgets). But if it feels like work, I delete the Tweet and decide not to share — and that’s not what you want.
- Sign in to your WordPress account
- In the very upper left corner, click “My Site.”
- Scroll down to “Sharing.” It looks like this:
Now you’re in a place that looks like this:
The three main social media platforms on which I focus are Twitter, Google +, and Facebook. You have to have an account to the social media you connect. You may notice that my Facebook is not connected, and I’ll get to that in a moment. You may not see all of the social media you use in the list above. WordPress is designed to be “just the basics,” and they’ve chosen these connections for that reason (and others). If you want to add, for example, Instagram, that’s a different #TechTip post.
Why Isn’t My Facebook Connected? When I had WordPress automatically share for me to Facebook, it did so in a sloppy fashion that irked me. Here is what a post shared by WordPress looked like:
Basically, you get the first chunk you wrote (this is supposed to be an interview, but the formatting is all gone!). Readers are told how many more words there are and see a URL. None of that is appealing, snappy, or necessary to me. It looks bloated. Instead, on the day a blog post goes live, I head over to grabthelapels.com and share my own post by clicking the Facebook icon. A box pops up asking me what I want to do. I quickly copy and paste a line I enjoyed from my post, or one I think will catch people’s attention, and I hit share to my Facebook page. There’s no notification or word count or URL in the way, either. Is this extra work? Yes — though it doesn’t take nearly as long as you’d think. Am I happy? Yes. Here is what my Facebook post for Anne of the Island looked like after I shared it yesterday:
For non-Facebook Social Media: How Do You Control What Readers See When Your Blog Shares Automatically?
This is half done already, if you’ve been following along with my #TechTips. Remember when I said about titles (and shortening the slug)? All the information you wrote in the title is what is shared on social media that isn’t Facebook. Don’t change a thing!
(As you’re writing a blog post, you can click “sharing” on the left and verify that what’s shared is the same as the title if you want reassured.)
There are two other things you can do: choose a “Featured Image” and a sneak-peek snippet.
Start a blog post. Title it. Write it. Etc.! Before you click publish or schedule the post, look to the left side at your options. Click “Feature Image.” Click “Set Feature Image.” You can either use a picture you’ve already saved to your WordPress media, or you can find something new and upload it. For my #TechTip posts, I always use the meme my lovely husband made. That is the image that shows up in any previews — on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, in the WordPress reader, etc. If you don’t choose one, your social medial will choose at random, which can be confusing if you’ve used multiple images in a post. Sometimes no image at all will be included, which looks boring.
The featured image will also appear at the top of your post when readers access your blog on a computer, so make sure you don’t put the same image first thing in your post as you’re writing it — readers will see the same image twice. Here’s what I mean:
For this reason, I now choose the #TechTip meme as my featured image and I include it at the bottom of my post as well.
The second thing you can do is, again, on the left side of the screen while you are writing a blog post, choose “More Options.” Under the box that says “slug” (you should know it by now!) is one that says “excerpt.” Copy in a line or two from your blog post so that readers get an idea of what it’s about — or add something new and gushy that didn’t have a place in the post itself about the great book you read. Whatever you write will appear in people’s WordPress reader feed and on social media like Google+. This info doesn’t make it to Twitter — but we already talked about making a great Tweet in the titles #TechTip! Here’s what a post looks like that WordPress shared for me to Google+ (it looks the same on Facebook).
My excerpt is at the top, my title is under the photo, and my featured image is prominently displayed!
Whew! You’re Overwhelmed!
So sorry! It’s a lot of information, but once you start using it, it’s very speedy. Before I click to schedule a blog post, I skim down every category on the left side of the screen, which is like ticking boxes, to make sure I’ve got it all. Takes about 30 seconds total once you start practicing.
Next Week: I’ll go over how to tidy up your widgets to make them more useful (and what the heck is a widget?).