By Deltina Hay (c) 2009
Following the advice of social media and Web 2.0 experts, you have established your own blog and joined a number of social sites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LibraryThing, and Upcoming.org, among others. Now, the experts say you must add content to each of these accounts regularly to keep them dynamic. So, how's this supposed to make your life easier?
Relax. With some careful planning, you can streamline the process of keeping all of your Social Web accounts fresh and engaging without breaking your back or the bank. The trick is to make your social accounts work together. Most social sites use the concept of open source to make it easy for developers to write applications that enhance the features of the site. For our purposes, we will look at applications that can help us streamline our existing presence in the Social Web.
To demonstrate what I mean about streamlining the process, I'll start with an example. Imagine that you have the following social media tools and accounts already in place on the Social Web:
- A WordPress Blog
- A Facebook Profile
- A Facebook Page
- A MySpace Page
- A YouTube Account
- A Flickr Account
- A Twitter Account
- An Upcoming.org Account
- A GoodReads Account
Your 6 Step Plan to a Streamlined Social Web Presence
Step 1: Optimize Your Blog Feed
The very first step in streamlining your presence in the Social Web is burning your blog's feed to Feedburner. This is a free service, and obtaining a FeedBurner account will help you to easily manage and track your feed subscriptions. Once you have burned your feed to FeedBurner, note the URL of your new feed, which will look something like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MyBlogName .
Step 2: Feed Your Blog Now
You want to make sure that you are getting the most mileage from your blog posts. To do so, feed your blog entries into all of your social accounts that offer blog feeding applications. Remember that each social site may provide its own different way of accomplishing this.
Facebook, for example, allows you to feed your blogs into the Notes section of your Facebook page. Click Edit in the Notes box of your Facebook page and find the option that allows you to import notes from an external blog.
Feeding blog entries into MySpace is a little different. Find and add the application RSS Reader. You can access many MySpace applications by clicking More/Apps Gallery from the main menu of your MySpace homepage.
It is possible to feed your blog posts into Twitter, but blog posts are typically too long for this purpose. If you read on, I will clue you in to a better solution for streamlining your micro-blog entries.
Step 3: Maximize the Use of Your Multimedia
Maximize the exposure of your images and video clips by adding galleries and badges to your blog or Website, and by feeding your images and videos into your social networking profiles and pages.
WordPress has many plugins available for integrating Flickr images. My favorite right now is Flickr Tag, a plugin that allows you to easily place your Flickr images right into your blog posts, and create galleries.
A Flickr badge is a snippet of Flash or HTML code that you can place on the sidebar of your Website or blog that will pull in and highlight random or specific photos from your Flickr account. Find out more by going to: http://www.flickr.com/badge.gne.
Similarly, you can embed video galleries into your blog or Website by using your YouTube channels. After you've added videos to your YouTube channel, you can generate code for a video gallery and place this code on your Website or blog.
To feed images from Flickr into your Facebook page and MySpace profile, find the appropriate application and add it. For Facebook, I use an application called My Flickr; for MySpace, use Happy Flickr.
You can place videos on your Facebook page by implementing an application called YouTube Box, and using the application YouTube Favorites, you can display video clips on your MySpace profile.
Step 4: Integrate Other Social Tools
The way in which you proceed in step 4 depends entirely upon which social tools and Websites make up your Social Web presence. In the example I have created, we have accounts with Upcoming.org (a social event calendar) and GoodReads (a niche book sharing and author site) that have not yet been integrated. By searching the applications in Facebook and MySpace, you'll find that Facebook offers an application that allows you to integrate your Upcoming.org events, and both Facebook and MySpace include applications that allow you to display your GoodReads books and book reviews.
Step 5: Take Advantage of Streamlining Tools
Using the social tool, Ping.fm, you can add short posts to your mini feeds on Facebook, MySpace, and your micro-blogging sites like Twitter and Jaiku. Ping.fm is a useful tool that lets you post one brief entry, or often a status update, and feed it into a number of social sites.
Step 6: Research and Repeat
The very nature of the Social Web is connecting people through social platforms and applications; therefore, when deciding whether or not to invest time and resources into a new social tool, it's best to research the ways that tool will accommodate your existing Social Web presence. Can you feed in your blog posts? Does it allow you to import images from a photo sharing site or video clips from from your video sharing community? Have sites like Ping.fm integrated the new tool yet, or do your existing social sites offer applications to integrate the new tool?
When you do decide to integrate a new social tool or Website, do so as best you can by repeating the applicable steps presented above.
About The Author
Deltina Hay is the principal of Social Media Power, and founder of the new social media Website service, Plumb Social. Ms. Hay's graduate education in computer science, applied mathematics, and psychology led her naturally to social media consulting. Her new book, A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization, will be released in March 2009.