How to write for multiple social media channels at once

I connected my Twitter feed to my Facebook feed; now I need to learn to write for both at once. Hard to do. Is there a way to be selective?

One suggestion, from long-time blogger Prentiss Riddle, is to write things first in your weblog and then syndicate them out to wherever you want them to go. This is said to behave well with systems like Facebook that reward outbound clicks. You can then push out whatever you want to write wherever and whenever you desire, and still own the original content in a place that you can control.

Bill Manning suggests Streamified, which is an aggregator that pulls together a variety of inbound streams and presents them attractively. "Add all of your social streams and watch them all come together in one place."

Ryan Burns suggests Buffer (bufferapp), which lets you write once and then push out those posts to multiple places. "Easily add great articles, pictures and videos to your Buffer and we automagically share them for you through the day!"

Julie Weatherbee notes (quite correctly) that simply replicating the same text in Twitter and Facebook is folly, because it doesn't play to the strengths of either medium. Twitter's @ references and # hashtags look foolish in a Facebook status, and if you have someone following you on both systems, they'll find the duplicate efforts irritating. Twitter's rapid fire, real time updates can overwhelm a Facebook feed easily.

The real challenge, though, is in designing for the writing style. The enforced 140 character limit of Twitter forces you to be pithy, but it also gets in the way of writing coherent sentences and paragraphs. Perhaps, as I have tried to do here, I can repurpose the original Twitter posting and use it as the lead paragraph of a longer essay that lives on Typepad and is excerpted for a Facebook post. As a writing design that's a hard constraint, but as usual, the discipline of constraints lends itself to better writing if you can pull it off.

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4 thoughts on “How to write for multiple social media channels at once

  1. Anne Johnson

    Will be interesting to see what emerges. I find myself posting about different topics with different material to G+, FB, on my own blog, and Twitter. A few people, like you, see all of those .. have often wondered if it comes over as disjoint, or just characterized differently for different audiences.

    Reply
  2. Ryan Burns

    I haven’t kept up with how to add Google+ into this mix, I’ve been mostly ignoring it. I would be interested if there was some way to get content into all three services at once though. You could also potentially glue something together with IFTTT.com

    Reply
  3. Edward Vielmetti

    Anne,
    I like systems that are clearly for a different audience. For example, my Pinterest feed is all maps, all the time – I only use it for posting maps, and I’m only following maps there. It’s as though there was a Usenet feed of rec.arts.maps and I was following it avidly.
    Ed

    Reply
  4. Msouden

    Hi Ed,
    I’ve had a long-neglected experiment with the google+blog WP plugin running (http://www.minimali.se/google+blog/). (not a plug/pitch/endorsement or anything) It just ports your g+ stream to WordPress. I know you’re a typepad guy, but maybe there’s something comparable, or some other person would find it helpful…
    What do the “SM” marketing yahoos use to maintain conversations across channels?
    I tried out tweetdeck for this (and other reasons) a while back, but found just the twitter app sufficient at the time, and something I saw recently made me think that what I really wanted was not the “groups” ability so much as the a multi-column-tweetdeck-like layout without having to organize it, and instead to have it self-organize based on frequency of posts/tweets/updates/whatever. Then Guy Kawasaki and the PR flunkies could have their “lane” and I wouldn’t miss stuff from real humans.
    Cheers,
    Matt

    Reply

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