Content Feeds - Facebook and Twitter - Source, Sink or Both?

Facebook and Twitter have become integral parts of web marketing and outreach. Many companies use them in innovative ways to reach people.

Twitter - Twitter is an extremely efficient distribution medium. Tweets are easy to issue from a phone, laptop or desktop. In seconds, you can share a message. The value of the message is directly related to the content. If the message is ‘the service is back up, we’re sorry for the outage’, your clients will be relieved and happy to receive it. An alert that you posted substantial content for review may not be as welcome, unless you are a news service. Take the time to determine where site visitors are coming from for whitepapers and videos to decide whether to post that type of information. This is vital, because diluting a twitter feed with content people aren’t interested in will reduce its effectiveness. Your tweets will be dismissed without even being read. If you aren’t a realtime, high energy organization, twitter may not be a good tool.

Facebook - Facebook is powerful because people can select to receive your posted content, and it allows more content to be posted. Thus, facebook content is distributed within a community that is choosing specifically to follow you. Examining the site stats and facebook participation can help you to decide whether to invest the time in creating and managing a facebook presence or to push content from your site into facebook.

Twitter and Facebook help you reach people, but they also dilute posted content by surrounding it with unrelated material, which may be more interesting than yours.

An excellent approach is to invest in high quality content on your site which engages visitors by assisting them. Do your products and services save people and organizations money? Show them how with a calculator that they can use. The output should be easy to understand, include plenty of explanation, and, if appropriate graph or plot the data for a quick visual assessment. If possible, include comparisons and adjustments to allow further analysis. Explain the services you offer, if you can’t explain them concisely, consider changing them until you can. Educate site visitors with whitepapers, but only if it is informative, not advertising. Posting videos on your site, or sourcing them from YouTube is good, but only if the videos are well done. Well done may mean funny, creative, or entertaining, as well as informative. Video is primarily an entertainment media, many people want to be amused as they receive your message.

The site content will draw visitors from search engines, they will stay on the site if it has value, answering their questions, or entertaining them.

The home page of the site should include a ‘new content’ feed, and the same feed should be filtered out to facebook and twitter if appropriate. Sourcing facebook and twitter content on your home page will filter out unrelated posts, but, once people are on your site - the facebook and twitter content may not justify the page space it consumes. A link so people can connect into those resources is often better.