Publicize Crash Course: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

Image by Jason Howie (CC BY 2.0)

“I’m publishing posts every day, but where are my readers?”

While there’s no exact science to successfully building a readership, you have a number of built-in tools on WordPress.com to share your work with the world. Our advice? Hook up your various social accounts to WordPress.com and let us do the rest. We want to emphasize, especially to our newest users, that no blog is an island. Clicking Publish is just the first step, and sharing your work across the internet is key to expanding your audience.

What is Publicize?

With Publicize, you can automatically push out your new posts to social networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path.

Publicize

Connecting to your accounts is easy, and you can select which ones to link to your WordPress.com account. To get started, head over to Settings → Sharing. At the top of the page, you’ll see the options pictured above, and to connect to each, you’ll do so one by one, using — you guessed it! — the Connect button.

In part one of our crash course, we’ll cover Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Share posts with friends and fans on Facebook

Oh, Facebook: a network of your past and present, a mix of high school pals and relatives and co-workers. Whatever your view of the social media giant, it’s a rich network of your blog’s supporters, and likely one of your blog’s primary referrers.

When you connect to Facebook in Settings → Sharing, a message will appear, asking you to authorize the connection. Then, Facebook will ask you to allow WordPress.com to post publicly on your behalf. You’ll also be prompted to allow WordPress.com to manage your Facebook pages.

Once you’ve clicked Okay to these actions, you’ll see a message saying you’ve connected. Success! You can then choose if you want to publicize posts to your Facebook Profile or one of your Pages, and also check a box to make the connection available to all users of the blog.

So, what happens now? Before you publish a new post, you’ll have the option to share it on Facebook — just confirm the box is checked next to your Facebook account in the Publicize box at the top right of your Edit Post screen. And yes, as you might be wondering, if you uncheck the box, the post won’t be shared on Facebook.

In fact, you’ll repeat this process for the other services in this list — keep a box checked to share it on the appropriate network, or uncheck it to remove it. For instance, you might not want to share a more personal post with family vacation photos on some accounts, such as LinkedIn. Use these control settings as you see fit.

When your post is shared, the title is the default copy shared on your Facebook wall. So, if you publish a post titled “Notes on a Static Front Page” and share it on Facebook via Publicize, the title (and the post’s shortened URL) will display by default:

A blog post publicized on Facebook using the default copy (post title).

A blog post publicized on Facebook using the default copy (post title).

While this works just fine, we encourage you to personalize it. Speak to your fans in your own voice — it’s your chance to entice them to click the link to read more. Write teaser copy. Pull a quote from your piece. Or give ‘em a bit of backstory, but be concise.

You can personalize the message in your Edit Post screen, again in the Publicize box at the top right:

Also, if you set a Featured Image in your post, this image will accompany your custom message, which gives the post a nice visual look.

Expand your reach on Google+

Many of you have extended your online presence to Google+. Last fall, we added Google+ to our Publicize services; you can share new posts on both Google+ Profiles and Pages. While you probably have many of the same connections across different social networks, these spaces are ultimately different, and you’ll have followers on Google+ that might not be on Facebook. So, consider these distinct readerships and develop your presence on both if you think it’s appropriate.

To start the connection process, you’ll be taken to Google and asked to approve the connection between your blog and your Google+ account. Click Accept.

accept-google

On the next screen, you’ll see a message confirming you’ve successfully connected your Google+ Profile to WordPress.com. If you want to connect to both your Profile and Page (or multiple Pages, for all you social media pros), you can do this, too. When your first connection is confirmed and you’re returned to Settings → Sharing, just click Add New next to Google+ and follow the same steps to add another Profile or Page.

You can also check the box to make the connection available to all users of the blog.

As with Facebook, the custom message you’ve set in the Publicize box will appear on Google+ as well.

Tell the world on Twitter

Twitter is yet another network with its own features and quirks, and you should decide if using it to promote your work is right for you. When you connect to Twitter, you’ll be asked to authorize the connection between your WordPress.com and Twitter accounts:

As with the other processes above, you’ll be able to check the box on the next screen to make the connection available to all users of the blog.

Remember, when crafting your custom messages in the Publicize box, that Twitter is a world of 140-character bursts of information. Consider keeping them brief. When publicizing to Twitter, you can include relevant hashtags in your tweet, too, such as #longreads or a trending hashtag, which allows others following the tag to discover your work.

In tomorrow’s crash course on Publicize, we’ll cover three other social networks to which you can connect.


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Cheri Lucas Rowlands

68 Comments

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  1. colltales

    This feature should be expanded to include emergent (and even presumably short-lived) social networks. It’d be even better if it could be more flexible to be customized so the packaging of the content would be different for each network. Thus, even though they all could share the same post, for instance, they could have different headlines, pics, highlights, etc. Thanks.

  2. gogi6666

    If only that worked well enough! I usually get 1-6 Facebook readers.

    Commenting below posts does not work in 99% of the cases. I suppose most bloggers are obsessed with their own blogs, so they would not bother to check who is behind the comment.

    At least this is what things are with the Bulgarian bloggers and readers. :)

  3. orthodoxmom3

    Exactly what I need! Good info!

  4. OhMelvin

    I have noticed that FB and WP are not communicating perfectly as of late, every blog post on FB shows up with sideways or upside photos from the blog post. Seems wonky. Also, it would be nice to be able to post to two FB pages as some of us have personal pages and blog pages (I do know this can be done manually). Thanks!

  5. ephesus431

    Thanks for this information. Is there a way to publicize to your Facebook fan page rather than to your timeline?

  6. rocomic

    But does this work if you have no friends?

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      If you have 0 connections on these networks, that’s correct — you’d be sharing to no one. If on Twitter, follow accounts that interest you; on Google+, look for people in various circles to follow and engage with. (Building followers and connections on social accounts is its own topic…)

  7. Paul

    I get some interest in both Facebook and Twitter but also a lot from Tumblr too.
    To really cash in on Tumblr, make sure you add really good, simple tags to your posts as they translate to Tumblr and get a lot of viewers. Every WP post is auto-published to my Tumblr and it attracts almost as many followers on there as I do on WP.
    But one thing that I am seeing the most (being a photo blog) is that Pinterest gets more activity for sharing my content than Facebook and Twitter combined. Maybe it might be worth considering adding Pinterest to Publicize? Although it is a picture social network, there is an awful lot of blogs that rely on pictures to tell their story and these pictures are what Pinterest audiences want to share.

  8. SmallHouseBigGarden

    you wrote: While you probably have many of the same connections across different social networks, these spaces are ultimately different, and you’ll have followers on Google+ that might not be on Facebook. So, consider these distinct readerships and develop your presence on both if you think it’s appropriate.

    Almost everyone I know has a huge percentage of the same connections across different social networks; I think it’s very irritating to receive the same announcement of the same post 3-5 times!

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      I agree it can be irritating — I think those who manage their social accounts well are those who have crafted presences carefully on each network and actually don’t share the same information (or at least approach the messaging differently) on each.

  9. Everything's Over

    It’s true, Facebook posts can look a bit strange from time to time, and if you leave the Publicize box empty, you’re stuck with a shortlink next to what you write–super obvious on Tumblr. But the tools get the job done none the less, and if the writing’s good people don’t mind a little wonkyness.

  10. danish92

    I share my blog on Facebook, and my friends read it and many of them like my posts.

  11. E.D.

    facebook is not the best place for blogs. People on FB are used to quick reads, or photo-quotes. There are exceptions but FB in general is a no brainer for most people. People on FB simply tick or thumbs up and move on fast to another post. I have had only limited success with fb. Even the most rewarding photos posted are met with little success. I am not sure of the other share options

  12. Carolyn Sonnek

    Reblogged this on Jetpack for WordPress and commented:

    Great explanation of the Publicize feature found in Jetpack. Also instructions on how to connect Facebook, Google+, and Twitter accounts.

  13. Kayla

    What is your opinion on giveaways to gain readership? (Anyone feel free to answer) thanks.

  14. roughseasinthemed

    Hi Cheri,

    My experience on FB was that people would click on my blog, read and then comment on FB. So then I had two disconnected discussions going on, when I really wanted them all on my blog. Couldn’t find a way around it, so stopped in the end.

    I suspect using social media platforms is about looking for a wider one-off readership, many of my contacts were blog contacts anyway. I just ended up splitting the difference and getting nowhere.

    Plus as I have discussion blogs there is a limit as to the comments I can realistically manage.

    Your point about a different presence on each is a good one, but hey how much time do we all have? Right now, I’m happy with my readers/commernters/followers from WP.

    But a good discussion topic though. Interesting to read other the experiences of others.

    • Mara Eastern

      Exactly! I set up a FB account for the purpose of promoting my WP blog, but instead of readers coming from FB to WP, which is my main platform, they just comment and share my posts on FB. This is rather disappointing, but being just a small blog, I’m grateful for the one or two extra readers that I get via FB.

  15. swanpride

    There is just one problem with this concept:
    1. I don’t have a facebook profile, because I like my anonymity
    2. For the same reason I avoid all google services whenever possible, ESPECIALLY google+. I hate the way google tries to force us to use it.
    3. I picked WordPress over Twitter and Tumblr because there are too many crazies and trolls on both networks. I certainly won’t invite them over to me…I once made the mistake when I was at Livejournal (more a reader of mine made the mistake for me, though with my permission) and basically had to spend a full day moderating posts and trying to avoid a war breaking out.

    So basically nearly all those networks listed are the ones I try to avoid. If I wanted to be connected there, I would post there, but I don’t want to address people who want a quick read, I want to address those who really want thought-out articles. Therefore I prefer to advertise by posting the links to the article in relevant forums and relevant discussions in said forums…doesn’t necessarily guarantee more comments, but at least this way the info ends up with people who are really interested in this sort of thing.

    But thanks for explanation. I have no experience with LinkedIn and Path, so I look forward to learn more about them.

  16. donaisabella

    Facebook is not the best place for sharing blog links. Even for members who have relatively active readers, links often go unnoticed, it is a lot like throwing a newspaper in the doorway of a family that get all their news from TV broadcasts or who do not really care about the formal news, besides entertainment. It is a catchy headline with sensational news or pieces,people are most likely to read that. But, not all our posts are like that. I have been more successful with writing notes on facebook and sharing or linking them with particular readers. The response in such instances has been between 80 to 90 percent. And it is true that our contacts tend to be the same across the networks. Yes new followers can be found on Google and on Pinterest, but there is need for more concerted effort to meet the needs of the readership. Even if you do not get comments, it is important to watch the statistics. I am now a believer that having one or two blogs that catch people’s attention is the beginning of traffic sources that need to be sustained. When I noticed that two particular blogs on a website where I had no followers was attracting thousands, I decided to put in more, now I get hundreds of readers whom I do not know. This week, I even got three comments from one reader who became my first follower. It is an experiment in reality but I’m going all the way with it. LOOK AT THE STATISTICS. Above all, if possible, think outside the box.

  17. @makingkai

    Thanks for sharing! I guess there’s always more room for improvement from my side of the blog!

  18. Lucid Gypsy

    I gave lots of followers but not many readers, any ideas?

  19. glamfacez1

    Never tried it before — will try it and hopefully get readers to my blog. Thanks Cheri.

  20. uppervalleygirl

    I love Publicize, made my life easier. If WordPress were more complicated, I definitely would have fallen off a long time ago.

  21. adriana

    Thanks for the information. I’ve been debating whether or not to use a service where I can time posts per social media outlet since audiences vary on when they are on one versus another. Any possibility of being able to schedule sharing via publicize?

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      That’s not possible at the moment, but it’s a nice idea — thanks for the feedback. In terms of scheduling, while I have all my social accounts connected (my theme requires it if I want to display their icons on my home page), I don’t always check them off when I publish a new post. Sometimes I use Publicize for Facebook, but then schedule a tweet over in Tweetdeck/Buffer.

      I agree that the audiences vary, and staggering the times to share is helpful in some cases — ultimately, it’s good to figure out how these tools can best work for you.

  22. nantubre

    Thanks for the tips! I’m not feeling as intimidated now.

  23. Isaac Yuen

    I wish there was a way to tweak the layout of the Facebook posts that are publicized. Sometimes I want a different image than the feature image :)

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      At the moment, I don’t believe so — if you set a featured image, that’s what accompanies the shared post on Facebook. (If you want more control in the meantime, you can just share a link manually, and can upload a different image when you’re adding a new update/link on Facebook.)

  24. silvertongued

    Good advice. Thanks.

  25. Paul Bowler

    Wow, some great tips. Keep meaning to add some of the features, they would make things so much easier.

  26. pagesofkate

    Very helpful! Thank you… from a semi-new blogger who is not quite sure who she wants to read her blog. (Well, locally anyway!)

  27. E. Alexander

    Well I think social networks are not a promise of success as a blogger, but they help to expand your audience, whether little or much is still worth the try.

  28. askcarolynwarren

    Do you have any tips for getting picked up by The Huffington Post? Do you tweet to them with a link to your blog?

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      Much of the time “getting picked up” is random and all part of the chaotic swirl of virality. But I bet individual bloggers have their own specific tips — check out some of our past “WordPressers in the Press” and “Hot List” posts, which mention bloggers who’ve had recent viral successes or been republished in The Huffington Post. Check out their blogs — some of them do recaps of the experience, or might have other details on their writing and promotion process.

  29. Russian Universe

    Thanks for the very helpful info! It’s also useful that you can share your posts via Publicize on multiple accounts of a given social network.

  30. rangewriter

    These tools are all helpful. But I think first and foremost, to get readers, you must be a reader. To get comments, you must comment. It’s like in the old days of letter writing: to get letters, you had to write letters. You can blog your heart out into the void. People only care when they get to know you and they get to know you through your thoughtful comments on their blogs.

  31. starserendipity

    Very useful for me (as a newbie to blogging) Thanks.

  32. emmadotsophie

    If you link your facebook or google+ accounts, does that mean people can click from your blog to facebook? Or is it a private connection just for publicizing?

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      No — when you connect to, say, Facebook, it means that when you click “publish” in your dashboard to publish a new post, a link to the post will be shared on your Facebook wall. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your blog followers can now visit your Facebook profile. (I’m not sure what your privacy settings are for Facebook, or how you’ve set up G+, though.)

  33. arlene

    I’ve never entertained the thought of full sharing at FB except for some occasional posts that I wanted to share with family and friends. Some don’t really check your blog nor even read them. Besides, FB is a completely different story….

  34. Kim

    Really helpful post, but I’m curious about the statement in Facebook/Google+ sections that says “check a box to make the connection available to all users of the blog.” What exactly does checking this box do? Does that mean blog followers can access my Facebook timeline? Just that post? Or something else?

  35. thefakecheap

    This provided some helpful info!

  36. veronieee

    I’ve been so hesitant to share my blog on other social networking sites as I love the anonymity aspect of it all, but maybe if my blog doesn’t pick up on views, I’ll be willing to soon. So thanks for the helpful advice!

  37. thebritishberliner

    This info has been helpful. I tend to only use WordPress, Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been having some problems recently and I discovered none of my posts for the last fortnight were included, so had to do it manually!

    I’m a very new blogger so we will have to see. My facebook page is my private one and I’m OK with that and some, few but some, different people prefer to use that instead of the wordpress mail. I guess because they can see the blurb much quicker.
    I don’t use Twitter as I don’t really have the need to be absolutely everywhere. I’m able to focus better on the three platforms that I normally use on a daily basis.

  38. ingridmae1112

    Thank you wordpress.com for your daily feed. As a newbie, it has helped me a lot. I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of online tools.

  39. meaganbarrett

    I just started with wordpress.com and this has already helped a lot. Thank you.

  40. hudsonvalleygardens

    Really helpful information and I appreciate all the links, thanks. I have been manually posting my WordPress posts to FB and I have seen an small uptick in views and shares. I am reticent to use Publicize because I have heard about format issues with FB which were mentioned in previous comments. I am going to make sure I don’t have the same people in my networks (FB, Google+ etc) because i know people will find duplicate content irritating. I already have different networks in FB & Google+ but this was by chance & now I can see this needs to be considered carefully. Thanks again – you have got me thinking.

  41. Joyce Ward

    Thank you for this series. I’ve never been the dumbest kid on the block until I met up with these new terms and attempting to apply directions to the forms. You’re saving my sanity. JWard

  42. junglejamjohn

    This a great timesaver, but I do not find SHARING under SETTINGS. Do some themes not have this feature?

    • Cheri Lucas Rowlands

      Hi there — to access the Sharing panel:

      - If you’re in the Reader, click on My Blogs at the top: https://cloudup.com/cQ7VpLBLezw
      - If you have more than one blog, look for the one you’d like to access, and click on the “Sharing” link to access the Sharing panel: https://cloudup.com/cLm81mNFTkp

      Alternatively, you can always add /wp-admin to your blog’s web address to access your full dashboard of settings (ie, yourblogname.wordpress.com/wp-admin).

      You can also click on “Dashboard” to access your full list of Settings, on the left-side menu.

      The second way to access your full dashboard: add /wp-admin to the end of your blog URL.

      For example: yourblogname.wordpress.com/wp-admin

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      Cheri

  43. slimleatherjacket

    Really helpful information and I appreciate all the links. I just started with WordPress.com and this has already helped a lot. Thank you.

  44. fearlessanalyst

    I used this briefly and found I mostly got an increase in spam….. Fortunately my aim is to reach people who might actually be interested in what I care about, not numbers, and not needing an income from it.

  45. Lunesoleil

    just enable this module in our dashboard? Thank you

  46. the Unlocking Key

    Great post! Usually share it to my Twitter page but I don’t always get much viewers from there.

  47. MealAdda

    Been already doing this. Saves a lot of time.

  48. jdschok

    Thanks for the information, its very helpful!! Always Appreciate the information you provide.

  49. johnshomeincome

    Where is the page with the “settings” button on it?
    Regards John

    • Ben Huberman

      Hi John,
      If you hover with your mouse over your blog’s name at the top-left corner of your blog, a menu will drop down. Click on “Dashboard” there. When you’ve reached the dashboard, look at the left sidebar — at the bottom, you’ll find Settings. Hover over it, and you’ll the Sharing option, and click on it — this will take you to the page where you can connect to these social networks via Publicize.

  50. sue3034

    Thanks for the tips — going to try this with my Facebook page.

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