In case some of you may be wondering why I’m writing these posts, I’ve been asked to give a little presentation today on the use of social media and online networking for church planters in SW Florida.  I don’t consider myself an expert, but if there are some ideas that I could pass along that would be helpful to a fellow minister, I’m glad to serve in that way. 🙂

What I want to bring out in this post is the process or flow between your blog, twitter, and Facebook and more specifically their integration.  My setup may be different from others, so consider this as one of perhaps several ways to integrate these mediums.

Step One: Writing

Home base is your blog.  It’s where your most substantive articles are going to be posted, your best ideas (hey, like this blogpost!) are shared, and ultimately develop a solid readership in the process.  Your blog posts should be well written grammatically, easy to read aesthetically (such as paragraph breaks, no crazy font colors, etc.), and capable of being read within five minutes (general rule is 500-1000 words; more than 1200 words need to be broken down into two parts).  You can have great things to say, but if it is not presented well, potential readers will be turned off.  Write well, format well, and present well.

Step Two: Networking

Here’s where Facebook, Twitter, and RSS come in.  If you have a Facebook account, you need to have it synced up with your blog via RSS that a Facebook note is automatically created once you publish your blogpost.  When it comes up on your Facebook stream, it will look something like this:

twitter-blog-feed

You ought also to place your RSS button in a prominent place encouraging people to subscribe to your RSS feed.  The third step is to promote your blogpost on Twitter.  Do this by creating either (1) posting the title of the blogpost or (2) use a teaser or quote that might appeal to people.  Use a shortened URL (I use bit.ly and is.gd most often).  Here’s an example:

blog-update-on-twitter

Step Three: Twitter Integration

Once you have posted your blogpost on Facebook and Twitter, then the next step is to sync Twitter back to both your blog and Facebook page.  When the Twitter application is added and activated to your Facebook page, every Twitter update automatically is synced to our Facebook update (with the exclusion of public replies) and should look something like this:

twitter-on-facebook

The second part of Twitter integration is inserting your Twitter feed on the sidebar of your blog (or if you have a customized template, you can put just one tweet on the header or a variation of the two).  For WordPress users, this is done by simply adding the Twitter widget and inserting your user information.  Here’s what it looks like on my sidebar:

twitter-on-blogSo, the three steps of networking and Twitter integration should look something like this (according to my setup):

twitter-integration

The last part of Twitter integration I would recommend is setting up your desktop and mobile device with Twitter applications. The best desktop Twitter application is clearly Tweetdeck, although there are others (Seismic, Hootsuite, and Tweetie) that are hoping to give it a run.  Here’s a picture of Tweetdeck on my desktop:

For mobile devices, it really depends on your phone.  For iPhone users, the best application I’ve used is Tweetie, but it is not free ($2.99).  Other apps include Twitterific, Twitterfon, and Twitterlator.  If you use a Blackberry, check out Twitterberry.  If you have neither an iPhone or Blackberry, you can still tweet using text messaging.  For photo platforms on Twitter, the two leading options are Twitpic and YFrog (95% of people I know use Twitpic right now).

I hope these last few blogposts have been helpful for those who Twitter. If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to comment below.