Facebook and Twitter are passing me by. It's no longer enough to know how to rank very well in Google, by providing good material that people want to read and that is easily indexed by Google. Now, we're told, Google is passé. Small businesses must switch to using Facebook and Twitter to reach their audiences. But how?
I think the people who urge Facebook and Twitter use may be right, too. This is the first year my income from the site, such as it is, has held steady, after previously going up every year by a good percentage. This January's site traffic was no higher than January of 2010. So much for my dreams that the site would someday support me....
So, please enlighten me. How does "like" work? Do other people know whenever a friend of theirs "likes" something? Do they care?
I'm not going to be issuing free offers and come-ons though Facebook. Coupons, contests, and quizzes don't fit. (Previously
.) All I have is free information; income comes through non-annoying ads and relevant affiliate links, plus the occasional very kind donation. Business-type promotion doesn't make sense for me. I just want to be able to reach everyone who is interested in reading my site.
Are "share this" widgets the best way to go? (Previously
.) Is it better to use "Like this" or "Share this" or "Recommend this"? The widgets don't work in my blog software or my drupal forum, so I got Facebook to generate one for each of those two, but it's just one in the margin. Do I need to generate a new one that is specific for every entry in the blog or forum?
I made a business-type page in Facebook that correponds to the website. That's what the blog and forum "like" buttons currently lead to. My posts on its wall mention and link to new blog entries or interesting discussions going on in the forum. People "following" the business-type Facebook page or Twitter feed get updates that way. I guess it helps to make up for the fact that I've never succeeeded in getting the forum to mail out notices whenever someone's comment gets a follow-up. Only about 30 followers so far, one way or another, but it's only been a couple of weeks. New twitter followers appear each day from among my regular readers.
I think I understand Facebook a little, but I totally don't get Twitter. That's where I really need help. What are those hash-mark tags people put on their twitter posts? Do I need to use those so more people who are interested in the subject of the tweets will see them? How does this work? Is it a mistake to make Twitter posts only by having the Facebook page wall updates generate them automatically? That's all I'm doing now. I don't understand the point of Twitter at all. I don't get what the point is or why people would want to be interrupted by tweets to their cell phones. I don't know how people use Twitter. I must be getting old.
There are thousands of static pages on my site. I like that better than having everything generated by a database on the fly, because it doesn't ever break (I hate those mornings when nothing on the forum is accessible to anyone until I tweak some database table in some mysterious way), but that implies a lot of hand-pasting. I guess each page could use a minor update anyway. Should I put the "like" widget into every one? Each use of the widget requires something added into the header as well as in the body of the text, unlike the single-page Facebook-generated like buttons, so I can't just add it to a server-side include in the body of the text.
It might help if I made use of Facebook in my own life. I don't even like Facebook, and I'm baffled by the popularity of Twitter. I constantly see advertisements in which the company exhorts listeners to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Why would anyone want to? Don't we all get bombarded by too many ads every day as it is? Related question, is it a mistake to "share" everything interesting that happens on my Facebook business page to my Facebook home page? Is that annoying? I don't post about my personal life or political views, only a brief note about what I've been writing about. What more should I be doing?
Please tell me what I need to do to take advantage of Facebook and Twitter, or anything else along those lines that I don't know about yet, so that my website doesn't slide into obscurity. The website's done well from the start because I knew how to make it work for Google users (the odometer says seven million visits so far). That's no longer good enough. What do I need to do now?