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The Right Way to Publish Your Blog to Facebook

by Clint Watson on 4/29/2011 2:32:37 PM

This article is by Clint Watson,  former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.


Many artists seem to want to connect their blogs to Facebook.


At FASO, we see quite a few support requests regarding this issue, some people try to use their blog's full RSS feed, other people try to set up an import through various third party services.  It appears the ability to pull blog posts into Facebook is something people want, so we've created a special blog feed, formatted just for Facebook, so you can do it the right way.


First of all, why not just use your blog's full RSS feed?


That is, of course, an option but I don't recommend it for a few reasons.  



Don't Publish Your Full Blog Feed To Facebook


Facebook can choke on full feeds:  

First, Facebook seems to choke easily on full feeds.  Artists occassionally open a ticket with us saying that Facebook didn't "like" (pun intended) their blog's feed.  So we run the FASO generated feed through a W3 validator (which validates that the feed is formatted according to web standards) only to find out that it actually IS valid.  Pulling. Hair. Out. Now.


Facebook changes the formatting:  

Another reason I don't recommend that you use your full blog feed is that Facebook changes the content from a blog feed.  That's right:  they strip out formatting, they strip out links, they don't show all the images.  I don't spend time formatting my blog just the way I like it, just to have Facebook change it all.  I suspect you don't either.


Facebook "takes" your copyright:  

Another, more important, reason not to use a full-content feed is this:  Facebook's terms of service read:  "You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). "  


I don't know about you, but I work hard on my blog posts and I'm not giving Facebook a "transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license" to use my writing.  I realize they are unlikely to use that license outside of the Facebook ecosystem, but, however unlikely, they do have the right based on those terms.  And Zuckerberg has shown himself to be willing to change the rules of the game.  Consider this:  Facebook changed all the privacy promises they were built upon and, to this day, seem to be embroiled in several lawsuits stemming from disputes dating back to their early days.



Facebook "keeps" your traffic:  

 The final, most important reason not to use your full-content feed is this:  You and I should not be working so hard only build traffic for Facebook (so they can sell Facebook ads).  I am working hard to share my thoughts with my audience...but I want to do it on my site, presented the way I want it presented, and shared in a way that brings people to my website.  


As an artist, you are, presumably, using all these services such as Facebook to build your customer list, and to show and market your art.


Don't hand that over to Facebook!  Bring people to your site - that's why you set it up your blog to begin with!



The Right Way to Publish a Blog to Facebook


So what is the right way to publish a blog to Facebook?


1.  Publish a partial rss feed.


2.  The partial feed should allow you to pick the image you want Facebook to import (because it will show in your friends' newsfeeds)


3.  The partial feed should be formatted as plain text (Facebook will strip formatting anyway)


4.  The partial feed should have a link embedded in the feed back to the original blog post on your site.

I would suggest making the link say something like "Read More" so that interested parties understand what they're supposed to do.  (This is important because Facebook tends to subdue outbound links because they want to keep people on their site).


5.  The partial feed should have a link or url at the very beginning of each post.

Otherwise, Facebook will strip out the link on the Newsfeed post.


When you do it as I outlined in steps 1-5 above, your blog post will look very similar to a regular Facebook wall post, down to the photo. 


Here's an example from my own wall, published automatically from this very blog:



When you publish it this way, anyone who is interested in what you are saying can click your URL or "read more" link which will, importantly, take them to your website or blog.


As we've said for years your website or blog is your hub, Facebook is a spoke - don't get that backwards.




Clint Watson

Software Craftsman And Art Fanatic


PS - If you're a FASO customer,  we've created a special tool for you to easily and automatically publish your blog to Facebook as I've outlined in this article:  Click here for instructions on publishing your FASO blog to Facebook.


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Related Posts:

Facebook Like Button Count Inaccuracies

Thoughts On Facebook

Artist Websites: The Pillar of Your Social Networking and Online Art Marketing Efforts

Mobile Artist Websites: Are You Ready for the Coming Growth Explosion?

Topics: art marketing | Clint Watson | Facebook | FASO 

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Marsha Hamby Savage
Thank you, this is much appreciated. I had no idea, and had not read all the fine print about their use of what we put on Facebook. This is an eye opener!

Nithya Swaminathan
Thank you for this informative post, Clint.
One other thing that I find annoying about facebook is that all posts from an application are grouped and collapsed together. So when there are so many art blogs that I follow through NetworkedBlogs for instance, I see only one or two on my news feed and then if I am attentive enough to click on "5 more updates from NetworkedBlogs", I see the rest. Else they are lost in all the traffic.

And yes, with their ever changing privacy terms and conditions, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Excellent advice, thanks Clint

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
I have this set up on my "artist page" on facebook.
People that see it do click on the photo just because it's too tiny to really see it well, so from that standpoint, it works. But it seems that less people see my "artist page" than see my regular facebook page. I am considering getting rid of it. It also seems that the "artist page" is set up so that if you want more traffic, you can PAY to get it. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
To cite an example, I usually just let the paintings show up on the artist page and get maybe one comment. The other day I posted a painting on my regular facebook page, and got dozens of comments from people all over the world. That was astonishing..

Rosemarie Adcock
Thanks Clint! Now that you mention that FB has so many rights to whatever we post, does that include images of paintings as well? Artist copyright gets tossed out the window? Say it ain't so. That would certainly be a disaster as I have an artist FB page and often post photos there, especially as I am working on paintings (in progress) So I should only be posting links?

roslyn hancock
Mimi's experience is interesting.
I would love more comments from others about running their FB. I feel that either . . .
1. it is a place where family and friends go, or,
2. if you open it to all visitors [which is the goal, if you are using FB as a spoke to your website hub] it becomes a place where friends realize that you are using it as a place to trumpet your site, and so they no longer feel that talking to you is personal anymore.


Clint Watson
Rosemarie - Facebook terms give them a pretty complete license to ANYTHING you post. I wrote about this in 2009 (and was sort of ridiculed for worrying about it at all).

It's even worse now, because of the "Like" button. If someone "likes" a page with one of your images, then the image is posted to Facebook. Do they have rights to it at that point? They certainly seem to think so.

I don't *think* they will do anything infringing with those rights but I guess they could. The bigger point is that I want the traffic and interaction and comments to happen on my own site. It drives me crazy when I take the time to write a thoughtful post, post a link on Facebook and then people COMMENT on it ON FACEBOOK. Now I'll never have those comments again after the scroll of my wall!

In all fairness to Facebook though, BTW, they DO need a license to cover themselves simply to reproduce the content for the purposes simply of showing the content on Facebook. So I don't *think* they intend anything nefarious with it (although they do run ads next to it and their wording is a bit stronger than I think it has to be). In fact, We actually have a similar phrase in our terms for our art competition. We clarify a bit more than they do that our license is only for purposes of showing the images on the contest site itself, but there are legitimate reasons for a site to need a license to show copyrighted material.

Still my position is only to give them small excerpts on my content....then that's ALL they have any rights to. If I were an artist, I would only post low-res images to Facebook.

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
Exactly. That's why I started an artist page to begin with,. well, the opposite was true in my case. I am a bit political in my opinions and didn't want to offend possible customers, so I made the artist page separate from my page where I rant and carry on. I ended up offending someone anyway who found me through my artist page and then friended me. The last thing she said to me was "Stick to painting, I don't appreciate your political opinions" well, of course like most painters, there is a lot more to me than just painting, I have a private life too; so I thought that would keep them separate. I'm not sure it really does.

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
facebook reduces all photos to low res anyway, don't they?

Clint Watson
Mimi - they store large photos (I think up to 2048 pixels wide) if you upload them, I think they only take low res if they scrape it off another site.

Nithya Swaminathan
Mimi, facebook does let you allow hi-res images, when you upload itself.

Angela Baumgartner
I am so glad you have these articles written! They are very timely and answer some of the questions I have been wanting to know in just the right language. You made it easy to understand. Now I am eager to take the time to read the additional articles on Facebook and see how else to use this social media to my advantage and now NOT to waste my time and energy or resources. Thanks, as always!

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
oh yeah, right. i would never upload a high res of a painting... thanks guys

Carolyn Henderson
Great article Clint.

Now, I need clarification into Polish English to make sure that I'm doing this right.

When I post a link on Facebook to a blog that I've written, I hit "Link," then copy in the link address to my blog site. What shows up on Facebook looks like your example.

Am I doing everything I am NOT supposed to? Or am I on the right track?

What do you mean by a "partial feed" as opposed to a full blog post - surely, one cannot post a full blog on the Facebook site itself?

As I ask this, I remind myself of my mother, who never could understand the humor of any comic strip, and by the time we explained the punchline, all nuances were lost.

Rosemarie Adcock

I do have my own personal FB page which is limited to friends, and there are also 3 "Pages" one my fine art page, one for our charitable organization, and one for the gallery arm of the charitable organization. I do think people recognize the difference, and my posts on each are totally different in content and the nature of things I write about.

Clint Watson
Carolyn, the way you're posting to Facebook is fine - you're just manually doing what I automated a bit.

A blog has a feed called an RSS feed. Rss feeds allow users to subscribe to blogs and read them without having to manually visit each blog each day. You can publish a FULL RSS feed (they entire contents of each blog post) or a PARTIAL RSS feed (just an excerpt of each blog post).

Normally, I advocate using full feeds, it's a pain in the butt to be using a feed reader and then have to manually click through to the blog anyway - especially when on a mobile device. So FASO, by default uses FULL feeds.

Facebook offers a way to IMPORT RSS feeds to Facebook. That's what this post is about. What I'm saying, when it comes to Facebook use a PARTIAL feed, not a full feed. That way Facebook only gets a tiny bit of your content and readers must come to YOUR site to read and comment.

So what we did at FASO was make a SPECIAL partial feed just for Facebook use - it's partial but also reformats things to be "facebook friendly"

Hope that helps clarify.

Carol Schmauder
Thank you for your valuable insight, Keith. I need to change the way I have been posting my blog to FB.

roslyn hancock
Thanks for your comments Mimi and Rosemary.
Your experience, Mimi, is amusing, and exactly what I am talking about!
Rosemary, you have solved my quandary.
So, you have made your settings allow only certain friends and family to one part, and have a separate page, for people you dont know, to go to the art page.

So how do you attract unknown people to your FB?


Bonnie Samuel
Thank you, Clint. This is really helpful as I've wanted all comments to go to my website instead of wasting away on FB. And more and more, I find it a good idea to be cautious when posting on FB anyway and check security settings often!

I assume the settings you suggest apply to "Networked Blogs" as well (which I use, but have never figured out ...).
While FB is a good addition to social media marketing, I find Twitter and Linkedin to bring more "real" traffic.

I love it when you post, Clint! Always learn a better way of doing things...

Bonnie Samuel
Opps, I just tried your instructions on my "Fan Page" -when I clicked on the title on profile page, then landed on "notes" with full text....not going to my FASO page. ???? I also have a personal page--should I set this up there? Thanks

Rosemarie Adcock
Ros,As I mentioned I have the regular FB like most of us.Friends have access. You can set up "pages" along the bar on the left of your regular FB, and these I have as public access. Fans come to the pages and I don't all of them, so I'm not sure.

Rosemarie Adcock
Ros, sorry, typo, I meant to say I don't know all of the fans personally

Jo Allebach
Wow! all this is scary stuff. Thanks for letting the information out.

Mary Aslin
I'm sorry to be so dense on this but I need to get this right.

When I post a blog from FASO, I hit the "share" button and then, scrolling through the huge list of possibilities, find the facebook logo, click on it, and voila, I'm directed to facebook, with a small exerpt of my blog post, one thumbnail (and I can choose which one), and the space for my own comment which is a lead-in to the blog post. Clicking on that link brings people directly to my website, which is what I want. Seems to work well. Is this not the best way to do this?

Julie Janzen

Thank for your article, The Right Way to Publish Your Blog to Facebook.

Just recently, I was trying to post my web page on Facebook and it would disappear. Your article was very informative and explained a lot.

Julie Janzen

Brian Sherwin
Clint-- Facebook can be a pain overall. For example, I just upgraded my Art Bloggers group as Facebook suggested. All FB groups will be automatically upgraded soon. Once again it is an example of how Facebook drops the ball on how members want to use Facebook.

Anyway, the ability to send group messages is no longer available. I can understand why they did that because many people abuse it. However, for people like me who only send a group message a few times a year it is a breakdown of one manner of communicating.

Furthermore, FB had the bright idea of making it so that all group members receive notifications every time someone posts on the group-- which resulted in a few people blaming me for spamming. That is due to the fact that FB does not make it clear that each member has to change his or her settings for each individual group or all groups. Again, this is Facebook assuming that all members want a specific setting by default.

Since the practical death of Myspace, if you will, it really does appear that Facebook is starting to 1.) make it harder for people to stay connected. 2.) strictly control-- or perhaps contain is a better way to put it-- how content is distributed. They have every right to do that-- but it does cause confusion.

I highly suspect that some of the powerful features that have been removed, like group messaging, will eventually be offered at a cost. There have been rumors about Premium accounts for years... it makes me wonder just how useful Facebook will be in the future if they continue to dismantle the basis of why the site was founded in the first place.

Clint Watson
I actually agree with you, personally, and I do think Facebook has taken many features in the wrong direction. They've botched groups from the get go, they never should have allowed people to be added to groups by someone else.

But here's the bottom line - Zuckerberg has been willing to do anything, even outright spamming to keep the viral loop that Forces people into Facebook working, it's it's worked for him. THere eventually will be a Facebook backlash (there already is, big time, in the geek community many of whom were Facebook early adopters who now feel betrayed by Facebook's flip from private to public - a lot of them shared private college info on FAcebook to have that stuff later made public....let's just say.....I'm glad my college experiences aren't on Facebook :-) Many geeks have abandoned Facebook.

Facebook is becoming more of a platform as it grows and maybe someone will build a better groups feature on top of that Platform.

I think the next evolution in Social networking is going to be hard core into niches and smaller groups, my Facebook profile is a mess of artists, friends, family and tech geeks - I really don't want that stuff overlapping. Maybe we can pioneer a killer social network that is all art all the time and nothing else......I do have a take on that in mind :-)

Bonnie Samuel
I've noticed a drift lately on FB and your point about niches and speciality groups is right on, Clint. I have both a personal and fan page and try to keep my fan page to art topic. My personal page has a mix of "friends" - ie family, artists in different mediums, politicos, friends not connected to any of the above.

But now, when you say social network site for ONLY art--then wouldn't you have to segment that too in mediums, shows, techniques, resources, classes, history of , etc? And many of those overlap....however, it is a great idea, most particularly as "art" is under attack as unnecessary expenditures by state and federal legislators. Well, there's a whole other section.

Brian Sherwin
Agreed. The irony being that I can recall social media bloggers stating that Facebook marked the death of the niche networking sites. Ha!

As I recall you could not add people to groups originally-- you could only suggest the group to people on your friend list. I don't know why they decided to make it so that you could add them without permission because all it does is annoy people.

Clint Watson
Wow, I said Zuckerberg would do anything, I didn't realize how right I was - Facebook has been caught paying PR Firms and Bloggers to publicly smear Google:


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