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.
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.