This weekend, among other things, I decided to start digging a little deeper into my social media platforms.
I’ve been asking questions, but no one seems to know the answers, so – research it is!
There are only 24 hours in a day, and while I’d like to be as active as I can on social media, I don’t want to spend gobs of time doing it.
When I started blogging with WordPress, I knew there was an option for ‘sharing’ your posts on various platforms.
(It’s under Settings>Sharing, if you’re interested.)
As I am on WordPress.com (the free WordPress) and not WordPress.org (their CMS for self-hosted websites), I often don’t have as many options as I might otherwise.
In this instance, my options for sharing are limited.
I can set up my blog to automatically send my posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
I don’t have a Facebook or a LinkedIn account, so those are not options.
I do have Google+ and Twitter accounts, so I set those up.
It’s been working okay.
I’ve been paying a bit more attention to Twitter and I decided that I needed to look into how to attach photos to my tweets.
My posts always have some sort of image – it might be a LOTD pic or just an image I think is relevant to my post topic.
And since everything you read says people pay more attention when an image is included, I wanted to include them in my tweets.
Easy enough, since I see pics all over my Twitter feed and Twitter gives you the option to add a pic when tweeting.
I couldn’t find anything under the sharing options that would enable me to tell WP to add a pic to my tweets.
So, I did a bit of digging online.
In order to include pics in your automatic tweets, you have to have ‘Twitter Cards’ enabled.
More research – what is a Twitter Card and how do I get/enable one?
Twitter Cards enable you to include photos in your tweets.
There are seven different types of Twitter Cards.
For my purposes, the only ones I needed to be concerned with were the Summary Card and the Summary Card with Large Image.
The Summary Card basically adds your pic to your tweets.
So then you have to go to the card validator, enter a post URL (as far as I can tell, it doesn’t matter which one), and wait for it to ‘validate’ your blog.
Then, you’re all set!
Their example page shows what your tweet should look like with the card.
It Worked – Almost
After validating my Twitter Card, I waited to see what would happen when my tweets posted (tweeted?).
My tweets didn’t look any different.
Instead of looking like the example card, it looked like this:
This is what my automatic tweets all looked like before I set up the Twitter Cards.
Did I do something wrong?
If you clicked on the tweet to see the details, it actually looked like this:
There’s my picture, along with an excerpt from the post.
Just click on the link, go straight to my blog, and read.
Easy peasy, right?
Except that hardly anyone clicks on a tweet to see the details.
What they see on their Twitter feed is the first image.
Which defeats the purpose of having the Twitter Card so that it includes the image in the tweet.
More research – how can I make the auto tweet look like this, instead of as it does above?
The short answer is – you can’t.
Not using the automatic sharing built-in to WordPress, anyway.
I thought the answer would be that I needed to change my Twitter Card type from Summary Card to Summary Card with Large Image.
That way, my tweet would show a large image on the tweet, rather than just a small square as above.
However, I can’t.
For whatever reason (which involves computer know-how that is above my pay grade), the WordPress automatic sharing only uses the Summary Card.
It also does not use the expanded version, so the whole process of setting up the Twitter Cards ended up being kind of pointless for me.
What someone else recommended (unless/until the WP automatic sharing changes), is using a third-party app like Buffer.
I already had TweetDeck, so I decided to try that.
TweetDeck lets you use your Twitter account to sign in, and you can schedule your tweets.
I know there are other options, like HootSuite, but I used TweetDeck since I already had it.
I scheduled my post to tweet again several hours later.
When I checked my feed – voilá!
This is what I saw:
That’s what I wanted it to look like.
My post title, a large pic from my post, and a link to my post.
(I was going to share the pic of my other scheduled tweet, but I was so focused on including the pic that I forgot to include my blog link – doh!)
For now, I will be using TweetDeck to schedule my tweets. 🙂
I am going to let WP continue the automatic sharing, because the Twitter Cards offer you the ability to look at some analytics.
After a few weeks, I’ll check the analytics and see if there is a difference in stats between the automatic tweets and the ones I schedule with TweetDeck.
I chose to delve into Twitter first, because it seemed like the simplest platform.
That said, it still took a bit of digging to find what I needed to know.
I plan to do the same thing with the other platforms I’m using, but it may take a while, if this exercise was any indication. 😛