Combine and Automate Your Social Networks
Save Time by Integrating and Automating Your Social Networks
Guest Post By Dana Lynn Smith
Social networking is a powerful tool for promoting books and authors, but it can be time consuming. There are a number of free time-saving tools and applications that can help you integrate and automate your networks and status updates. We'll explore several of these below.
Automatically Flow Your Tweets to Facebook
One easy way to automatically flow your tweets to your Facebook profile or pages is to use the Twitter application on Facebook. When you install this application on your Facebook accounts, it automatically posts all tweets except @replies (messages that begin with someone's Twitter user name) to Facebook's Status Update. You can connect the application to your personal profile and to multiple fan pages.
The downside of this app is that if you tweet frequently, your Facebook friends or fans may get tired of seeing so many messages. The tolerance for a high volume of messages seems to be lower on Facebook than on Twitter.
Another option is the Selective Tweets application. Install this application on your Facebook profile or pages and then add the hastag #fb at the end of any tweet that you want to appear on Facebook.
Here's the really cool thing: when you use this application, it creates a link on your Facebook status update that allows people to follow you on Twitter.
Another nice feature is that Selective Twitter works with both profiles and fan pages on Facebook. The disadvantage is that you have to remember to add the #fb to your tweets and it takes up three of your precious 140 characters.
Automatically Flow Your Tweets to LinkedIn
Because LinkedIn is a professional network, it may not be appropriate for all of your tweets to appear there. With this process, you can selectively decide which tweets go to LinkedIn. Even if you don't want your tweets to flow to LinkedIn, you can create a clickable link to your Twitter account from your LinkedIn profile.
It's easy and just takes a few moments to set up. First, you'll need to sync your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. From the Edit Profile screen on LinkedIn, check the Twitter box and then specify the Twitter account that you’d like to sync and/or display on your LinkedIn profile.
As part of the setup process, you can choose whether to send all of your tweets or just selected tweets from Twitter back to LinkedIn as a status update. If you choose to be selective (which I recommend), just include the hashtag #in at the end of any tweets that you wish to appear on LinkedIn.
See this page for a more detailed explanation of the set up process, and read this article for more tips on how authors can use LinkedIn.
Manage Multiple Social Networks and Automate Tasks
Another way to integrate your social networks is to do your posting from a third party tool that allows you to post to multiple networks and automate key tasks. Some of these tools let you schedule your posts in advance, which can be a real time saver. You can schedule a whole day's worth of posts on all your networks and even set up posts to be sent when you're on vacation.
TweetDeck is a popular free downloadable program that works on Windows, Linux, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. It allows you to update multiple Twitter accounts, plus Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and Foursquare. With TweetDeck, you can sort your followers into groups, schedule posts to appear at specific times in the future, create and manage Twitter lists, and more.
My favorite tool is HootSuite, a free web-based service that lets me manage posts on my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, as well as multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages. HootSuite also works with MySpace and several other networks.
To use HootSuite, first you sync to all of the social network accounts that you want to integrate. As part of that process, you'll be giving each of the networks permission to link up with your HootSuite account. Once your accounts are linked, you can view incoming posts on all of your networks, along with your outgoing posts, both pending and already posted. For your Twitter accounts, you can set up columns to view posts from Twitter lists or based on search criteria that you enter.
You can use the Shrink button to create short links, click the calendar icon to schedule posts in the future, and use the icons to the right to select which network(s) to post this message to.
Lots of people follow me on more than one network, so I don't like to send the same message to all my networks and pages simultaneously. When I post a message, I usually schedule it to go to different networks on different days. Before sending the first post, I copy the text of the message to my clipboard (Ctrl-C on Windows). Then I paste (Ctrl-V) the message into the message box again and send select a different network and date.
HootSuite has lots more features – learn more on this page. Use the Quick Start Guide to get up and running fast on HootSuite.
The downside that I see to HootSuite is that it can't integrate my Facebook group or do automatic follows or welcome messages on Twitter.
SocialOomph.com (formerly called TweetLater) is a popular tool for pre-scheduling tweets on Twitter. Other features in the free version allow you to automatically send a direct message to new Twitter followers, automatically follow everyone who follows you, and more. The paid version of SocialOomph allows users to post to Facebook, integrate with a blog, schedule @replies and direct messages in advance, and more. Personally, I prefer the management and scheduling tools on HootSuite, but you could use SocialOomph to do automatic follows and direct messages.
Future Tweets is another free service that lets you schedule tweets in advance. This may be a good choice if you just want a scheduling service without other bells and whistles.
Ping.fm may be a good choice if you want to coordinate posts to wide range of networks, but it doesn't offer as many features as some other services. However, Ping can be integrated with HootSuite for added functionality.
You may need to experiment with several social networking tools before you decide which one best meets your needs, but you're sure to boost your productivity by using tools like these.
Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at BookMarketingNewsletter (.com)
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