*UPDATE – TWEETDECK TO FACEBOOK SUPPORT ENDS 5/7/13*
Summary: Today we take a comprehensive look at the various ways you can link together your business/organization Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. We’ll discuss the following ways to connect and post to your accounts and pages from each of these social media platforms:
- Autoposting Tweets to Facebook pages
- Autoposting Facebook page posts as Tweets on Twitter
- Posting to individual or multiple Twitter accounts and/or Facebook pages all from a single login using TweetDeck – Scroll for instructions if that’s what you’re here for!
Having seen the boss’s tweets on his Facebook page on numerous occasions, I knew something was up when he came to me the other day to ask how to accomplish exactly that – having his tweets post to FB. What was the catch? Well, there were two – 1. Posting to a FB “page”, rather than a personal profile, 2. the ability to post to multiple pages he admins on Facebook, from corresponding Twitter accounts. Essentially what happened was when he set out to link the Burlington Santa Night Twitter account to the Burlington Santa Night Facebook page (which he personally admins) he got smacked with an error stating that his account was already linked to a Twitter account. As you might know, you have to have a personal account to manage a “page” (or you did until recently, but that’s another post for another day), so the FB account Andrew was trying to link to was the one he’d already linked his personal Twitter account to. Unfortunately that’s the necessary first step for linking to specific pages that a FB user admins. And with that, the gauntlet had been thrown down… My challenge? Figure out how we could post to specific Twitter and Facebook pages for various brands without having to constantly manually log in/out of a growing number of accounts.
With all of the various apps and third party services out there, surely this wasn’t such a lofty goal, right? Well, we’ll get back to that… But let’s briefly touch on the normal Twitter to Facebook account link-up for those of you who aren’t concerned with managing multiple accounts, and then we’ll segway into the roadblock Andrew initially hit and the solutions.
Twitter to Facebook Autoposting for the Average User
So I logged into a Twitter account of a brand who’s Facebook page I also admin and went to the profile editing page, where the Facebook linking magic usually happens. If you’re following along in your account, scroll to the bottom of the profile editing page and you’ll see the “Connect to Facebook” option:
Click that and you’ll be presented with a pretty standard Facebook login pop-up that just asks for your login credentials. Once you enter them, you’re taken to the app login screen:
Click the “Log in with Facebook” button and you’ll be shown a screen describing what permissions this app would like. Your options are to “Allow” or “Skip” and you’ll obviously want to select “Allow” because “Skipping” this step would would defeat the entire purpose of this whole exercise:
After clicking “Allow” you’ll be taken back to your Twitter profile editing page which should then look something like this:
As you can see the default setting is to post to your personal Facebook profile. But what if you want to post to a business or organization page that you admin? You just need to click on the “Allow” blue text link just below the two check boxes (and of course uncheck the “post to my Facebook profile” option, if you don’t want tweets also posting to your personal page). When you click “Allow”, you’ll be shown a pop-up that lists pages you admin. This is similar to the last step where you gave permission to connect to your FB profile, but this time you’re specifically giving permission for the app to post to your pages:
After you’ve clicked “Allow” this time, you’re once again returned to your Twitter profile editing page, only now there’s a new check box labeled “post to my Facebook page:” and a drop-down list that contains the names of all of the pages you admin. You can’t manually check the new box, but instead you have to select a page and then the box is checked:
It’s important to note that you can only select one Facebook page here, which is actually different than the original issue I mentioned earlier – linking multiple twitter accounts to multiple FB pages managed by a common admin. Getting back to that original point, here’s what happens when you attempt to link up an additional Twitter account to your Facebook account:
At any rate, the steps above should be all you need to connect your Twitter account to your Facebook account so that your tweets can be autoposted to your personal FB profile and optionally, up to one of the pages you admin. (I found Twitter’s own instructions after the fact here). This should be sufficient for most individuals and even individuals who own or run just a single company, organization or brand. But what about the rest of us?
Facebook to Twitter Autoposting – Tweeting FB Updates
So, after confirming the issues Andrew ran into for myself, I had to start researching other options, including reversing the process – having Facebook page updates autopost to Twitter accounts. Keep in mind that Tweets, which are limited to 140 characters, obviously aren’t always ideal for posting to Facebook in the first place. At least not all of them. At the same time, longer Facebook posts don’t always work well as Tweets. Longer posts are simply cut off and then there’s a link back to the original FB post. Still, setting up autoposting from individual Facebook pages to individual Twitter accounts is at least doable, relatively easy to set up and at least offers a solution for those who are trying to reduce time spent managing social media accounts for multiple brands.
To set up Facebook page autoposting to Twitter, first navigate to one of the Facebook pages you admin and click “Edit Page” and select “Update Info” from the drop-down, as you normally would when editing your page’s settings. This will load your “Basic Information”. Next you’ll want to choose “Resources” from the side navigation and then your options should look something like this:
Here you want to click “Link your Page to Twitter” which will take you to a list of all of the pages you admin and a corresponding “Link to Twitter” button next to each:
Now you’ll obviously want to click the “Link to Twitter” button next to the page you’re trying to link, which we take you to a page on Twitter.com to authorize the account linking by logging in with your Twitter credentials – more specifically, the login credentials for the Twitter account you’re trying to autopost to from specific a Facebook page:
Once you’ve authorized you’ll be returned to the account linking page, only now you’ll have settings you can adjust under the page you just linked to Twitter. This section is pretty self explanatory and basically allows you to dictate specifically which types of Facebook posts you would like to have automatically sent to Twitter:
And that’s all there is to it. Now you can have updates for any of your Facebook pages post automatically to an associated Twitter page. This process really only takes about 1-2 minutes, but I’ve obviously slowed it down and included screenshots for this walk-through.
How NOT to Link Facebook & Twitter – Broken App
Before we move on to other more efficient methods for managing multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, I want to briefly highlight another hiccup I ran into while preparing to write this post. Before tinkering around with the account linking process we just discussed, I remembered an older method from the past that no longer seems to work. Mind you, Facebook still has the URL live but redirecting to a mobile Twitter URL that seems completely broken. Allow me to explain…
Remembering that there was a Facebook /Twitter app I’d used in the past I just Googled to find some basic info about it as a refresher. I quickly found quite a blog few posts, like this one and this one from Mashable. The problem is these two posts, among others, link to a URL that redirects and then throws an error at me. The URL, apps.facebook.com/twitter/, redirects to https://mobile.twitter.com/users, which right off the bat looks odd (why the “mobile” subdomain?), but even if there was some reason for this, here’s what the page looks like:
(Note: You’ll only see this if you’re using Firefox. Chrome doesn’t redirect but just shows a big blank Facebook page and IE throws an error about how Facebook can’t frame in the other page and gives you a link, which when clicked brings you to essentially the same error)
Don’t panic! The message is completely bogus and you’ll get it whether logged in or not. But it’s not just a matter of outdated blog posts linking to old URLs that no longer exist or redirect incorrectly. Yes, that’s definitely happening, but they aren’t the only culprits here. Who are? Well, obviously Facebook and/or Twitter. Facebook had to have set up this redirect, right? Of course there’s a strong possibility that Twitter was aware and working with FB on this and then never mentioned that they took down the page? If I were to guess, based on history, I’d probably say this is mostly if not all Facebook’s fault, but someone should have caught this and set up proper redirects by now. And regardless of who dropped the ball, the point is it’s a big fat mess. And lest you think it’s just a couple of random blogs from 2009 and 2011 that are linking to old URLs, have a look at this:
What’s that, you ask? It’s the same broken URL but as it currently appears for a wide variety of searches in Google search results, most notably the search “twitter facebook app“. I suppose I can let Google slide for keeping the URL in it’s index because it’s not technically broken. Also, I’m terrified of Google – they basically own and control everything, whether you realize it yet or not!
Getting back to the more serious point though, this “app” clearly no longer works, at least not through that URL so FB and/or Twitter need to straighten this mess out. Who wants to bet nothing will be fixed if we check back after the first of the year?
But enough with the problems – how about some solutions for managing multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages?
Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts & Facebook Pages with TweetDeck
When I initially launched my investigation into the best solution for posting from Twitter to Facebook, I first went to our primary Twitter account using TweetDeck (as I usually do) to enlist the help of our Tweeps (that’s right, I said it – Tweeps!). At the time I was still in the mindset of posting from a single Twitter account to a single Facebook page and tired of all of the errors described throughout this post. The first reply I got came from ChristalCollette/@cc636 of ChristalCollette.com:
— ChrisTAL (@cc636) December 7, 2012
It wasn’t clear to me why she recommended an app that she doesn’t use, so I wasn’t in a huge hurry to set up a new account on a service I’d just barely become aware of. I was also still playing with the Facebook to Twitter link-up I explained earlier in this post, which again I was able to make work, so I shelved BufferApp as an option while I tinkered and unfortunately I’ve not been back. I’ve skimmed over the site and nothing is jumping out at me as unique about what they offer, but I’d be happy to hear what I’m missing if someone from BufferApp stops by and wants to comment below and explain the benefits. But for now, we must move on…
As I said, I got the Facebook to Twitter connection working (from individual pages to individual Twitter accounts) shortly after tweeting for help, but this still didn’t seem like the most efficient way to manage multiple accounts. Sure, you only have to log in once, but you still have to go to each individual FB page, update and then your post will automatically be tweeted on the associated Twitter account. But what if you didn’t want to Tweet any given individual FB post? Or what if you wanted to post the same message to multiple FB and Twitter pages at once? Then you’re back to doing things like manually copying and pasting updates and logging into individual Twitter accounts to delete Tweets.
To my surprise, after some exploring in TweetDeck I actually discovered that it has multi-account functionality built right in. In fact you can add an unlimited number of Twitter accounts to a single TweetDeck account and a single Facebook account. Once your accounts have been added, you simply write your tweets as normal but then you select the accounts you’d like to post to. To get started, go to TweetDeck to create an account, download the desktop app and add your primary Twitter account. This part of the process is all pretty straight forward and so it’s unlikely a walk-through would be helpful. Get yourself that far and then we’ll get started…
All set? Okay, so you’ve got your TweetDeck account, your desktop app and your primary Twitter account set up. Now let’s add all of the other Twitter accounts you want to manage. The following instructions should actually work whether you’re logged in through a browser or using your desktop app because the makers of each were smart enough to make them virtually identical (in appearance).
Start out by clicking the little gear icon near the upper right-hand corner which will open the “Application Settings” pop-up. Navigate to the “Accounts” section if you aren’t taken there by default:
If you click to add another Twitter account you just get this simple pop-up that asks for the login credentials of the account you’d like to add:
Just enter the account info and you’ll be returned to your account list and you should see the account you just added listed:
They couldn’t have made it any easier. Now let’s add some Facebook pages, shall we? Set up here is rather simple as well, but I thought I had done something wrong the first time – I’ll explain momentarily. When you click to add your Facebook account, you’ll get a pop-up similar to what you saw when adding a Twitter account. All you need to do is enter your Facebook login email address and password and then you’ll see the account listed with all of your Twitter accounts:
But wait, we want to post to Facebook “pages” that we admin, not the personal profile, right? Don’t see a way to add those pages here in the settings? You’re not alone. As I said, the setup of Facebook on TweetDeck is simple… but confusing at the same time. Doesn’t it look like your only Facebook option is to “Remove” the account? That’s where I got confused too… And basically gave up, until I went to actually post a tweet later and saw this:
What are all of those little chicklets, you ask? Why those are all the Facebook pages I admin – the ones I was looking for during setup!… Well, basically. There are actually some extras there that seem to be apps, duplicates or old/deleted pages and you can just ignore these if you see anything similar. But the point is, while it doesn’t look like you can access your “pages” from the settings, you can clearly see that all of your pages are available when you’re actually writing a post – but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll post to ALL pages every time.
Posting to Facebook Pages with TweetDeck
You’ll notice that the Twitter logo next to your primary/default Twitter account is highlighted/shown in color, but the others are all grayed out. The highlighting indicates that it’s a page/account you’ll be posting to. You simply need to click all of those you would like to post to (and deselect the default as necessary) and you’ll see each become highlighted. You can even deselect all of your Twitter accounts so you’re only posting to Facebook pages and Tweetdeck actually replaces the 140 character limit warning with a 420 character one.
Again, I’ve dragged this process out for clarity but it honestly takes only seconds to add your Facebook account and Twitter accounts to TweetDeck and then you’re all set to pick and choose which pages and accounts you want to publish your posts to on and individual post basis. I originally understood that you could achieve similar results with with Ping.FM as well, but discovered that they had recently been acquired by something new called Seesmic. And as you’ll see at the Seesmic website, they’ve now been bought by HootSuite! But either way, as separate services or all part of HootSuite, the big difference between these services and TweetDeck is that the others are only free for a limited number of accounts. If you manage more than 5 accounts, you’ll be paying $9.99/month+ to use HootSuite. TweetDeck is totally free.
I hope this brief tutorial can be of use to some of you because I didn’t find any current/updated instructions when I began this little journey. I did find posts claiming to show you how to “add a fan page to TweetDeck”, but they were all old and outdated. Even this one from eHow, which is a great site that usually has great how-tos. This one even came with a dummy-proof embedded video, but what good is it if TweetDeck’s settings and options are completely different than they were when the video was made? So my hope is that the updated instructions will help if you’ve been frustrated, as I was, by old instructions that are no longer accurate.