How To Easily Manage Mulitiple Social Networks
Every small business knows they need to use Social Media and I’ve recently discussed what social networks you should be on. The next logical question is how can you manage multiple networks easily. There are many tools you can use to manage all of these social networks but, the one that stands out for us is called FriendsPlusMe. We will discuss what it is capable of and how to set up the app to get the most out of it. Here we go!
Let’s begin by explaining what the app is and how it works, then we’ll dig into setting it up and syndicating your content to your other social properties.
Friends+Me is an online application (no download required) or also known as a web application that connects to your personal Google + profile. When you arrive at their homepage there is a fairly large sign in button on the left side of the page (pictured lower left). Clicking that button will prompt you to allow Friends+Me to access your Personal Google+ account and your associated pages. At the same time it opens your free account with them.
The application is capable of grabbing all of your posts on Google+ that you share publicly. You can also control if a post is syndicated, even if it’s share publicly, by using hash tags. Placing the #ns hash tag in your public post tells the application to “not share” this post. There are many other controlling hash tags that we’ll discuss later. The important thing to note is that you do have full control over what is and is not shared to other networks.
Getting Set Up
Now that we have logged in and have our basic account set up, let’s get our other social media profiles connected to the application.
How To Easily Manage Mulitiple Social Networks
In the screen shot above, you can see source networks on the left and destination networks on the right. To the right of each is a small + button so you can add a new account to each category. Source networks are your Google+ profile and any Google+ pages you have access to. The destination accounts are those accounts that you want your content sent to like Facebook (profile or page), Twitter, LinkedIn (profile or company page) and your Tumblr Blog. Because this app is so easy to use I’d recommend you set up each one of those accounts so that you can expand your branding to other networks.
HOT TIP: Because this application pulls your Google+ posts that are shared publicly, even if you create and share a post from your smartphone or tablet the content still gets pushed to the other networks!
Once you have all of your social media accounts added into Friends+Me it’s time to make some setting adjustments.
Once you’ve clicked on one of you destination accounts, you’ll see all the options you have for that account. Across the top you see the different setting areas, the first two timeline and queue you won’t have to do anything but, the third one, scheduling is where we’ll begin. As pictured above, you can select the days of the week you’d like posts sent to as well as multiple times of day.
You can set different days and times for each destination account. This is particularly handy because you will typically want more content sent to Twitter than your Facebook account, as an example. This also allows you to send the same content to different networks at different times of the day or even different days of the week which helps maintain a more natural feel.
The Routing Tab: The next tab over in your destination account settings allows you to have multiple source accounts send content to the destination account you are currently editing. I’d recommend that you keep your personal accounts and business/company accounts separate. If using the app in this manner, you shouldn’t have to change anything here.
The next set up tab is the Link Shortening settings. Here you have two options, to use the provided fplus.me shortener or you can use your own bit.ly URL shortener account. I prefer to use my bit.ly account so I can track the links that are shared but, either will work just fine. The one small advantage, besides analytics, to using bit.ly is the url is actually shorter which is a benefit posting to Twitter.
The last tab in the destination settings is the ‘setup’ tab. This, and the other tabs, will vary slightly depending on the type of destination account you are making changes to. Here on my Twitter profile, you can see on the left the option to always link back to the original Google Plus post. For your twitter account, I would recommend this because if your post is over 140 characters, it will be cut off and won’t make sense. Having the app add a link back to the original content allows your Twitter followers to read the whole post. The option on the right should also be enabled so that your message is shortened, with a link back to the original content, to just 140 characters so that each tweet will make more sense.
On your other destination accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr you don’t have the same character limitations so this option won’t appear as it is not necessary.
Go through each one of your destination accounts and set them up according to your liking, using the above tips as a guide. The other beautiful thing about this application is it’s pretty much a “set and forget” application. Unlike other applications that you may have to log in to to add content, all you have to do is post your content to Google+ and the app will do the rest!
Once you’ve set everything up you’re ready to start posting. Go to your Google+ account either on your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet and start posting. If you don’t want a certain post to be sent to your other networks remember to use the hash tag #ns.
Other controls – You know that you can stop the syndication of a post but, you can also send the post only to specific networks as well. Using the #ft hash tag will only send the content to Facebook and Twitter. Using the hash tag #tl will only send the content to Twitter and LinkedIn. There are a bunch of preset control hash tags but, you can also set your own! They are easily added in your dashboard.
To add or edit any of your control hash tags just click “Accounts” and then select the source profile you want to edit. Then select “Routing” from the top settings menu. I’ve found the default set of control hash tags to be sufficient but, you do have the option here to customize them yourself.
HOT TIP: When you add the control hash tag to your Google+ Post, Friends+Me removes it before sending it to your other profiles. This makes the content posted look more natural. This is done auto-magically by Friends+Me you don’t have to set anything for this to happen.
- Be sure to set different time settings for each of your destination profiles
- Set your notifications on your destination profiles to alert you of any activity on your posts. This way you only need to login to your Google+ profile or page on a daily basis and will know when you need to pop over to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr only when needed
- Use controlling hash tags to send posts to specific destinations or not at all
- Use the #nq hash tag to bypass the queuing of your posts and send to your destinations immediately
- Use your own bit.ly account to track your URLs
Selecting The Right Plan
Friends+Me currently has only three different level of plans. Free, Standard and Premium the differences in each plan are listed below:
- 40 posts per month
- Delayed posting (15+ minutes)
- No bit.ly support
- Unlimited posts
- Quicker posting (5-15 minutes)
- bit.ly support
- 3 GPlus pages
- $29.99 a YEAR!
- Unlimited posts
- Quicker posting (1 -10 minutes)
- bit.ly support
- Unlimited GPlus pages
- $49.99 a YEAR!
For most users the Standard plan would work nicely and at just thirty bucks a year it’s by far the most affordable tool you can add to your arsenal.
Other Management Tools
I should mention there are other tools out there. The biggest advantage to Friends+Me over the competition is the insane affordability and ease of use. With all other tools, you have to access their specific website or web app each time you want to send out content, then you have to select the networks you want it to go to and the time and day you want it posted. All of this is done automatically with Friends+Me or can be controlled directly from within the post itself.
It doesn’t get much easier than this to manage multiple social networks.
To name just a few other tools you may want to check out, I’d recommend BufferApp, Hootsuite and Swayy.co – each of these tools come with a monthly fee which will quickly exceed the cost of Friends+Me and you have to access their specific app to post content rather than just using Google+ whether it be in your browser or mobile app.
The Sum Up
Now that you know how to set up your account and understand how to post to all of your social media sites with ease you can spend less time on social media and more time focused on your business. The more you use this tool, the easier it gets. It will also force you to use Google+, which you should be for a plethora of other reasons, as you main social network but, still have content sent out to your other social profiles.
What problems have you had managing multiple social media accounts?
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