How to tie your social media accounts together

Managing updates to all your social media sites can be a pain. Here's how to send messages to multiple services at once.

If you've already created accounts for your business on major social media sites, then you know it can be incredibly time consuming to manage all of them. Sending out messages to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn takes an extra minute or two for each message. While that isn't much at first, when you're trying to send out dozens of messages a day it multiplies quickly. Luckily, you can quickly and easily tie these services together to send messages to more than one service at a time.

This story will use Ping.fm as an example since it's free easy to get started with, and covers a host of social media services). But many other great services, such as Hootsuite ($5.99/month for a Pro subscription) Tweetdeck (free but only handles Twitter and Facebook), and Social Oomph (Free, Pro version for $17.97 biweekly) offer similar capabilities. If your company is already using a social media monitoring service like Hootsuite, or looking to start using one in the near future, see if you're allowed to tie your different social media profiles together there to save time.

Tying It All Together

The first and easiest step is to create an account at Ping.fm. Once you've signed up, you'll see a long list of services you can unite using Ping. Let's concern ourselves with just three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

[Read: How to Use Twitter for Customer Support]

Connecting each service to Ping should be extremely quick. But each one will be slightly different, as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn each have different policies for linking accounts with an external service. In general, though, you'll just want to click on Add Network next to each service to come to a page asking you to link it up with Ping.fm. Enter your login information, and you should return to the network;s directory with a message at the top of the page saying it's been added.

One thing to watch: Make sure you're linking up your company's Facebook page rather than your personal profile by selecting Facebook Pages instead of simply Facebook.

Once your accounts have been linked, sending a message to all three accounts is as easy as clicking on Dashboard at the top of the page and then writing a new message. Once you hit Ping It!, the message will automatically be sent out to all your accounts at once.

Not a Blanket Solution

While tying all these services together can save you a great deal of time, not every message is right for sending to all three services at once. Remember that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all very different sites that users come to for very different purposes. A message meant for your fans on Facebook might not read as well on Twitter, or vice-versa.

Ping lets you create sub-groups, which you can use, for instance, to send updates exclusively to Twitter and LinkedIn only. In Ping, just select Create Group, then select a name for your group. Ping will then let you select which social networks you want that group to post to, and create the group. Once it's been created, just select your new group from the dropdown menu to post only to those services.

In general, however, you'll want to use services like Ping for messages that inform a broad audience of something of broad appeal, such as a product launch.

[Read: How to Put Your Company on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter]

If you're trying to start a conversation, however, this approach less ideal. To solicit comments from your fans and followers, tailor unique messages to each social network. Otherwise it's tricky to match the tone of Facebook messages, tweets, and LinkedIn updates all at once while saying something interesting. Even if you manage it, some users will still resent the mass-broadcast approach if they catch on. Still, as long as you use tie your accounts together wisely and don't overuse it, it can be a great time-saving tool in your social media aresenal.

This story, "How to tie your social media accounts together" was originally published by PCWorld.

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