How to update Twitter and Facebook with your Google+ posts


Update – May 2014 – Friends+Me*

Friends+Me
Since I wrote this post there have been a few new services that can help with updating your other social networks from Google+. The one I would like to highly recommend is a service called Friends+Me*. This turns Google+ in to a fully fledged Social Media Management tool. It allows you to selectively cross post to Google+ pages, Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles, pages & groups), Facebook (profiles, pages & groups), Tumblr and even Appdotnet. It has a scheduling system similar to Buffer and cross-posts intelligently to other networks (including using full images, headings and descriptions). It’s something I use every day and couldn’t do without it.


Google+ IconEver wanted to post to Twitter or Facebook (or LinkedIn) from Google+? It’s certainly a cool feature, although I’m not a massive fan of posting to multiple social networks at the same time. There are many ways you can post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks all at the same time. However this is missing the fact that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are very different social networks. For example, do all your friends on Facebook really want to see all your Tweets as Facebook updates? Do your LinkedIn contacts really want to see your Facebook updates?

However, I do think there is a strong case for selective syncing between social networks. I use Selective Tweets regularly to post to Facebook from twitter using the #fb hashtag. This means I am in full control of when I want my Tweets to post to Facebook.

I’ve mentioned Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but what about Google+? Google’s social media platform is still the new kid on the block, and their API (the system that lets applications talk to and retrieve information from Google+) is still in its early stages. This means it is currently very difficult to do any kind of syncing to and from Google+.

Back in July, I posted on my personal blog of a way to post to Twitter and Facebook from Google+. At the time, there were quite a few hacks that tried to achieve this. One way (and highlighted on Lifehacker) to post to Facebook was to add your Facebook “post to” email address to your circles. Unfortunately this cut your post off after 50 characters. The original author recommended a (now defunct) extension to post to multiple social networks. However, that’s not what we want to do here- we want automatic syncing of posts.

The method I came up with involved Twitter Feed and an app called Plusfeed by Russel Beattie that served your public Google+ posts as an RSS feed. It was a fab app while it lasted, but alas, Russel’s app got hammered by robots, and then Google’s pricing model made his costs go through the roof. Subsquently someone released Plusfeed2 but a month later that died for similar reasons.

There are quite a few Google+ to RSS services out there that don’t use Google’s app engine, so perhaps there is hope. It’s a shame that Twitter, Facebook and Google+ seem to be trying to kill RSS. I wrote a post on Google+ entitled “Social Media and RSS feeds- is RSS dead?” as it seams that most social networks don’t like RSS. One service that seems to work well is zipl.us.  This gives you a vanity url and an RSS feed of your public Google+ posts. I personally wouldn’t use their vanity url service (I prefer gplus.to) and you have to be careful with the whole concept of G+ vanity urls as they may stop working if the site closes down and at some point in the future Google+ will start their own vanity urls. However, their RSS service is very cool.

So, this brings me on to how you post to Twitter from your Google+ posts. Well, there is the hard way and the easy way. First let’s do…

The Hard Way

zipl.us screenshot

We’re going to use zipl.us and Twitter Feed. Firstly, head on down to zipl.us and pick yourself a username (you need to do this even if you’re not bothered about a vanity url).

Then paste in your Google+ ID. This is the long string of numbers in your Google+ profile url. If you don’t know what this is, visit your Google+ profile and copy the long string of numbers in the address bar. For example, my profile url is: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118089425632910430111/posts so my Google+ ID is: 118089425632910430111

zipl.us RSS feed You’ll then be presented with your RSS feed! Make a note of this url as you’ll need it shortly. You can create an RSS feed for any Google+ user you like and subscribe to them in your normal RSS reader. This is a good way to make sure you don’t miss any cool posts by your favourite Google+ people. You could even use ifttt to send you an email or an sms whenever they post on Google+.

Please bear in mind that this only works for public Google+ posts. You won’t see any Google+ posts that are limited to one or more circles and not public.

Once you’ve done this, head over to Twitter Feed. If you haven’t come across Twitter Feed, then do check it out. Put simply, it’s a way of posting Tweets from an RSS feed. The reason I recommend this over another similar service (such as ifttt) is that it has lots of advanced features which will help. The downside is that it only checks your feed every half an hour, but to be honest this should be more than enough.

Twitter Feed Screenshot Create a new feed and call it something like “my G+ feed” and paste in the rss feed you have created above from zipl.us. Change the update frequency to every half an hour (currently the most frequent option). Choose how many posts you want it to update at any one time. I’ve chosen 2 as I don’t want my Twitter followers to be bombarded with too many posts at the same time.

Change the “post content” to “description only” although you may want to play around with that.

You may want to add something to the Post prefix box. This puts some text at the start of the post, so you could add something like “From My G+”. I have left it blank.

At the bottom there is the keyword filter. I haven’t added anything here because I am happy for all my posts to be posted to Twitter and Facebook. However if you want to add a tag to your G+ posts (for example #fb and #tw) you could get Twitterfeed to only post to Facebook and Twitter if it finds those tags in your post.

Click on next and add your Twitter and Facebook accounts and then click on create. And you are done!

If you want to update more than every half an hour then you could try another service such as ifttt which posts every 15 mins.

As I mentioned above, one disadvantage with this method is that your post needs to be public in order for it to be picked up by the RSS feed. Perhaps there could be a way to add authentication in the future so that the RSS feed shows private posts, but that’s for another time. Perhaps by then, Google will have released RSS feeds to G+.

The Easy Way

Manage Flitter ScreenshotThere is a much easier way, and that is to use a third party app called Manage Flitter*. I love Manage Flitter as a way to manage my Twitter followers, but it also allows you to post your public G+ posts to your Twitter account. Manage Flitter are having similar issues to plusfeed in that they can’t really use the Google+ API very effectively- Google+ are only giving them very limited access. Currently they (like many other services) are having to do quite a bit of screenscraping. I think it’s silly that Google are making services like Manage Flitter resort to this, but until they sort their API out that’s the way it has to be.

To set this up, visit Manage Flitter* and sign up for an account (the basic version is free). Once you’ve down this, click on the Dashboard link and then click on “Turn on/off Google+ Sharing” (see screenshot on left)

Manage Flitter Screenshot 2You then have to paste in your Google+ profile url and that’s basically it. However you might want to look at the advanced settings. If you don’t want all your Google+ posts to be posted to Twitter then select “Only Share Google+ posts including the tag #twt” and then it will only post Google+ with the hashtag #twt.

If you want to also post to Facebook, then make sure you put the hashtag #fb towards the Google+ post (in the first 110 chars) and use the service, Selective Tweets. Once Manage Flitter posts the Google+ post to Twitter it should contain the #fb hashtag. Selective Tweets will then post this Tweet to Facebook. There will be a delay in this, but currently this is one of the only work arounds.

Of course, if you have cash to burn, you could always use Hootsuite Enterprise Edition. This is one of the only apps out there who are in partnership with Google+. It only costs $1,500 per month. Update Hootsuite offers posting to Google+ business pages on its free, pro and Enterprise plans.

Do check out FriendsPlusMe (as I mentioned at the start of this article), it’s now my recommended option.

How about updating LinkedIn from Google+?

This is definitely possible, again but you’ll have to use the hard way approach (above) to do this. Also, you’ll have to use ifttt.com as Twitter Feed doesn’t support LinkedIn. It’s quite easy to achieve- just set up a new task which updates your LinkedIn channel from your Google+ RSS feed which you created above. I’d recommend that you use the “New feed item matches” option so that it will only update LinkedIn when you use a specific hashtag. We wouldn’t want to spam our LinkedIn contacts would we?

The other option would be to let Google+ update Twitter using Manage Flitter above. Then (if you’ve got your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts linked) Twitter will then update LinkedIn. There will be a delay in the update, but perhaps this is the easier approach.

How do I update Google+ from Twitter & Facebook? (The Reverse)

So, you want to do the reverse? Well, unfortunately (as of the time of posting this) it’s not possible. Google’s Google+ API is still being tested and has not been fully released. Some social media tool companies have been given early access to the API (Hootsuite, Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, Involver & Vitrue) and so you are able to manage your Google+ business pages from these 3rd party tools. You’ll have to pay of course- and Hootsuite Enterprise Edition (it isn’t currently available on other cheaper editions) costs over $1,500 per month. (UPDATE- Google+ pages integration is now free on Hootsuite). For more information, see Google’s announcement of 3rd party Google+ Management tools on the Adwords blog or the Google+ 3rd part tools page. There have been some tools to enable you to post to multiple networks from your browser, but that’s something else entirely. Unfortunately until the API is fully available we’re going to have to wait. This post by Shashank on the FastGush social media site interviewed Buffer App‘s co-founder Leo Widrich (@LeoWid) with some exciting news- Buffer will soon be able to send updates to Google+ as well as LinkedIn and Pinterest. I’ll post as soon as I hear any news. (UPDATE- Buffer now officially posts to LinkedIn and Google+ but not Pinterest as of yet)

Conclusion

So, what do you think? Is this something you’d find useful or is it just an overly complicated hack? For the time being, until Google+ sort their API out, perhaps this is the only way. As usual, do please add your comments below!

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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a digital marketer, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad, geek and runs a monthly tech meet up called Cheadle Geeks and a regular coworkers event called Cheadle Jelly. Find out more


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