Update for October 26, 2012: This ifttt recipe no longer works. As of September 27, 2012, Twitter triggers have been disabled on ifttt. This is due to a newly enforced Twitter API regulation. C’est la vie.
Give your organization members the power to selectively tweet to your organization Facebook page from their personal Twitter accounts. Only the users you specify will be able to tweet to the page, and only the tweets they choose via hashtag will copy to the page.
This goes a long way towards making your Facebook page the vibrant, human place your fans want, even while keeping the content highly relevant. It’s the perfect balance for organizations who want to pool their collective Twitter voices in a Facebook page, without overrunning the page with irrelevant tweets.
To make this brilliant little social media trick possible, you will use Ifttt. “Ifttt” stands for “If this, then that.” It’s a free service that lets you automate highly specific tasks based on “triggers” and “actions.” It’s deceptively simple to use, and incredibly helpful when applied in creative combinations.
Get Started with Ifttt
First, sign up for an account at ifttt.com. Once you’re all set up there, activate the Twitter and Facebook Pages channels. Ifttt walks you through the process. Don’t over-think it and you’ll be fine.
Steal My Recipe
After you’re set up with Ifttt, head over to this ifttt recipe (http://ifttt.com/recipes/12956), aptly entitled “Selective Tweeting to a Facebook Page from Multiple Twitter Accounts,” which I created for your convenience. Customize the recipe to turn it into a task, let your organization members know which hashtags to use, and you’re good to go.
It’s that simple. Need more guidance? Happy to oblige. Read on.
How the Recipe Works
The recipe combines the “New tweet from search” trigger with an advanced Twitter search string. It lets specified Twitter users selectively copy their tweets onto a Facebook page you administrate.
The recipe uses two hashtags: your organization hashtag, which is chosen by you, and the generic #fb hashtag. The former designates the tweet as an organization tweet, while the latter designates the tweet as a tweet bound for Facebook.
After you have customized the recipe to turn it into a task, simply tell your organization members to type the organization hashtag and the generic #fb hashtag anywhere in the body of any tweet they want to copy to the Facebook page. That’s all they have to know.
The tweets appear as status updates on Facebook, with the originating Twitter username appended in each update and “via ifttt” appearing below the update.
How to Customize the Recipe
The genius of the recipe, if I do say so myself, is the advanced search string, which takes the form of:
#organizationhashtag AND #fb from:username OR from:username OR from:username OR from:username
In the “New tweet from search” field, replace “#organizationhashtag” with your real organization hashtag, and replace all instances of “username” with real usernames of users you want to let tweet to your Facebook page.
Add as many users as you like. To add another user to the search string, simply add another “OR from:username” (without the quotes.) Delete any instances you don’t need or want.
Why It’s Done This Way
The reason this recipe uses two hashtags, and not just one, is because not all tweets containing the organization hashtag should be copied to the Facebook page. The #fb hashtag assures that only the tweets that your organization members think relevant will post to the Facebook page.
You could invent a single new organization hashtag for tweets that also post to Facebook, but you don’t want to overburden your group members with having to remember multiple variations of your organization hashtag for different purposes. Besides, the longer a hashtag is, the uglier it usually is, because hashtags tend to rely on abbreviations and acronyms.
Using two hashtags is the easiest, most streamlined, least unattractive way to get the job done.
• If you don’t have an organization hashtag yet, that’s okay! Now is the perfect time to make one up. Make it as short as possible so that it is easy to remember and leaves plenty of room for the actual tweet content.
• Remember, once this recipe is set up, all you have to do is tell your organization members to add the organization hashtag and #fb to anywhere in the body of a tweet, and it will copy to the Facebook page.
• Also remember, ifttt can take up to 15 minutes to notice new tweets, so if any of your organization members complains that it’s not working, ask them to wait 15 minutes. Also, Twitter’s search engine can run a little slow at times, so add a few extra minutes to that figure. If the tweet doesn’t appear on Facebook after a half hour or 45 minutes, check to make sure your search string is properly formatted.
• This recipe is “set-it-and-forget-it,” but if you want to revoke access to your Facebook page for any user, simply revisit the recipe and delete it. As the Facebook page administrator and ifttt user account holder, you have full moderating control over who gets to tweet on your Facebook page.
What do you think? Do you like this method? Got a method of your own?
If you try my method, let me know how it goes!