Getting Started with Twitter: Linking Twitter with Facebook

twitter-bird-white-on-blueSince Facebook has amassed nearly a billion users and Twitter has approximately half of that number, another question often asked by Twitter newbies is:

Should I link my Twitter and Facebook accounts?

In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer.
If you’d like one less social media account to update, linking your Twitter account to your Facebook account solves that. When you update Twitter, your Facebook status will also update. However, you’ll lose the ability to post longer status updates to Facebook, or to enjoy the rich media autolinking that Facebook uses to display those pretty pictures when you post links directly to Facebook. If the only two social media sites you use are Facebook and Twitter, I’d recommend linking your accounts. It’s the fastest way to update both sites simultaneously.
On the other hand, articles also abound on the vast differences between Twitter and Facebook and the need to treat each of them separately in order to get the best return from using either service. For instance, this report on social media shelf-life states that “You can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on Facebook than if you post on Twitter.”

Verifiable proof exists in terms of your social media ROI after posting separately to each site, or using each site for a specific purpose (i.e. quotes vs. video). Just check your Google Analytics, number of retweets, or Facebook stats. Through those numbers you can get a fair accounting of what’s working and not working for your updates. Again, experiment a little each day to see what works best for your particular type of content.
However, you must weigh those results against the amount of extra time it takes for you to update multiple social media accounts. If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to custom-tailoring your content for a specific social media site, then don’t. Simply ensure that you’re being consistent across the sites with the quality of your content.
Additionally, when talking about yourself, point others to your website instead of back to a specific social media site. Think of Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest as the spokes on a wheel and your homepage as the hub. If you don’t have your own hub, then stake your claim on a free social media site and drive your traffic to that page. You want at least one place online that you can call home, whether that’s your blog, your business’s website, or your organization’s Facebook page.
As for what I do every day, I update multiple social media sites at the same time. While my Twitter account is not linked to my Facebook account (so I can still use each separately when I choose to), I use the web-based app Hootsuite to schedule updates for all three of my Twitter accounts, plus two Facebook pages. I can type in one status update and then choose to post that to as many social media accounts (including Google Plus) as I’d like. Hootsuite has been the best option I’ve found thus far. It is an efficient and simple way to update multiple social media sites.
Be warned that the free version of Hootsuite limits you to only five social profiles, but this should be more then enough for a small business or blogger. Also, with Hootsuite’s new autoscheduling feature that sets tweets or Facebook updates to post at a time when they think it will reach the most eyes, they’ve made it incredibly simple to keep your social media sites consistently covered in quality content.
If you’re already on Facebook and Twitter, what’s your process? Have you seen a major difference between posting simultaneously vs. posting separately?
Here are links to every post in the Getting Started with Twitter: 10 Steps to Twitter Competence series.