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Introduction to Friends+Me

What on Earth is Friends+Me?

Good question, glad you asked! Friends+Me is a powerful social media tool that allows you to post, selectively cross-post and schedule to a large number of social networks.

It transforms Google+ into a Social Media Management Tool and gives you full control over which networks you want to repost to as well as when you want the post scheduled (either straight away, after a delay or at a predefined schedule).

You can also use the browser extension which allows you to schedule posts to all your networks including Google+ profiles, pages, communities and collections.

Google+, really?

Yes, really! Whilst you don’t need to be an active Google+ user to use Friends+Me (the browser extension allows you to post to all your networks without having to first post to Google+), there are huge advantages in posting first to Google+.

This article isn’t the place to convince you of all the advantages (there are many articles out there already), but Friends+Me can help grow your Google+ followers and community and build your engagement rapidly. Of course, Google+ posts tend to get listed very quickly in search results which is a pretty good advantage!

What’s so different about Friends+Me?

There are many social media tools out there that allow you to quickly post and schedule to your social networks all from one dashboard. However Friends+Me does things a little differently:

  • It allows you to post to your Google+ profiles, communities and collections as well as your pages. Most tools can’t do that due to Google’s API restrictions. It also allows you to post and schedule to Tumblr.
  • You can craft your social media posts on your Google+ profiles or pages to cross post and schedule to your other networks. It does this intelligently and selectively.
  • Or, if you prefer, you can bypass Google+ and use the Chrome extension to cross-post and schedule to your networks.
  • Friends+Me understands the different mechanisms of each social network. For example, when posting to Twitter, Friends+Me only uses the title of the Google+ post and extracts the image from the link you are sharing (this is embedded in the tweet). Tweets with images are much more likely to have engagement.
  • You can track clicks and use a custom short link domain for each network with bit.ly and goo.gl integration.

How to connect up your Social Media Empire


Do you remember the good ol’ days when there were only a few social networks on the block? We’ll forget about MySpace for now, but there was a time when many people and businesses had a Facebook account and possibly a Twitter or LinkedIn profile. Then Facebook launched business pages, Tumblr became popular, Google launched Google+ (and subsequently pages, communities and collections) and the social media world became rather more complicated to manage!

Once you’ve signed up with Friends+Me, you’ll be able to start connecting up your social media empire. As we’ve said, there’s a lot of choice! As well as connecting your Google+ accounts (profiles, pages, communities and collections) you can also connect to your Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn profiles and pages, Twitter, Tumblr and even App.net. However, to begin with, let’s keep things simple and connect to your Google+ profile, Twitter and your Facebook profile or page.

We’ll come on to Friends+Me’s Chrome extension in a subsequent article. The extension allows you to repost to all your networks without first posting to Google+ and has the advantage of reposting to your Google+ profile, collections and communities. (For the Chrome extension and posting to Google+ profiles, communities and collections, you will need your computer and browser running at the time of posting)

#1 Connect your Source Account – Your Google+ Profile or Page

In Friends+Me there are source and destination accounts. Whilst your Google+ profiles or pages can be destination accounts (i.e. you can post to them), most of the time they are source accounts- i.e. Friends+Me posts from them.
Click on “Connect a Profile” (or page) under the Google+ column to connect your Google+ profile/page. You’ll be redirected to your Google accounts page.

Choose which account you want to connect (or enter your login details for the account you want to connect):
Google will then ask you if you accept Friends+Me to have offline access to your Google+ account. Friends+Me needs access to check your public posts.
If you are connecting to one of your Google+ pages, you’ll have an extra step at this point as you’ll need to select which of your Google+ Pages you are connecting to (don’t worry Google+ profile users). Click which page you want to connect to and confirm with Pick a Google+ Page button.
Congratulations, you’ve just created your source account! Friends+Me can now check your Google+ profile/page posts to repost to other networks. Nothing is going to happen yet, however- we’ve not added any destination social networks for Friends+Me to post to. It’s also worth noting, Friends+Me won’t re-post any of your older Google+ posts- only ones from the time you’ve set this up.

On the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see your Google+ profile and a list of menu items. You should also see the words “Preset: Grow” just under your name.
There are two presets for your accounts in Friends+Me- Grow and Mirror. To find out more and to change these, click on “Setup” in the menu.

Grow

When you select “Grow”, Friends+Me will link back to the original Google+ post as opposed to the linked article in that post. This is great if you want to draw attention to your Google+ profile or page and build up engagement. If you select this, you can still override the setting on a per-network basis later. For example if you always wanted to link back to your Google+ posts when you repost to Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn, but you’d prefer to link to the linked article when you repost to Facebook, you can subsequently select “Mirror” in your Facebook settings

Mirror

When you select “Mirror”, each new repost will link to the original linked article you shared and not your Google+ post. Although this won’t help in growing your Google+ channel, it allows you to always link to the articles you are sharing.

Which one?

Hopefully the explanation above will help you decide, but ultimately the choice depends on your strategy and the way you want to work. If you change your mind later, that’s fine, it’s easy to go back in and change later.

Communities / Collections

You will also see an advanced option at the bottom of this page that allows you to repost content that you publish on your Google+ communities/collections.

By default Friends+Me only checks the posts you have published to your Google+ profile or page.

By checking this option, you can allow Friends+Me to check your posts on your public Google+ communities/collections and have the ability to repost to different social networks.

#2 Connect your Destination Account – Your Twitter Profile

Now that you’ve set your source account in Friends+Me, you’ll need to set up some destination accounts. Destination accounts, as the name suggests, are social networks that you are posting to. The method is pretty much the same for each one. You will need to authorize Friends+Me to access each of your accounts. Also, you’ll need to keep an eye on how many social networks you are connecting to, as the maximum number depends on which Friends+Me plan you are on.

Firstly, let’s connect to a Twitter account. Click the “+ Add a New Account” button at the top left (underneath the menu and @ button).
Then click on “Connect” underneath the Twitter column. You’ll then need to authorize Friends+Me to use your Twitter account by logging in and clicking “Authorize app”:
Your Twitter account will now appear in the Friends+Me dashboard. There are a few more settings we’ll want to configure, but first, let’s connect to our Facebook profile or page.

#3 Connect your Destination Account – Your Facebook Profile/Page

Adding your Facebook page or profile to Friends+Me is very similar to the way we added your Twitter account.

You need to authorize Friends+Me to access your Facebook account. Facebook gives you a lot of control over the data you can share, so there are a few more steps.

Please note, even if you only want to add your Facebook page within Friends+Me, you still need to connect via your Facebook profile. The reason for this is that Friends+Me needs to know which Facebook Pages you are admin for. However, Friends+Me will only post to the page or profile you have connected with.

Once you click on “+ Add a new account” and “Connect a profile” (or page) under the Twitter column, you will see a dialogue box similar to the following:
Once you click OK, you’ll then be asked if you want to give permission for Friends+Me to post publicly. Assuming you want to post publicly on Facebook via Friends+Me, click “Okay”- this will give you the most exposure and engagement. However, if you’d prefer to post to your friends or another Facebook friends list, you can select this here.
If you are connecting to one of your Facebook pages, you’ll have two more steps. Firstly you’ll need to give permission for Friends+Me to manage your pages. Click "Okay" for this step:
And finally, select which Facebook page you want to connect to:

#4 Set up your Destination Preset (Optional)

You can go ahead and connect your other social networks now, but once you are done, it’s recommended to check the settings for each one. When we set up your source Google+ account you had the choice to select the “Grow” preset or the “Mirror” preset. For example, if you had chosen “Grow”, Friends+Me will link back to your original post on Google+ when it reposts to Twitter, Facebook or any of the other networks you’ve connected. But, you may want one of your social networks to behave differently. For example, you may want reposts to Facebook to link back to the original article that you linked to in your Google+ post.

You can change the destination preset for each social network really easily.

First of all, click on the social network you want to change the preset for on the left menu, and click “Setup”.
Once you’ve done this you can select which profile you want to choose for this destination account- either “Grow” or “Mirror”:

#5 Choose Tweet Length (Optional)

Although Twitter has room for up to 140 characters, you’ll rarely want to use them all up. Not only should there be room for the link and an image, you’ll also want to leave space for your Twitter screen name and other letters when people retweet you. Friends+Me has a handy feature that makes sure that your Tweets are limited to an optimum number of characters to improve your retweeting experience. This can be found in “Setup” for your destination Twitter accounts, in the “Advanced Settings” area. Click to enable this feature:

#6 Set up your Schedule (optional)

When you repost from your source Google+ account to your destination social networks, you can choose to repost immediately (or as soon as Friends+Me sees the post), repost after a specified delay or post at predefined time (a schedule).

To choose, go to the destination social account in the side bar, and click on “schedule”. At the bottom you can choose whether to repost immediately, post at predefined times or repost with a delay:
If you choose “repost at predefined times”, you’ll need to create a schedule of posting times for the week. These are the times that the posts in your queue will get reposted out. Each time you repost, they get added to the queue for that social network, and the first post in the queue will be posted out at the next scheduled time.

Choose which timezone you are located in, and then create a schedule for each day of the week, or a different schedule for each day:
If you do choose to repost on a schedule or on a delay, you can always bypass this and repost immediately by using the #nq hashtag in the Google+ post. This tells Friends+Me to repost immediately.

#7 Set up your Link Shortener (optional)

When you post links to your social networks, you have the option to use a link shortener or post the link in full. It’s particularly helpful to shorten your links to save space and to give the ability to track clicks. You can even create a branded short domain if you use bit.ly.

To change the link shortener settings, go to the destination account in the left menu and click “Link Shortener”. You then have the option to use no link shortener, the standard Friends+Me shortener “fpme.link”, "bit.ly" or "Goo.gl".

#8 Set up your Repost Routing (Optional)

You are pretty much good to go, but it’s a good idea to delve into the Repost Routing settings. At first glance this can look a bit complicated, but don’t worry. You’ll rarely need to come back here but it’s good to get a reminder for which hashtags you’ll need to use to repost to each social network.

Friends+Me will check each of your source Google+ accounts for new posts. If you’ve enabled reposting and you’ve not used the special #noshare hashtag (which disables reposting on a per-post basis) it will then repost to your social networks.

To view the Reposts Routing settings, click on the menu button on the top left of the dashboard, and click “Reposts Routing”. 
You will see the settings for your source Google+ account. If you want Friends+Me to check your account for new posts and repost to other networks, make sure you have Reposting from this account “enabled”:
You can also choose which destination social accounts you want Friends+Me to post from this source.

Whenever you want Friends+Me to repost from your source account to your destination accounts you don’t actually need to do anything- Friends+Me takes care of the rest. However, if you don’t want one of your Google+ posts to get reposted, all you’ll need to do is add the #noshare hashtag. You can change these settings on the Reposts Routing box:
In this example, I’ve added my Twitter profile and Facebook page as destination accounts. Each time I post on Google+, Friends+Me will repost to both of these unless I use the #noshare hashtag. But what if I want to repost to only my Facebook page or only Twitter? Well, with Friends+Me you can.

If I want to repost to Twitter only, I can use the hashtag #t, and if I want to post to Facebook only, I can use the hashtag #f. You can change the settings below:
If I had other destination accounts added here, such as a LinkedIn account, I could be even more clever and repost to Twitter and LinkedIn using the hashtag #tl or Facebook and LinkedIn using the hashtag #fl. All that is getting a bit advanced for now, but as you can see all of this is perfectly possible within Friends+Me.

Set up your first post with Friends+Me

Now you are definitely ready to go and you can craft your first Google+ post to be boosted using Friends+Me.

Head on down to Google+ (make sure it is your source Google+ profile or page that we previously set up) and start crafting your post.

Friends+Me works best if you are linking to an article or if you are resharing another Google post. In this example, I am sharing an article I previously published on my blog.

Write your Google+ post as usual, but do include a title at the top (by putting an asterisk at the beginning and end of the line). When posting to Twitter, only the title will be used as well as the link. Friends+Me also extracts the image from the article and embeds this in the tweet:

When posting to longer form social networks such as Tumblr, Facebook and LinkedIn, the full body of the Google+ post is also used:
Finally do add some hashtags as you would normally. Once you publish the Google+ post, Friends+Me will repost to your destination accounts the next time it checks.

If you were to use the “no share” hashtag, for example #ns, Friends+Me will ignore the post.

If you use the “no queue” hashtag, for example #nq, Friends+Me will repost immediately.

If you want to manually select which social network you want to repost to, then you can use the other hashtags that you set up in the Repost Routing section. In this example, I am posting to my main Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and Facebook page (#TLF) as well as my personal Twitter account (#TW). I also don’t want Friends+Me to queue the post- I want it to repost immediately (#nq):
Here is how the repost looked like on Twitter:
And here is what it looked like on Facebook:

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Enjoy :)

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