Welcome to the the next installment in my series of social media tips. These are aimed primarily at a police audience, but hopefully applicable to a wider group of people too, especially those in the public sector. This series of posts will aim to identify some good practice and useful hints and tips for police officers and staff to consider when using social media.

Part 8: Connect it all together

Spider's Web by bbum on Flick'r

Link all your accounts

If you are not careful, you can spend a lot of time updating profiles accounts and pages on a variety of different sites, and duplicating updates etc. Whilst different social media sites have different uses and audiences, there are easier ways of cross promoting your updates from site to site.

At the simplest end of the spectrum, post up a video to YouTube or Vimeo, a picture to Flick’r, a Powerpoint presentation to Slideshare, or a blog entry etc, and then just link to that content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. You may want to use a link shortener (I use Bit.ly) to make a very long link such as http://partridgej.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/social-media-handbook-for-policepart-6/ appear as something more useable like http://bit.ly/gdDcGJ. Simply post the shortened link to your other comment with a post explaining what it is.

If however you want to make sharing your updates a bit easier, you may want to look at various ways of automatically linking your updates.

Many of the social media sites have the ability to cross post automatically from one site to another. For example if you first link your Twitter account to Facebook (just go to http://apps.facebook.com/selectivetwitter/ and install the add on), any tweet on Twitter that ends in #fb will also appear in Facebook as a status update. To link the accounts the other way round (s0 Facebook updates appear on Twitter) go to http://www.facebook.com/twitter/ and install the app. (NOTE – this will only work with Facebook pages not personal profiles).

There are similar functions in most social media tools – for example LinkedIn can display all your tweets on your profile (http://www.linkedin.com/opensocialInstallation/preview?applicationId=2700). If you use Yammer to communicate within your organisation, then there are ways to post your tweets to Yammer as well. You can’t post the other way (from Yammer to Twitter) as Yammer is intended as a secure network, not a public one.

A quick Google search will reveal many ways to link your accounts together and save on duplciation.

A word of warning

There are a few pitfalls in all this linking – firstly be very sure that all your different networks want and value all the updates you cross post – a valid update to your Twitter follwers may be irritating spam to those you have connected with on LinkedIn for example.

Also be aware that the 140 character limit still applies when cross posting to Twitter. Most apps just shorten the update to the first 140 characters…but this can render it meaningless!

Image from bbum on Flick’r

This post was previously published on Partrdigej’s blog.

Previous posts from the Social Media Handbook Series:

Part 1: What Social Media networks should I use?

Part 2: How do I get followers / friends ???

Part 3: Policies / Strategies / Guidance??

Part 4: Ten things to have on your page to drive up interest??

Part 5: What to do when things go wrong

Part 6: We don’t do that here

Part 7: Basic Guides – Twitter and Flick’r

Justin Partridge

Justin Partridge is a senior manager for Lincolnshire Police in England. He also works on Local Policing and Partnerships for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Justin Partridge has worked in the public sector since leaving university, and for the police since 2003. After being one of only three non-sworn staff selected for the prestigious Police Strategic Command Course (for those who aspire to the most senior posts in UK policing), he started working on the national Local Policing and Partnerships area with chief officers from across the UK, and with partners from the Home Office, NPIA, APA and elsewhere.

Justin is passionate about making a difference to people, and see social media and new technologies having a major role in this – especially in policing and the wider public sector. He blogs on a variety of issues, predominantly around police and technology, and can be found on Twitter talking about much the same.