Forever looking for a neat solution involving lots of coding when it came to synchronising a Facebook Group and a Twitter feed, I was left scratching my head for something that did just that and ended up with a completely different – and altogether simpler – solution to my problem. From what I can tell via Google, Facebook Groups don’t command the respect from the site’s developers that they used to and so while automatically posting to your own wall from Twitter is easily do-able (or it was back in the Autumn…), posting to a different wall is an additional challenge.
In the end my saviour was RSS Graffiti, an App for your Facebook account that polls the RSS feed of your Twitter account and then posts it when anything new appears. It will put it on your own wall, a group’s wall or both. I have to admit to usually being sceptical towards Facebook Apps due to security and privacy concerns / lack of interest / not wanting to waste my life on Farmville. RSS Graffiti, though, does exactly what it says on the tin and does a good job of it to.
Setting up RSS Graffiti
Here is my guide to getting everything working, through experience gained while simply playing with all of the settings. I should point out that this solution won’t post back to Twitter – that wasn’t what I was trying to acheive as all of the posts I needed came from there.
Before you start you will need:
- A Facebook Group set up to post to (obviously)
- An account to post to the group from (you can’t post to a group as the group itself)
- To be an admin on that group
1 – Find your Twitter RSS Feed
Twitter doesn’t advertise this feature or link RSS feeds to your Twitter profile, so it took a bit of digging about before I found this post by Piers Dillon Scott: Twitter hasn’t killed RSS just yet, here’s how to find your Twitter feed RSS url. I used the second method listed on this page; taking the following link and inserting my Twitter user ID into it: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/<user_id>.rss. Piers also lets you know how to find your user ID – I did a view-source on my Twitter account page and found it in there.
Once you’ve got your complete link, put it in your browser to make sure that it’s your Tweets that are staring back at you.
2 – Install RSSGraffiti
Log into the Facebook account that you want to post to your group from. As mentioned above you can’t post to a group as the group itself – you have to post as a ‘person’. All I did was create a new Facebook account / profile as the group name and then hid all of my details in the profile. Once logged in, carry out a search for RSSGraffiti:
Then install it as you would any Facebook App (or ‘authorize’ it, to use their terminology).
3 – Configure what will show your Twitter posts
Once installed, you can configure which Facebook Profiles, Groups and Fan Pages will show your Tweets. Any of these items that you have permission to post to shoudl appear on the left hand side of the settings;
Using the on/off slider on the right hand side of the profile gives you an easy option to turn this feature on or off on a per-profile basis.
4 – Add your RSS Feed
Under the settings for your Group (click on the group on the left-hand menu), click on ‘Add Feed’ and then enter the URL from above.
Once applied, it took about 40 minutes to start polling my RSS feed and showing the results. If you don’t enter a past cut-off date in the ‘Filter’ tab, then you will inevitably need to post something on your Twitter feed for RSSGraffiti to pick up.
You can then tweak the settings in order to:
- Prefix your Tweets (handy if you need to distinguish between Tweets and other posts)
- Alter the frequency of polling / checking the feed
- Exclude Retweets
- Exclude Replies
- Include and Exclude certain tags
- Remove the Twitter username from your Facebook posts
- Attach pictures and links
- Append a bit.ly URL to point back to the source story