How to turn Facebook posts into tweets (and vice versa)

Community managers spend a lot of time condensing Facebook posts into tweets (and stretching tweets into Facebook posts). Here are some tricks to make both easier.

As many community managers know, you often have the same message to spread across several social media platforms. It’s a skill in and of itself.

You should tailor messages to their respective audiences and platform constraints. This often includes transforming messages from an unlimited amount of space (Facebook) into 140 characters (Twitter).

I look at turning Facebook posts into tweets as a puzzle. You have to fit 200-300 character messages into 140 characters (ideally 120 to leave room for retweet messages). When you account for the 22 characters used for a link, you’re left with a mere 98 characters in which to fit your message.

How can you fit a complete, grammatically correct sentence or two into 98 characters or fewer? Here are some tips:

1. Shave down the post to the core message. What exactly do you need to say—with no frills? Start with that and your link, plus any additional hashtags. Then, reduce it more if necessary.

2. Use ampersands, numerals and contractions. Using “&” instead of “and” will take five characters (accounting for spaces) down to three. Using the numeral “7” instead of “seven” will knock off four characters.

3. Change a sentence into a question. Sometimes questions are shorter than full sentences. Plus, you’re also more likely to pique curiosity about the link you’re pointing users to.

4. Use active voice instead of passive voice. You’ll get rid of extra “to be” verbs while using stronger language.

5. Don’t resort to texting language. A tweet that reads “R U looking 4 the best tips 4 tweeting?” is extremely unprofessional. Avoid it at all costs.

You shouldn’t link your Facebook page to your Twitter handle. Nothing makes less sense than a stream of tweets that are cut off before the key message due to automated Facebook synchronization. It can even cut off the link you’re sharing, sending your readers on a wild goose chase across platforms just to get your message. Hardly anyone has patience for that—especially when they’re on mobile.

Translating tweets back into Facebook posts

The first step is to make sure the message is grammatically correct. Eliminate symbols and shortcuts. You have a little more room to work with, so you can briefly introduce your content before you add your call to action or conversation starter.

I also prefer not to include a double link. If your Facebook post already includes the link, there’s no use in leaving it in the post, as well.

It only takes a little time to tweak each message for the right channel, so be patient. You’ll come to the puzzle’s conclusion soon enough!

If you’re constantly changing Facebook posts into tweets, what are your tricks for making them channel appropriate?

A version of this article originally appeared on the Identity PR blog.

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