How to Connect Google Reader Shares to Facebook via Hootsuite

I have a Facebook Fan page, but I rarely post there because they make it so difficult to do so. There is no bookmarklet that facilitates this action. I’m sure there is some obscure Facebook application that might help with this, but I haven’t found it yet. My only recourse has been to actually visit the page and cut/paste a link. Very time consuming and inefficient if you’re working at the level I am when it comes to social media.

I came across a discussion on piping reader shares into Twitter using Reader2Twitter. This got me thinking about Hootsuite‘s RSS/Atom feature, which lets you pipe a feed through Hootsuite and out to the social networks you choose. Rather than have to deal with yet another 3rd party web application, why not just use an existing feature in an application I already use daily?

Adding Your Facebook Fan Page to Hootsuite

The first step is to connect your Facebook Fan Page to Hootsuite. I actually stumbled across this by accident in simply trying to get my GReader shares into Twitter. Note that once you have done this, you can easily post updates to your Fan Page from within Hootsuite on a per-update basis, making it simple to keep your page updated with fresh content for your fans.

  • Click Settings at the bottom of Hootsuite
  • Click the Social Networks tab and then Add Social Network  on the right
  • In the popup, choose Pages under Facebook to connect your page to Hootsuite


Adding Your Google Reader Shared Items Feed

Adding your Shared Items feed is simple. The hardest part is finding the actual feed link. I found my Shares page from my Google Profile (your Google Profile is here). It should be listed as one of your websites. You should see the actual feed link on the right side of that page, just copy it. Alternately, you can go into Google Reader, click Shared Items on the left, and then show details on the right. The feed URL should appear, right-click and copy it.




Back in Hootsuite and under Settings choose the RSS/Atom tab and Add New Feed. Paste your shared items feed URL into the first text box and decide how often you want the feed checked and how many tweets you want Hootsuite to send out each time. Be conservative here. If you send any more than a couple of tweets out at a time, you will look like a spammer or a n00b. Make sure you choose which accounts you want updates from this feed sent to at the bottom. Check the screenshot below to see how I have mine setup.


If you need any further assistance or clarification, please comment here. I would appreciate your feedback and would be happy to help. Also, if you have a better or alternate way of doing this, I’d love to hear it.

  • colleengreene

    A really nice post with great visual instructions.

    After dismissing Hootsuite in favor of CoTweet a year ago, I decided to give Hootsuite another try this week, because of it's Facebook Fan Page integration. However, I like to post shared links as actual “links” on my Facebook Pages, not as just a status update (which is all that Hootsuite can do), because I find that we get more fan engagement with the visual thumnail associated with posting as a n actual link on the wall. When posting links as text-only status updates, we just don't get the same level of fan interaction.

  • You're right, the actual thumbnails make all the difference. I would rather
    be able to easily post links that way, but I still have not found an easy
    way to do so on a Facebook Fan Page. Like I said, visiting the page every
    time I want to post a link is just a pain. Of course, I'm sure I'll think of
    something eventually 🙂

  • ahr19

    Nice post. And good response by Colleen. Let's see if we can figure out how to do that AND include the thumbnail. Perhaps we can email/tweet hootsuite for an update? 😉

  • You already appear to be running WordPress. Why not have your blog posts go to your Fan Page? The Simple Facebook Connect plugin can do the trick for you.

  • Howdy! This is really cool, and something we at HootSuite HQ are quite impressed with. It just shows us that our users are a savvy lot who are constantly inventing new uses for HootSuite.

    HootSuite's Ambassador of Happiness

  • Your post and Colleen's comments are very much appreciated. I had already been using Hootsuite to push my blog posts to Twitter and overlooked this opportunity. Waiting for Facebook to pull in the feed (to JazzHQ) was painful, but I did like the posts appearing on the wall via notes. I'm trying to weigh the +/- of the link back. At least they're showing up in a timely manner. Thanks again.

  • Hey Rasheen, thanks for sharing these tips. It has definitely made my whole process more efficient and efficiency is KEY in social media.

  • Definitely agreed, there. Social media can turn into nothing but a huge time
    suck if you're not efficient and focus on your priorities.

  • Glad you think so, Chris. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Last I looked into it, the Facebook Connect plugin did some dangerous things with the WordPress database. I don't know that I even want Facebook integrated that deeply into my blog.

    Also, it would only cover my own blog posts, not my shares from Google Reader.

  • You must be thinking of an entirely different plugin. Check the one I linked to out.

    Simple Facebook Connect doesn't do anything “dangerous” to the WordPress database in the slightest. And the modular nature of it means that it can be as shallowly or deeply integrated as you're willing to go with it.

  • colleengreene

    I actually use Posterous to send links with visual thumbnails to my work's Facebook fan page and Twitter simultaneously. It works great, and posts images and video thumnails right on the page wall.

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