Did you know that you can feed RSS feeds into Twitter? In this article I’ll explain why you may choose to automatically feed an RSS feed into your Twitter account, and I’ll explain how to do it.
Why automate an RSS feed into Twitter?
In previous articles I’ve written about how to get more Twitter followers and how to use Twitter more effectively. One of the keys was to make sure you Tweet lots of interesting content.
When I made a decision to use Twitter more effectively as a strategy to get more people to visit my site, I found that Tweeting other people’s content was a good way to get noticed, and it was also a great way to help other people. I didn’t want my Twitter stream to be all about me, so having a healthy amount of links to other blogs was a good thing. I also discovered that people who’s blogs I liked reading may not be as well know to my Twitter followers, so it was a good opportunity to introduce my followers to some other quality bloggers.
When I talk about ‘Tweeting other people’s content I’m not talking about re-Tweeting their tweets. I do this sometimes, but not all that regularly. What I am talking about is tweeting other people’s blog posts. So if I was reading a good article on a blog, I’d make the effort to hit the Tweet button (if there was one) or I’d copy and paste the link into Twitter and post it there.
After a while, I realised I was Tweeting a lot of posts from a small group of bloggers. Around the same time, I discovered how to feed RSS feeds automatically to my Twitter account. In the rest of this article I’ll show you how to automate this. I’ll show you how easy it is to get RSS feeds into Twitter.
What if I don’t want to automate it?
I know that whenever people talk about automating anything to do with Twitter, it opens up a can of worms. I wrote an article about why I automate my Twitter Direct Messages a while back, and it generated a bit of interest.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how you feel about automating things. I’m comfortable automating some things to do with Twitter, but I’m still very active on my Twitter account, making sure I interact with people.
In my opinion Tweeting other people’s blog posts can be a good thing as long as the content is valuable to your followers. You may decide to automate this. If your entire Twitter stream is full of these Tweets, it’s not a good thing. There needs to be a healthy balance.
As I wrote last week, wear your own armour – make a decision about your values and the way you want to do business. If you’re comfortable adding RSS feeds into Twitter, then do it.
Using TwitterFeed to add RSS feeds into your Twitter account
I use a service called TwitterFeed to manage the RSS feeds I want to put into my Twitter stream. It’s very simple to use, and it’s free.
There are other ways to do this, but I wanted to find a way that was simple and automatic, and didn’t need me to remember to login to a program or website to make it happen.
Step 1 – Set Up An Account
Go to TwitterFeed and you’ll see an option at the top of the screen to create an account. Click on it and it’ll ask for your email address etc.
Once your account is set up you’ll be able to start adding feeds.
Step 2 – Find a Feed
Find a site that you want to promote and grab its RSS feed. You’ll usually see an RSS button somewhere on the site. Copy the RSS feed URL to your clipboard.
If you’re looking for a good one, you can always add http://feeds.feedburner.com/Bloggerbusinessplan!
Step 3 – Add The Feed
In the TwitterFeed dashboard, you select the option to add a new feed. You name the feed (only you see the name), and copy the feed URL into the URL field. There’s an option to test the RSS feed – select this to make sure you’ve got the right URL.
Once the feed is in place, select the ‘Advanced Settings’ button to open up some more options.
Update Frequency – the option you select here determines how often TwitterFeed will check the RSS feed for new blog posts. You are also able to tell it how many new posts to Tweet at a time.
Post content – you have the option to choose both the post title and the description to be added to the Tweet, or just the title. A lot of the time I choose just the title. You do have the option to post to other social media accounts, such as Facebook. If you are posting to Facebook, you may prefer to post both the title and description.
You also have the option here to shorten your post link using a URL shorter. I set up an account with Bit.ly and entered my account details into here. The advantage of having an account with Bit.ly is that you’re able to login to Bit.ly and check your stats – in particular to see which URLs have been clicked on and how many times.
Post Sorting – I leave this set at the default option of the most recent published date.
Post Prefix and Post Suffix – you’re able to enter up to 20 characters for the post-prefix and post-suffix. I tend to not use the post-suffix option, but do use the post-prefix option. Usually I enter something like ‘latest article from …’. I’ll either add in the name of the blog or the twitter name of the blog’s author.
Keyword Filter – I haven’t used this option, but it does allow you to filter the RSS feed by adding certain keywords. It may be useful if you are adding an RSS feed that features a whole bunch of different topics, but you only want selected tweets on a certain topic to come through.
Once you’ve completed all the options here you select the ‘Continue to Step Two’ option. This takes you to the next page.
Step Four – Select Your Account
On the next page, you will have the option of selecting which social media accounts the RSS feed will go to. You have the option of Twitter, StatusNet, Hellotxt, Facebook and LinkedIn. At this stage, I’m only adding RSS feeds into Twitter. In the future I may also post them to other Social Media accounts.
When you’re starting out, you need to authenticate your Twitter account before you’re unable to add it. This is a really simple process and involves you logging into Twitter and authorising TwitterFeed to post to your account.
When you’ve done it once, next time you will be able to select your twitter account from the drop-down box.
And that’s all there is to it. As you can see it’s really simple to add RSS feeds into Twitter using a tool such as TwitterFeed.
I also like using TwitterFeed, because its dashboard gives me the ability to automatically pause or edit the RSS feeds. So if I want to stop automatically tweeting somebody’s blog posts, I can simply pause that feed in the dashboard rather than having to delete it completely. I can then turn it back on later if I want to.
RSS Feeds Into Twitter – What Else Do You Need To Know?
I must admit, I got a bit carried away when I first started doing this. I added a lot of RSS feeds to my twitter stream end soon realised this was properly too much. I added some feeds that weren’t producing a lot of great content so I quickly paused these and stopped automatically tweeting them.
I suggest you start off small, and perhaps only add a couple blog feeds initially (including mine of course!). I also will only add RSS feeds for blogs that I also read regularly, and that produce quality content. I’m very careful who I will tweet about.
What do you think about adding RSS feeds into twitter. Do you think it’s a good idea? Is it something you’ve done before? Do you think you would do it now?
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to Tweet this post!
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- Tweet Adder Review – How I Automate Part Of My Twitter Strategy
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