Below is a reader friendly, abridged text version of the video. It may make a good cheat-sheet if you’re planning to automate a feed to Twitter. Take a quick look at the video first, and note that this post continues with part II.
It’s critical that you’re careful with your social media etiquette when you’re using automated software. Otherwise you’re going to come off as someone who’s not mindful of other people’s time– Someone that’s just basically trying to shove inflation down other people’s throats. Engagement is what the social web is all about. It’s not about sending robots to go push things/posts to people. I like twitterfeed.com a lot, because it’s excellent for automating an RSS feed to Twitter which doesn’t become “spammy,” which you can really kind of customize. This RSS-to-Twitter how-to is a way to supplement what you share on Twitter. It gives very targeted information that’s directly what you are sure is going to interest people that are following you, while at the same time letting you create some original content.
Once you create an account on TwitterFeed.com, you are going to be asked for a feed name and the URL for that RSS feed. What I like to do– and this is what lets you customize everything– is I like to look at Google Reader where I can create an RSS Feed to tweet on autopilot based on keywords. Now of course, if you want you can definitely just use an RSS Feed that’s from one source, for example, one news site that you like very much. But honestly I don’t think that’s going to create a very unique set of information, and if you really want to hone in on something more specific it’s not going to let you do that. If you’re just publishing stories from (for example) ReadWriteWeb.
What I like to use is Google Alerts. [Note: you can set up a RSS in Google Reader for your feed to Twitter, and that will also mean you have a news source in Google Reader IF you like to use that app. In some ways, Google Alerts is an easier way to create a feed for Twitter.] You can search for it, or you can simply find it with the alerts. And this is going to give me a customized RSS feed that’s very targeted. I can then post into my stream on Twitter and also of course the stream of others that are following me – and it really speaks to what I’m interested in, whether it’s my hobby or my professional work. I’m actually a really big photographer, and travel photography is my biggest thing. But hey, let’s get really specific here and see what we can find – a lot of my travel photography is Asian travel photography so let’s try that. It’s not going to return a lot and in fact I’m going to put it in quotes – then it’s really not going to return a lot. So you could probably create more than one RSS feed if you want to get into these really specific things, and I’ll use everything, although you have different choices here. How often, I’ll do once a day, and only the best results. And then it says “deliver to,” you could just say “deliver to feed” and then you’re going to create the alert.
Once you’ve created the alert (you can see that these are alerts that I have in here) .
What you need now – this is the part that if you’re not very used to some coding or simple scripting or text stuff on the web. What you need is the RSS Feed Address. This is really simple, you probably just want to do a right-click if you’re using Windows and then copy the link address. Once you set it up, you can go into the feed dashboard and configure how it’s going to post to your Twitter account.
I know this RSS to tweet how-to is seeming a little bit complex to some people, but honestly just follow these steps and it’s really very intuitive. There are some things I’m not thrilled about with the way TwitterFeed.com does stuff, it’s not all that intuitive so just follow how I’m doing this and you’ll find it pretty easy. I’m going to click on the RSS feed that we’ve created, and it’s going to ask me to edit this feed. And it wants me to configure publishing services – I’m going to click on Advanced Settings, and here’s where I can set these up. So how often do I want this to go? Well this is very important, this is where you don’t want to be spamming.
Show The Love, Not The Spam – I know the headline of this post or of this tutorial is a bit cheeky: “Make Love Not Spam”. What I meant by that or what I mean by that is simply make, in the sense of create. So let’s create something here that’s a little bit more where people feel the love, and not hate you because you’re sending spam to them. I wouldn’t send this too often, you know? I wouldn’t do it more often than 6 hours or 12 hours, because again you want to supplement what you’re doing here with your own ideas that you’re sharing on Twitter – sometimes links and bookmarks, but write your own unique things. Don’t just bookmark articles and sources, which is what this is going to do for you.
We can create the Post Content, Title Only, Description Only – you might want to do Title Only. It’s going to cut off, but it’s going to show pretty nicely in the end. Number of posts, up to five. This is neat; you can choose your shortener here, I love that. If you create more than one feed then you can have different shorteners; it’s not going to look like you’re automating it (which you are, but everyone else is too). It’s just that some people make it look more obnoxious and more like everything is the same, and that’s not appreciated at all.