How To Win Friends and Automate People using Twitterfeed
This is a guest post by Dino Dogan, Founder of Dogan Dogs and 2WheelTips . Dino posted a guest post on this blog before on How Do I Start Blogging in 10 Steps or Less? In this guest post, Dino is going to teach us how to automate people using Twitterfeed. You can follow Dino on twitter: @dino_dogan
Manually tweeting new posts by my favorite bloggers has seriously started cutting into my “me” time.
For the last few months I’ve been trying to figure out a way to auto-tweet newest blog posts published by my friends and favorite bloggers. As a rule, these are people who constantly and consistently produce good content sans sales pitch.
The problem is that I always had to do it manually. I had to:
- Keep an eye on my favorite blogs
- Keep track of their publishing schedule, and when they have something new I’d have to tweet it manually.
- I felt bad when I missed an opportunity to spread a really cool post around to my followers
Doing this for 3 or 4 blogs is easy. Doing it for 20 or 30 is hard.
It was becoming both time consuming and ineffective because inevitably I would miss some pretty awesome posts. And not only would I miss those posts, but my Twitter followers would miss them as well.
I went through many permutations on how to get around it and I’ve come up with some pretty shitty ideas which I will not share with you because I don’t want to embarrass myself.
Btw…ever wonder where shitty ideas come from? Well, wonder no more.
And then a revelation…
But then, while reading a section about Darren Rowse in Joel Comm’s book Twitter Power (Amazon Affiliate link); Joel mentions a tool that Darren uses to publish his own posts using his own RSS feed via Twitterfeed.
So I thought if Darren can use Twitterfeed to publish his own posts using RSS, why can’t I use Twitterfeed to publish other people’s posts using their RSS feed?
I tried it, and it works.
Immediately I felt stupid for not knowing about Twitterfeed sooner, but based on Twitter’s own numbers, Twitterfeed app doesn’t even register on the list of top 10 tools used to access Twitter.
I am interpreting this to mean that less than 1% of Twitter users are actually using Twitterfeed. So this made me feel little better for being so unlearned.
More automation means more engagement.
Now, for the Twitter purists who will argue that automating Twitter is bad and automation prevents real engagement let me just say this.
Auto-tweeting a new blog posts written by my friends and favorite bloggers allows me to spend more time making real connections on Twitter and engaging with my tweeps. I think it’s a win-win and Dale Carnegie (Amazon Affiliate link) would be proud.
So how do you automate people using Twitterfeed?
It’s so easy.
1. Go to http://twitterfeed.com
a. Twitterfeed doesn’t support login-in with your Twitter ID but it does allow a sign-in with your Open-ID (assuming you have one). Otherwise, you will have to sign-up for a Twitterfeed account which is a breeze.
2. Click on “sign up” and fill-in your email and desired Twitterfeed password
3. That’s all there is to creating an account. Immediately after you provide email and password you will be prompted to create your first feed (see step 5).
4. Go to your favorite blog and get their RSS feed URL. You usually do this by clicking on the RSS icon which usually looks kinda like this.
Side note: Firefox will often display the RSS icon in the address bar which you can click on to get the feed’s URL. Like so.
5. Now that you have the RSS URL, copy and paste it into the Twitterfeed’s and give a friendly name to your feed in the “Feed Name” area. See below.Also, make sure you test the feed by clicking on “test RSS Feed”. Of many feeds that I’ve set up I’ve found only one that was broken and didn’t work. This enabled me to notify the blogger to fix her feed.
6. Click on “Advanced Setting” to configure the feed properties further. See below for the breakdown of these options.
a. Update frequency allows you to check how often Twitterfeed goes out to your favorite blog to check for new posts. I have mine set to 30 minutes.
b. I don’t want to spam my followers so I publish 1 update at a time. Some bloggers might publish many posts in a 30 minute span (unlikely I know, but this scenario would be more likely if I checked the blog every 12 hrs for example. Which is why I opted for every 30 minutes instead). If they did have several posts since the last check-in this would result in multiple tweets. Which would look like this in the timeline of my followers.
This is definitely something you want to avoid.
c. Post Content: Select if you want your 140 characters to be taken up with a title (of the blog post) or title AND description. I use title only. By the time you fit the blog post title, the link and the suffix (see step “g”) you will run out of characters in a hurry.
d. Choose your shortening service. I use bit.ly just because it’s easy and I think it’s a default.
i. Fun tip. Add “+” to your bit.ly address and it will produce stats for you. Like so http://bit.ly/dmfsho+
This tip came to me via Nathan Hangen via his article on 3 Ways Twitter Analysis Can Enhance Your Marketing
e. Post Sorting. I use “pubDate” which means that Twitterfeed will look for the latest post and publish that one. The second option is to use GUID (Globally Unique ID) which I really haven’t used but might, so I will report back if I do.
f. Post Prefix is whatever you want to put before the Twitterfeed plugs the title+link and tweets it. I don’t use post prefix.
g. Post Suffix is same as prefix except it appears at the end of the tweet. I DO use Post Suffix to identify the tweep behind the link. This will let the tweep know that I RTed his post and it lets my followers know who the author is.
h. Keyword filter allows you to only publish posts that match certain words…I think. It’s not a feature I use so experiment with it if you think it might be useful to you.
i. Click on “Continue to step 2” once Advanced settings have been configured
7. Next you will select the type of service (Twitter, Facebook, etc) you want to use to “feed” using Twitterfeed. We will focus on Twitter in this tutorial. I only feed Twitter but others are set up in a similar fashion. So let’s click on Twitter
8. Click on Twitter (shown above) and then click on the giant blue “Authenticate Twitter” button. I recommend that you log into Twitter before clicking on the big blue button to make things seamless. Otherwise, simply provide your Twitter username/password and click on “Allow” to allow Twitterfeed access to your Twitter stream.
9. I don’t use UTM Tags. I think you can manipulate the source (for example) so that it displays something other than twitterfeed. I reckon Twitter can recognize these tags and it might be useful to some but I’ve had no need to use these at this time.
10. Next two windows will basically tell you that you’re done and will provide summary. Acknowledge them and you will end up in the Dashboard area.
11. Once everything is said and done, your Twitter will receive periodic updates from Twitterfeed that will look little something like this
This is an example of a Twitterfeed auto-tweeting the newest post by one of my favorite bloggers.
And that’s how we win friends and automate people.
Is there a secret-agent type of Social Media tool that you are using?
Do you have Ninja level advice for the rest of us?
Totally Unrelated Links:
About Dino Dogan
In addition to being the landlord over at http://diyblogger.net Dino is a writer, biker (tho not gang affiliated..for now), dog trainer, singer/songwriter, and a kick-ass Martial Artist. You can also find him on Twitter http://twitter.com/dino_dogan