Dec 17 2011

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Twitter Tip #3 – Automate Your Twitter Account Using Twitterfeed and Google Alerts

se Twitterfeed and Google Alerts to keep your stream updated.

Twitterfeed is basically an RSS feed, and it’s a great way to automatically keep your followers updated without having to stay on Twitter all day coming up with great content and engaging with your fans. It allows things to be updated on their own, so you don’t have to sit there tweeting for hours; it’s all done for you at intervals of your choosing.

Automating tweets can help you prioritize. There are tools that enable you to select certain topics or sub-topics for notification, so that the topics important to you will be delivered daily, or however you like. One of the most popular is Google Alerts.

There are several different automation schemes, but Twitterfeed is especially good for sharing interesting content other than your own.

The 3rd party dashboard HootSuite also has the ability to import feeds into your Twitter stream. You can swipe the RSS feed from any blog or other content provider, insert it into HootSuite, set a frequency for it to check the feed, and tell it how many posts it should use each time.

Now, having said that, there are some possible wrinkles to using this, or any other automation scheme. If you are using a Google Alert to give you posts on a particular topic, you might not like the slant of the article once it is posted. I post a lot with a feed that searches for articles about homeschooling, and I find that many times the articles that Twitterfeed returns are from a completely different point of view than my own, and are perhaps from sources that are virulently opposed to homeschooling. Sometimes you might even end up with something that is not really about your topic at all, but is a fake link leading to a porn site.

There are basically two ways to deal with that scenario. One is to delete the offending tweet.  Or, you can have your followers go to the article and post an opposing view.  I have used both methods. But I am actually engaging with my followers often enough that I will see these tweets before they have been out there too long. The point is that automation is supposed to help you find content of interest to your followers, but it should not be the only kind of tweet in your account.

Be sure to get my free report about how to automate your Twitter account.
photo credit: Damien BasileCreative Commons License


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  1. Adam Justice

    Nice post Susan. I think it’s probably important to add some sort of automation if you use social media for business, if not you’re missing an opportunity to make your business more efficient, and your life easier.
    Adam Justice recently posted..Gratitude in 2012; Who Packs Your Parachute?My Profile

    1. SusanCritelli

      Hi Adam, thanks for your comment! I know there are those – Michael Q. Todd comes to mind :-) – who feel that automation is completely at odds with what social media is about, and I don’t actually disagree with that. But, like you, I think it makes me more efficient. I am all about curating, and it is kind of a “curator’s helper” – not unlike Scoop.it or Buffer, or even the scheduling capabilities of HootSuite. They enable me to maintain some kind of presence even when I am on vacation, or when I know I am going to be up to my eyeballs in other projects.

  2. Jorge Purgly

    Congratulations Susan. I just printed out your article about Twiter Automation Secrets and I will implement your tips during this week.
    All the best,
    Jorge Purgly
    Jorge Purgly recently posted..Segredos da Linguagem do Corpo Parte 1My Profile

    1. SusanCritelli

      Thank you, I hope that you find them useful. I have been using Twitterfeed and Google Alerts for a couple of years, and for the most part I have been happy with the results. One caveat would be that you should test the feed in a reader or a secret twitter account until you are satisfied that it is not going to tweet vulgarities or other inappropriate content before using in conjunction with an established Twitter account that has many followers who might be offended. The combination of Digg feeds and Christian homeschoolers has sometimes yielded disastrous results!

  3. Mindy Koch

    I think we all definitely have different comfort levels when it comes to automation. I can see how this could be useful but I couldn’t do it. I can imagine the combination of Digg feeds and Christian homeschooling did have some very interesting results!!
    Mindy Koch recently posted..7 Killer Resources to Have Other People Promote Your Blog Posts!My Profile

  4. Colin Kaepernick

    Pleased to be going to your site again, it has been weeks for me personally. Well, this is actually the article that I have been waiting for so long. Many thanks,

  5. Debra Eckerling

    I too am not a huge fan of automated tweeting, though I use hootsuite to better manage my lists and see what is going on in the worlds of writing and higher education. Thanks for this food for thought, Susan.
    Debra Eckerling recently posted..Write On Online – December Meeting & 2012 GoalsMy Profile

  6. Debbie Miller

    I’m sort of in the middle on this — I do schedule tweets, but I personally vet everything first before it goes into the queue. I think you just need to be extremely careful about what you’re putting out, and how much. Overdoing it can become a bother if too much goes out at once, it’s duplicate information, etc.
    Debbie Miller recently posted..SEO Basics for Local BusinessesMy Profile

    1. SusanCritelli

      Debbie, even I am in the middle on this! As I mentioned in the post, I have had some tweets that were a total #fail because I didn’t check them in advance. Though I do have some google feeds that I am pretty happy with, over time, I have moved from using feeds that are generated by a search to feeds from trusted blog and website sources. After I have determined that I am always (or almost always) on board with what a particular blog’s point of view or topic is, I may have a feed that pulls from there every 24 hours and picks one post. I also use HootSuite to manage multiple fan pages and Twitter accounts for clients (which I think is way more counter to what social media should be about than automated tweeting!). I don’t have a smartphone, but I have a HootSuite app on my Kindle Fire, and can keep tabs on HootSuite from wherever I am.

  7. Chaudet

    Very interesting. Do you have a facebook or twitter page I can follow you on?

    1. SusanCritelli

      Hi, Chaudet, I do indeed. You can follow me on Twitter as @momzilla54 and find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SusanCritelli.SocialMediaStrategist . Thanks for asking!

  8. Anthony Kaopua

    Hello. I ran across your own blog using bing. It really is a nicely prepared article. We will unquestionably come back.

  9. Detlev Artelt

    Great Tips and so useful – I moved all to buffer and promote this.


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