As regular readers here at ArcticLlama’s freelance writing business blog are aware, I’ve been building up my presence in the online space, especially in the social media arena. Frankly, I’m not sure how important social media is for writers based upon conversations with other web professionals and freelancers, but some of it is actually kind of fun, so I’m giving it a go.
One of the most important things about social marketing is to participate regularly on all of the social media, or Web 2.0 sites that you are a member of. It is the same thing with regular offline networking. Being a member of Rotary doesn’t help your business. Being a regular, respected member of Rotary who actually knows and and is known by the other members is what helps your business. Social media works the same way.
I realized this when I went looking for more people to follow on Twitter. I was looking for other people who might be posting interesting or useful information that might be of use to me in my business, social, or personal life. Basically, I was looking for other entrepreneurs, other work-at-home dads, other people who lived in Denver, and so on.
This was about a year ago, but even then, Twitter was already so huge that the lists generated by characteristics like those were huge. One of the first things I started using as a filter was how long it had been since the user’s last Tweet. After all, what is point of following someone who only uses Twitter every six months? As it turns out, a lot of Twitter users don’t use Twitter very often.
How a Writing Small Business Can Use Twitter
In order for your small business to benefit from Twitter, you need to have some followers. Not just any followers, but good followers who are actually interested in your posts as opposed to a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours kind of arrangement. (Just like in real life!) But, before you can worry about good followers, you just need any followers at all, and I’m not the first guy, nor will I be the last, to not bother with people who don’t tweet on Twitter very often.
As a freelance writer, the best way to ensure frequent updates on Twitter is to auto tweet your blog posts. As a blogger I post on one of my blogs pretty much every day. Sometimes, I post on several blogs each day. But, with a busy freelancing schedule and as a father of two young children, finding the extra time to manually go over to Twitter, and post a tweet, with a link through a link shortening service, isn’t easy. But, if I can automatically tweet whenever I post an article, that would be both productive, and simple.
I’ve played around with several WordPress plugins to generate automatic tweets, but its been tough to get it just right.
I started with TweetSuite, then Twitter Tools, and then tried Shorten2Ping, and a couple of others, but each one seemed to have some shortcoming that made it not quite right for me and my WordPress blogs.
Auto Tweets TwitterFeed Review
Recently, I’ve started trying out TwitterFeed. TwitterFeed is different than automatic tweet WordPress plugins because it isn’t a plugin. Instead, it is an online web service that uses your WordPress RSS feeds to automatically generate tweets on Twitter for you.
To use TwitterFeed, you create an account and then link it to your Twitter account. Then, you enter your RSS feed address for each blog or website that you want to make automatic tweets for. Every hour, by default, but up to every half hour, or slower like every 4 hours, the TwitterFeed service checks your RSS feed to see if there is a new item. If there is, it generates a tweet and posts it to Twitter for you. It even creates a short link for you from link shortening service bit.ly.
The pros and cons of Twitterfeed comes down to whether or not you want the control for your automatic tweeting to be on your WordPress blog, or at an online service.
The only real negative of TwitterFeed is that unlike a WordPress twitter plugin which sends a tweet almost instantly once you upload a post, TwitterFeed only looks to see if there should be a new tweet sent to Twitter every hour (or whatever you set it for.) Obviously, if you are breaking news, this is not the route to go. When you are writing content that hopefully has a shelf life longer than 30 minutes, it doesn’t seem like it would be a very big deal.
Once it is setup, you can stop worrying about it. And, with TwitterFeed, you get one less WordPress plugin to upgrade each time WordPress releases a new version.