Sending tweets automatically to Twitter is a much discussed topic amongst social media experts.
Are the tweets worth more if you send them yourself? Is it “cheating” to automate the tweets using your RSS feed?
My opinion on this, is that you should not tweet anything automatically, that you would not have tweeted manually, but that on the other hand there is no reason not to use the tools available to make better use of your time.
One way to automate the tweeting process is to use FeedBurner. If your blog is already using FeedBurner to publish the RSS feed, then it is only a few simple steps away from automated tweeting:
1. Log into your FeedBurner account and select the feed
2. Click on “Publicize” on the top menu
3. Now click on “Socialize” on the side menu
4. On the socialize page, select the Twitter account that you would like to tweet to, or click on “Add a Twitter account” to authorise a new one
5. Using the options available, it is possible to configure how the tweets will look. The first one is whether the title or part of the text should be used for the tweet. The generally use the title.
You can also decide whether to link to the article, which you will probably want to do. The “Leave room for retweets” option leaves enough space for the “RT @username” text to be added without the tweet being shortened.
6. The hash tags option allows the article category or categories to be added as hash tags. This can be a good idea, but I would avoid the inline hash tags as these replace words in the tweet with tags if they match up, making it less readable.
7. In the “additional text” field you can add a piece of text that is added to every tweet, eg. a prefix or something like “New post:”
8. The item selection area gives you the option to limit the number of tweets sent when you post new items, and also to filter the posts by keywords if you do not want to tweet every post to your account.
9. Finally, click on “Activate”