Twitterfeed is Going Away – Dlvr.it is Here to Stay. Now that I got that out, let’s talk about social media automation and RSS feeds. Keeping social media accounts active is one of the most important components of having success with social media.
With that in mind, I’m going to introduce you to a great RSS feeding tool called dlvr.it. Dlvr.it is used to RSS feed posts to your social media accounts. If you just started reading this and feel like I’m speaking another language, you might want to learn what an RSS feed is and how to identify the RSS feed URL. Here’s an article I wrote about this subject to help you.
Dlvr.it makes the services they offer pretty clear. Does the list above remind you of Buffer? It should, as they are quite similar. Personally, I prefer dlvr.it.
Today I will only focus on item #1 from the above list: Automate RSS feeds to post on social media.
First things first. Yes, dlvr.it has a free version and I will show you how to use it (for the most part) in this article. I have used the paid version of dlvr.it since they added the option a few years back. You’ll probably want to upgrade to it later.
With the free version you can set up three social networks to feed content to, from five RSS feeds. Once you register your free account, you are sent to a screen to set up your first feed, much like the example image below.
You can set up the feed in one of two ways.
Now, I will walk you through setting up the first feed and posting to your social media account.
Once you click the plus sign your screen will refresh, and it will look something like this:
Now it’s time to customize the settings for your needs. Adding it to your queue means it is something you want to share later. I recommend you use the defaults of “share immediately” and “post the most recent item now”.
Next, click “Connect Socials”. Here you will are going to give dlvr.it access to the social media account you would like this RSS feed to post to.
As shown above, dlvr.it will post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn Profiles, LinkedIn Company Pages, Tumblr, App.net and StockTwits. (Disclosure: I have never used dlvr.it to post to Pinterest, App.net or StockTwits, so I cannot describe how well it works on these sites, or how it appears in the feeds there.)
In this example I will set up posting to Twitter from dlvr.it via an RSS feed:
Once you click “Start Posting” you’ll be taken to a screen that looks much like the example above. If you want to customize the settings for this social media account, click on the sprocket symbol next to the social media account.
There are several custom options here that you can modify, and you will want to modify them based on the social media account you’re posting to. I’m going to zero in on three options you should consider using right away with RSS-feeding content to Twitter.
These features are turned off by default. I haven’t yet uses the auto hashtag placement feature, but I’ll test it out. It is definitely a quick and easy way to reach a new audience with hashtags that you might not reach otherwise.
Once you get comfortable using dlvr.it, definitely check out the other settings available under this section. For example, if you are setting up to post to your Tumblr account via an RSS feed, you’ll want to enable the “Post Body” setting for the social media account. Then modify the settings setup within dlvr.it for the RSS feed itself to post the preferred content summary when the setting is enabled. (I know, I’m probably speaking Greek again. Whoops, I mean geek, but once you drill a bit more into dlvr.it, you’ll get what I’m talking about.)
If posting to LinkedIn or Facebook from dlvr.it via an RSS feed, you’ll need to adjust a few more settings for these social media accounts. Here are the steps:
If you’ve been following along and doing this step-by-step, at this point you should have dlvr.it set up to post to one Twitter account via an RSS feed. Plus, potentially setup a RSS feed to post to Facebook or LinkedIn. Now, you must modify the settings for the RSS feed itself in dlvr.it.
Here you control components such as how often dlvr.it checks the RSS feed for new content, how many posts it will send out at one time, whether or not the image featured in the post is shared with the article title and link, all the way down to in which order an update is posted.
To access the settings area for the RSS feed itself:
The screen should look like this:
The “Detail” tab is the first tab that will appear. You can change the feed name if you want to. You can have it set up to feed to multiple social media accounts from one feed, so you probably don’t want to rename it to a specific social media account. For example, I have the RSS feed for Rocks Digital in my dlvr.it account set up to post to about 10 different social media accounts, ranging from multiple Twitter accounts to LinkedIn Profiles, Company Pages and Facebook Pages.
Make sure “feed active” is enabled if you want to continue posting from this RSS feed URL to the social media accounts you have authorized underneath it.
Click on the second tab labeled “Updates”. The screen should look like the above image. You will want to modify the settings for this tab.
Let me explain why I recommend these settings.
There are two additional settings in this tab and I will highlight them now. One is “Update Frequency”. The default of “Every 30 minutes” is fine. This setting tells dlvr.it how often you want it to check the RSS feed to see if there is new content available for publishing during a specific update period. I usually change this to “Every Hour”, but this isn’t as important. The other is setting is “Subscribe to PuSH Updates”. I have turned this on and off and did not really notice a difference, so I just leave this setting at the default.
With the professional version of dlvr.it I see an extra section in the “Updates” tab that the free account doesn’t offer. This section, called “Update Window”, allows you to set up specific days and times for dlvr.it to check the RSS feed and post content.
Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see above, I have it set up to check this specific RSS feed 7 days a week between the hours of 9:30 am and 7:00 pm, and to post if something new is added. This pro feature allows you to avoid tweeting in the middle of the night so that you post during more peak times.
The third tab, “Item Text”, is similar to the “Begin Posts With” and “End Posts With” settings that are available when setting up the social media account. What’s the difference? Modifying the setting within the RSS feed instead of applying it to a specific social media account ensures the setting will apply for all the social media accounts you attach to the feed. If you completely fill in the “Prefix” and/or “Suffix” area within this tab, you would avoid completing it within the social media account settings. If you do this, you would have a duplication issue if you set both to say the same thing.
The fourth tab available is called “Filters”. Personally, I haven’t used this tab. You can use it to customize what you are sharing from the specific RSS feed. For example, if you are pulling an RSS feed from a site that blogs on all sorts of different topics, but you only want to share the stuff that has a specific set of words in it, such as “social media”, you would set up the filter. You can also set up the “Ignore items that contain any of the terms” filter if you want to exclude a specific topic. For example, I might use this setting to ignore “Trump, Clinton, Politics, Election”, since I wouldn’t want these types of items posting to my Twitter account.
The fifth tab is “Location”, and I recommend you do not turn this on as doing so could provide where you live.
The sixth and final tab under the RSS feed settings is “Advanced”. Here’s what it looks like:
This screen capture shows you what settings to select. There are three specific things I will share about this section.
That’s it for the “Advanced” section. Your RSS feed is all set up and should be posting properly now, and there is one more dlvr.it setting I want to go over with you.
Here you will tell dlvr.it which URL shortener to use when posting to the social media accounts you authorize. (Keep in mind, shortened URLs do not appear when posting on Facebook, etc., so this applies mainly to Twitter.)
To access the settings area for this feature:
Select your preferred URL shortener from the dropdown and then walk through the authorization process. The screen capture below shows what settings to select:
Personally, I use and recommend Bit.ly as a URL shortener. Using bit.ly as my selected shortener in dlvr.it allows the tracking data (such as link clicks) to be passed to bit.ly. This way, I see all my link clicks for posts in one place, and I like that. Bit.ly is certainly not the only choice as there are many others you can use. Walk thru the settings and authorize the URL shortener you prefer.
And That’s a Wrap…
I’ll test out some of the settings I haven’t played with yet, like curating content with dlvr.it and using the scheduling feature, and return with my analysis and recommendations soon.
I welcome you to set up Rocks Digital to feed to your social media accounts, and I’ve made it easy for you. This page provides the RSS feed URL for categories, specific contributors, or the entire blog. Now you can decide exactly what you want to feed (or whom), and can set it up quickly and easily.
What do you think about setting up an RSS feed to post to your social media accounts?