How to Create a Strong RSS Feed for Facebook or Twitter
RSS Feeds: Why They Matter for Social Media
The power of social media when it comes to advertising or marketing is immense. The potential reach alone of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms is so endless that the sky is the limit for potential. If you're ever considering running a social media account for the purposes of online advertising, or even if you're running a social media page that represents a business, it is critical to set yourself apart from the crowd by presenting a professional, active page. This is where the use of RSS feeds comes into play.
What are RSS Feeds?
RSS stands for "rich site summary," and acts as a method for websites to deliver regular content from around the web. RSS feeds pull content from popular news related websites, blogs, or other publishers who provide the option for people to do so using RSS feeds.
Why Use RSS Feeds?
The power of RSS feeds results from their ability to provide unique content that also changes everyday. RSS feeds gather premium content from news outlets around the web, allowing readers to remain informed and view the latest content in one location (your media page) instead of having to search through multiple sites. It saves the reader time, localizes content on your platform/page, and is ultimately a win-win for all parties involved. Readers save time and maintain privacy (they don't need to sign up with accounts for different websites,) your platform will have free, high quality content, and web publishers will have additional sources of traffic for their articles.
Who Offers RSS Feeds?
Many prominent websites, blogs, and media publishers offer their daily articles and postings in an RSS feed format for public use. Some popular websites that offer RSS feeds are:
- The New York Times
- Men's Health
- The Economist
You get the idea: pretty every major web publisher or media outlet will offer a RSS feed!
Setting up a RSS Feed: Using IFTTT.com
IFTTT stands for "If This, Then That", and is a social media tool that allows you to create a chain of actions, or "recipe," which are triggered by changes or postings by other websites like Facebook, Instagram, or many websites. Essentially, with a IFTTT recipe, you can make it so whenever certain websites or blogs of your choice post an article, the article is also posted or shared to your Facebook page, twitter account, Instagram, Pinterest, or almost any other social media website.
Step 1: Set up Your IFTTT.com Account
Setting up a IFTT account is easy! Just head to their website, and have your email address ready. Use the same email address that is already associated with yout Twitter/Facebook/Instagram page where you want to create a RSS feed for.
Step 2: Find a RSS Feed You Want
This step is also incredibly easy so don't fret! Finding quality RSS feeds is as simple as typing in a google search or two. Check out this guide from the New York University for a list of the best RSS feeds, or try websites like http://ctrlq.org/rss/ to manually search for more specific RSS feeds. All you need is a RSS Feed url to make a trigger recipe!
Remember: Your RSS feed determines where the content your page will post will come from. If you use the New York Time's RSS feed, your articles will come from the New York Times. Use quality websites that fit the theme or topic of your page. If you have a website about food, use Food Network or Food Magazine. If you have a health page, use Men's Fitness or Bodybuilding.com. Keep the theme the same!
Step 3: Create Your Recipe
After creating your IFTTT account, you're ready to make your first recipe! Simply click on the "my recipes" tab at the top of the screen and then select "Create a Recipe"
Click on "This" to get started and then search for "Feed"
Select Feed and then click "news feed item"
Enter in the RSS feed url you want your content for your social media page to come from. This example uses the RSS feed from The New York Times. After you have entered the RSS feed url hit "Create Trigger."
Time to finish off the trigger. Select "That" to move to the next screen. This is where you will choose your action channel. The action channel will be the social media page/platform where articles from the RSS feeds you select will be posted. You can use a variety of action channels. This guide will use Facebook Pages as an example, but the process is the same for all channels essentially. The photos below show you what it would look like for Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest but again, they are all very similar.
You will then have to connect your chosen social media account to IFTTT. This is a simple process and IFTTT will not access your social media account other than to post your chosen RSS feed articles. Click "connect" and authenticate/connect your desired social media account.
No matter what option you select (Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) the options will be fairly simple. Pinterst will allow you to "pin something," Twitter will let you "Tweet" and Facebook will let you "make a link post". All of these options mean the same thing: post to my account. Selecting this will complete the recipe/trigger. When a news outlet of your choice posts an article, your social media account will also post the content.
All that's left to create the recipe is to hit the "Create Action" button. That will bring you to the last screen where you will create the recipe. In this example I am creating a recipe that makes it so whenever the New York Times posts an article, my Facebook page also posts an article (my facebook page is just an example page for the purpose of this guide).
You've Made Your First Recipe!
Congrats! You have just successfully set up your first RSS feed for your social media account! This will mean that whenever the website from where you retrieved your RSS feed from posts content, your social media page/account will as well.
Now, if you want more than 1 media outlet to post to your page, you will need to make more recipes. Doing this is easy, and not as time consuming as you might think (plus you will get better with practice!) Your social media account is already connected and verified, so all you will need to do is repeat the steps you just followed but with a new RSS feed url.
There is no limit to the number of IFTTT recipes you can create, but keep in mind the number of posts you want you page to have per day. Pages with the purpose of social media marketing should appear active and publish quality content, but you don't want to be posting dozens of times a day to spam your followers. Stick with a few quality RSS feeds, and post only a few times per day.
Also, don't be afraid to explore and look around IFTTT for some different recipes or triggers. IFTTT is an immensely powerful tool, for social media and every day life. You can have rain alerts emailed to your or texted to your phone, set up automatic notifications, or link almost any two social media platforms together (i.e. "If I post an Instagram picture, post it to tumblr".)
Don't Be Afraid to Explore!
I hope you have found this Hub to be an informative and useful guide for setting up your very own RSS feeds on social media platforms. Delivering quality, daily content as a media page can be a time consuming or even expensive task. With RSS feeds and IFTTT, you can manage a social media page and focus entierly on marketing and public relations without having to worry about maintaining a constant stream of content. RSS feeds are truly a powerful feature that are underutilized.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to share this Hubpage with anyone you know who might be struggling with their social media endeavors.