If you're short on time but still want to take advantage of the many benefits of social networking, you can use an external application to send an automated message to Twitter. Whether you want to pull topics and links from your blog feed or simply schedule a few tweets, these applications will take care of your tasks.
Reasons for Sending an Automated Message to Twitter
There are a variety of reasons why someone would want to send an automated message to Twitter. Some of these might be:
- If you're on vacation and want to send tweets while you're away from the computer.
- To maintain a Twitter presence without having to monitor the site constantly.
- If your main reason for using the service is to send out links to new blog material or business information, without actively participating.
- To send out reminders to those following you.
- To remember important events and dates, such as sending out a birthday greeting or an important announcement at a specific date and time.
You can use automated tweets occasionally, or you can set them up to post at specific times on a regular basis.
Feeding Your blog Posts to Twitter
One way to set up automated messages is to use your blog's RSS feed to pull new and popular headlines, tweeting them with a link included. The easiest way to do this is by using an application called TwitterFeed.
To use TwitterFeed, all you have to do is register, choose which social networking site you'd like to post your feed to (in this case, that would be Twitter), and then copy and paste your blog's RSS or Atom feed link. You can then decide how often you'd like TwitterFeed to scan your blog for new content, and when it finds something new, it sends out a tweet from your Twitter account.
Other Automated Tweet Applications
There are a few other applications that allow you to send out automated Tweets. New apps are being developed and unveiled every day as well, so if you don't find one immediately that suits your needs, try your search again at a later date. Here are some of these applications that you can use right now.
- Followerwonk - This one is geared towards small businesses and "power users" (people who tweet often and have thousands of followers).
- Socialoomph - The free version allows you to schedule automated tweets, and you can save drafts of your tweets to save time if you'll be sending out the same tweet more than once. It also supports multiple accounts.
There are also external applications that you can download and use that will automatically update your Twitter status depending on where you are or what you're doing. Many of these apps work in tandem with other programs, such as Windows Media Center or iTunes. You can find most of these applications listed in the Twitter Fan Wiki.
Automated Direct Messages
A direct message (DM) on Twitter is a private message sent only to one specific person. You can only send DMs to those who are following you.
Direct messages can be automated using some of the applications listed above. One common practice for businesses or those promoting their websites or blogs is to send an auto-DM to new followers, encouraging them to visit websites or Facebook fan pages.
A Word of Caution
The whole point of social networking is to get involved with others and have conversations. If you rely solely on automated Twitter clients for your presence on the service, you're missing out on the real Twitter experience.
The other caveat of automated messages is that your followers will soon discover that you're not actually active in person, and will tire of the auto-updates. To avoid this, use the automated services sparingly, and in conjunction with real, live interaction with your followers.