Getting the most from your RSS Feed with Facebook, E-mail, and Twitter

You might know that when you update items to your RSS feed on your account that they will update the “What’s new?” widget on your site, but did you know that you can use your RSS feed to update content elsewhere? You can use your RSS feed to automatically post items to your Facebook page, Twitter Page and to send out emails to a mailing list.

Facebook

In order to connect your RSS feed to your Facebook account, you’ll need to load the RSS Graffiti app to your Facebook account (you can also use Twitterfeed, see the Twitter section below). Make sure you are logged into your personal Facebook account and then go to http://www.rssgraffiti.com/ and click on the “Check out the App” link on the top menu. This should then bring you back to Facebook where it will tell you that this app lacks permissions. Click to go to the permissions window and then click “allow” to let RSS Graffiti have access to your Facebook account.

This will now bring you to the RSS Graffiti app page on your facebook. Click on the link for the “Add new publishing plan”. Give it a name (your farm name should suffice) and click “Create publishing plan”. This should bring up a box with a field for “Sources” on the left-hand side, a field for “Target” on the right-hand side, and a slider “On/Off” switch in the middle.

In the “Sources” box, you’ll want to enter your website address. When you click on the “Target” box, it’ll ask you which of your Facebook pages you wish to link the RSS feed to. Choose the one for your farm. It’ll also give you several options on how you want to present your RSS feed information on your Facebook page. Once you have these fields completed and are ready to go live, click on the “On/Off” button in the middle to turn the publishing plan on. At this point anything that you publish to your SFC website’s RSS feed will get posted to your Facebook page.

E-mail

The SFC mailing lists are not able to send out automatic updates based on your RSS feed. However, it is possible to have this happen using a third-party program. If you are looking for this feature, we would recommend using Mailchimp’s service.

Mailchimp offers a variety of email newsletter services and the basic services are free. You’ll need to create an account with Mailchimp to use their service. Once you have your account, you can follow the following Mailchimp tutorial to setup your RSS-to-Email mailing:
http://blog.mailchimp.com/rss-to-email-tutorial/

After you have everything signed up, you can import your SFC general mailing list to Mailchimp. To extract the list from SFC, nagivate to:

Administrate > Export data > Export users > Export by Group

Select “general mailing list” and click the “Export Users” button. This will provide you with an Excel spreadsheet of the people on your general mailing list.

Now you can follow this other Mailchimp tutorial on how to import your list into Mailchimp:
http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/how-do-i-create-and-import-my-list

If you are planning on using Mailchimp as your primary newsletter mailing list, you may want to remove your SFC “Join our mailing list” widget from your site and upload the Mailchimp widget. You’ll need to contact SFC to have our widget removed. To get the necessary HTML code to embed the Mailchimp widget, follow these directions:
http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/how-to-add-a-mailchimp-signup-form-...

Once you have that code, in your SFC control panel, navigate to:

Display > Widgets > Create Custom

Give the widget a name and then click on the “HTML” button in the Text Editor. Paste the HTML embed text into this box and click “update”. Then click “submit changes” at the bottom of the page. Your new widget should be active.

Twitter

Although Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, you can still connect your RSS feed to your Twitter account. The main way to do so is by creating an account at twitterfeed.com. When posting your RSS feed items to your Twitter feed, it will post the first 130 or so characters of the RSS feed item and then will create a shortened URL that will link to the full content.

After creating your account, it’ll ask you to create a feed. Give the feed a name and then cut and paste your Small Farm Central website URL into the RSS Feel URL field. You can click on the “advanced settings” to change frequency of posts and other settings. Click continue and then it will ask you which services you wish to publish the fee to. You can actually publish it to not only Twitter, but Facebook and LinkedIn as well. Click on the Twitter option and it will ask you to autheticate your Twitter account. You should be already logged into your Twitter account (if you aren’t, open another browser tab and log-in). In Twitterfeed, choose the Twitter account you wish to authenticate and then hit the blue “authenticate” button. You may be required to re-enter your Twitter log-in information at this time and it wil ask you to authorize Twitterfeed to have access to your Twitter account. Once you do that, your feed is set up.

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