This is a cool trick that uses your RSS feed to automatically generate traffic and build backlinks to your sites. That’s right; automatic.
What is RSS?
For those of you who are not familiar RSS, it stands for Real Simple Syndication; not to be confused with Etsy shop syndication.
There is a bit of a myth that Etsy has done away with RSS feeds for shops. This is not true, they are still there, but you have to know where to look.
In another browser tab or window type in the URL to your shop but add “/rss” to the end of it and hit the “enter” key.
For example, my shop’s RSS feed URL looks like this:
Basically, it shows the last 10 things that were listed in your shop.
A Note About Customer and Follower engagement:
Before I get into the details, lets go over a simple strategy for increasing your site/shop visits and sales.
Every shop owner should have at least a twitter account or a facebook account (ideally both). This gives you a way to tap into a couple of very popular social networks so you can capture and keep potential customer.
However, just having these accounts won’t do this for you. It is important to stay engaged with the people who follow you. You don’t want to bug them constantly with a stream of updates, but you do want to reach out to them periodically and on a fairly consistent basis.
A great way to do that is, when you list an item or produce a new coupon or anything valuable to your followers, it’s a good idea to post to your networks. Update your followers and fans and email lists so they know that you have done something new.
This can be a bit tedious though right? On the surface it’s not that much work, but it is really easy to slack off in this area. Constantly building your followers and making sure to update your networks.
And what if you have more than just Twitter and Facebook. What if you are on Flickr and Friend Feed and some others. Then the process gets even more hectic and time consuming.
How To Do it:
Now for the good stuff. What if I told you that there is a way to make your RSS feed work for you so that when you list something new in your shop or you post something new to your blog that a dozen or more of your networks can be updated with the information without you lifting a finger.
What if I told you that by doing this not only would you be able to update your networks and get some traffic, but it would also build a dozen or more backlinks to your shop or blog.
Well, that is exactly what I am going to show you how to do. Now this process takes a little bit of time to set up, but it is well worth it because you can literally forget about it when it is all set up if you want to.
1) Head on over to http://hootsuite.com.
2) Create an account.
3) First you will need to choose the “Add More Networks” link. Ping.fm has over 30 networks that you can hook into.
NOTE: Most of these are free social networks or blog sites such as friendfeed and blogger, but there are some that do have fees. I personally stick with the free ones because there are plenty. The choice is yours.
Ping.fm gives you a way to sign up right from their site. If you run into any trouble with this, let me know and I can try to help you out.
During this process of setting up the various social network accounts, you can configure ping.fm to allow up to three types of broadcasting depending on the social network. (Status updates, micro blog, and photo uploads). Chose the ones that you prefer and the configuration for that social network is done. You can read more on Ping.fm’s site about this for more details.
4) Once you have your list of social networks set up, the word “posting” should show up next to it, that means they are ready to send out any incoming messages.
Note: You can use ping the same as twitter by putting a message in the message box on the upper right so broadcast specific messages to all of your networks at once, but we are going to use our RSS feeds to take care of that for us.
5) You should see a link that says “RSS Feeds” with the little orange RSS symbol. Click on that.
This will allow you to specify your RSS Feed URL. You will see the following at the top of the page:
“Update your social networks in real time using any feed on the web using Ping.fm! Just paste the URL of any feed into the box below, click add and you’re ready to rock! The rest is magic! ”
Follow the instructions and put your feed URL in there.
If you have put your shop RSS feed in there, whenever you list or renew an item, it will show up at the top of your feed and will be broadcasted to all of the networks that you hooked up.
Same for your blog, every time you post to your blog, it gets sent out to your networks.
I use this same type of setup and get traffic from time to time from the various networks.
Now, there is a lazy way to do this and a not-so-lazy way to do this. If you just set it and forget it as above, it will work just fine. However, the results are not visually appealing in some cases.
Tumblr is a good example. On one of my tumblr accounts, there is just a long list of posts that have been generated by the broadcasts. This isn’t a bad thing, it just isn’t pretty.
You still get the backlink for it and I have even seen traffic from these places too.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can go to each of your network accounts and do a little bit of setup and configuration to make the auto-posted info look a little more appealing.
If you do decide to spruce things up a bit on some or all of the networks you tap into, be sure your keep your branding in mind. Make things as cohesive as you can. You should be matching your color scheme and backgrounds and avatars and names and all that stuff.
When someone comes across your tumblr page, if they follow your link to your shop, it should look familiar to them rather that looking like they just went to some random place.
One additional thing I would like to say is, if you decide to go the lazy route (I do the lazy route), be sure you still treat your twitter and facebook accounts with care. You need to show some personal love to those still. It will work if you didn’t, but when you connect with your customers, it adds value to their experience and it increases your chances of them coming back to you again and again in the future. They are also more likely to tell their friends about you too.