This is my most asked question lately: how exactly do I go about creating a twitter bot? Its really not as complicated as one would think. I will walk you through the process.
Step One: Creating a new twitter account for your bot
First you need to goto twitter.com and log out of any account you are logged into. Then you need to go through the process of creating a new twitter account that you will dedicate to being a bot.
When creating your twitter bot account, keep this in mind. Accounts with seemingly real names and a picture get followed more frequently then obvious made up names and accounts without a picture. The only time to veer from this general thought is when you want to claim SEO of your twitter page.
When I say claiming seo I mean picking a highly relavent name relating to the posts you will make. For example I have recently created a bot @problogmarketer. This name clearly states what my bot tweets will be about and who they will help. They are about marketing with blogs and anyone who has a blog would be interested in following.
Step Two: Make a twitter post
This is an important step! You do not want the first people to find your bot to say to themselves “great another bot”. Instead you want them to be saying “hmm a real person. I think I will follow”. This is a key to making bots! To ensure people think you are real you want to make a post as if you are using twitter for the first time. After all you have no followers at this point.
A simple twitter post like “I am new and trying to make some friends on twitter but not sure I understand things yet” will work wonders. Also your first posts you want to use your popular hashtags. For example I usually try to start out using words like #blog, #blogs, #seo, #sem, and #serp when I set up Blog Marketing.
Another trick to use when making your first post is adding a link to your myspace or facebook profile. For example a great first post could say something like “Hey everyone I am new to twitter but you can find me on facebook at …”.
These types of first posts make people want to follow you more then if you instantly start spamming advertising.
*** NOTE: For the remaining steps you will need to have a copy of MTF installed on your computer. Its absolutely free to download.
Step Three: Building a following with The MTF Dashboard
Now you want to load up MTF dashboard. If you don’t know what MTF dashboard is yet, check out my post Professional Twitter Marketing Revealed / A Complete Twitter Marketing Solution. This post includes the download link.
After loading MTF dashboard you want to login to twitter through the dashboard. When logging into the dashboard you really want to pay close attention to what account you are truly signed into. Make sure your dashboard has the correct name for the bot you are working on. Sometimes twitter messes up and logs you other accounts on the same computer.
Next you want to build up your follower list with the MTF dashboard. To do this, pick a very relavent keyword or hashtag – search terms like facebook, myspace, and chat work great for this! If you are using a hashtag note that you can’t use the # sign. You must use %23. So if you want to use the #fb hashtag it would look like %23fb.
Note: You want to disable email notices from your settings before continuing!
Now put the relevant search term in the “key word” box of MTF dashboard and set the “limit” box to 1000. Then just [start the task]. You want to have at least 100 followers before you go on to step 4. This is highly important. If you start step 4 before you have 100 followers, building your follower list is going to be increasingly harder.
After you get the 100 followers (this can take anywhere from 1 day to 1 week depending how good you are at convinsing people you are real) you are ready for step 4.
Step Four: Adding rss feeds to your bot
This is the fastest and easiest means of getting a bot going. Rss feeds allow you to post automatically to twitter based on titles, descriptions, and links found in the rss feed. So where do you get rss feeds? Well they are everywhere! The first place to look is your blog. After that you are definitely going to want a clickbank account. You can create one by clicking the clickbank link in the MTD dashboard.
Clickbank is a service that allows you to search and pick products to sell and earn commissions on. You are paid via paypal. After you have a clickbank account you need to use the dashboard to visit the clickbank feed generator.
To generate a clickbank feed just add a keyword, add your clickbank id, and create feed. Great keywords, especially for use with a twitter bot are things like “twitter”, “tweets”, and “seo”. After your feed (or feeds) is created, store the feed address somewhere. You will be needing this for step 5.
Gathering up all your feeds and storing them in a text file is what I find to be easiest because you will need this information quiet frequently.
Next you want to go back to the MTF dashboard and find your favorite “free twitter bot” service. My personal recommendation is the first one on the list http://twitterfeed.com/ so thats what I am going to use in this example.
So chose twitterfeed from the dashboard bot list and set up an account. The process is very straight forward and you only need 1 account. You can add as many bots as you need from this account. After creating an account with twitterfeed, login!
After logging in you should see the feed dashboard. Just click on create new feed, and then plugin the information you want. Note that if you use bit.ly shortening service when creating your bots you can monitor click tracking, HOWEVER its very probably that because of twitters close relationship with bit.ly that it may be monitored. The decision is yours (when I say monitored I mean that twitter may monitor or gain access to statistics and kick out spammers easier during spam sweeps)
My personal preferences when setting up my rss feeds are as follows: Check for new posts every 30 minutes; post up to 5 new updates at a time; Include title only; Shorten link through bitly with no api info given; Post new items based on GUID with sorted feed unchecked.
The next setting is VERY important and will come up later. With feeds you should always use the post suffix, never the prefix. Its just considered standard on twitter. And what do you put there?
Relevant hashtags. If you have a feed about dog products you might want #dogs #pets and #cats. If you have a feed about twitter you want a selection of #twitter #tweet #affiliate #marketing (you are limited by characters just pick favorite and switch them from time to time).
Repeat this process for as many feeds or bots as you want. When you create the bot bot you will be asked what account to attach it to.
Step five: Adding Auto Follow/Auto Dm features to your bot
For adding a DM and auto follow features to my bot, I use the second bot service on the MTF bot list called http://tweetbots.com/. This is very easy to set up. Just login to the service, click bots from the top left menu, click create new bot, add your account information, and check the auto follow and auto DM checkboxes.
When creating your DM avoid using any url’s. Tell people exactly why you are there, what type of information you will be giving them, or in some way say hello and thank them for following. People who get spammed in DM’s are twice as likely to block you.
Step Six: Tweet into the future
For this step I strongly recommend getting a paid account with tweet later. I recommend this because its the only service I have found that allows you to upload future tweets from a bulk text file upload. All the other require manual tweet creation.
However I am going to assume for the sake of this post that you don’t have an pro account. If you just can’t afford or refuse to pay for a professional account ,the work load is going to be nearly 100x but either weay its worth having. For future tweets use your pay dot com style affiliates. These are the ones who don’t provide you feed but instead give you hand selections to chose from.
Grab links to your favorite products and create your posts. Just like when posting via the web, all posts have to be 140 characters including the link. Then log into the first service listed under the tweet into the future of tyhe MTF dashboard. The service is called http://futuretweets.com/.
Create your accounts (you need one account for each bot you have) and login. From that point everything is self explanatory. Just click Schedule and make your posts one by one setting various times in the future. Make a tweet no more then 5 times before changing the wording around. Twitter will block to many of the exact same tweets with the same urls.
At this point you should have a fully functional twitter bot. The only feature it is missing is auto retweets. This is something that is a lot more complicated then a normal bot and I will explain that another time. If you simply MUST know sooner, post a comment.
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