HootSuite Syndicator: Power your Social Media with Content from RSS

syndicator-header

Google Reader may be shutting down, but don’t count RSS out of the game just yet. As the video below explains, the smartest social media practitioners are using RSS in totally new ways.

When you’re under pressure to push content through your social channels, the number one challenge is producing high quality, relevant content. The HootSuite Syndicator can help by providing you with a library of content that you can selectively choose to share.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 1.47.40 PMDiscovering new content with RSS is easier than ever before, with the latest version of the Hootlet, which now supports adding RSS feeds from your favorite websites as streams in the HootSuite dash.

Content marketing and curation are rising in popularity among brand marketers, even while popular RSS readers are being closed down or withering into obscurity. The new HootSuite Syndicator app now puts full control of content curation into the hands of the dashboard user.syndicator-screenshot2
These new product releases bring together a number of powerful HootSuite tools. The dashboard provides a window into all your social media content. The RSS app lets you add any feed into this view and now the Hootlet makes adding RSS feeds even easier. Once you’ve subscribed, sharing that content with HootSuite is a breeze.

Visit the Chrome Store today to install the Hootlet. After that, you just need to subscribe to your first feed, and HootSuite will take care of the rest. The HootSuite Syndicator will be automatically added to your dashboard, along with a stream for your new subscription. Follow these easy steps below to try it out today.

  1. Install Hootlet in your Chrome browser
  2. Click any RSS feed link (often found in the famous RSS icon)thestar2
  3. Choose where you want to add the Stream in HootSuitethestar_cropped
  4. View Your Content in HootSuite Syndicator Streamssyndicator-screenshot1
  5. Read, curate, share.syndicator-screenshot3

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Already using the Hootlet? We have even better news for you. Your favorite browser plugin has already been updated, and you just have to click any RSS link to try it.

Author: Jordan Behan

Jordan Behan has written 43 posts for the HootSource blog..

Jordan is HootSuite's Lead Storyteller. He writes features, product releases and news stories for the HootSource blog.

86 comments
Julie
Julie

Can you do keywords with the RSS to hootsuite?

productivityllc
productivityllc

I love this feature now that Google Reader is dead.  This evening I'm doing some reading went to add a new RSS and the Hootlet feature to add to Syndicator showed up, awesomeness. Share information more productivity across your social networks. 

Denovati
Denovati

I am a long-time HootSuite user and a big Hootlet fan. I was curious about this new feature and thought it might be valuable, so I tried to set it up using our own feeds (Tumblr and the Denovati SMART Blog). Unfortunately, the set up was neither intuitive nor easy to figure out, so I abandoned the effort (and I'm a fairly sophisticated user). Based on the comments preceding mine, apparently a lot of other people have been encountering problems too. Maybe I’ll try again in the future when some of the initial kinks have been worked out.

Courtney Shelton Hunt

PS - Not sure why, but my identity is showing up using our old Twitter handle/brand, rather than our new one: @Denovati. 

Barbara Fowler
Barbara Fowler

I do like this but it is very slow loading and i can't seem to subscribe to some of my old feeds. I am buying a new computer and maybe that will help. 


TMContact
TMContact

@HootMatt  some of my rssfeeds do not update in the syndicator. When i check the website there is some new content. Even in the feedburnerpage i see some new articles. When i add it to my dashboard  i cant see any new updates after 28th of june. Iḿ i doing something wrong?

I already removed it completely and add i again. no difference. And this problem is not containing all of my subscriptions. Just a few of them do not update. Can you help me?

Richard E
Richard E

Great tool. Can the streams be shared across your organization?

kartiniclinic
kartiniclinic

@jordanbehan  - Firstly, thanks in advance for being so responsive; nothing worse than a stale comment thread. So it appears that, as TMContacts queried below, there are types of RSS feeds that don't work (e.g. http://feast-ed.org/FEAST/FEASTNews.aspx). No idea if that's the site's code or what. Contrast that with http://feeds.feedburner.com/LauraCollinsSoapBox for example, where the "View Feed XML" does initiate the HootSuite popup. The workaround for the former example is again as TMContact noted: copy link directly into HootSuite Syndicator's Subscription Manager. 

Now how about a publishing tool like paper.li to pull all that content together in a compelling format exportable to list manager like MailChimp? Or better yet, do it all in HootSuite?! (and if that is already possible, please, please enlighten me).  Thanks again.

pheffernanvt
pheffernanvt

Thank you so much for this added functionality for HootSuite. In the spirit of continuous improvement, I'd like to add two suggestions and one question in addition to earlier comments about problems with the Hootlet and the counter-intuitive use of an "X" to add an RSS feed.

1> Please make the name of the group/folder larger and place it at the top of the stream column. I already know I'm in HootSuite Syndicator so repeating that in large type across multiple columns is not helpful.

2> Can the previews be added in-stream with the headlines, or can the sharing buttons be added to the pop-up preview windows? Either would improve efficiency and click workflow.

And one question -- after importing and organizing your feeds, how can you share them with other team members? (Enterprise level)

Barbara Fowler
Barbara Fowler

I still can't get it to work. Has anyone discovered solutions? 

TMContact
TMContact

just want to comment on my own post. it works already. Now i get it. When a rssfeed does not automaticly opens in hootsuite, you just copy the link in your subscription and then you need to click the cross to add it to a stream. a bit confusing. i didn click that botton beacause i didn want to remove it. Make it a plus!

TMContact
TMContact

It looks like that there are two different types of rrs feeds. Is that correct? Not all the feeds i'd like to add open the pop up. Some of them just open a txt file. What should i do to import that kind off rss feeds as well? Thanks for responding.

karyncooks
karyncooks

Giving @Hootsuite Syndicator/RSS a whirl. . .nice addition for longtime users. #dashhboards #curation #socialmedia


augustoayesta
augustoayesta

Hi, it does not work. I have updated the hootlet and nothing. I click in the RSS icon and the only option I get is Share via the hootlet. Please help me.

Thanks.

lutyens
lutyens

I've been a google reader user for ages. When I click the RSS icon it opens my google reader subscribe page and nothing appears on my hootlet that helps. What am I doing wrong. I also use Feedly - will this interrupt my use of hootsuite?

FabioScarsi
FabioScarsi

Looks like a good starting point, but you should consider the integration with a service like Google Reader was and Feedly is becoming. Such an integration gives many advantages. The most relevant are related with interoperability and shareability among programs and devices.

VladNYC
VladNYC

This is awesome addition guys. Please allow renaming subscriptions. 

Mike
Mike

Awesome addition guys. I think one of the challenges of syndicating content is finding a good curation tool. It's no Google Reader but hey, at least I can curate feeds and group them any way I like. The neatest part is that it integrates so smoothly with the sharing functions. Good job guys. One suggestion though, could you make the streams expandable horizontally? Like a drag the edges to expand sort of thing, the very narrow view is good for tweets but not so great for feeds. Also if you could add different views (view summary, whole article, etc.)

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

What about sites where you can't find the RSS link? Can you use the url to feed into a subscription? Also, is there a way to integrate Google Alerts?

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@SMinOrgs @Denovati. What troubles are you having specifically? Did you install the browser plugin, restart your browsers and then click on a feed? "Setup" is as easy as installing Hootlet, and then any click on an active RSS feed (admittedly, some don't seem to work, given the many RSS variables) to add a new stream for it. If you opt to add a new "tab" and "stream," the RSS app should install itself in the background. If your experience deviates from this, let's share the specifics with @HootSuite_Help to see if we can it solved for you. 

As for the display name, could it be coming from an existing Livefyre account that you have? 

HootMatt
HootMatt moderator

@TMContact Thanks for your feedback. I'm going to ask around the office and see if this is a known issue or an isolated case. I suggest you try @HootSuite_Help too. 

HootMatt
HootMatt moderator

@Richard E Good question Richard. This is one of the first things I asked when I had a look at the internal beta. Since Syndicator is an app in the App Directory, you can't share streams with your organization. This is because (**as I understand it**) the HootSuite SDK is not set up to allow developers to share your data with other members of your organization. I believe apps don't have visibility into organizations at all, for privacy/data security reasons. But thanks for your suggestion. Please send any others you have my way and I'll make sure they get passed on (I'm somewhat of an RSS advocate here in the HootSuite nest!). Cheers.

Barbara Fowler
Barbara Fowler

@ChuckBaggett I tried on firefox and it doesn't work there either. Maybe I am doing something wrong. The way I understood it was just click on the RSS feed and hootlet/hootsuite opens and I can add feed. But I just get the readers. 

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@TMContact Glad to hear it worked out, and thank you for the feedback- I will pass it along. 

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@augustoayesta If you have already re-started your browser and updated the Hootlet, then I am at a loss. If I discover any solutions or common problems, I'll publish them here. If you discover the issue and have success, please let me know too. This product is new, and we intend to make it work for you.  

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@lutyens I couldn't say whether Feedly would disrupt them intended flow of the Hootlet; if you are using a browser plugin then they will compete, but if not, Hootlet should work as advertised. If it's Reader that's triggered when you click the link, you might just have to wait until after July 1, when Google puts Reader on the shelf. 

If I find a solution, I'll add an update in this reply. 

Kemp Edmonds
Kemp Edmonds

@Mike You can adjust the Stream width with the little toggle slider on the upper right of the Streams view in HootSuite.

gbatuyong
gbatuyong

@Mike  & @jordanbehan :  What's the current method for curation? The gold standard has been Google Reader, which allowed power users to have "tags" for content items —each of those had their own unique ATOM/RSS feed. Saving to Instapaper (like how Feedly does it) isn't quite the same because it only goes in the main "folder," whereas Instapaper supports multiple folders with unique RSS feeds. Maybe Hootsuite will be the early standout in the content curation aspect?

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Mike This is excellent feedback Mike, thank you. The product will likely evolve quickly based on great suggestions like these. 

Brankica
Brankica

@Derek Weidl just wanted to chime in on the sites with no RSS link. If they are WordPress sites and that is pretty easy to see, you can simply type in domainname/feed and it will pull up their RSS, so you can just manually add it to HootSuite. 

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl Hi Derek, 

It has to be an RSS feed to trigger the Syndicator tool, otherwise Hootlet will assume that you simply want to share the link (ie. via Twitter, Facebook). And yes, you can integrate News Alerts; Just do a News search like always, then click the RSS link at the bottom of the Google search page, and it should trigger the Hootlet. This way, you can subscribe to Alerts just like any other feed. 

Denovati
Denovati

@jordanbehan: Thanks for your response. I would say the problem began with the fact that the instructions (either from HootSuite or in Chrome) didn't make clear what to do if you've already got the Hootlet installed. Also, nothing explicitly stated that a restart was necessary. I tend to have LOTS of tabs open at once, so I have not tried restarting the browser yet. We'll see what happens when I do it tonight. I had actually tried adding the stream directly via HootSuite first, but that didn't work either. The RSS app did not install itself in the background. Based on your comment, I have now found it under New Apps, and I can try to install it, but it is unlikely I would have found it on my own. As I said earlier, the process was neither intuitive nor easy to figure out. I know that's not typical with new HootSuite features, at least in my experience, but it was certainly true in this case.

As for the display name, yes that's likely the case. However, I posted by clicking the Twitter icon, which usually grabs the info from the Twitter account that's currently open. Since SMinOrgs was changed to Denovati (i.e., it's not a new account), I would have expected Livefyre to grab the current handle/profile pic rather than using the old info.  

Thanks again. 

Courtney

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@HootMatt @TMContact Hi there - I'm having similar issues with various RSS feeds as well. I can't seem to find a pattern to suggest if it's specific to certain types of feeds or not. One example: my Google News RSS feed that I just created is no longer updating. Various other website feeds don't seem to update either or are very delayed in updating compared to when I followed them on Google Reader (like over a day delayed).

A separate issue I'm noticing is with RSS feeds from Blogger. New posts show up in Syndicator. I click to bring up the window. If I click the post title, it will send me to the RSS page instead of the actual post title.

pheffernanvt
pheffernanvt

@HootMatt Thanks for the follow-up. The other requested feature I'd add to my list now is some way to export or backup a list of feeds. That would take care of the lack of sharing -- and be a good safety is you're hooked on the care and maintenance of an extensive list of feeds (as I am).

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Barbara Fowler @ChuckBaggett It is just a Chrome plugin at the moment, so Firefox will not trigger the RSS tool. Barbara, if it still not working for you, I'd like our help desk folks to help you out. Let me see what I can do. 

augustoayesta
augustoayesta

Hi  @jordanbehan I've just re-started the browser and it works. Simple, but I forgot to do it before. 

Thank you, and keep doing things like this. Love Hootsuite :)

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@gbatuyong Speaking for myself, sharing is my "curating," and on that front, this tool is already handy for me. As for multiple folders and feeds, try creating separate streams (or tabs) around your themes. 

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan

Thanks! I noticed I can upload OPML/XML files to Syndicator. I'm assuming that I can use the Google Reader subscriptions.xml file I downloaded? It's taking a bit to upload, but that's expected as there are a lot of feeds. How many feeds can the Syndicator handle? And will it organize it somewhat similarly to how I have it in GR?

TMContact
TMContact

@Derek Weidl @HootMatt @TMContact 

there's another strange thing related to this issue. When i add a feed that is not updating in the syndicator to the RSS reader, it's updated to today... 

so i can solve it now to use the reader instaed off the syndicator but  the options are limited. Just to let yoou know.  


HootMatt
HootMatt moderator

@pheffernanvt Yep. Another good idea. I'll add it to my list, as well. Thanks.

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl This is excellent feedback. I'm collecting it all for our 'Feature request' area of our forum for this RSS tool. 

Also, if you email me: jordan dot behan at HootSuite, I may be able to send an invite to that thing we talked about before (how's that for speaking in code?) Our mobile team found a way to help us out. 

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan I loaded in the 50+ feeds I had and have set up the tabs and various streams and overall, the process was pretty solid. The way I set things up was to have broader topics as tabs and then sub topics as streams within those tabs. So for instance, I have a lot of sports feeds I follow, so "Sports" is a tab. Within that tab, I have streams for different sports or topics. So for example, college football is a stream and that has like 3 or 4 different feeds in it. Then there's a Tennis stream with 3 or 4 blogs as well. Works pretty well.

What would help streamline this process is if you could sort the subscriptions you've loaded in the Subscriptions Manager popup when choosing what feeds will show up in a stream. It is a very annoying experience to slowly scroll through the entire list of 50+ feeds to pick the 3 or 4 you might want in a specific stream, especially since the list of streams refresh every time you add a stream, meaning you have to scroll from the top again to find the next feed you want to add. If I could organize by "Group" or whether the feed has been selected or not under "Action", that would make this process much easier, even if the list had to refresh after each "action".

Others have mentioned this, but in-stream expanded view of posts would be great, but that could be cumbersome if the stream is narrow. Not sure the solution there, so maybe the pop up works best.

Speaking of posts that are clicked/expanded, it would be really great to be able to share from that mode instead of having to close that window and then click the share button.

A great feature that would relieve some anxiety while scrolling through a stream would be to have a number in the title of the stream that showed how many unread messages there are. Some streams I follow can put out 100 in a day easily, so it's good to have an expectation ahead of time to see how many I'll be scrolling through and if I should leave it for another time when I can scroll through 100's of posts without losing my spot. Nothing worse than scrolling through 200 posts only to find out I don't have time to go further and I have to start all over again at another time.

Get rid of "Hootsuite Syndicator" as the title, use customized title instead. I don't care if the stream is called "Hootsuite Syndicator", I instead want to know what's in the stream, what the topic is that I've created.

A bit of a nitpic, but seeing as I used the "star" feature in Google Reader so frequently, it's be great to cut down on clicks by making "read later"/"favourites" as toggle buttons right on the post instead of a filter option.

Last thing. The RSS streams seem to load pretty slowly. I'm guessing this will be a larger issue to solve, but it really is quite sluggish and annoying.

Anyway, great start on this product. Take the above as the next step, not so much as complaints :) I spend even more time on Hootsuite now as a result of this update, so I'm sure you guys will be happy to hear that. If you guys have further questions about how I'm using it, I'd be happy to elaborate as I continue learning this tool. Looking forward to future updates!

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl I'm looking into it. Meantime, sign yourself up for the beta and I'll see what we can do. 

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan perfect. I was like a week away from giving up and looking to switch everything away from Hootsuite. This is all good timing! Any idea when the beta might be released?

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl Turns out I don't have to speak in code after all. Here's the latest on Blackberry, and what comes next: http://ow.ly/mrFog 

I'm not sure what the status of invites is, but I have tried the beta, and it is glorious. 

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan glad this is all helpful. Great to hear what sounds like support for blackberry. But is the app for BB not supported currently? My feeds won't display any content - they're all blank.

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl I checked the Help articles: Max tabs is 20, with 10 streams per tab. That's 200 feeds, unless you use a service (like Feedburner?) to make some feed hybrids (or group feeds into a single stream). Your power user status officially outranks my own at this stage. 

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl This is excellent feedback, thank you. It's this kind of analysis that drives product innovation, so keep it coming. 

I agree that the primary advantage is the sharing tools, and I will be passing your feedback about views along to the devs that built it. Glad to hear your news alerts worked out. 


As for the Blackberry app, I'm probably saying too much when I hint that change is coming, and it is change you will probably appreciate. 


Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan one other question - is there a limit to the number of tabs you can have in a free Hootsuite account? That will be a big decision point for whether this will function for me moving forward.

Thanks again - this product has promise.

Derek Weidl
Derek Weidl

@jordanbehan everything loaded fine. Took 10 minutes I think - didn't notice when it finished loading. About 50+ feeds and it kept the groups formatted properly. I don't have any nested groups within groups so I'm not sure how Subscription Manager would handle that. It even picked up the websites I have where I'm not using the proper RSS feeds for the site, but I haven't checked to see if it will display "posts" yet. It also picked up all my google alerts which is key for me as I used those for curate content for a client.

Organizing this is a bit confusing so far, but that may just be a lack of familiarity with all of this and being used to GR instead. The concept of tabs makes tons of sense for social media feeds, but feels a bit clunky for RSS right now. Give me a week or two of using this though and I could have a different opinion.

With only 10 streams per tab, I'm going to have to rethink how I organize things using separate tabs. I think this will work, but it is a change in thinking for me. And as mentioned elsewhere on this thread, it is strange sifting through feeds horizontally.

But the idea of being able to do a lot of my work all in one web application is really appealing. It makes me want to go through the work of trying to get used to this. Being able to share right from the feed is a pretty powerful option. I'm really hoping that I can adapt to this tool, as the appeal of all-in-one is pretty great.

On an unrelated note, did Hootsuite stop supporting the mobile version for Blackberry Torch? Mine stopped working about 2 weeks ago.

jordanbehan
jordanbehan moderator

@Derek Weidl Your .xml file should work, but I'm eager to hear from you how it went. I am not aware of any limits on feeds, but I am not the final word on that. 

Let me know how it goes, I'm interested to hear your feedback.