When it comes to promoting your blog, Twitter is perhaps the most “testable” of social networks. It offers the biggest potential for taking actionable steps that can increase your follower base. Which is why we have covered it twice recently, with coverage of 5 useful plugins as well as 2 steps and 5 resources that can make Twitter a referral machine for your blog.
Today we want to take a closer look at what you can do to leverage Twitter for blogging success. Our focus is on clear and actionable steps that will have a positive and tangible impact on your blog in the short term. Building a following with Twitter may seem like a time-consuming and arduous task, but in reality, you can grow a good-sized following with just a few minutes of your time every day.
Follow and be Followed in Return
Anyone who has been using Twitter for more than a few seconds knows that you can follow people. And it is a fact that a certain percentage of people you follow will follow you back. The key is in following the type of people who are:
- Likely to follow you back
- Likely to engage with you and be interested in your tweets
Let’s get this clear from the outset – Twitter is not a numbers game. Far better for you to have 1,000 people who are genuinely interested in your content, than 10,000 spambots and auto-followers.
In order to curate a quality list of followers, you can follow a simple two step, repeatable process:
- Add followers who are most likely to follow you back
- Unfollow those who offer no value to you
Whilst this may sound somewhat unscrupulous to the uninitiated, nothing could be further from the truth. This strategy is intended to be coupled with a strong value-added approach to your interaction on Twitter. Trying to find those who may be interested in your profile cannot be a bad thing.
How to Find Followers
The best place to start looking is amongst your peers in the blogosphere. If your blog is part of an established niche, all you need to do is start following those who are following likeminded bloggers. You can do this manually in Twitter, or you can use an auto-follow service such as TweetAdder.
The key is to not get over-zealous in your adding. No one is going to be impressed by a Twitter account with 50 followers that is following 1,000 people. Not only that, Twitter is liable to punish you for adding too many people within a short space of time. There is little need to be too worried about this – in our experience, you can comfortably follow 100 people a day without danger. Twitter is looking for spammers – not for those who are hoping to reach out to likeminded tweeters and provide value.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
If you use the TweetAdder tool mentioned above, you can set it to unfollow those who do not follow you after a period of time. It is reasonable to presume that if someone hasn’t followed you after a few days, they are unlikely to ever follow you.
You can also use ManageFlitter to unfollow those who are not following you, although you cannot filter them by the time at which you followed them. Furthermore, you can use it to unfollow those who are inactive, or who do not have a profile picture (which typically means that they are a spam bot).
By following these methods, you can make sure that you are interacting only with those who are truly interested in what you have to say. Speaking of interaction…
The key to nurturing a healthy Twitter account is to provide as much value as possible. Twitter as a social network is link driven, so you are going to want to get into the habit of providing links to quality articles (not just your own).
One way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to offer brief commentary on the posts that you link to. This demonstrates that you are not just throwing tweets out there in the hope of growing your influence – it demonstrates that you are looking to provide added value to your followers.
You will quickly grow a loyal following if you engage with those who follow you and tweet your content. It doesn’t take long to take a look at someone’s profile and leave a thoughtful comment. In many instances, doing so can provide you with another loyal supporter.
You can use the same method with influential Tweeters that you want to engage with. Just keep an eye out for their tweets and look to provide a thoughtful response where appropriate. You may not get a reply on every occasion, but they’ll probably notice you – and getting noticed is the hardest part.
Promotion and Testing
Of course, none of this is worth a great deal if it isn’t adding value to your blog. Twitter needs to work as a referral machine for your blog, as we touched upon yesterday.
And this is where Twitter really comes into its own, as you can measure and test the results of your efforts. We mentioned Tweriod and Buffer in a post last February – these two tools are your best friends for maximizing the return on your Twitter time investment.
Put simply, use Tweriod to determine when you should be tweeting, and use Buffer to schedule out tweets at the appropriate times. In this way, you can schedule tweets promoting your new blog posts at optimal times. Note the plural use of the word “time”, because you should tweet out your new posts more than once. Your audience is spread across many time zones, so you want to make sure that you capture as many as you can. There is no harm in tweeting out a new post two or three times, with a few hours inbetween each tweet. It is advisable however to mix up the text of your tweet, so as to not look like you are in the habit of repeating yourself.
Finally, you can use a plugin that we have also previously featured – Tweet Old Post – to keep fresh eyes on your evergreen content.
Don’t think of Twitter’s effectiveness on a tweet-by-tweet basis – what is far more important is the overall traffic that it drives to your site on a weekly or monthly basis. One tweet alone may seem weak, driving perhaps just 4-5 visitors to your blog. But it is the cumulative impact that makes it all worthwhile.
How Do YOU Make The Most of Twitter?
We have addressed what we believe to be the two key points in leveraging Twitter effectively – attracting followers, and referring them back to your blog. But using Twitter effectively is a broad and highly subjective topic. We have no doubt that you have your own way of doing things. So let us know how you use Twitter in the comments section!