In today’s blogging tips I thought it was time we touched on social media and more specifically, Twitter. These tips are primarily aimed at bloggers (or business owners) who want to use Twitter to grow their brand so apologies to my readers who are non-bloggers, though you might find this interesting from a marketing perspective.
I started getting interested in social media for businesses way back in my previous blog role and was an avid reader of Liene Stevens (of Splendid Communications.) I started reading her blog ‘Think Splendid‘ which opened my eyes to not only the possibilities in social media but also the more serious considerations like ethics and regulations, (although these differ in the UK to American laws.) I’m no expert but I’ve broken down my tips today into 2 parts, the first are perhaps more obvious, the second are hard won tricks I picked up from hours of internet research and testing.
First things first though…
- Followers. The magic word, everyone wants more followers. We worry when followers aren’t growing, we’re envious of those with more followers than us, but why? I’d encourage any business on Twitter to think about why you want followers. Your followers constitute an extension of your blog community and therefore just like your readers, you want followers who are actively listening to what you are saying and engaged in your content. Otherwise, despite your thousands of twitter followers they won’t click through to your blog links and provide the other thing you’re looking for…
- To build traffic. Twitter is a powerful tool to drive traffic to your blog or business. If you have the kind of following described in my last point they will be genuinely excited about your content. The twitter buzz they generate with mentions and retweets gains you extra exposure and new visitors to your site.
- To Network. Not just for traffic and kudos, Twitter is great for making new friends and meeting like minded people. No matter how influential a twitter user might be, you can always tweet someone you admire and start a conversation, and at a local or industry contemporaries level it can help introduce you to supportive, knowledgable people you might collaborate with someday or meet at a tweet up!
- Be positive. Fact, nobody wants to hear you tweet a drip feed of mundane minutiae and gripes unless you happen to be a budding comedian and can put a humorous spin on things. Everyone has a down day but focus on the positives and try to keep moans off twitter. It creates a negative vibe that doesn’t promote interaction.
- Be gracious. New followers? Say hi! Thank them for following you and see what they’re all about, they may be people you can team up with, guest post for or just chat with. Are people talking to you or about you? Again, thank them. It keeps the lines of communication open and makes you new friends whilst their replies expose you again to their followers.
- Be persistent. A good general rule of thumb is to tweet each post you write three times. Phrase things differently so you don’t sound like a broken record. For example, say I wrote a post about summer hairstyles, the first tweet might be a basic link and posts title, the second saying something like ‘Is it time for a make-over? Inspiration for beach worthy tresses on @florencefinds this afternoon…’ and the third, ‘Surf style waves or slicked back style, how do you like your holiday hair?’
- Be varied. Yes, Twitter is for getting your content out there but don’t exclusively promote your own content. Social media is often a way of seeing more of the person behind the blog so include links you have found and enjoyed and content that will interest your readers, perhaps sales you have been alerted to if you write a shopping based site, a great book or a film you’ve just seen. Don’t forget to ask questions – your followers will love to help you out and if you’re out and about doing something interesting, give sneaky peeks behind the scenes of your latest project.
- Be true (to yourself). Follow people you’re interested in conversing with (i.e. friends and acquaintances,) or interested in hearing about (your favourite shops, bloggers, politician or celebrity would fit in to this category.) Don’t follow lots of random people in the hope they will follow you back. It clogs up your feed and is distracting, aside from often being unproductive (see point 1 above.)
Now for some of the tools I have used to help get that little bit more out of Twitter. You might want better stats on your tweets, to be able to schedule your tweets, or find out more about your followers and who is unfollowing you… read on!
- Some people say that it’s a thoroughly depressing exercise to watch who is unfollowing you. I say, the more information you have about who is engaging (or disengaging) with your social media streams, the more you can learn from it. I signed up to Qwitter and Twunfollow although I’d recommend choosing one as they largely do the same thing. 270,000 twitter users use the site which sends a weekly email detailing the twitter users who have unfollowed you, including how many followers they have and when they started following you. That makes it easy to see those people who unfollow you because you haven’t followed back and if you’re losing valuable followers who should enjoy your content. It’s also easy to identify the reason for a mass exodus, perhaps a thoughtless tweet or unpopular post. Overall, use it to your advantage and remember, if they’re not interested in what you’re saying, they aren’t the right followers for you.
- Because I combine Florence Finds with my day job, I can’t devote much time to tweeting nine to five. I know many of my readers are in the same boat. One of the first things I looked for was an auto tweeting service. I use Twitterfeed to auto post my new blog posts to Facebook and a WordPress plugin called Twitter Tools for Twitter. Both are easy to use with customisable pre- and suffixes for your links and makes sure your social media followers never miss a post.
- If you want to take it to the next level, you can use something like TweetDeck to schedule your tweets throughout the day, particularly useful if you’re going to be away from your laptop all day or too busy to tweet from your mobile and want to keep the conversation going.
- For specific stats, services like Bit.ly provide not only a link shortening service, but a tracking service for each link you share (it integrates with your Twitter and Facebook etc.) giving you hour by hour stats on how many people click your individual links and where they came from.
I hope this has been useful for you readers and please do wade in on the comments if you have anything to add or will be trying out any of the tools I have mentioned. Follow Florence on Twitter @FlorenceFinds and @_RebeccaNorris.
Other blog posts in the ‘Blogging Laid Bare‘ series:
PS. Did you know Twitter recently changed its Trademark and content display policy. This won’t affect most users, but Twitter buttons (on blogs for example) should now show the Twitter bird instead of the previously well used ‘t’.