Twitter is a tool that I have found to be invaluable to growing my blog and my business. I didn’t really start to use Twitter effectively until the last few months or so. When I wrote my 2011 recap post at the end of December, I had 80 Twitter followers. Today, about 2.5 months later, I have 205. Not that I think that your effectiveness on Twitter can be measured exclusively in follower count, but it is a big difference, especially considering that I’d had Twitter for over a year, at least. Here are some of the things that I’ve learned about using Twitter.
- Forget about the numbers. For me, it was painful to get used to Twitter after using Facebook for so long. I hated how I followed others, and then they wouldn’t necessarily follow me back. It bugged me. I had to let that go in order to really get into Twitter. Try thinking about it like following people on blogs. You don’t follow all of your followers’ blogs, and the people you follow don’t all follow you back.
- Go public. For a while I had my Twitter profile on private. My Facebook profile was always private, and I didn’t like the idea of strangers reading my tweets. Then I realized that if I was going to use my Twitter to promote my blog, I had to be public. People weren’t going to request me if they couldn’t see what I tweeted about. And retweets are half of the fun of Twitter, and you can’t get retweeted if you’re private. Do random people who have sketchy bios follow sometimes? Yes. Don’t hesitate to block those people. I do it all the time, and on the very small off chance that it’s someone that would have read your blog and enjoyed following you, it’s their fault for having a creepy profile. Not yours. Also, when random people tag you in tweets with a bunch of other people you don’t know, don’t click on the link. It’s just safer for you and your computer that way.
- Follow bloggers you like. In January I went through this phase where if I was on a blog that I read regularly and they linked to their Twitter, I followed them. Some of them didn’t follow me back, but most of them did. Now I have gotten into the habit where if I follow a blog, I almost automatically go to Twitter and follow them. It helps build relationships with other bloggers to interact with them outside of commenting on each others’ blogs.
- Do it gradually. Don’t read this post and then go follow 1,000 people. Make sure that you don’t follow so many people at once that you can’t keep them straight; this is about relationships after all.
- Reply to tweets. When you’re new to Twitter, it feel awkward to just jump in an start replying to tweets, especially if they are between other bloggers. But that’s what it’s there for! Similar to commenting, if you see a tweet that you think is funny, you can relate to, you can contribute to… reply! Don’t worry if they don’t always reply back. And don’t only reply to people who follow you. When I first started I was worried to reply back to people who didn’t follow me, because I was worried that they wouldn’t see it or that other people would think I was weird for replying to people who didn’t follow me back… that’s dumb! Here’s why: first of all, it’s not easy to tell who follows who on Twitter. Secondly, when people see that you are tweeting at them, they are more likely to follow you. And lastly, the more you tweet, the more other people see you, and the more likely it is to cause an interaction with someone else.
- Make yourself worth following. Here’s how I try to do it: in my case, I have three blogs going on, so I combine all of those in one place, plus I tweet links to cool things that I come across (always tagging the blogger, of course!), AND I have conversations and interact with people on Twitter. Lately if I’m making something for dinner that I found on Pinterest, I’ll tweet the pin. My point is, don’t tweet pointlessly. I mean this from the nicest place in my heart, because it’s okay to tweet things that no one cares about. Everyone does. It’s okay to say you woke up late, that the weather today sucks, and that you need to take a shower… sometimes. Just make sure that you are alternating those tweets with useful stuff, too. Give people a reason to want to follow you.
- Consider using a Twitter management tool. I just discovered TweetDeck like two weeks ago, and you guys, IT’S AWESOME. It’s free and if you use Google Chrome it’s just little app that is so easy to click on in your browser! You can use it easily even if you don’t use GC, so check it out! The reason I love it is because it gives you columns so that you can see different things all in one screen. On mine I have general home (tweets from everyone I follow), then tweets that mention me, then tweets from #blogbrunch (just because I have the space!), and then my tweets that other people can see. You can also schedule posts on Twitter and Facebook. See? AWESOME. I’ve also heard good things about HootSuite, but I just happened to find TweetDeck first.
And in case you were wondering, I do not have a smart phone. Would twitter be easier if I did? Absolutely. Is it necessary? No.
Do you have Twitter? Follow me, I love finding other bloggers! And for you tweeting veterans, do you have any tips to add to the list?
Katie Price says
Such great tips, Kate! I’m still just figuring out Twitter myself. I totally went & blocked a ton of spammy people just now because of this post. Thank you! I think I’ll tweet it too ;)
Thanks Katie! It totally gives me peace of mind to block the sketchy Twitter followers… otherwise I think I would be really self conscious. Not that I post anything too too personal, but still.
Rebecca - A Daily Something says
LOVE these tips! So useful!! :)
This is a really cool post! You have some good ideas about using Twitter effectively. I’m the same way with following people – if they’re on Twitter, I follow them. I had heard about TweetDeck before, but I didn’t know what it was for. So thanks for that tip!
Sarah Morgan // Hemenway Street says
Another great post! I really love your Better Blogging series!
This is so handy, still so new to Twitter and not sure I entirely ‘get it’!
Hi Kate, this is a really interesting piece about twitter. I’ve been using twitter since 2009 and I still don’t really get it!
Firstly, I blog about being a mum, so I think people kind of want to see the personal stuff…! Having said that, there really is only a limited amount people can stomach tweets about poo or gummy pictures of a baby, so I really take on board your point about being useful!
Secondly, I’ve found it useful for getting to know some of the people who’ve taken time to read my blog and then follow me. I’d say I’ve made some good friends I’ve never met just by tweeting each other, particularly in the early days with a newborn!
Finally, and this is where the question comes in! – I don’t want to sound like a callous traffic hunter but I am trying to build it up and I find I get very little traffic to my blog via twitter. Getting any traffic can be a real time sapper. How much time do you spend on twitter? Is it worth spending more time in order to get some really engaged readers, even if it’s just one or two? I presume your answer to that would be yes! But I’d be interested to hear what you think about time/effort put into twitter verses say other social media.
Thanks love, Hannah xx
I actually had to look up how Twitter falls in my traffic sources when you posted this- for me it goes, Pinterest, search engines, Twitter, and then Facebook, Twitter being significantly less than the first two. I honestly couldn’t tell you how long I spend on Twitter- some days I keep it up all day, others I barely go on it. It’s kind of part of my routine, and it’s probably my favorite social distraction during the day.
I might have to write a response post to this one now that it’s been so long! I guess I would focus on what you said in your second paragraph- that’s really what Twitter is best for! The getting traffic part comes from having engaged followers. I tweet my posts 2-3 times a day and experiment a little with the timing and wording, but because I use Buffer (have you seen this post?) that takes me almost no time at all. Hope that helps! I would also check out the posts that Lisa recently wrote on Twitter.
Sorry Kate, just spotted your response – thanks for the pointers and I look forward to your follow up!
Maybe a post on understand google analytics would also be good – that might give the stuff on engaged readers a bit more meaning?
Thanks Kate, I love this series xx