Executive summary: “Join Twitter!”
Okay, we kind of figured you were going to say that, Michael, but why?
Glad you asked, let’s take my blog: during the past 5 days I had more traffic come to it from Twitter than from Google, Bing & Yahoo combined. Other than subscribers and people visiting my blog directly from a saved bookmark, Twitter is the number one source of visitors to my site. Really.
So, if we join Twitter they will come?
Um, not exactly. While there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter, there are better and worse ways. This post is targeted at my fellow bloggers who may not have a ton of Twitter experience, yet. That said, I would LOVE it if some of you experts would weigh in with your tips, suggestions and opinions, too. Also, feel free to ask questions on things I didn’t cover.
You’re some kind of Twitter expert then, are you, Michael?
Let’s put it this way, most of the mistakes a new tweeter (is that a word?) can make, I probably have. Fortunately I’m a fast learner, and I’m happy to let you learn from my mistakes. As of last month, I’ve officially been blogging for 7 years, and like many of you I was a bit late getting on board with Twitter. Honestly, I didn’t get what the big deal about Twitter was?
If we want to know what our friends had to eat for lunch we’d ask them on Facebook, right? Who needs Twitter?
Some people do think that, but no. Twitter is an immediate, interactive, and frankly, fun conversation… or at least should be. I finally saw the light and joined Twitter 2½ years ago. Over time I’ve built up 12,000 followers… and while it will take you some time and effort, it’s worth it. Let me ask you this: would you like more visitors and interaction on your blog or website? Yes? Then I can help.
Okay, you said something about giving us some tips. Get on with it already!
- Create a Twitter Account – If you are a blogger and not already on Twitter I highly recommend you set up a free account right now. Seriously, go do it and come back. I’ll wait. Do you already have Twitter account? Great. Then let’s talk about a few things you need to do right away if you haven’t already. Don’t just look at the bullet titles; read the detail, as some key points are there.
Remember, this post is sort of a Twitter 101 for Bloggers and Website Owners so today we’re covering the basics. If you’ve not done the next four things yet, log in to Twitter now on any browser; then click the down arrow the right of your name (in the upper right side of the window). Click on “Settings”, and then select the “Profile” tab underneath and let’s get started:
- Add Your Name – And by “name” I mean your real name. If you don’t want to use your whole name for privacy reasons, that’s cool, but consider using at least your first name, e.g. “Michael @ A Daddy Blog”. Why? People prefer to talk to people, not to brands or businesses or blog names… and interaction is one key to success on Twitter.
- Add Profile Photo – While this may seem like a given, I’m always surprised how many don’t do this right away. Many people will not follow you if you don’t upload an avatar. Add a unique photo people will recognize you by. Remember it will be small and square in peoples feeds; so use a headshot, logo or something else easy to see.
- Add Your URL – In the spot where it says, “Web” add your blog’s or website’s URL, e.g. http://adaddyblog.com. This address will show up separately beneath your profile’s “Bio” and doesn’t count toward the 160 characters your bio is limited to. Note: if you have more than one URL to share, others can go in the bio section (see next tip).
- Add a Bio – Twitter gives you a whopping 160 characters to share what you and/or your blog are all about. Don’t leave this blank. Forget syntax and use short phrases and descriptive words that get the point across. You can also include additional URLs here, e.g. your Facebook Business page. Fully qualify it with the http:// in front if you do.
- Follow People – I know, am I ever going to let you actually send a tweet? We’ll get there, but understand, no one will ever see your tweets unless they are following YOU. And the best way to get people to follow you is to follow THEM. Personally I follow everyone that follows me. Some will tell you “No, it will hurt your Klout!”*
* If you want to talk about adaddyblog on klout.com, that is something I can do separately. It’s definitely an entire blog in and of itself. Just let me know if you’re interested? If you’ve not heard of it, you will. It’s an attempt at quantifying a person’s online influence. Some love it and some hate it. Personally, I’d recommend you pretty much ignore it for now.
- Tweet– Finally you get to Tweet… but what? It will be tempting to spam (and I’m choosing my words carefully) the poor people who followed you with links to your blog posts. May I suggest once or twice a day is more than enough for that. So, what should you tweet about? Consider splitting them roughly equally between:
- Respond to others tweets – Think about it. If you shared something, wouldn’t you want to know someone out there saw it. Interact (there’s that word again) with people. Answer their questions. Empathize that their kid is sick. And most of all, be yourself, be genuine.
- Retweet some of their tweets – Let’s say you liked something you saw someone tweet. Hit the retweet button below their tweet to share it with your followers. If you want to talk about using “RT” manually leave a comment/question.
- Share interesting links – There are tools (e.g. the Shareaholic plugin for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc) that make it really easy to tweet an interesting news article or someone elses blog you think will add value to your readers. In all things, think “does this tweet add value?”
- Share an inspirational quote – I personally love quotes and when I find one I think my followers would enjoy I send it off in a tweet. Don’t overdo this, but personally I find some of the ones my friends tweet uplifting and/or hilarious.
I realize we’ve just scratched the surface here. There is so much more I’d like to share, but in deference to the few of you that have not started snoring yet (don’t think I can’t hear you), I’ll wrap this up for today. Please ask questions below and I will respond. Also feel free to tell me you think I’m wrong and why. Let’s help each other to even greater success!
What has your Twitter experience been? What are your tips? And how can I help you?
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