Wednesday, 1 April 2015

11 Ways to Use Twitter to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

11 ways to use Twitter to drive traffic to your blog - increase your followers and interaction with these great tips
Twitter: Love it or hate it, it's a vital social media tool for driving traffic to your blog and interacting with like-minded people. Its ease of use and brevity of space to get your point across make it (in my humble opinion) probably the most immediate and engaging social media platform there is.

If you're looking to drive more traffic your way, there are some methods that will give you direct traffic, and there are other ways that will eventually drive traffic through because you will become well known for dishing out useful advice, being an expert in your field, or just providing hilarious and engaging content. As with so many things with regards to blogging it's all about building a brand, so here's how to make the most of those 140 characters and increase your page views!

(As always let me know your thoughts in the comments below)

1. Schedule tweets
If you're not using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule your tweets (I use the latter) - do it now! These two platforms make scheduling tweets possible, and the whole Twitter experience so, so much easier. (You won't know how you possibly managed without it once you've started using it.) Tweetdeck describe their platform as a "Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organising, and engagement" and you can follow particular hashtags or groups and see your @mentions, direct messages, scheduled tweets, main feed, etc. all in separate columns, all at the same time. It's totally customizable, your feeds run in real time (so no f5/refresh page required) and will transform the way you tweet.

2. Aim for 120 characters
They say tweets of 120 characters get the most interaction, and if you use up the whole 140 characters every time it gives your followers no room to quote and reply. Links always take up 22 characters, no matter how long or short they are, so use bitly.com to shorten links and make the tweet look more compact and punchier. You want your followers to be attracted by the content of your tweet, not distracted by a rambling URL.

3. Be a tease
This was probably the single best post I ever, ever read about how to write tweets that make people think "I simply HAVE to click through and read that!". The idea behind writing really engaging tweets, as written by simplymeasured.com, is to write a Before, After, and Bridge:
Before: Here’s your world, here’s your problem
After: Imagine what it’d be like to have that problem solved
Bridge: Here’s how to get there
(Source)
In other words, tweets like this:



See what I mean? It's simply problem presented, problem solved - with an attractive image to draw you in even further. 

You should never give too much away, hence the concept of the "tease". It's about generating curiosity and is a very powerful method - I won't say it's easy to craft this out of 140 characters, but it's incredibly effective if you manage to master it. Magazines use this method all the time and I'm drawn in by them so much I sometimes have to close my Tweetdeck tab if I want to get any work done...!

4. Add images
Tweets with images get twice the amount of engagement of those without - I've definitely noticed my tweets with pictures get the most favourites and retweets (RT). Your tweets will stand out more amongst all the text-only tweets, especially if you resize them. In someone's feed the image will be cropped to 440x220px, so if you make them twice as wide as they are long (the same proportions as 440x220, in other words), the whole image will be visible.

5. Use hashtags (sparingly)
Using hashtags do make your tweets more visible, especially if you're tweeting about a current topic or something that's trending. You can find relevant hashtags to your content by searching websites like hashtags.org or hashtagify.me, or make a note of what hashtags are being used by those you follow. Hashtags for bloggers to find each other include:

#blogger or #bloggers
#fbloggers (fashion bloggers)
#bbloggers (beauty bloggers)
#lbloggers (lifestylebloggers)
#tbloggers (travel or teenage bloggers)
#mbloggers or #mummybloggers
#pbloggers (parent bloggers)
#30sbloggers (we need to get #40sbloggers and #50sbloggers used more!)
#foodbloggers (food bloggers)

But be warned - tweets that are full of hashtags have the opposite effect and #look #spammy #as #well #as #being #difficult #to #read. One or two is more than enough.

6. Tag brands you've blogged about
This is an important one for engaging with brands: If you've written about a brand, worn their clothes, tasted their food, etc. then tag them in to your tweet that includes your blog post URL. Brands often RT where they've been mentioned and of course the more followers they have, the more people it will be seen by. If you've written a "teasing" tweet as in point 3 (above), it should increase the likelihood of more click throughs.

7. Tweet old content
This is a trick to breathe life into old posts, especially if they are relevant to the time of year. Posts written about Valentines, Halloween, Christmas and all those other holidays can be plugged the following year, as long as the content is also relevant. Fitness posts will be popular in January or pre-summer (bikini season). I like to tweet regular "What I wore a year ago today" tweets with an image of the outfit as well. It's polite to tag it #retropost or something to make it clear it's not brand new.

8. Join in with Twitter chats
If you're feeling a little lonely on Twitter and want to engage more with your current followers and gain new ones, participate in Twitter chats. They're usually hosted at a regular time on the same day of the week by a particular Twitter account, usually for an hour, and there will be an associated hashtag to use in all your tweets so that everyone can follow what everyone else in the chat is saying. (This is where Tweetdeck or Hootsuite are crucial otherwise it can be almost impossible to keep up, interact and reply to comments all at the same time.)

There are countless chats, too many to list here, but twubs.com/twitter-chats is one way to search for them - you also have to take into account different time zones so search for ones in your country. Or if you notice in your feed that people seem to be talking to each other and using a particular hashtag a lot, get curious and investigate! At the end it's common to swap links to your blogs with each other - make sure you also reciprocate follows and acknowledge mentions.

9. Tweet affiliate links with images
This won't strictly generate traffic to your blog, but if you use affiliate links you can tweet pictures of gorgeous products you like/are lusting after with the affiliate link and a short "why I'm loving it" tweet. Tag in the brand as well so they see how much you love their product. I get a huge number of click throughs on my affiliate links from Twitter.

10. Follow relevant people with similar interests
If you haven't done a sweep of Twitter to find like-minded people to follow, get onto it straight away! I find the most effective way to do this is to do is on the desktop version of Twitter (not on your phone or tablet or via an app), and follow this method:

  • Do a search for something that interests you (for me: "40 something", "fashion blogger", etc.)
  • Narrow the search by selecting "People" on the left (you can narrow it even further with Advanced Search)
  • It will then list people with that description in their bio
  • You can click "Follow" next to their details of as many as you like, OR
  • Click on their Twitter name - and click it again - to get their profile page come up
  • When you click the big blue "Follow" button on the right, you'll be given suggestions where Twitter says "You might want to follow these similar accounts"
This way you'll get a never-ending stream of relevant people to follow.

11. Ask for retweets (RT)
There's nothing wrong with asking nicely for a "please RT" at the end of your tweet. Just don't do it all the time or it will have the opposite effect. Make sure it's something that's deserving of a RT, for example asking for participants in a quick opinion poll, or a tweet about a worthy cause. If you tag the nice people at @FemaleBloggerRT or @UKBlog_RT they usually RT you to their respective 23k/nearly 6k followers.

Let me know if these tips have helped you, and if you have any other tips (there are loads), do share them here!
Catherine x
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P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy How to Generate an Audience For Your Blog - and Increase Interaction!

Linking up to: Let It ShineBrilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab FavouritesSunday Funday

Monday, 30 March 2015

French Style Denim and Nike Hi-Tops | La Redoute Brand Ambassador Post

Black and white check coat with denim and Nike hi-tops
I've been wanting to wear this French-style look of hi-tops with skinnies since I saw so many girls wearing them like this in Paris last year. I know I'm a little late on recreating this style(!), but as I'm nearing the end of my La Redoute ambassadorship I thought I should get these fabulous black Nike hi-tops and do my own version before it's all over.

It may be the end of March but we still need winter coats in the UK (depressingly!), so I paired the black and white of my Nikes with the black and white of my check coat. A little colour in the form of a purple galaxy snood (long since sold out sadly but I do love this ombre one) and this was enough to keep me warm and comfy for a walk at the weekend. As with my other French style outfits, it may not be an outfit that screams "Parisian chic" but it's the elements of it I like to take away and make my own, and as a long-time fan La Redoute is the perfect brand to be able to do that with.

Are you a fan of French style - and what does Parisian style mean to you? Do you have any French style heroines - modern or classic? Do share, I'd love to know!

Black and white check coat with denim and Nike hi-tops
Denim skinnies and Nike hi-tops
Black and white check coat
Coat: Marks & Spencer | Snood: Asos (I like this psychedelic print one) | Jeans: Zalando | Hi-tops: Nike c/o La Redoute | Bag: Kangol | Earrings: Asos

Shop the look:


Catherine x
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Photos: Silver Londoner | Linking up to: Visible Monday, Let It Shine, Share in Style, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Fashion Friday, Friday's Fab Favourites

I am a brand ambassador for La Redoute after winning a competition to find two bloggers to represent the brand for 2014-15. The prize included a budget to spend at La Redoute each month. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

9 Ways to Style Vintage (Without It Looking Costumey or Like Fancy Dress)

You CAN wear vintage without it looking costumey or fancy dress! Here's 9 ways to style vintage pieces
I think a lot of people shy away from vintage because they don't want to risk looking like they're in costume or are on the way to a fancy dress party. Don't get me wrong, I love a full-on vintage look (I wrote a post about my favourite vintage-style bloggers and couldn't be more of a Dita Von Teese fan if I tried) - if it suits your personality and your lifestyle, then I say you should absolutely go for it 100%.

If you're more like me, however, and love vintage but don't want to do the stepped-out-of-a-time-machine look, I think there's a simple rule to wearing and styling vintage to make it look modern and less 'costumey':
If you're wearing a vintage piece from one decade, ensure the rest of your outfit - including hairstyle - reflects an entirely different decade.
For example, if you're wearing a 1970s shirt with a bold pattern and long collars, don't wear your hair long and straight with a centre parting, or with wide, flared jeans, or with knee-high platform boots. In contrast, DO go for the long straight hair with a 1950s prom dress. That hairstyle is so unlike how they wore their hair in the 50s that you'll avoid the full-on vintage look altogether. I've put together a collection of some of my favourite outfits where I've mixed and matched vintage and modern to give you an idea of how I've tried to avoid that costumey look.

Let me know what you think, and also: Are you a vintage fan? Do you own any vintage pieces that you just don't know how to style? Let me know in the comments!

Vintage 1950s shirt, white blazer & leopard skinnies
1. 1950s silk shirt
Styled with a white blazer and leopard print skinnies (original post)
Although this 50s shirt was a very bold pattern (and a very typical print of that decade), I didn't shy away from some pattern mixing but went for what will probably become 'the' print of this decade - leopard print - in skinny jeans. I could have gone for cropped Capri pants and flats, but that would have made it very 1950s/Grace Kelly all over. I was purposely trying to make it look as non-vintage as possible.

Vintage Black and Mustard Polka Dot Dress
2. 1970s/80s polka dot dress
Neck refashioned. Styled with contrasting bold belt and matching camisole (original post)
This is probably my favourite vintage dress. I changed the neckline to make it more modern because where it crosses over (if you look closely you'll see it's a wrapover style), it came right up to the neck and made it very matronly. I simply unbuttoned the two sides and tucked them under to create a v-neck which straight away made it look less 80s. By adding a bold contrasting belt and matching camisole it doesn't actually look vintage (meaning old fashioned) at all.

Floral dress & ruffled cardigan
3. 1980s floral dress
Styled with a ruffled cardigan and white trilby (original post)
Another dress, but this time a floral one that I wore with a very modern ruffled cardigan. The summery white trilby is another piece that's not very 80s either - and the same goes for my hair which is what (like the leopard print) is going to become typical of this decade.

Vintage tapestry coat, red brogues
4. 1960s tapestry coat
Styled with grey skinnies and bold brogues (original post)
I was loaned this stunning coat to wear to LFW, and when a piece is this bold you don't need much else. Again, skinnies are the perfect bottoms to contrast with vintage tops, and boldly coloured brogues won't add to the 60s look. I know my hair is a little on the 60s side with the wide hairband, but I think I got away with it.

Vintage patterned blouse, loose blue trousers
5. 1980s floral blouse
Styled with collar tips and loose peg leg trousers (original post)
I like adding statement jewellery to vintage shirts and blouses, and simple pearl collar tips were a nice addition to this (much-worn) favourite blouse of mine. The loose trousers and strappy sandals were the modern contrasts and stopped the blouse going into frump territory.

Layered tanks, vintage skirt and tennis shoes #summer #style
6. 1980s pleated nautical print skirt
Styled with layered tanks and tennis shoes (original post)
I've worn this vintage pleated skirt so many times, and I'm surprised I've found so many ways to style it. For this outfit I added a sporty element - layered tanks and white tennis shoes - to what is essentially a very ladylike piece... is there anything more ladylike or feminine than a pleated midi skirt??

London Fashion Week look: Vintage shirt with statement necklace, trench and skinnies
7. 1970s landscape print shirt
Styled with a statement necklace, trench coat and plain black skinnies (original post)
My first-ever London Fashion Week outfit...! I was determined to wear vintage so the 1970s shirt with cheesy landscape print and massively long collars was my number one choice. Again, skinnies are the perfect contrast to a 70s shirt, and by the time I'd added a statement necklace, a trench coat (timeless and of no decade, by the way) and curled my hair, the screaming 70s-ness of it had long subsided.

Vintage 1940s wrap dress with wide belt
8. 1940s wrapover robe
Refashioned into a dress and styled with a deep belt and white skinnies (original post)
The oldest vintage piece I've ever worn, this was actually a long 1940s wrapover robe with long sleeves, not a dress, that was on loan to me. I styled it as if I had shortened it, which is what I would have done had it been mine to keep. Unless you've got a true designer piece worth thousands I don't think you need to hesitate to alter vintage clothes, so make them suit you with alterations. The pattern is so gorgeous and so 1940s, but a deep belt with massive buckles and a chunky necklace make it look anything but. The modern dress-over-trousers look that I'm so fond of worked really well here. It's so far from a vintage look but the fact that it's actually a 60 year-old robe makes it all the more special.

Vintage patchwork bag, chinos, gingham and denim
9. 1970s patchwork knitting bag
Styled with light wash denim and chinos (original post)
If you're still not convinced about wearing a vintage clothes, why not dip your toe in the water and go for a vintage accessory instead? They don't have to be expensive - this vintage knitting bag cost me all of about £10 from eBay - but it's so reminiscent of my childhood that I had to have it. The light wash denim jacket with chinos and strappy wedges were far removed from the boho look anything patchwork conjures up in my mind, but the gingham shirt is a subtle tie-in.
Catherine x
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P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy my Top Tips for Buying Vintage on eBay!

Photos: Silver Londoner | Linking up to: Visible Monday, Let It Shine, Share in Style, Monday Mingle, Style Sessions, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Fashion Friday, Friday's Fab Favourites