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 - and if you're not yet following me on Twitter my handle is @notlamb!)
1. Schedule tweetsIf 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/page refresh required) and will transform the way you tweet.
2. Aim for 120 charactersThey 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 teaseThis 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 problemIn other words, tweets like this:
After: Imagine what it’d be like to have that problem solved
Bridge: Here’s how to get there
Say adios to boring ponytails with these awesome styles http://t.co/D2N58pCxKg pic.twitter.com/IIbYgqEpsR
— refinery29 (@Refinery29) March 29, 2015
Panicking about work tomorrow? Read our 6 top tips on how to deal with stress: http://t.co/e9WPjfFXMA pic.twitter.com/o87TydyXsa— Grazia_Live (@Grazia_Live) March 29, 2015
Snap yourself happy! How to make the ordinary look extraordinary on Instagram http://t.co/WQsGijUlqG pic.twitter.com/jgAFGG5zQs
— Grazia_Live (@Grazia_Live) March 30, 2015
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 imagesTweets 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)
#tbloggers (Travel or teenage bloggers)
#mbloggers or #mummybloggers
#pbloggers (Parent bloggers)
#30sbloggers (we need to get #40sbloggers and #50sbloggers used more!)
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 aboutThis 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 contentThis 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 to start the tweet with "Read again..." (or something similar) to make it clear it's not brand new.
8. Join in with Twitter chatsIf 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 imagesThis 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 interestsIf 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! (Don't forget to follow me @notlamb on Twitter)
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P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy How to Generate an Audience For Your Blog - and Increase Interaction!
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