I recently posted a discussion on LinkedIn, asking people to take my survey on promoting your blog with Twitter. One of the comments I got was from a woman saying she wanted to promote her blog on Twitter, but didn’t really know how. I decided to write this article for her and others like her. (Warning, I do plug my Twitter app in this post, but only twice and only because it’s actually useful to you.)
I won’t try to sell you on all the benefits of promoting with Twitter. Instead, let me just point you to bloggers like SugarJones and KellyOlexa, who have followings of thousands and tens of thousands. Obviously, when you get to those levels, it takes less promotion to generate more returns in visits to your blog. This Social Media post also shows how powerful Twitter can be.
So, here are three simple steps to begin promoting your blog using Twitter.
Step 1: Join and learn the ropes
The first step is to join and spend a little time understanding the basics. To join, I’m going to recommend you use one of our Tweet Packages. You can click this link to follow people who tweet about social media marketing—exactly the kind of tweets you’ll want to read as you learn how to promote your blog. If that doesn’t appeal to you, go to Find a Package to find a topic that does interest you, like wine, authors on Twitter, football, etc.
The package will ask you to either log in or join Twitter, if you don’t have an account. After you log in or join, you’ll be automatically signed up to follow a number of people, as well as have some hash-tag searches added to your saved searches.
Get Started with Twitter
You’ll immediately see some tweets from the people you’re following, so you can get a sense of what this Twitter thing is all about. If you’re totally new to Twitter, I suggest you go to our Getting Started page which explains the basics of using Twitter, including what an RT, DM and # are.
Create your profile
Make sure that you go to Settings and create a basic profile. At a minimum, upload a picture of yourself—that’s a must, and link to your blog. Also, write a one-line bio that includes mention of what you blog about.
Then, just sit back and watch the stream. Try to go to Twitter at least a couple of times a day for the first week or so. Click on some of the links you see tweeted. Maybe click on the names of some of the people tweeting to go to their streams and view everything they’ve tweeted. Just listen and get a feel for things.
Step 2: Tweet
After you’ve spent a week or so getting a feel for this Twitter thing, it’s time to tweet. Just enter a 140 character message (or less) in the What are you doing? box and click Update. Don’t worry too much about what you’re tweeting. It doesn’t have to be anything brilliant or particularly interesting.
You can tweet about what you did today, what you had for dinner, what you’re thinking about blogging about, etc.
Over the week, tweet here and there. Don’t expect a response. You’re not likely to get one at this point. You might not even have anyone following you. Don’t worry about that, yet.
But do take some time to reply to some of the tweets you see. (Check the Getting Started to see how.) And ask a question here or there in your replies to people. See if you can initiate a conversation, even just a minor one.
Tweet a link
Also, tweet links a few times during the week. To do that, you’ll want to join a service like bit.ly (it’s free). After you join and enter your Twitter account information, you can create the tiny URLs that you see in tweets. When you find an article or blog post of interest, just copy the URL from the address bar, go to your bit.ly account, and paste it into the Enter your long link here box. Click Shorten to get your tiny URL. The URL will appear in two places, including the Share box with a Post button under it. Type a message in front of your tiny URL and click Post to tweet the link.
DON’T promote your blog, yet. Hold off on that.
Step 3: Develop your Tweet Strategy
Now that you’ve gotten a feel for this whole Twitter thing and gotten used to tweeting, it’s time to develop your tweet strategy. This is where you’ll figure out how to tweet in such a way as to gain followers and promote your blog. And this is where a lot of people flounder.
Promoting your blog is marketing, pure and simple. Like any marketing, you need to define your audience and then figure out how to reach them. You also need to hone your message, if you haven’t already done so.
Hopefully, since you blog, you are pretty clear about your message. “I blog about x.” X, in the form of your blog, is what you’re selling. So, if you blog about wine and food, then you are selling wine and food. If you blog about politics, then politics (your particular brand) is what you’re selling.
Define your audience
Based on this, you need to define your audience. Who are you trying to attract to your blog? If you blog about wine, you’re probably trying to attract regular wine drinkers and aficionados. If you blog about politics, you are probably trying to attract, primarily, people who are passionate about politics or certain issues and who are news junkies.
The person who commented on LinkedIn was actually interested in being hired to write web content. In a situation like that, you are selling yourself and your skills. Your audience is the people responsible for web content and who can hire you.
Once you know your audience, you need to reach them. There are a lot of tools out there to help you find people to follow who meet certain characteristics. The theory is, if you follow people, a good percentage of them will follow you back. You can search the web for “Twitter gain followers” and similar queries to find some of these tools to help you find good follows in your target audience. Primarily, you’ll want to look for people whose bio includes the topics you care about and, especially, who tweet a fair amount about these topics.
(Note, I highly recommend against the practice of following hundreds or thousands of people and then unfollowing the ones who don’t follow you back. It’s not well regarded by Twitter users, isn’t particularly effective as far as I can tell, and Twitter is cracking down on users who do that.)
Provide valuable information to your audience
The key way that you obtain and RETAIN followers on Twitter, though, is to provide information of value to them. So, you need to look at your target audience, the people you want to attract, and ask yourself “what information is of interest to them, and preferably also relevant to my blog.”
That’s what you want to tweet about.
Again, if you blog about wine and want to attract people who love wine, then tweet about wine! Tweet links to reviews and articles about wine, tweet about good wine-food pairings, tweet about happenings in the wine industry, the health benefits of wine, and so on.
For the person who commented and was looking to get hired to write web content, I’d suggest tweeting (and blogging) about writing good content: how to come up with headlines, how to develop content that interests users, directories to list sites/blogs in, matching SEO needs with copy, etc. Use your Twitter account to demonstrate your expertise and to pass on information of use to your target audience.
If I’m getting valuable information from your tweets, I’m likely to keep following you. I’m likely to retweet your tweets—which is key to viral spread of your content. I’m likely to recommend that others follow you. And I’m more likely to read your blog.
After you know what you need to tweet about, plan to tweet daily. Make no more than 1/3 of your tweets promotional (promoting your latest posts, your blog, your job search, etc.). Make no more than 1/3 mundane, personal tweets (“At the store.” “ZeeZee’s cheesecake, yum.”). Make 1/3 or more of your tweets RTs, replies to people, and tweets of interesting links.
Some people recommend an even lower ration of promotional tweets. And people’s opinions vary greatly on how much you should tweet about the day to day. But certainly don’t exceed 1/3 promotional.
Reach your audience through hash tags and follows
Make SURE that you include relevant hash tags in your tweets. If you blog and tweet about marketing, find the hash tags that people use when tweeting and searching on marketing, like #marketing #SEM, etc. Make sure you include those hash tags in your tweets so that others can find them in searches.
Also, once you’re clear on your audience, do searches using the hash tags and keywords you’ve identified. Use these searches to find other twitterers who regularly tweet on your topic. Look for both the big guys (with a thousand plus followers) and especially the smaller guys, like me, with followers only in the hundreds. Follow those people. They are part of your audience. The smaller ones are also the people who are most likely to read and retweet your content. Interact with them where appropriate, responding to questions or comments and retweeting their content when it’s good.
Promote your blog
Finally, promote your blog. That was the original goal, right? When you do promote, make sure your tweet uses a catchy, but accurate headline for your blog post, with a bit.ly link to the post. You can tweet about the same blog post for a few days, two or three throughout the day, as long as you don’t exceed the 1/3 rule.
There is a lot more you can do to promote your blog and go deeper with Twitter. But this will give you a good start. Oh, and (shameless plug) keep TweetPackage.com in mind for future promotions. We’re currently the only ones who can create packages, but we’ll be enabling you to create them soon. They are another way to get your target audience to follow you on Twitter. See Marketing with Packages
for more information, and sign up for notification if you want to try creating Tweet Packages.