I’m kicking off my For the Bloggers Series with a focus on Twitter because I tend to get the most questions about this platform. A lot of bloggers see very slow growth here and they feel discouraged by the lack of engagement.
I can help.
Here’s the thing. Twitter is easy. It’s far less complicated than Instagram or Facebook in my opinion. I have added over 7,000 genuine Twitter followers in less than 8 months and I’m still growing. The good news is I did not devote hours upon hours of time or money to this task. I’m a mom. I have things to do. I jump on Twitter for maybe 10 to 15 minutes a day. I assure you this is not hard.
So you’re a blogger. You spend all this time creating great content for your blog but you want to get some eyes on it. Pressing publish on a blog post without publicizing it through social media is a bit like writing in a vacuum. Until you build a loyal audience there is zero guarantee that anyone will see it.
Sending a tweet without knowing what you’re doing is also like writing in a vacuum. Your tweets will only be seen by the people who follow you. People who don’t follow you don’t even know you exist and they certainly don’t know you have all kinds of amazing things to share with them. You have to do the work and bring them to your Twitter page.
Here’s my strategy so you can up your Twitter game too. These are in no particular order. Just go do them all.
- Create a beautiful profile. Twitter gives us three spaces to communicate who we are and why someone should want to get to know us. Don’t squander that opportunity! Put some real thought into it! (1) Profile photo. This should be a professional looking photo of you. You don’t have to pay a professional photographer to achieve that. Just make sure it’s bright and clear. (2) Cover photo. This photo should represent your point of view. Can I tell what you write about just from seeing your cover photo? You can do this with one photo, multiple photos, or your blog name beautifully displayed. Since I write about upbeat topics I want this space (and my profile photo) to be joyful and welcoming. (3) Your bio. This is a small space but there’s a lot you can accomplish in it. You want to tell me why I should follow you and what I can expect from your tweets. You’re basically giving your credentials. Don’t forget to include your blog URL!
- Follow people. Seriously. Follow people en masse. This is the most tedious task on this list but I promise you’ll survive. See who follows other bloggers in your niche and then follow those followers. Check out the Twitter accounts of blogging communities and follow their followers. Visit the accounts of digital publications that appeal to your readers and follow their followers. Are you picking up what I’m putting down yet? You can use an app like Crowdfire if you want or do it without one. It’s not rocket science. However you do it, do it. At least 25% of the people you follow will check out your account and follow you back (assuming you’re tweeting regularly and not being spammy). You can unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you back after a few days.
- Tweet your own great content regularly. The whole point is to get people to your blog, right? Right? So give your audience lots of opportunities to get there. Tweets have a life of maybe 15 minutes and then they tend to get lost. If you tweet a link to a blog post once a day it’s not going to get seen by very many people. Plus what about all the fascinating content you have on your blog from earlier in the week? Or even weeks and months prior? This is why I use Post Planner. I have it set up to recycle tweets with links to older blog posts. Every time I publish a new post I add a tweet to my Post Planner schedule and click recycle. You can dictate how often it will send out tweets with your content. You can dictate the type of content it will tweet at a given time (images vs links, etc). I’ve played with this a lot. I’m currently tweeting a quote in the morning and 2 blog post links a day through Post Planner. I’ve done as much as 7 but that felt like overkill to me personally. Let’s not overwhelm people. You really have to find the sweet spot for your audience.
- Use lists & retweet, retweet, retweet. Nobody wants to see only your content all the time. I create lists and add people who I can count on for tweets that will appeal to my readers. I have lists for food, faith, parenting, DIY, and more. I also have a private list called Favorites of the tried and true tweeters. When I want to send some retweets I just click on the relevant list and do it. Don’t let this intimidate you. This doesn’t have to take more than 5 to 10 minutes a day. Yes, there are services that can retweet for you. I don’t like them. A tweet is a reflection of me. You can use filters all day long and still end up retweeting something that is offensive to your audience and not a good representation of you. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen this happen. And the sad thing is I bet the blogger doesn’t even know they sent the disturbing tweet because their account is sending so very many tweets throughout the day. My name and my brand are just too important for me to take that risk. Additionally when I see people use these services I notice that they tend to fill up my feed with tweets that, while not offensive, are garbage. Tweets with terrible photography or no images at all. And lots of it. I tend to remove people from my lists when this happens because they’re sending so much that it makes it harder for me to get to the tweets I want to share.
- Join a Retweet group. Find a few fellow bloggers who share content that interests you and start a Direct Message with all of them. (Assuming they’re all on board with this.) Give the message a name like Retweet Group or something more specific like Recipe Retweet Group (if you’re in several). The idea is that participants can leave a tweet there and everyone else will retweet it. Establish the rules beforehand. Is there a maximum number of tweets you can leave per day? Does everyone need to make sure they’ve retweeted everything before they can leave their own tweet? Do you drop a <3 to indicate you’ve retweeted everything? Add new members as some drop out. You’ll be shocked by how quickly participating in a group like this can skyrocket your impressions. My own went from 96,000 to 165,000 in 28 days. So yes. I’m a fan. And if you have quality content then more impressions will equal more engagement. Sign me up for that!
- Pin what you want retweeted to your profile. This is so easy to do. If you haven’t done it you’re missing a huge opportunity. Every time I publish a new blog post I send a tweet with a link to it. Then I click the … under the tweet and select Pin to Profile Page. That keeps that tweet at the top of my tweets. If someone has tweeted my content and I want to return the favor I head straight to their profile to look for their pinned tweet. If it’s not there I’ll scroll through their feed but I don’t always have time for that. Make it easy for people to find your newest content!
- Get on board the hashtag train. This (like following people) is a phenomenal way to get your content in front of new people. Don’t include too many hashtags or you’ll look spammy. I like to use 2 per tweet or 3 if I can work one of them into my text.
- Tag other accounts when relevant. What an easy way to build goodwill within the blogger community. When you’re sharing someone’s work always tag that person so they can see it. They may even retweet it which then puts you in front of their audience! I once guest posted on someone’s blog and when they tweeted a link to my guest post they never tagged me so I missed it completely. It takes 2 seconds to tag someone, folks. It’s just silly not to.
- Set up your Twitter share button on your blog to automatically include your Twitter handle. When I come across a fantastic recipe I love to tweet it directly from the blog post. At least 8 times of out 10 I go to do this only to discover that their auto-generated tweet doesn’t include their handle. Come on, y’all. It’s simple to do. If you’re using SumoMe or Simple Share Buttons all you have to do is add your handle in a little box where it says Twitter Handle. I’m not kidding. You want to be tagged when someone shares your content! And I want you to be tagged when I share your content! So do the tagging for your readers please.
- Use Twitter Cards on your blog. Twitter Cards mean you can share rich media when you tweet your blog posts. It’s a lot like when you share a link on Facebook and the image, title, and an excerpt shows up. Everything you want to know about Twitter Cards can be found here. The set up is not hard and it’s a one time thing. (Look, I’ll even include this little tutorial I found with a quick Google search. I use Method 1.) There are four types of cards to choose from. My choice is the Summary Card with Large Image. Tweets with big professional images take up more space on the screen so they capture a person’s attention a lot faster than a small image or text only. This leads to more retweets and clicks to your blog post. Yay! Once you’ve got your cards up and running visit the Twitter Card validator. You just paste your blog post URL there and it will show you what it will look like when tweeted. If it’s not showing up the way it ought (a small image when you’re set up for the large one) just click Preview Card again and it will likely correct itself.
- Avoid the automated messages. You know what’s annoying? Finding someone fun to follow and then BAM you get an automated direct message from them. It says something like “Hi, thanks for following. Go check out my blog for more great content!” but what I’m hearing is “As a thank you for following me I’m going to blast you with this spam greeting to fill up your inbox and make that inbox essentially worthless to you”. No thank you. Don’t be this guy.
- Join some fun Facebook groups. There are lots of great Facebook groups specifically for bloggers. I’m partial to my own, Growing Social Media for Bloggers, but there are several others that I pop in too. Many of these groups will have Twitter Follow Threads and Twitter Retweet Threads. These can give you a quick jump in followers and engagement. More than that, they’ll help you find a fantastic support system of bloggers who will cheer you on and answer questions.
Now that you’re an expert be sure to find me on Twitter. Say hello and I’ll be sure to follow you back!