By Holly Reisem Hanna
Recently a woman in my local blogging group asked:
“Anyone know much about tweeting? Good “get started how to's??” I want to drive more traffic to my blog and Etsy store … thanks in advance”.
Because so many of you have asked similar questions about Twitter, I thought it would be a good day to discuss how to use Twitter for building your business and getting traffic to your blog.
For those you who are not familiar with Twitter, it is a social network that allows you to send out mini updates, or in Twitter lingo, “tweets” in 280 characters or less. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a very basic, fast-moving conversation, where profiles contain limited amounts of information, and individuals don’t need permission to be your “friend.”
So how do you use this fast moving social media platform to drive traffic to your blog and market your business?
Here are Some Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Business or Blog:
1. Add Your Blog’s RSS Feed
Because Twitter is such a basic platform, you’ll need to use some third-party applications to help manage your account. The first thing you’ll want to do is to sign up for a Hootsuite account; here you can add your blog’s RSS feed, and it will automatically push out new blog posts for you, hence driving traffic to your blog. You can also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets, reply to conversations, and you can even sync it up with other social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, allowing you to manage the majority of your accounts in one place.
2. Join a Tribe
To get more eyes on your blog posts, you’ll want individuals to re-tweet (RT) your content. While some of this sharing will happen organically, it can be helpful if you’re part of a tribe that helps to spread each other’s content around on Twitter. Triberr is a third-party application, that allows individuals to do just that, but automatically. How it works is each tribe member has their blog's RSS feed linked into Triberr, then on a daily basis members log in to the platform and approve or deny tweets from their tribe. Once tweets are approved, they are automatically staggered and scheduled for publication on your Twitter stream. Triberr allows your blog posts to be seen by more people, by collectively working together for greater exposure.
3. Get Even More Eyes on Your Blog
Just ReTweet is a community where individuals share each other’s content, and by doing so, they earn credits. So if you have a blog post that you would like shared by the community, Just add the tweet, the number of credits you’re willing to give each member for sharing the tweet, and you’re done. Credits can be earned quickly by following, re-tweeting and filling out your account information… however credits can also be purchased giving you more Twitter RT power. The one thing I really like about this community is because it is set up through a rewards system, individuals are more likely to share and participate, where a lot of other communities seem to be based on popularity and self-service.
4. Offer Something of Value
I’m personally not a big fan of automated direct messages on Twitter, but with this said, I’ve seen a few companies do automated messages really well. To set up an automatic direct message, you’ll need to use a third-party application called Social Oomph. What happens is when someone new follows you on Twitter, you can send them an automatic direct message using Social Oomph. But a word of warning, if you’re going to do this you need to offer the individual something of significant value – a coupon for 10% off or free shipping could be enticing.
5. Use Hashtags
One of my favorite ways to use Twitter is as a search tool. So that your updates are quickly and easily found, be sure that you're using keywords and hashtags. Simply put, a hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by the pound sign (#) and it is used to identify a certain topic. By adding hashtags to your tweets, you can ensure that your tweets will be found in relevant search queries. Not sure which hashtags to add to your content? Use a tool like Hashtagify to help determine popularity, trends, and word correlations.
6. Join the Conversation and Engage
While I’ve mentioned a bunch of different tools and techniques for building your business and blog traffic on Twitter, by far the best way to market yourself is to join the conversation and build relationships. Just like in face to face encounters, you need to be gracious, respectful and genuine. Ask questions, reply to queries, thank individuals for RTs and always remember to give more than you take. One fun way to do this is to join a Twitter Chat; these are generally scheduled conversations around a certain topic. In fact, my good friend Melissa just wrote a post on a bunch of different Twitter Chats you can get involved with.
You can monitor what people are saying about you and your brand, just by using the Twitter search function. I just used the search to locate what people were saying about The Work at Home Woman and I found some tweets about my blog, and then other random tweets about women working from home.
Another unique way you can monitor on Twitter is by using this format in Twitter’s search box from:Holly_Hanna OR to:Holly_Hanna and you can see all the message that I have sent and received. So that if you have someone managing your Twitter account for you, you can monitor what they are tweeting and how they are responding.
Now that you are monitoring what people are saying about your brand, when someone tweets, “Brand X Rocks” you can reply back, “Thanks for the mention, we appreciate it”. The cool thing about Twitter is it allows you to connect with your audience on a more personal level. You can both reply to tweets coming through the stream and send out your own personal tweets.
Of course, you’ve probably already figured this one out; you can tweet out coupon codes, sales, and promotions that you are running, but some companies have really figured out a unique to sell their products using Twitter. Kodji BBQ delivers Korean BBQ and will tweet out the location of where their truck will be at a certain time. According to Guy Kawasaki, when the Kodji truck pulls up to the specific location they will be 50 or more people there waiting for this delish Koren BBQ. Just think about how you could use Twitter in this manner to increase sales for your business.
Companies like Comcast and HP have created specific Twitter accounts to deal directly with customer service issues and concerns letting the public know that these companies care. Of course, you don’t have to create a separate Twitter account for your customer service issues, but perhaps you tweet out, “Happy to answer any questions you may have about our business” just letting your customers know that you're there for them is huge!
11. Prospect For Clients
This is a really neat way to find new customers and clients on Twitter. Just do an advanced search, with your keyword, ideal customer and where they would be located. So let’s say, I make delicious cupcakes and I’m looking for people in Austin who love cupcakes. Once I get my search back about people who are tweeting about cupcakes and their love for them, I decide to follow these people on Twitter, because there is a good possibility that they will enjoy my cupcakes, heck I may even send them a coupon for a free cupcake to get them in the door of my establishment. The possibilities for prospecting are endless. You can also do an advanced search of an individual’s Twitter Bios, so using the same example, here are the results I would get.
Just like anything else, marketing your blog and business on Twitter takes time, effort and consistency, but if you join in the conversation and focus on building relationships the rest will fall into place.
And if you're interested you can find me @Holly_Hanna. What's your Twitter handle? How are you using Twitter to promote your business or blog?
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