13 Tips to Build a Twitter Following for your Blog

If you write, have a blog, or are gener­at­ing content for the web then having a great publi­city engine is crucial for success and Twitter is such an engine. Leverage it correctly then it can be the Internet’s version of the Town Crier. An essen­tial part of your publi­city success and having a large follow­ing on Twitter is essen­tial. Here are 13 tips for build­ing a Twitter follow­ing:

 

1 — You don’t have to Know the Person to Connect

 

Customer handshakeMany people love to build their networks involving friends, colleagues, and the people they know, but you cannot limit yourself this way on Twitter if you wish to use it as your publi­city engine. There is a practic­al implic­a­tions to build­ing a large follow­ing. Everyone needs new follow­ers, don’t think it is a sign of weakness to admit you need new follow­ers, even Twitter mega-stars, such as Guy Kawasaki, Rich Simmonds, Brian Solis, or Kim Garst are constantly on the lookout for new follow­ers and connect­ing with people who can help their cause.

One challenge for the writer is knowing those inter­ested in your work. You’ll never really know from a Twitter profile those inter­ested in your work. A few I have recently seen:

  • Single mom, love my kids — she was posting a lot of techno­logy tweets.
  • God-fearing, American at heart. Go Braves — he was posting legal tweets.

This, by itself, is a good reason the extend the size of your network. The larger your Twitter follow­ing, the great­er your oppor­tun­ity of finding new readers.

 

2 — Ask People to Follow You

 

Asking people to follow you may seem uncom­monly bold, but all it takes is a Tweet:

Hi I am Peter, special­ising in X, Y, and Z. Follow me

or perhaps:

I’m Peter and have a blog about X, Y, and Z Please follow me

Many will feel this is too bold. However, there are times when it is neces­sary to simply ask. People do so when they are looking for a job, so why not when publi­cising your work? There are also times when self praise is an import­ant tactic to use, show something you have done and it will bring people in your area of interest out to follow you.

Do not ever consider purchas­ing follow­ers. These schemes are designed to take your money and do not provide you with any benefit. There are many other ways to find follow­ers.

 

3 — Follow Those that Follow You

 

Follow us TwitterIt is courteous to follow back and as a gener­al rule you should follow all people back when people follow you.

There are some excep­tions to this rule in my view:

  • A person has no bio and no picture then, in my exper­i­ence, they have no intent to stay on Twitter and it is a waste of time to follow them.
  • People showing porno­graphy or dirty pictures on their stream then I stop follow­ing them (this is not a matter of being prudish it is because I use Twitter as a business tool).
  • In addition to porn, there are people tweet­ing disgust­ing pictures, like body scars, pimples, bad teeth, or skin cutting. Disgusting pictures such as this have no place on my Twitter stream.
  • Users whose Tweets are 100% in a language I do not under­stand. How can you follow when you don’t know what they are saying?

 

4 — Follow Social Media Influencers

 

Sometimes called Social Media Whores (or Smores) because they do not discrim­in­ate about who they follow or have follow­ing them. Don’t expect they will ever retweet your mater­i­al.

Connecting to those having a large follow­ing can open you up to a larger group of people who can poten­tially hear your message. You may learn something about Social Media, blogging or your subject of interest from the things they Tweet. Be prepared to read their mater­i­al, especially when you are new to Twitter. Truth is people know the big names of the Social Media world (and I am not talking about film, music, and TV celebrit­ies here) but those who know how to use this medium best, they have made money using these systems.

Social media influ­en­cers are people you should pay atten­tion to. One sugges­tion: mention them in your tweets to build a wider audience. Some comment­at­ors swear by this. However, it is not a tactic I have used person­ally, but I am proud to have been followed by some people publicly recog­nised as influ­en­cers.

 

5 — Repeat your Tweets

 

You should post regularly on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest. There is a lot of value in re-posting your mater­i­al, as on this global media people may not have seen your post the first time you tweeted it.

Develop a publi­city plan for each post on your blog. This should operate for many weeks after the initial public­a­tion also don’t be afraid to publi­cise blog posts which are a year or two old. By having a plan then your posts will contin­ue to receive atten­tion for weeks or months to come. The effort needed to do this publi­city is minim­al, perhaps 10 minutes per day if you use your tools properly.

 

6 — Use Tools to Aid You

 

Drill by blickpixel CC0 Public Domain from PixabayThere are many tools avail­able which help post your work automat­ic­ally be publi­cised while you are other­wise engaged. I use the Buffer App to buffer posts that I am sending out on social media. It allows me to spend 30 minutes setting up Tweets planned over the next few days. During anoth­er session, I inter­act with other people in my network, retweet­ing their inter­est­ing work and commu­nic­at­ing in other ways.

Tools should only be used to automate one element of your posting. Other tools include:

  • Automatically follow back those that follow you.
  • Categorize people accord­ing to their interests.
  • Automatically post new blog articles to all social sites.
  • Identify people who stop follow­ing you.

 

7 — Don’t Act like a Machine

 

Having said that using tools to automate your activ­ity is a good idea it is possible to appear as if you are a machine, an automaton without a soul through your posts. The negat­ive side associ­ated with advert­ising campaigns. People get bored by your message. This can affect your Twitter follow­ing, you lose follow­ers.

While it is partic­u­larly true with Twitter it can also be seen when using other social platforms. Yes, you need to Tweet about blog posts but you also need to commu­nic­ate with other people:

  • Take time to get to know some of your new follow­ers. Follow their discus­sions, visit their blog, join in.
  • Thank them for Likes and RTs.
  • Like other people’s posts and look at their blogs.
  • Retweet (RT) other people’s posts.
  • Take time to look at the tweets other people have created and compli­ment their best work.
  • Don’t RT things you disagree with (especially polit­ics).

 

8 — Clear out the Dead Wood

 

With Twitter there is nothing as bad as follow­ing people who don’t follow you back. Your Twitter follow­ing should be import­ant to you.

There are some that follow many people each day with the express hope that you will follow them back. It is a cynic­al tactic to gain follow­ers. They are not inter­ested in anything you have to say so they unfol­low you within a few days. What is their intent? Purely to gain follow­ers, but that they don’t care about what their follow­ers think or have to say. Do you need these in your Twitter follow­ing? No, you don’t need such people in your Twitter network. Trouble is they are diffi­cult to easily identi­fy from their bio.

They are called unfol­low­ers and are dead-wood in your network. You need to actively remove them. You need to use software, like Unfollowspy or “Friend or Follow” to identi­fy those who unfol­low you and ensure you stop follow­ing them. The people you need in your network are those that contin­ue to follow you.

 

9 — Use Pictures and Images

 

Beautiful Things from Pable

Post pictures with everything you post. Indeed it is possible to make great use of this capab­il­ity to empower your tweets with enhanced messages. Pablo by Buffer, the source of this image, is a great way to create images with embed­ded quotes etc. Also, make sure your blog posts have featured images which are added to your tweets.

Guy Kawasaki has suppor­ted the idea of using pictures to build a Twitter follow­ing as long ago as 2008 and has even used pictures of sacred cows in Mumbai to gain follow­ers, it is a case of being bold and adven­tur­ous and sometimes a little daring.

 

10 — Links used for 90% of your Tweets

 

As a blogger one of the major reasons you are using Twitter is as a part of your publi­city drive. It is a way to tell people about the latest posts you have created, but it should also be a way for you to highlight articles in your special­ist area produced by those you respect. You must not spend all your time on Twitter advert­ising mater­i­al.

Spend time inter­act­ing with people, look for people asking questions about your area of expert­ise then respond to their questions (often here a link to a blog post can explain what to do or help solve their challenges).

 

11 — Avoid the Mundane

 

People don’t want you to say “Good morning” at the start of your day, or “Good night” when you are going to sleep. An excep­tion can be made if your activ­ity has been part of an ongoing discus­sion — to show you are no longer part of it.

The same is true if your flight has just been delayed — you may care as may your spouse or the person you will be meeting, this is irrel­ev­ant mundane inform­a­tion and will switch many follow­ers off. Mobile phones, email and SMS messaging are used for that kind of message. Use the appro­pri­ate tool not a mass commu­nic­a­tions tool. There are secur­ity implic­a­tions of giving out too much inform­a­tion.

Tweets about the mundane turn people off (unless you happen to be a TV or pop celebrity). We all have our challenges and it is true that people in our network can help solve them — we have all heard stories about people have others rescue them because of tweets sent out to people in a specif­ic local­ity, but this is a rarity.

 

12 — Show your Passion

 

Painting a picture by changingcourse comShowing a passion and excite­ment about your special­ist subject should shine through in your writing and is vital to success as a writer in any genre. Blogs posts are gener­ally short being 750 to 1250 words in length on average. Tweets on Twitter are limited to 140 (now 280) charac­ters (includ­ing the hyper-link) and can have a picture, really just enough for a headline. They should show your passion for the subject at hand.

 

13 — Be a Subject Expert

 

People are inter­ested in a wide variety of things, not all shown in their Twitter bio. Start tweet­ing about antique cars then you will start to gather follow­ers who have some interest in that subject. You may even be added to lists for antique car collect­ors, this is good because you are being associ­ated with other people having simil­ar interests. This can help you and your blog to grow. If you tweet about antique cars and have a blog about that subject then it will draw people in, you should show your passion and expert­ise.

While talking about antique cars it is possible that there may be many other simil­ar interests, those inter­ested in the history, those inter­ested in restor­a­tion, those inter­ested is a specif­ic brand, and many other groups. It is possible to be an expert in antique cars without knowing anything about the restor­a­tion process. For other experts restor­a­tion is the only thing they know. Experts also have differ­ent interests and there is room for all types, what makes you tick?

 
 
 

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as a thank you for discuss­ing how Twitter can enhance your blog’s publi­city. Images used here are 1) created or owned by Peter Giblett, 2) come from a royalty free image collec­tion purchased by the writer or 3) sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Peter, great article and tips! I love follow­ing authors because I’m a big fan of all differ­ent kinds of books.

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