5 Ways to Use Your Twitter Account to Build a Community

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When I first started blogging, social media didn’t even factor into my plan.  They seemed like two completely different subjects, and the latter was one I had no interest in.  And the most ridiculous, at least in my opinion, was Twitter.  In fact, my friend and I who co-wrote my first blog regularly made fun of it – “I’m getting in the shower, I’m drying off, I’m brushing my teeth…” we’d joke with one another.  Little did I know that in a few years, Twitter would be my favorite social media site, and the number-one traffic source for my blog.

Over the last few years since I made my first Twitter account, I’ve learned a few things that got me to the point where I check it throughout the day and even have met some of my favorite bloggers through tweets. So today, here are some of the things I’ve done that have made Twitter work for me!

Variety

I’ve already mentioned that when Twitter first debuted in the social media world, I thought it was a joke. We were connected enough already – I didn’t feel like I needed to know any more about your day-to-day business.  But the more I use Twitter, the more I realize that personal posts are some of my favorites. Especially in lifestyle blogging, we all want to know more about the person behind the screen.

But it’s not just that – Twitter is a tool, and one that I use often. Most of what I post are links not to my own posts, but to other blogs I love, articles relating to things I blog about, quotes that resonate with me, and information I think would be useful to my followers.

Suffice to say, posts advertising my own blog are a very small portion of what I have to say on Twitter. It is an amazing resource for new blogs, articles, and information, and making yourself a part of that is a big part of gaining new readers.

Interaction

We all talk about how important community is to our blogs, and that doesn’t end with the .com.  In fact, I sometimes think that social media is a much bigger part of that community than your blog is, and Twitter is one of my favorite ways to get that interaction.

A sixth type of Tweet I didn’t mention in the last section are questions. Each day, I think of the questions I love being asked about blogging: what other people are doing differently, how other bloggers feel about controversial topics in the field, and even some other questions not related to blogging.

This has been one of the best things I’ve done for my Twitter account and subsequently for my blog. Through the questions I’ve posed on Twitter, I’ve started some great conversations, learned that I’m not alone in how I blog, and found new blogs I really enjoy reading – win/win/win, right?

Tag It

Okay, I know that tags can be intimidating, especially when you see posts built entirely out of them, but hashtags are the sliced bread of social media.  Especially when you first start out on Twitter, and have a following built entirely of your roommate, your high-school best friend, and your cousin’s friend’s boyfriend, hashtags expand your reach.  Another type of tagging I suggest is that of tagging other people who may have written a post you’re sharing, or in response to something they’ve tweeted.

My number one piece of advice here though: make sure your hashtags are relevant.  Nothing makes me crazier than a post with 20 different tags, half of which have nothing to do with the post, and it’s not going to get you any real followers or readers.

Regularity

For me, one of the most difficult parts of learning to use Twitter was figuring out how often I should post. I’ve read before that the average “life” of a tweet is less than 20 minutes, meaning that by the time your post has been up for half an hour it’s already disappeared into the abyss of your follower’s news feeds. The tips above can help to prolong your tweet’s life, but not forever and not always.

I’ve heard that posting every 15 minutes is optimal, but something about that seems way too often for me. I do make sure to post twice an hour though, so that my little mini-face is never far from the top of your news feed.

Posting this often can get hard though, especially if you have a life that involves not staring at a computer screen all day, but thankfully sites like Buffer and Hootsuite have made the impossible not only possible, but ridiculously easy.

At the beginning of each day (or the night before, if I’m feeling proactive), I take about 20 minutes to schedule out my tweets for the day: a variety of quotes I find all over the Internet, blog posts I loved reading and think might be useful for my readers, sponsored posts, relevant and timely articles, questions, and of course links to my own posts, both new and archived.  This means that for the rest of the day, it’s much easier to share snippets of my life and things I find funny rather than worrying about when the last time I posted was.

Archive

Everyone’s first thought when they publish a new post is to share it everywhere, but what about in three months? How about a year from now?

Sometimes, the posts that get the most responses are the ones you wrote forever ago and almost forgot about.  Maybe when you wrote it, you didn’t have a big following.  Maybe you didn’t advertise it well.  Or maybe just freshening it up will bring new readers over to your blog.  Whatever it is, you’ll never know if you don’t give your posts another shot at life.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07641127993537065273 Ashliegh

    AWESOME AWESOME guide, Kiersten! I need to use Twitter more often. I go through phases where I’m really good and then I’ll disappear for a few days. Come on, Ash, get it together!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17859855433737151341 Valerie Perez

    Thank you for this! I admit, I kind of hate Twitter. I never really saw how it could be beneficial for my blog. My newsfeed is also always so crazy and I don’t even follow that many people! This post helped me though (I didn’t know about Buffer or Hootsuite, gonna check those out now!) I’m definitely going to try and start optimizing my Twitter more now, hopefully it will help out my blog :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03647863540091005703 Lindsay Ropella

    This is seriously a GREAT post! I just started actually using my twitter not too long ago and am still trying to figure out how the whole thing works and the best ways to use it to promote my brand. Thanks so much for sharing these – tons of great ideas!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09546031489837605048 Sweet, Sassy Southern Belle

    This is great! Thank you for posting it! I’m putting a link to this in my post that’s going live on Thursday about blogging advice and what I’ve learned since I’ve started blogging. :-D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08272847682494279472 Camila

    This is a great guide to using Twitter! I’m still so terrible at it! I’m always trying to find new posts to link to, but I’m just terrible at actually sharing them on Twitter! I’m getting better month by month but I definitely have a lot to improve on!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02827467694477316594 The Southern Thing

    Great tips!! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15057480083148522580 Becca @ Becoming Adorrable

    I’ve definitely discovered some of my favorite bloggers through twitter!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15263331247319768989 Shybiker

    Most of what you say is true, but I question whether a tweet gets lost after 20 minutes. I’m able to read every tweet my friends make even when I check my feed only twice a day. Their tweets don’t get lost.

    Like you, I didn’t see the point of Twitter when it first emerged but now I do. It fills a need. I enjoy hearing details of my friends’ lives. I like your idea of pointing to old blog-posts. Those are often overlooked.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04526288851432270960 Marielle Green

    I was just like you – always made fun of Twitter and swore never to tweet! I only got an account because of my blog and when I started, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. It’s been great for traffic and finding other cool articles/bloggers. I still always forget about hashtags though!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12445081275530729227 jackie jade

    great tips! i”m getting better at pre-scheduling posts on twitter so i don’t have a lull in my timeline.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09385161105645416484 Stacia, Paper Swallow Events

    These are such great tips! I really struggle with knowing how to use Twitter in particular, but I feel like I have a bit of a better idea after this!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16872923498201700713 Sarah Farris

    I love your blogger questions! I am terrible at checking twitter, but when I do and I see them, they generate good discussions!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00368728850892045452 Miss Kriss

    Awesome post! Thank you for this! I’m a new blogger and pretty much gave up on my twitter long ago. Time to tweet it up!
    xo Krissy @ Sneakers and Sequins

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12046155728445845231 Hannah at The Lemon Hive

    I love that you posted this. I’m so uncomfortable with talking to people I don’t know (yeah, this is definitely my own problem and I’m working on it!) and I find Twitter awkward at times and I always feel really false. Any tips for any awkward folks out there?

    :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05583952965259634847 Jenny Fish

    These are great tips – I think my biggest challenge is just checking twitter. It’s easy to schedule tweets, but not easy to continuously go back and interact with other people. It’s something I need to work on – but, honestly, it’s not a priority right now. Content first, and then I’ll figure out all this other stuff.

  • http://thegracefilledhome.wordpress.com/ thegracefilledhome

    Ooh, I needed to read this. I avoid Twitter like the plague. I get so frustrated and confused. Using hashtags to expand my reach will really help!! Thank you for taking the time to put together such a comprehensive and easy to read post!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10824991954618633263 Jaelan @ Making Mrs. M

    These are wonderful tips. I’m a fairly new blogger and I have trouble remembering to do all of this, and I’m still learning how to make different outlets work for me and my blog! Thanks for the great advice.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05141015381093286871 Cassie

    Great tips! I am still learning, so this was extremely helpful!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02745567898612453975 Amber Content

    I actually rarely recycle my tweets; that’s a great idea! I have a few that did really well and drove traffic, but I don’t know why, I never retweeted them! I will now!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08485844894211252960 Alexandra Stacey

    This is an AMAZING resource! Right now I am struggling with Twitter, and this helps so much. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • http://eurolinguiste.wordpress.com/ shannonkennedyteenjazz

    Really great tips! Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05887712904925756046 Chantel Klassen

    Love this list! I go up and down with Twitter, sometimes I love it sometimes I get overwhelmed by yet another form of social media. But I love all your tips here. Thanks for linking up with JOAT!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09879861819193025889 Cheryn Bloom

    Thanks for these really useful tips, I’m a bit rubbish with Twitter so need to get back on the bandwagon!

  • Julie S.

    I took me years to finally understand how to use Twitter, and now I love it! I’m still working on figuring out which hashtags to use when. Great post!

    • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

      Thanks, Julie! I’m the same – I couldn’t stand Twitter at first, but since I’ve started really paying attention to it, I love it!

  • http://www.thelimericklane.com/ Toya | The Limerick Lane

    The key is posting other content. I’ve followed several people in the strength that they always tweet great articles. Great list!

    • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

      I definitely agree! I love finding great articles that other people are posting and it gives you much more opportunity for conversation/finding new blogging friends.

  • Michelle Knight

    Twitter has been very daunting to me but it is something I want to get better and grow my following. This post was great.

    • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

      I used to HATE Twitter when I first started. I saw no point in it. It’s definitely worth using though, because I think it’s the best social media site to build a community on! Good luck with growing yours :)

  • http://ashleygabrielle.com/ Ashley Gabrielle

    I was just on Twitter thinking about how it is so hard to gain a following on there and then I found this post! Anyways this was so helpful!!!
    Ashley
    ashleygabrielle.com

    • http://www.sheisfierce.org/ Kiersten McMonagle

      Ooo perfect! I love that, when you find a post/article at exactly the right time!

  • http://mypixieblog.com/ Charlotte

    I have a hard time posting that frequently to twitter, too–but there are certain times of the day when I’m a bit more active than others. You have some great advice here, thanks! I also love participating when there are questions pertaining to bloggers or Twitter chats (haven’t done one of those in a while, come to think of it…)

    Thanks for this!