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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.