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Ever found yourself wondering how to use Twitter to grow your blog? It’s one of the trickier social media platforms to master, but once you get the hang of it, this network can drive engaged subscribers, readers and potential customers to your blog or small business website.
I’ve been on Twitter since 2010 but managed to get comfortable with this space only in the last 3 years or so. In that time, I’ve managed to win two awards for best use of Twitter from Women’s Web for 2016 and 2017. This is despite having a relatively small number of followers (less than 6000) even today.
But one of the things I keep telling people is that it isn’t enough to use a network; it’s important to keep evolving and changing methods to see what works even better.
What you need to remember is that Twitter is a social network and must be used as such. Without ado, let’s dive into the techniques I’ve used in the last couple of months to improve engagement and generate interest in my content. You may be using some of these tips already and I’d love to know if you find any of the others useful.
- Share links directly from your blog
- Share links without your handle
- Share images not present in the post
- Share images with minimal text overlay
- Include a Call-to-action (CTA)
- Add a tweet without hashtags
- Share personal updates/tips/threads
- Endorse others in your niche
- Don’t Retweet your own content shared by others
Share links directly from your blog
As a blogger, one of the best ways to get eyes on your content is to enable social sharing icons on your site. Ensure that you have your Twitter handle configured so you know when someone shares your content.
When you set aside blocks of time for dedicated tasks, not only do you get more time, you get more work done!
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 6, 2018
Additionally, you can add one or two relevant hashtags to get more eyes on the content.
If you use WordPress, you’d get the default Jetpack sharing buttons. But a while ago, the Twitter platform stopped allowing share counter updates.
Knowing this, a few sharing services brought back that functionality. For instance, I use the paid version of the plugin, ‘Easy Social Share’. It also pulls the share count for your old posts, even if you’ve changed the domain or moved to HTTPS a while ago.
Tip: Keep track of high-performing links and remember to add them again to Twitter after a reasonable gap.
Share links without your handle
This is a trick I began using a while ago and I’ve seen a definite difference in terms of engagement. When I re-share my content the second or third time around, I leave out my handle.
5 Types of Books for Early Readers:
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 1, 2018
That way, it’s only the title of the link and the URL that goes out plus an image. For some reason, this tends to generate more interest in my content.
Tip: If you would like to know if someone else has shared your content without tagging you, sign up for a free account at warble. Each day, you will get a mail with a list of tweets that have shared links from your website. Neat, huh? 🙂
Share images not present in the post
Most of us already have images in our posts and featured images as well. Often, when we share a link, the url pulls the featured image to share on Twitter. Instead, what you can do is share a different image (one not present in the post). Check the example below.
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) September 26, 2018
In this you can see that I have added an image, but it does not actually exist in the post. A picture is worth a thousand words? Yes and sometimes, it’s worth 200 characters in a tweet. 😉
The more relevant, timely and apt the image, the more likely it is that people will click on the link attached to the tweet.
Tip: Find the most fabulous free images on Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash for you to use for this purpose!
Share images with minimal text overlay
This is a tip I picked up from Pinterest. 🙂 I noticed how I was more likely to click on an image which had a brief bit of text on it, telling me what the link is about.
Similarly, doing that on Twitter has ensured better click-throughs to the site. And this can be done for any niche! See the attached tweet.
How I use Time Blocking in my Day to get things done! #Blogging
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 2, 2018
Tip: Keep the text minimal, as mentioned. Too much crowding of the image can turn viewers off when they are scrolling through the feed. Less is more, always. 🙂
Include a Call-to-action (CTA)
Remember how I said Twitter is all about being ‘social?’ That applies to this tip. Most users are scrolling through Twitter at breakneck speed. You need something to stop them in their tracks and click on your content.
This is why I sometimes try and write a small, personal note of sorts in addition to my url. Merely sharing the URL is no big deal. Adding a personal touch increases its value. Explain why it matters to you, what you’ve learnt from it or how it has helped you. These are valuable CTAs for content in any niche.
These are my favourite apps. ❤️
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) September 24, 2018
Add a tweet without hashtags
I can hear your gasp of disbelief! What? Twitter and NO hashtags?!
Relax. I don’t mean you should never use hashtags ever. I am just saying it’s one method. Try and share a link using just key words and neatly spaced out sentences in the tweet, together with the link to your content.
Since Twitter is also highly visual, sometimes that’s all you need for people to pause and click on a link you’ve shared.
Ever faced even one of these 7 SoloPreneur Challenges?
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 9, 2018
Share personal updates/tips/threads
One of the best ways to generate interest in your content, drive traffic to your website and intrigue potential customers/clients is to be personal on social media.
This is true across all platforms.One of my most popular tweets is this one about numbers on social media.
Once you stop worrying about the numbers- followers, subscribers, comments- and focus on the quality of your content, you will notice that everything else happens automatically. Try it 😊
*Pro Tip: Don’t stress about ANYTHING! Trust me on this.
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 15, 2018
We must remember that retweets and likes are very gratifying but very often they are mere vanity metrics. Unless you are actually driving traffic to the blog or getting clients through a network, most of the time spent here can be pretty wasted.
Tip: If you have the paid version of Buffer, you can track your tweets’ performance and sort them by ‘Most Clicks’. This is what tells you which of your tweets/links are driving the most traffic to your website.
Endorse others in your niche
If you genuinely care about the content other people in your niche create, be sure to give them a warm shout out on Twitter.
Even though advertising is a great way to promote your content, nothing can beat word-of-mouth recommendations. The more you do this, the more people tend to rely on your recommendations for future updates.
If there is anything I recommend heartily, it is content from #Tailwind 😄
— Shailaja V 📝 (@shyvish) October 19, 2018
What I’ve realised is the more I take time to craft a recommendation for a particular brand/blogger, two things happen:
- I get valuable engagement on that specific tweet
- Other brands and bloggers return the favour, even without my asking for it!
Don’t Retweet your own content shared by others
This may be the most controversial tip of all, but I do believe it carries weight. A lot of us bloggers do this almost by default. We see that someone has shared our content, we hit the ‘like’ button and thank them. Next, we go ahead and retweet that content.
I stopped retweeting my content when shared by other people. Well, about 90% of the time.
The reason being, I feel that many of our followers tend to see the same content over and over again from us. While it’s great to see the content in a variety of ways (see tips 1 to 5 above), after a while, it can be a bit awkward to retweet those links.
Some of the most prolific and versatile bloggers I follow in my niche do not retweet their content, especially when it is shared by others.
The one exception to this rule is if I find that an idol of mine or an account I deeply admire has shared my content. Then I am over the moon and retweet that. Still a vain thing to do, but I am working on it. 😉
But, come on! When Laura Vanderkam retweets your post on time blocking, you HAVE to share that. 😀
— Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) January 28, 2018
So, tell me! Which of these tips do you use already and which ones will you use the next time you use the social media platform? 🙂