In this post I am going to focus on the Twitter platform, and look at the question of ‘is Twitter worth it’ when it comes to helping internet marketers to build their business.
In addition to find out is Twitter worth it or not, I would like to discuss ways you can use Twitter and various tools you may or may not find useful.
So What Is Twitter?
Let’s start with a definition from Wikipedia.
“Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.”
Now a bit of a disclaimer here. There are hundreds of manuals about Twitter and how best to use it and no one agrees on what is best. Here I am mainly looking at how Twitter can improve and leverage your blogging efforts.
So we have the Wikipedia definition and here is my take on it and what a blogger needs to know and use.
Twitter is a micro blog platform. You are limited to 140 characters per post. This forces you to be concise and keep each tweet (Twitter post) to just one topic.
How To Use Twitter Effectively
The key to effectively using the Twitter platform is to understand that it is a conversation between people. It is about sharing information. It is not a sales platform although some will disagree with that. I am not saying that you can’t use it to sell but you need to do it the right way.
If all you are planning to use Twitter for is just as a platform to send out your affiliate links forget it now. Just like you would in a blog you need to supply valuable information and build your reputation as a valuable resource.
Do that and when you occasionally recommend something then people will be interested. If you just try to sell people all the time, very few will continue to follow you.
Twitter works like any type of networking or social media. It is most valuable when you are sorting out information about your niche for others.
Just like a blog, when you find valuable resources, you let people know about it on your blog or on Twitter.
Just like off-line networking you don’t go to the local Chamber meeting and introduce your business. You talk to people there and ask about theirs.
Have an idea that can help them by sharing it.
Do that and you develop relationships that will help your business not because you pitched your business but because you became a valuable resource that others will recommend.
Twitter works in much the same way.
Twitter can also be very powerful in keeping in touch with what is new in your marketplace. Some of the tools can allow you to follow any topic easily.
A caveat for getting the most out of Twitter with your blog. Participate in ways other than just automating your blog posts. See a good tweet with information that would benefit your followers retweet it. Respond and have conversations with others there. It is called networking for a reason.
Follow people and they normally end up following you back, and over time the more followers that you have the better.
Just like your blog you are building a community or “tribe” as Seth Godin calls it on Twitter. People who look to you to deliver information they want and rely on as a credible resource.
- In your tweets, make sure to provide valuable information. However, do it in an engaging way. Witty one-liners that are likely to go viral, are the best way to grab attention. This is because Twitter users are always up for some good humor!
- To make things even more interesting make use of appropriate graphics, jokes, and gifs in your tweets/replies. At times, you could also drop a ‘like’ or a retweet to what others tweet.
- Like many popular brands do these days, be generous to your followers. Set up online competitions and offer various discounts/benefits to winners. Make people feel like your brand genuinely cares for them. This will give out a positive reflection, thus increasing your brand’s reliability.
Remember! No one on Twitter expects you to act in an overly professional manner. Act naturally humorous, and stay casual while sticking to your brand’s persona.
Using Twitter For Research
Twitter can also be a great research tool. You can use the search at http://search.twitter.com to find the latest tweets on any topic you wish.
This can be a great way to keep track of new things happening on any topic. Each search has a feed that you can add to your favorite feed reader and automatically see all the new things happening on Twitter for that topic.
Let’s say I wanted to know what is said about me. I could go to Twitter Search and get all the latest tweets directly into my Google reader by just searching my name, then clicking the feed link.
Click where it says feed for this query. Then you can grab the URL and add it to your feed reader.
You should be following your name, any product names you have to keep track of what is being said. Yes if someone replies using @michelmaling it will show on my Twitter time line but if someone just uses my name Michel Maling in a tweet it won’t show up unless I am following them.
Always nice to know when someone is saying something good and even more important to know if you have any bad feedback.
Now let’s apply this tool to blogging. Isn’t it just one of the hardest things to come up with topics that are of interest to your audience?
Did you know that you can get ideas and questions just from following the latest tweets on your topic.
Writers block usually disappears for me once I have a topic and this can be a great way to generate those ideas.
So is Twitter worth it in this respect? The answer is a definite yes.
Twitter Tools For Your Blog
Let’s look at some of the tools I have found to improve your use of Twitter in relation to your blog and a couple that have been helpful for using Twitter.
Firstly, if you want to integrate your Twitter feed onto your blog there are a couple of things you can try. Tweet My Blog will allow you to easily add your latest tweets to your sidebar. It will also send your latest blog post out as a tweet to your Twitter account automatically.
A similar plugin with a few more features is Twitter Tools. This will also allow you to use your tweets as blog posts. Either of these will allow you to automate the process and send tweets when you update your blog along with showing your tweets on your blog.
There is another tool that will allow you to auto post your blog posts to Twitter called Twitter Feed which will monitor your blog’s RSS feed and post to Twitter when it finds new information on a regularly scheduled basis. It also works with other services like Ping.fm. This service allows you to post in one place and have it update Twitter along with your other social sites like Facebook.
There are a couple tools that will help you monitor and stay active with Twitter. You can try out Twhirl, TweetDeck or HootSuite and see which one you prefer.
These tools basically enhance your user experience with Twitter, but are not essential if you want to be successful on Twitter.
Another plugin that allows you to add a place in your comments for people to leave their Twitter username called WP Twitip ID. This way you can find the people who are commenting on your blog and be able to strengthen the relationship through Twitter conversations too.
It also allows your readers to connect with those leaving valuable comments which is a true win win situation for both you and your readers.
Another tool that I have added to my blog is the option to share the post on Twitter. There are a number of plugins you can use on a WordPress blog to do this and my favorite is Social Media Feather. You can choose which social media platforms you would like your readers to share your work on.
Tweet Later is another tool that will allow you to monitor your keywords but it will email you the results on a schedule that you set. The easiest way to describe it is as Google Alerts for Twitter. (By the way Google Alerts is something else you should be using.)
Tweet Later can do a lot more like auto following, allow you to schedule tweets for when you are away and send automatic welcome message for new followers too.
Depending on how you like information delivered either of these tools can be very helpful for keeping abreast of what is new on Twitter for your topic.
You can use these for…
- ● Topics you blog about
- ● Products you own
- ● Your own name and business name
- ● Anything else you may need or want to track including your competition.
The final tool that I have found is called Mr. Tweet. Follow Mr Tweet and you will receive recommendations of people you should be following and he will recommend you to others. This allows you to expand your sphere of influence from their recommendations.
It will save you time although you could and should be finding those worthwhile people if you are using Twitter for research and following them as you find them.
Integrate your Twitter into your other social networking by adding it to Facebook, My Blog Log, Friend Feed and any other places that allow it. That is the real leverage as like your RSS feed for your blog it allows you to be updating things at multiple sites with each tweet. Some of this can also be updating Twitter too.
It is very powerful as you may have different friends or followers at these sites than you do on Twitter and adding them allows each group to get the same information and also adds to your frequency of updating each of these sites.
Stay active and updated
Staying active is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to building a brand’s image.
- Tweet on a regular basis. You certainly do not want your brand to remain unnoticed in a wide sea of accounts. So pitch in around 10 to 15 tweets every day, in order to keep your followers engaged.
On Twitter, users tend to unfollow inactive accounts.
- While your brand image is still being developed, you should do whatever it takes to save a follower. Trust me! Even if your followers do not visit your profile regularly, they can still easily filter out inactive accounts by the use of third-party apps.
An account with no profile picture or an outdated profile picture is likely to get ignored by users.
- Whenever you follow a new user, the profile picture is the first thing that gets noticed. It is like the first visual stimulus of your brand that which others get to see in their notifications. So make sure that the profile picture is relevant and has a good resolution. You certainly would not want to ruin your brand’s very first impression.
Define your niche
Indeed, it sounds quite appealing to tweet about every big trending topic that interests you. However, that is not an efficient strategy for building your own brand. In order to develop your brand’s unique persona, your tweets should stick to your brand’s niche!
Consistency in the tweets is the key here. So make sure to tweet valuable information only on topics that your brand deals with. A brand that is knowledgeable in its area of work naturally comes out as more reliable to its customers.
So Is Twitter Worth It?
I use twitter to promote all my blog posts as well as share other relevant information. Unfortunately all my blogs are not related to the same niche, but I do try to keep it relevant. So is Twitter worth it in this respect? I think so!
When I do share my blog posts, I immediately see increased traffic to my site, so I definitely know that Twitter is worth it short term. It is also a great way to get social back links to your blog, and over time as it adds up and others also share your content on Twitter, it means increased authority with the search engines.
So yes, I think that the answer to the question ‘Is Twitter Worth It?’ is a resounding yes.