So here you are, a new or experienced blogger looking for traffic to start things off or get over that plateau in traffic. In the olden days (like they were really that long ago), you were at the mercy of the search engines. How can I word this article so that it will rank well? How many keyword strings do I need? Are people actually going to read this after I throw in a bunch of crap just to improve rankings and grow my blog? I hate being at the mercy of the corporate search engines to grow my blog!
Then something happened that changed the blogging world for forever…Twitter and other micro blogging sites (Facebook can be included in this mix) gave the small blogger a voice and an audience without the aid of Google. It was an amazing turn of events as you could now reach targeted readers faster, easier and you can do it under your terms! You are no longer at the mercy of the infamous keyword. You are now actually building a following, community and network online by connecting with people instead of statistics! It’s a wonderful thing.
As I look back at 2009, it really was the year for Twitter. With record breaking growth numbers, Twitter gave businesses, blogs and the random neighbor down the street an easy to grow outlet to promote their content or what they were eating that morning in 140 characters or less. If you need proof, you can look at how John Chow grew his blog to epic proportions while being banned from Google completely (has since been let back in after having subscriber counts above the 50k mark). This shows the powerful leverage power of Twitter and social media as we move forward into the blogging future.
So how do I grow my blog to epic proportions with Twitter and other social media outlets without looking like a spammer trying to promise unrealistic goals?
Twitter Tips That Grow Your Blog
The key with Twitter and other social media outlets online is to grow your following, increase your spread and network in a way that brings value to BOTH your blog and your Twitter account. When you try to run them mutually exclusive…it doesn’t ever come out with the results you are looking for. So…as we move forward…keep in mind…a QUALITY social media profile (more than just self promotion that looks like spam) and QUALITY content on your blog is what wins out in the long run. The trick is fusing these two together so they grow as one.
- Syndicate Your Blog Feed On Twitter – Typically, syndicating your rss feed on Twitter has been handled through TwitterFeed, but…recently…Google released a new feature on FeedBurner (which you should already be using to syndicate your feed to your rss subscribers) that automatically tweets your latest article with a host of options including excluding categories, adding hashtags, controlling the text amount and even making sure there is room for your followers to RT. While I used to recommend TwitterFeed, I now use FeedBurner due to the new options and ease of having less accounts to sign into. By syndicating your feed on Twitter, you are automating a process that you would normally have to do manually and driving your followers to your latest content. You are also giving them an opportunity to spread your new content for you by ReTweeting that article to their followers within their preferred Twitter application or web app.
- Search Out and Follow Like Minded Twitter Users – Social Media is very much a game of finding people and being found. Twitter is one of the purest forms of that application by being able to search for hashtags, keywords and trending topics. In all reality, unless you are a New York Times best selling author or Oprah, Twitter users are not going to follow you just because you want them to. You are going to have to search out these users, follow them and then hope they check out your profile and follow you back. I do not have time to do this manually every day of the week, so I use a tool called Social Snipe to handle that chore for me. The trick is to find people who are tweeting about what you are blogging about…and then interacting with them on Twitter.
- Provide Alternate Resources and Articles Related To Your Blogging Topic – No one likes a shameless self promoter (only promotes themselves constantly without any other content), so it is always good practice to tweet other articles in your blogging topic that you think your readers and followers would find benefit from. This increases your credibility online and brings more attention to your articles as they hit the Twitter stream because they are not seen as self promoting spam.
- Make ReTweeting Easy For Your Followers – If you want your content spread on Twitter, you have to make it easy for people reading your blog to spread your content. As much as you think your readers are going to copy and paste your url into their Twitter app, most if them are not going to go through the trouble even if they like your article. By installing the Tweetmeme plugin, you can insure that you have provided the easiest outlet for your readers to spread your content on Twitter. I typically recommend having an option to submit at the top and bottom of your article. You can see my Tweetmeme button at the top of this article…hit it…I know you want to! 😉 And a Twitter icon that submits at the bottom of the article.
- Display Twitter Profile and Latest Tweets On Your Blog – A lot of social media and blog integration is to make sure you are properly displaying your profiles on your blog. You do not want to make it hard to find you on Twitter and other social media because…the harder you make it…the less follows you will see. On your blog, you are going to want to use a widget (plugin like Twitter for WordPress will do the trick like you see in my footer) and link to your profiles on your About Page and other related sections of your blog. If you want people/readers to find you…you have to make it easy.
- Run Contests On Twitter – One of the fastest ways to grow your following on Twitter in a way that compliments blog growth is to create a contest on Twitter where they have to follow and RT some line you setup to be entered in the contest. For best results, you are going to want to give away something your blog readership wants (does not have to be expensive) and link to the contest article in the RT line. You are driving traffic to your blog and increasing your Twitter following with targeted leads that will help grow your blog down the line.
- Have A Complete Twitter Profile – What is a complete Twitter profile? Let’s break it down…a user name that compliments your blog title/brand, a Twitter background that compliments your branding and blog (usually includes urls, useful info, etc.), a link to your blog in the sidebar of your Twitter page and a short excerpt of who you are and what you blog about in the description (DO NOT use the word expert, guru, etc…you can not give yourself those terms and it just looks like spam). It really surprises me sometimes when people completely overlook their Twitter page and leave the background generic. You can get fantastic backgrounds on the cheap from freelancers (TwitterWalls.com did mine for @robbsutton) and you will see an increase in follow rates by having a professional looking profile.
So there you have it! Follow these steps and you will watch your blog grow without the aid of Google. With social media growing by record numbers each year, you can actually grow your blog and your business easier than ever before. It just takes making the right decisions and carry out a plan…the rest will be history.