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LEARNING CORNER

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Twitter is one of the top promotional resources for brands, bloggers, the president and even the pope to share news, pictures, videos, links and anything else that can fit into 140 characters or less. Twitter’s driving force is its ability to share news and information in real time, which is why even first responders and the police use Twitter to share up-to-the-minute information with the public. 

For bloggers who aspire to turn their hobby into income, social networking is key to making that aspiration a reality, and Twitter can help you get there. Twitter is the second most popular social networking site behind Facebook, and its expansive networking capabilities can help you promote your blog to drive more traffic back to it.

Like all social networking sites, there’s some lingo to learn. Before we can break down what Twitter is and how you can use it to promote your blog, you’ll first need to familiarize yourself with some terms. Twitter’s website has a full glossary, but these are need-to-know terms to get you started:

Twitter: A free microblogging site on which you can share status updates, news, links and pictures, but your posts must be 140 characters or less. 

Tweet: A message containing photos, videos, links and up to 140 characters of text. Tweets are shown in Twitter timelines or embedded in websites and blogs. 

ReTweet (RT): A Tweet that you forward to your followers, often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter.

Twitter Handle: Your handle is your Twitter username, preceded by @.

Follow: Subscribing to a Twitter account is called “following.” When you follow someone, you’ll see Tweets as soon as they post something new. 

Follower: A follower is a Twitter user who has followed you to receive your Tweets in their Home stream.

Hashtag: A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click on a hashtag, you'll see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic.

Mention: Mentioning other users in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention.”

Reply: A response to another user's Tweet that begins with the @username of the person you're replying to is known as a reply. 

Get a Handle

To get started, Twitter requires creating an account. The most important part of this is your Twitter handle so people can identify and find you. For example, Mom Bloggers Club’s Twitter handle is @mombloggersclub, which makes us easily identifiable to our followers and to those who seek us out. Your Twitter handle is how you are identified and mentioned on Twitter.

Bloggers often ask whether they should create social media accounts for their blogs that are separate from the personal accounts. There is no right or wrong answer to this question; it all depends on your goals for your blog.

If your goal is to be a professional blogger with a monetized blog, then you should have a separate Twitter account for your blog. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Legitimacy—a separate Twitter account reinforces your blog as a unique brand
  • Brand consistency—your brand will be consistently exposed to more channels and networks
  • Niche—your posts will be more focused and highlight your blog’s niche content
  • Findable—followers, those who seek to follow you and search engines will be able to easily find you when they search for your Twitter handle

Promoting your blog through your personal Twitter account is encouraged and if you have separate accounts you should definitely cross promote, just keep in mind that what you post is a reflection of yourself and a reflection of your blog’s brand that you are cultivating.

Pump Up the Bio

Once you’ve created your Twitter handle, you can begin grooming your Twitter profile to keep it consistent with your blog and your other social networks. The following are what you should include to make the integration seamless:

  • Profile Image—Use your blog’s logo for the profile image. If you don’t have a logo, then you need to read this. The ideal profile image size is 400x400 pixels.
  • Bio—Your Twitter bio is your selling point, but with only 160 characters to tell the world how awesome your blog is, you’ve got to be succinct. In your bio, you can also employ some SEO by including # and @. It’s important to know that your bio appears in your search results when people search for you, so make it count! If you don’t know where to begin, there’s a Twitter bio generator to get you started.
  • Cover Image—Your cover image is another way to showcase your brand and is an image that stretches across the top of your Twitter profile, similar to Facebook’s. The recommended size for cover images is 1500x500 pixels.
  • Consistent colors—Be sure to include your blog’s colors and fonts to keep your branding consistent.

How to Get Followers

Getting started on Twitter can make you feel like a wallflower at the homecoming dance. Bust these four moves to get noticed:

  1. Tweak your bio. Your bio is the first thing people notice and will determine whether they follow you.
  2. Be interesting. If you’re going to Tweet about your burrito you ate at lunch, then make it about more than the burrito—try Tweeting a recipe!
  3. Tweet often, but don’t be spammy. Three Tweets per day is where it’s been measured that Tweets receive the most engagement, and before work, late afternoon and after work are the times when people are most likely to engage in social media.
  4. Follow your followers. It’s just common courtesy!

 Tweet for Tips

Twitter isn’t just a one-trick pony; it can also help you with content creation, collaboration with other bloggers and legitimize your blog in your niche. Here are some ways you can use Twitter outside of Tweeting:

  1. Crowd source—Feeling short on ideas or in a content rut? Ask the Twittersphere a direct question or conduct a poll! Hubspot’s blog has lots of Twitter content generation tips, but the main takeaway is this: just ask Tweet a question, and you will get a response.
  2. Grow your audience—Your blog is a brand, and the more reach you have, the more attractive you will be to sponsors and advertisers. The dirty secret is that sponsors and advertisers don’t want you as much as they want your audience.
  3. Legitimize your niche—Tweet often about relevant topics to your blog and you’ll be the expert that people come back to. Sponsors and advertisers are attracted to bloggers with a niche audience.
  4. Enhance your media kit—Growing your Twitter following will enhance your media kit.
  5. Collaborate—Reach out to followers and influencers in your niche to collaborate on guest posts and content creation to grow your following. You can even reach out to brands, but, before reaching out on Twitter, it’s best to first reach out by email.
  6. Twitter Chats—Join a Twitter chat to meet others in your niche and get inspiration.
  7. Network—Share other people’s work that you admire by mentioning them in your Tweet or Retweeting their posts and they may return the favor to you.

Tweet Like a Pro

With only 140 characters to get your message across, Tweeting isn’t exactly rocket science, but your Tweets can get lost in the mix. These tips will help your Tweets stand out:

  • Use a link shortener—Real estate is scarce, save characters wherever you can! When posting a headline from your blog post, use the link shortener to save space.
  • Tweet provocatively—Your Tweets should provoke readers to click, so give them a teaser, don’t give it all away.
  • Tweet your new post—When you publish a new post, Tweet it three times a day, but don’t re-Tweet the same thing over and over, get creative with each Tweet to get more clicks.
  • Pay it forward—Follow those who retweet you and direct message those with a thank you who share your content and mention you. 
  • Follow influencers and niche leaders—Follow those who you admire in your niche and learn from those who have Tweeted before you.
  • Use visuals—Tweets with images receive 35% more retweets than those without images.

  • Use #hashtags—Hashtags mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. Anyone who searches for that hashtag may find your Tweet. Use no more than two hashtags per Tweet that are relevant to the topic. 

  • Add a follow button on your blog—This allows readers to follow your Twitter directly from your blog without leaving the page.
  • Learn about Twitter’s features—The only way you’ll get better at Twitter is to keep at it! Once you’ve got the basics down, read our Tools for Twitter post to learn about different programs for content, conversion and analytics.

Twitter is one of many useful resources for promoting your blog. If you think of blogging as a tree, the roots of the tree represent your blog, the trunk represents your content that grows more robust with each post, and the limbs are your social networks that reach out to the world to attract the birds, squirrels and other critters that represent readers, advertisers and sponsors.

Do you have more questions about using Twitter for blogging? Post your Twitter handle with your questions in the comments! 

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