by Garth De Blasio
When Twitter first hit the scene, some early adopters started building their brand there. Now with hundreds of thousands visitors to their sites each month, these companies are reporting Twitter as their #1 referral traffic source. With enough high-quality followers, you can draw plenty of web traffic from Twitter right to your site’s blog. However, followers are not all there is to Twitter. We have all seen accounts that rarely receive any interactions on their tweets despite having hundreds of thousands of followers. Success on Twitter is not as simple as gaining followers and producing a high volume of tweets.
Design your profile.
It can take a few minutes to get a quality profile photo, header image and background, but that time will pay off in the long run. Many new users just start following and tweeting the minute they sign up, and their accounts quickly become a spammy. Without taking the time to visually optimize their profile, they rush into following everyone they see and tweeting links. Before someone follows you on Twitter, they will look at your profile, so don’t go seeking out followers if your profile is devoid of images and a bio. Just like in the real world, on Twitter, dress to impress. When people see an egg (the default profile image on Twitter) or some photo you found on the Internet (it’s not hard to tell) as your profile picture, they probably won’t look any further. What is the moral here? Be genuine. Taking a real photo and uploading it takes just a few minutes, but the effect is big.
Use and monitor hashtags (#duh).
Are you adding hashtags to your tweets? If not, it’s time to start. Recent research proved that hashtags do make a difference. The results speak for themselves. It is best to go for either one or two hashtags in your tweets. Now the question is is which hashtags to use. Well, unless you are making a Twitter chat using a hashtag, you shouldn’t be too specific. There isn’t enough search volume for hashtags like #ConversionOptimizationTips or #GetMoreBlogTraffic to work. The best starting point is your competition. Find Twitter users who have been using Twitter longer than you and observe their hashtag usage. Then to get an idea of the usage of a specific hashtag that you have in mind, you can take a look at a tool called Hashtags. As the name suggests, the tool is designed to give you information on hashtags. With it you can get cool graphs on the usage of the hashtags you are interested in.
Take advantage of search alerts.
Search alerts help you to stay tuned to what others are saying about your brand and to engage when appropriate. Search alerts can also be used for monitoring your competition or just keeping yourself informed on an event. A simple tool that I recently discovered and that does the job well is TweetBeep.
Let people know you’re on Twitter.
Sounds a little obvious, doesn’t it? Even though it might indeed seem like a no-brainer, many forget to use some of the standard tricks to getting your Twitter handle out there. First of all, make sure to add “via @YourTwitterHandle” to your retweet button – this way, if someone is using the social share buttons on your site (you better have social sharing buttons on your site), it will give you credit for being the source of that content. Haven’t you followed someone namely after seeing the author’s Twitter handle in a tweet? Don’t neglect your sidebar – the sidebar is where most blogs have a follow us on Twitter button. The sidebar is also a great place to put a Twitter feed, so people viewing your blog can see what you are Tweeting about. Add a link to your Twitter profile to your email signature so that people can connect straight from their inbox. This will help convert some of your existing email relationships into Twitter followers.
Measure your results.
All the hard work that you put into Twitter will be for naught unless you measure your results and react accordingly. A variety of tools exist for analyzing your Twitter profile, including Twitter’s own built in analytics. To keep it simple though, I like to use Buffer. Buffer is best known as a tool that allows you to schedule your tweets, but it can also give you some nice analytics about the amount of interaction individual tweets receive. If you follow this closely, you can constantly be improving your tweets to get more interactions.