Ten Twitter Tricks to Get Your Blog Out There


Do you feel all lonely in terms of the blogosphere? Are you screaming out into the void on your blog instead of having a conversation? Do you just feel like no-one's reading your posts?

Chances are, there are people out there who would, if they could just find you. The internet is a pretty massive place, and it can be tricky to make blogger friends if you have absolutely no idea where to start. But don't worry! That's where I (and my good friend twitter) come in.

Twitter is kind of like the mall of the internet. It's where people hang out if they don't have much to do, or just fancy getting out somewhere and making some friends, like you. But, maybe unlike real life malls, you need to learn how to use it effectively if you're going to get everything you want from it. And that's what this post is trying to do.
Wait, wait! DISCLAIMER!

Before I start this post all good and proper like, I just want to say that it isn't intended to make you feel any pressure that your blog has to be a certain size or that you have to use all of these tricks to be a 'proper blogger'. (Goodness knows if there is such thing as a proper blogger, I'm not one. Why would you want to be?) I just want to give you some options for any publicity you might want to eventually do - because talking to yourself on the internet gets boring after a while, right?

Work Out What You're Doing

I'm assuming that, if you're reading this post, you at least have a twitter account set up. If not, get that sorted! It's pretty easy, you know.

Now.

If you've been tweeting for a while, you're probably within centimetres of skipping over this part of the post. BUT DON'T! Are you sure you know exactly what the right etiquette is for @mentions or DMs, or even precisely who can see tweets beginning with a handle? It's better to be save than sorry, dude.

Even if you're an absolute pro and need exactly none of my help, the comprehensive guide I'm about to recommend is relatively short and absolutely downright hilarious. You should visit it anyway. It's called Mom, This Is How Twitter Works, and I'd like to thank the kickass-awesome letterer Jessica Hische for creating it. You've no idea how many times I've tabbed over to it 'just to check'.

Non-twitterers, please don't panic. It's easy to understand, too.

Tune Your Profile

When people stumble over you on twitter, the first thing they see (other than the thing that tripped them up in the first place) is usually your profile. It's a representation of what you are, so unless you happen to look like a slightly lopsided egg, you might want to make that profile picture a little more like you.

That's not to say you have to plaster your face all over the internet! There are lots of bloggers out there - me included - who kind of prefer to keep the mystery going, but that doesn't mean you have to use the default picture. Make yourself a cool logo. Alter an image of your face so much that you become an unrecognisable (but undeniably cool) alien. You could even use a picture of your feet like the fabulous Cait from Paper Fury (if she's doing it, it must be brilliant).
But don't stop there! Don't forget a cover photo (that large rectangular pic at the top of your profile) which can be pretty much whatever you fancy - but something to do with your topic might help you connect with peeps who might be interested in your blog. Make sure you attach your URL to the "Website" space too: how else are the lovely twitter humans going to find your blog?

And now it's time to write your bio, the summary of you. Don't panic. Just be unique, be succint, and don't be afraid to change it as much as you want over time to get it perfect.

Follow Smart

The people you follow (kind of like friending on Facebook but they don't have to give permission) dictate what tweets you see. You'll notice ones they've written themselves, ones they've retweeted and ones they've liked. Other than the odd promoted tweet (that a business has paid to show on lots of people's feeds), that's it. And that's why it's so important to follow the right people: the tweets of influential people in your niche will help you keep up to date with blogging news, and show you opportunities that you wouldn't have seen anywhere else. (I'm only doing my first Book Tour in a couple of weeks because I stumbled upon one tweet and managed to muscle my way onto a mailing list.)

That's not to say that everyone you follow has to be from your blogging niche. OH NO NO. Follow your friends. Follow celebrities. It's completely up to you . . . and the fact is there's no limit on how many people you can follow. Go wild. And if you're having a fun conversation with another blogger and want to keep in touch, FOLLOW THEM!

Use it Organically . . .

When you were choosing who to follow, did you pick feeds that were 90% "Read my new blog post!"? Chances are, no, because you chose the people who were funny and stood out from the crowd.

This doesn't mean you can't mention your new blog posts: Twitter is one of the best publicity tools out there and you'd kind of be stupid not to use it. Just try to be entertaining about your shameless plugging. Instead of just tweeting the name of your post and a link, ask an intriguing question or be hilariously sarcastic. Here's a couple of examples from the fabulous me, and a couple of other bloggers (who probably did it better, to be honest):
Example 1 by @otherteenreader (me) - I WROTE A #readalongdiaries THING & IT CAN'T BE HALF AS GOOD AS THE EVENT ITSELF. I TRIED.

Example 2 by @PaperFury - To all wishing to get started on #bookstagram (or just wanting general awesome tips from awesome me) ... HERE YOU GO:
Example 3 by @otherteenreader (me) - Insert stellar review of @junodawson's Mind Your Head here.
Example 4 by @MileLongBookS - Need to get rid of some books but can't bring yourself to do it? You might wanna read this:
The second important thing is to make sure your tweets aren't all publicity. Write about funny things that happened to you today, or the news, or compose a series of slightly odd haikus. The fun is trying to get the point across in an entertaining way with 140 characters.

Top tip: If you really have nothing original to say, but feel your timeline is getting clogged with publicity, just retweet. Hitting the button that looks like two arrows at the bottom of someone else's tweet will place it on your timeline with credit to them, and you can also write a caption to what they've said which will be shown above.

. . . But Not Too Organically

If you're going to make twitter a truly effective tool to promote your blog, it's fine to basically talk about whatever you want - but bear in mind that your blog's target audience should find it interesting. Go ahead with the pictures of your dinner, but how are you going to relate them to your personal brand? (Should be easy if you're a food blogger ...)
I also can't believe I have to say this, but the internet is not interested in your bowel movements. I'm hoping you don't blog about them, either.

Tag Authors and Bloggers (Where Relevant)

You don't need me to tell you that the blogging community is an incredibly supportive and genuinely friendly place. Chances are, it's supportive and friendly enough to have told you already, all by itself.

But what I do need to tell you is that said friendliness can be a real advantage for promotion. If you mention an author or another blogger's work in your post, mention it to them on Twitter: one of three things will probably happen.
  1. Nothing.
  2. They retweet your link, and some of their followers click on it. (So you get more views and meet more people to talk to. Yay!)
  3. They reply and you have a conversation. (This is what you wanted, right? To talk to people? Yay!)
None of these things are bad, are they? You might actually get a REPLY from someone who's WRITTEN A BOOK or done something equally exciting in your blogging niche. Oh, the excitement.

However, it's important to be kind about when you tag someone in a post link. If you were an author, would you want to click on a lovely tweet you'd been sent only to find that their review give your book one star and called it one of the shallowest things they'd ever read? Obviously, sometimes (in the case of so-so reviews or things you really loved but had one or two drawbacks) this line is harder to draw, but you'll get used to it, I promise. In the meantime, better safe than sorry is a pretty good motto.

Pictures Are Your Friends

No, not that kind of Friends.
Studies from the Twitter Blog have shown that adding a picture to your tweet will up its retweets on average by 35%.

Like, that's a lot of percent! And it’s not even the hardest thing to do … chances are, you’ll have put some photos in pretty much every blog post you’ve ever written (if you haven’t, then I’d start, pronto. Pictures break up your text and make it a whole lot easier to read) so it’s just a matter of taking the photo that represents said post the best and slipping it in your publicity tweet. Even a GIF will get you more attention.


And it’s all about attention-seeking, folks.

#HashtagSkillz

I know this isn't entirely relevant, but ... Jennifer Lawrence, you guys!
I spent about five minutes making attempts to define what a hashtag is and utterly failing, so I'm just going to point you towards its entry in the Urban Dictionary.

The great thing about hashtags is that people search them all the time, so using one or two might point people towards following you, and then checking out your blog. Just go wild! You're not a bookworm, you're a #bookworm. You're a #foodie, not a foodie. A good rule of thumb, however, is only to hashtag a couple of key words per tweet, otherwise everything just becomes unreadable and confusing, no matter how good the actual content is. 

You can also use hashtags to link together any topics you mention on a regular basis, so that if someone likes one of your tweets on it, they can easily have a look at the others. I've been doing this with #choirconversations lately, and it seems to have worked okay. However, I'm really wishing that I'd searched up the hashtag before deciding to use it, because, well. Weird things happen at choirs and some people have been tweeting them. If I'd used #choralconversations, I'd have had the whole hastag to myself.

Reply, Reply, Reply

If you want to start chatting with other people on twitter and get your blog out there, you're going to have to talk to them at some point. So if someone replies to one of your tweets, reply back! Thank them, answer any questions, and (especially if they're someone you've been following for a while) ask any you might have. This can be very scary if they're a really Big Blogger or someone even more famous, but 99% of the time they will have got where they are by being one of the nicest people around.

If someone follows you, you might want to consider following them back (after you've hugged your cat at the prospect of a new follower of course) to show your appeciation and keep the conversation going. Not that you have to follow everybody! Some twitter accounts are just robots that follow you for unknown reasons, or spammers trying to get something out of you. I guess if it looks like the kind of account you'd follow anyway, then the decision is easier.

Of course, there is one exception to this rule. THE TROLLS. If someone is saying nasty stuff about you or your work, or indeed anyone you know, just ignore it. Chances are you'll be angry, and replying will make things ten times worse. If you're really upset, if someone is being particularly nasty or the same person has trolled you over and over, report it to twitter or the police. But striking up a conversation is like feeding them. NEVER FEED THE TROLLS.

Join A Twitter Chat

Twitter chats can be organised by anyone who tweets, but they're often set up by bloggers about bloggery things. Basically, they'll be a set time in which a specific chat happens (usually for an hour or so weekly) and during that time the host poses questions (labelled Q1, Q2, etc.) that everyone else answers (labelled A1, A2, etc.). A specific hashtag is used on ALL TWEETS relating to the chat so that they can be found.

They're are brilliant because a) they are great fun and you get to introduce yourself to tons of lovely, likeminded people and b) the amount of people seeing your tweets during that time is mindblowing. Twitter Analytics tells me that on average, about one hundred people see one of my tweets per day. On days when I join a chat, it's usually about one and a half thousand.
The one thing I will say about twitter chats is that they are FAST. You need to start preparing for the chat a few minutes before it starts: find an area with absolutely infallible WiFi, make sure you have the fastest computer in the house, and open tabs to the Twitter homepage (for composing tweets), the account of the blog host, your account, your notifications and a search of all tweets containing the chat hashtag. Having your phone handy for other miscellaneous searching is also useful.

Twitter chats are wonderful, you humans, but not for the faint-hearted.

***
In the comments: Are there any other tricks you use on twitter to start chatting with people? Which of these has been most useful to you? And what other social media sites have been useful to you in getting your blog out there?

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5 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm absolutely horrendous at tweeting- mostly because I'm not really a spontaneous person, so it's hard to just pull up twitter and write something. My tweets are probably 98% publicity... oh well. xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Urgh, tweeting really takes practice - and it's not like my way is the only way. Besides, your hashtag game is strong, girl. That has to count for something.

      I just want to thank you for commenting on pretty much every single post I put up and basically being an incredible cheerleader. Thank you so much for the support. x

      Delete
    2. Aw you're welcome. I enjoy reading your posts- keep blogging! <3

      Delete
    3. Oh don't you worry - I will . . .

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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