How to Build a Community Using Twitter
When I first started blogging, social media didn't even factor into my plan. They seemed like two completely different subjects, and the latter was one I had no interest in. And the most ridiculous, at least in my opinion, was Twitter. In fact, my friend and I who co-wrote my first blog regularly made fun of it - "I'm getting in the shower, I'm drying off, I'm brushing my teeth..." we'd joke with one another. Little did I know that in a few years, Twitter would be my favorite social media site, and the number-one traffic source for my blog.
Over the last few years since I made my first Twitter account, I've learned a few things that got me to the point where I check it throughout the day and even have met some of my favorite bloggers, like Marielle and Ashley, through tweets! So today, here are some of the things I've done that have made Twitter work for me!
I've already mentioned that when Twitter first debuted in the social media world, I thought it was a joke. We were connected enough already, I didn't feel like I needed to know any more about your day-to-day business. But the more I use Twitter, the more I realize that personal posts are one of my favorites. Especially in lifestyle blogging, we all want to know more about the person behind the screen.
But it's not just that - Twitter is a tool, and one that I use often. Most of what I post are links not to my own posts, but to other blogs I love, articles relating to things I blog about, quotes that resonate with me, and information I think would be useful to my followers.
Suffice to say, posts advertising my own blog are a very small portion of what I have to say on Twitter. It is an amazing resource for new blogs, articles, and information - and making yourself a part of that is a big part of gaining new readers.
We all talk about how important community is to our blogs, and that doesn't end with the .com. In fact, I sometimes think that social media is a much bigger part of that community than your blog is, and Twitter is one of my favorite ways to get that.
Twitter is a great place to ask questions. Each day, I think of the questions I have about blogging - what other people are doing differently, how other bloggers feel about controversial topics in the field, and so even some other blogging-not-related questions.
This has been one of the best things I've ever done for my Twitter and subsequently my blog. Through the questions I've posed on Twitter, I've started some great conversations, learned that I'm not alone in how I blog, and found new blogs I really enjoy reading... win/win/win, right?
Okay - I know they can be intimidating, especially when you see posts built entirely out of them, but hashtags are the sliced bread of social media.
Especially when you first start Tweeting, and have a following built entirely of your roommate, your high-school best friend, and your cousin's friend's boyfriend, hashtags expand your reach. Another type of tagging I suggest is tagging other people. My favorites are @FemaleBloggerRT and @BloggersRT
My number one piece of advice here though: make sure it's relevant. Nothing makes me crazier than a post with 20 different tags, half of which have nothing to do with the post, and it's not going to get you the right readers.
For me, one of the most difficult part of learning to use Twitter was how often I should post.
I've read before that the average "life" of a tweet is less than 20 minutes, meaning that by the time your post has been up for a half hour, it's already disappeared into the abyss of your followers' news feeds. The tips above can help to prolong your Tweet's life, but not forever, and not always.
I've heard that posting every 15 minutes is optimal, but something about that seems way too often for me. I do make sure to post twice an hour though so that my lovely little mini-face is never too far from your news feed.
Of course, this can be pretty impossible if you have a life that involves not staring at a computer screen all day, but thankfully sites like Buffer and Hootsuite have made the impossible not only possible, but ridiculously easy. At the beginning of each day (or the night before, if I'm feeling proactive), I take about 20 minutes to schedule out my tweets for the day, a variety of quotes I find all over the Internet (Pinterest anyone?), blog posts I loved reading, sponsor posts, relevant and timely articles, questions, and of course links to my own posts - both new and archived. This means that for the rest of the day, it's much easier to share snippets of my life and things I find funny rather than worrying about when the last time I posted was.