I’ve got to be honest, I’m not the biggest user of social media. But for a long time it’s been a force that can’t be denied in the world of marketing.
We’ve used Facebook, both pages and groups to generate some good traffic but I’ve almost never seriously used Twitter.
We are seeing more and more natural traffic coming to our websites from Facebook and Twitter generally but there is significantly more coming from Twitter.
Take a look at this screenshot of one of our websites:
1,466 sessions from Twitter in comparison to 623 sessions from Facebook. That’s over twice the amount of traffic.
This particular site doesn’t have a serious presence on any other social media but we still get drips from other sources as you can see.
The power of Twitter to drive traffic to some of our niches has now got to a point where I can no longer ignore it.
One of the main reasons that I haven’t seriously worked with Twitter before is because of the time it takes. I know it can be outsourced, but I have a policy that I have to have done it first and know the process inside out before I will let someone else take over.
Which meant that I needed to develop a strategy that would allow me to build a strong Twitter following without spending hours on it each day.
The account I’m using to test this is my personal account at https://twitter.com/mikeywilding
There has been a bit of adjusting and testing, but since I started using this strategy my Twitter account above has gone from 30 followers (I told you I never used it) to just over 600 at the time of writing this in less than two weeks. And it’s continuing to grow steadily.
Of course, we all know that it’s very easy to build up a large amount of followers on Twitter very fast if you don’t care who follows you.
But the purpose for me to build a Twitter following is to share information and be able to drive traffic to other websites. So large numbers mean nothing if they aren’t interacting.
In order to get your Followers interacting, you have to interact with them. It’s a two-way street. You can’t just fire out links to posts and expect them to click.
Well… you can, but you’re going to be disappointed.
In summary, we want to build a large following that are interested in what we’re saying and interact with us.
To do this we need to know a few things about Twitter.
- They don’t like spam (who does).
- Following/Unfollowing too many people at a time will get your account flagged
- You can’t rush it
With that in mind, this is the strategy that I have been using…
For me there are two tools that are absolute necessities to prevent me from spending hours every week running my Twitter campaigns. These are:
Hootsuite is a tool that allows you to manage all your social media accounts in one place, you can put team members in, schedule posts to go out using an AutoSchedule feature which publishes them at the best time for your Followers and a whole host of other features including helping you to find relevant content to post about.
ManageFlitter is a tool that allows you to grow your following, find fake accounts following you, highlight who you’re following that has influence, is quiet etc… It also helps you find relevant content to post about as well.
Feedly is an RSS reader which allows you to follow blog content either from sites who’s feeds you’ve added or from sites that submit their feeds to Feedly and who you can find in their directory. It’s a superb way to stay on top of what is happening in your niche.
I split my Twitter growth into two distinct areas of Content and Followers.
Starting with content I setup an auto-post so that whenever I publish something on this blog it is automatically published in my Twitter feed as well. To do this I use the Jetpack plugin for WordPress, but there are a load of other plugins available that do the same job.
Next I built out my Feedly account with all the sites that I follow in the internet marketing and digital publishing world. This allows me to stay on top of what’s hot in the niche very quickly.
Each day I go in and find the best content that has been published by other people and using HootSuite create a Tweet about it. I always include a link back to the website and reference the Twitter handle of the author so they know I’ve tweeted about it. Finally I put one to three hashtags that are relevant to the article and then I autoschedule the post.
Doing this means that the post will get published and the optimum time for when the majority of people following me are most likely to see it.
Now we have:
- Articles from our site tweeted
- Two to three tweets a day about the best articles published by others
So far so good. I only write one article a week on this blog, so that gives me between 15 and 22 tweets per week.
Next, once a week, I use the HootSuite content finder to search for content that is relevant to my niche. This is done by entering up to three keywords into the software. It finds recent articles.
There are some things that you need to be careful of using this. First of all, you will get content from up to as much as a couple of months olds. So any post that has time sensitive information you don’t want to choose because it won’t make sense to your readers if you’re publishing it a month late. You just look really behind the times.
Secondly, you should go and at least skim read the articles you’re going to share to make sure that they are actually relevant. Particularly if you’re using broad keywords to get more suggestions.
When you schedule these posts HootSuite will automatically scheduled them over the period of a week and publish them at the best time.
Then I use ManageFlitter to also find content it thinks my readers may be interested in. There are no keywords required for this tool, it uses your previous Tweets to determine what your readers may be interested in. Generally speaking it is pretty good and I use the same approach as with HootSuite and always check the articles first.
Finally I try and post at least one or two thoughts per day with no links, just something that my readers will be interested in, will help them achieve their goals or allow them to get to know me better.
Following this provides a good stable of high quality content for your Twitter account.
Interaction is also very important on Twitter and so once or twice a day I go through the Tweets of the people I follow and re-tweet the best, favourite the ones I really like, ask people questions about their tweets and reply to any messages.
All this is done from inside HootSuite and can be done in just a few minutes.
Pretty awesome so far.
Now that we’ve got content, we want to grow our followers!
I have been using ManageFlitter for this exclusively.
To find people to follow I find others in the niche that I respect and enjoy reading and then use ManageFlitter to find everybody that they’re following. At the moment I’m only following between 75-100 a day. Anymore can come across as spammy when your account is small. The more followers you gain then the more you can add each day.
Once you are following 2000 people Twitter imposes limits on how many people you can follow. These limits are based on the amount of followers that you have. They don’t publish what the ratio is of followers to people you’re following, but they don’t let you follow many more people than are following you.
That means that you need to be picky about the people you follow.
There is a general rule on Twitter that people you follow will follow you back. Of course the bigger the account and the more well known the person then the less that is likely to happen. But with smaller accounts it’s more usual.
With that in mind I give people 5 days to follow me back before I unfollow them. However there is one exception.
If someone I’m following is highly influential on Twitter then I will continue to follow them even if they don’t follow me back, and I add them to my Never Unfollow list. These people are usually posting great content that you’ll want to read and share.
Next I will use ManageFlitter to show me any Fake Twitter accounts I’m following and I unfollow these. If there are any fake accounts following me then I block them from following me.
I unfollow anybody who is inactive on Twitter. In other words they haven’t tweeted for over 30 days.
And lastly I unfollow anybody who doesn’t speak English because, embarrassingly, I don’t speak any other languages.
Following this routine has seen fast growth on my Twitter account whilst maintaining a very close relationship between the amount of people I follow and the amount of people who follow me.
So far this approach is working well. In a few months I will come back and report on it again to let you know how it continued to go.
If you want to use this approach then connect with me on Twitter and let me know how it goes. If you use any other strategies then let me know what you do and how it’s working for you.