It’s not secret that I love Twitter. It’s the social media that I use most for my blog and is also my #2 referrer to my blog, just behind search engines. Pretty cool, right? Twitter has had a huge impact on the growth of my blog, especially recently, and I regret not hopping on the bandwagon sooner. Still, it took me a while to figure out exactly how to utilize Twitter effectively, so I was really excited to get this question from my Book Blogger Advice Column:
Do you have to have Twitter? It seems to scary and complicated… my brain can’t comprehend how to use it. Why must all the other bloggers adore it? Is there some super special reason that everybody loves it, or am I just messed up? Help!
Firstly, let’s just get something out of the way: no, you definitely don’t have to have a Twitter account! You really don’t. There are so many great social media outlets out there, and I seriously think it’s important to only focus on the ones that you genuinely enjoy using. For me, that’s Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you must have a Twitter account if it doesn’t really work for you.
On the hand, sometimes it is just a matter how how you use Twitter rather than whether or not to use it. Twitter is, by definition, a micro-blogging site. It’s a way to spread your message using only 140 characters. I like to think of it as a mini-version of my blog. It’s the same me, same topics, just on a different platform and using fewer words. So when you’re creating your Twitter, think about the types of things you try to do on your own blog:
What I Try To Do On My Blog
- Start conversations: That’s why I add a question to the bottom of each posts. I want to talk to you! It’s the same thing with Twitter, except Twitter makes it even easier than on your blog. You can easily reply to someone’s tweets, tweet out your opinions, and ask questions that allow others to easily get to know you.
- Connect With Others: I love getting to know other bloggers and people who have the same passions as me. It’s seriously the best! On Twitter, it’s easier than ever to connect with others through replying to tweets, DMs, and Twitter chats.
- Helping Others: When I was a newbie blogger, there was so much I didn’t know and had to figure out for myself. Now that I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve figured out what I’m doing, I like to try to help out other bloggers.
So I like to think of Twitter as an extension of my blog. I can only connect with my blog readers if they visit my blog, but on Twitter you can reach almost anyone through having others retweeting your content, tagging people in tweets, and more. If you need more reasons to love Twitter, I even wrote a post about it that you can check out.
How Twitter can help YOU
- Build relationships: I’ve met some of my best bloggy friends from Twitter, and built some wonderful relationships among the bookish community. I met some of my favorite bloggers when I attended BEA in May 2015, and Twitter is the reason I was able to get to know them in the first place. Pretty great, right?
- Promote Your Blog: Yes, Twitter is a fantastic place to grow your blog. I’ve seen an almost 200% increase in my blog traffic since early last year, and I think Twitter was a huge part of the rapid increase in traffic. I’ve been able to promote my blog through connecting with other bloggers, tweeting about any cool bonus content, and having WordPress automatically tweet whenever I have a new blog post.
- Stay Up To Date: Want to know exactly what is happening in real time? Yep, Twitter is great for that. You can follow trending hashtags, see what everyone is talking about, and keep up to date on the latest blog posts or book releases.
Okay, but how to I get started?
It’s easy to talk about how amazing and helpful Twitter is, but actually learning how to effectively leverage Twitter is a completely different thing. When I first joined Twitter, I had heard basically everything I talked about above: how great it is, how it can help you, and why you should use it. I thought “Cool, I should join!” and so I hopped on the bandwagon.
And then barely used it for a month. #Awkward.
I had no idea what I was doing! I followed a couple people, read tweets, and sent out a couple tweets. I only discovered how the bookish community uses Twitter was only when I actually sat down and figured out how other bloggers were doing. If you’re new to Twitter, hopefully I can save you the hassle.
Here are some ideas to get started using Twitter:
Follow Great People
Currently, I follow over 1000 people on Twitter. That number may seem like a lot but I scroll through my feed, it really doesn’t seem like that many! It takes less than a second to glance at a tweet and if I decide to reply, it only takes a couple seconds to type out a quick answer. Whenever I glance at my feed, I can easily discern what the latest trends of topics of conversation are, which is pretty cool.
You definitely don’t need to follow that many people, though. Instead of necessarily following a large amount of people, you can follow a wide range of people. I follow all types of people in the publishing community, not just bloggers. I follow:
- Literary Agents
- Media outlets
- Bookish entrepreneurs
- And more
Want to figure out who to follow? In the right-hand sidebar (on the desktop version) of Twitter, there is usually a list of people Twitter recommends you follow. This list is compiled by studying who you’re following right not, and looking for similar people or you can manually figure out who the people that you follow are currently following. As well, most bloggers have links to their social media profiles on their own blogs. Definitely remember to check those out!
Okay, this is a pretty cheesy piece of advice. But seriously, it is so true! Being authentic is so, so, so important. You can TELL when you’re not being yourself, and putting that extra effort to fake it is just another thing that makes social media seem like “work.” It shouldn’t be! As long as you’re being respectful, Twitter is the place where you should be able
Talk to other bloggers
I barely did this for the first month of having a Twitter account and as a result I had about…12 followers. Not great, right? Twitter is all about socializing and making connections with other people. Not only does talking to other blogs help you get your name and your blog name out there, but it also pretty fun!
You can easily reply to tweets on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to do so! No matter how many times it happens, I always get a little thrill seeing that someone has replied to one of my tweets. Who knows, your words might make the other person’s day!
If you aren’t quite comfortable how to reply to a tweet without feeling uncomfortable, I highly recommend checking out Twitter chats. A Twitter chat is kind of like a public conversation. A blogger (or a few!) runs the chat, and tweets out questions to the participants. You can reply to the any tweets and follow along using the hashtag. It’s a great way to get to know new bloggers because the entire point is to start a conversation!
If you’re not on Twitter yet, what are you waiting for? Twitter has had such huge impact on my blog and has allowed me to connect with some of my absolute best blogging friends. And yet, if you’re new to Twitter and need some help, hit me up! I’m always here to help. 😀