Twitter is easy, isn’t it? What can be so complicated about how to start a Twitter account and share 280 characters? That’s what many think about starting a Twitter account. And then they get frustrated. And often the result is that they leave Twitter and say: Twitter does not work for me.
It does not have to be like that. Twitter will work in almost any niche and for most people who try to market something. But you have to get it right.
If you are just looking for ways to increase your (targeted) followers when your account is still small, check out this guide.
As simple as Twitter seems at first glance, there is a lot to get right before Twitter marketing success. You have to know how to start a Twitter account and which steps to take.
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But it is well worth to add Twitter to your social media marketing and learn how Twitter works.
Generating traffic to a website is one way of being successful with Twitter. And here are the necessary steps you need to take to get there.
1. Fill out your profile
This is not a joke. Far too many Twitter users are lazy when it comes to setting up their Twitter profile page. They do not have an avatar, they did not fill out their bio and they do not use links and header. And that means they are missing out. Your Twitter profile is your chance to show who you are and what you are tweeting about.
Choose a username and Twitter handle that people recognize – and search for when they are looking for you. The Twitter handle needs to be unique – may be your first choice is already taken. You have to play around and try various variations until you find a handle that suits your purpose and is still free. For the username, you are free to choose. Your name for a personal account and the name of your blog, business or product could be a good choice for a business account.
Fill out your bio – tell people what they can expect from your tweets if they follow you. Even if it is just 160 characters in the bio – or especially since you only have 160 characters you need to get it right.
Make sure you use the right keywords to make it easy for people to recognize what your interests are – you may even want to add a hashtag. Show personality – and you can even add some links either to other social profiles or to a website you want to promote.
Upload images to your Twitter account. Your avatar should not be an egg. It should be recognizable. If your account is a personal account the best avatar usually is a photo – but other personal pictures also work – but consider that the avatar is very small – what is depicted should be easy to recognize – and not be mistaken for something other.
Keep in mind that the Twitter avatar uses a circle image. If your photo or logo is square the corners will get cropped. To avoid your logo looking bad in the circle you need to resize the square so that it fits the circle for the Twitter avatar – you can find more on image sizes and how to fit a square image to the circle in this post.
The Twitter header is a cover image that shows on top of your Twitter profile. It uses a rectangular image of 3:1 ratio – for instance 1500 px x 500 px. The Twitter header gives you a unique chance of giving more information without getting stuck in the 160 character limit of your bio.
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You can use text overlay on the image to add keywords or a call-to-action.
Keep in mind that Twitter places your avatar image on top of the header image – so part of the header image will not be visible.
Image source: LouiseM
2. Start to tweet and provide value
Before you start tweeting take a deep breath and think: Why should people follow you on Twitter?
The answer? Because you provide something of value to them. This value usually comes in the form of tweeted information. Information that people from your target audience want to have.
This is one of the most common mistakes: Not providing enough value to make your account worth to be followed.
What you tweet should 99% of the time be about what your target audience wants and not about what you want them to know. The best Twitter accounts that gather the most followers on Twitter are the ones that tweeted valuable information, are helpful and engage with their audience.
Many people do not know how to use Twitter for marketing and get it all wrong by shouting promotions to thin air all the time. Do not make the mistake of tweeting about yourself and your products all the time. That is not what is going to attract an audience.
What can you tweet to provide value? Let’s give some examples:
- your blog posts – if you have done a good job, you have created some content on your website or blog that is useful to your target audience. If this content is evergreen and stays relevant for a long time, you can tweet this content again – and again after a while.
- blog posts from other people from your niche – don’t b afraid to give your competitor’s content some attention. When you tweet this content, you get a lot out of this: you will show that you want to be helpful to your audience and you show that you know your niche. This content can help you grow your Twitter audience.
- Free stuff – not only blog posts but also some other content like white papers, case studies, checklists, reviews, guides. If these provide enough value, you can even use them to grow your email list and offer them in exchange for an email address.
- answer questions – if you see questions from your niche that you can answer: do it. Engage with your audience. See #6 for more information on how to monitor conversations so you can engage with your audience.
- Polls and questions – start a conversation and increase engagement on your Twitter account with interesting polls and questions. Engagement on your tweets will make them more visible on Twitter in the “top-tweets” feed.
3. Make yourself visible
Did someone tell you that just tweeting would be enough to grow a Twitter account? That’s what I believed when I started out on Twitter.
Do you want to know what happened? Nothing! After 2 years I had around 400 followers and saw no traffic from Twitter to our content apart from a couple of chance clicks.
What can you do to change that? Become active. Don’t just tweet, instead make people notice you. Just keep in mind that your Twitter account has to provide value before you start connecting.
Your Twitter account needs some active distribution. And that does not mean that you have to send spammy tweets “Follow me” or use shady tactics.
Here are some ideas what you can do to grow your Twitter followers:
- Let your audience know that you are on Twitter and ask them to follow you. You can send a newsletter to your email subscribers or mention your Twitter account on other social networks if you are active there and have some followers.
- Show your Twitter account on your blog and make it easy to follow you with one click.!
- Retweet content from your niche.
- Like tweets from your niche and from people from your target audience. You can like far more tweets than you do right now. A couple of years ago there was a tool that did nothing but like tweets from the target audience of a Twitter account to make people aware and follow the account. It worked like hell – and was forced out of business by Twitter. But liking tweets still works!
- Follow people from your target audience. Be careful, choose very targeted accounts to follow and do not get over-enthusiastic! To make this the most efficient Twitter growth method, you have to know the limits and the best practices for the follow-unfollow-method.
- Answer questions from people from your niche – I will explain how to find targeted conversations in #6
- Mention your Twitter handle in your guest author bio when you gust post
- join conversations – see #6
- Mention other Twitter users in your tweets – when appropriate!
4. Watch your notifications tab
The notifications tab is where communication and interaction are happening. You can see who retweeted, liked or commented on your tweets. Watch this carefully and join the conversation when it makes sense. This is your best chance of actually building stronger relationships on Twitter. And what is even better: you do not have to start all the conversations yourself. Simply by watching the notifications tab, you will be able to engage many of your followers.
5. Tweet enough and at the right times
Most people who are starting with Twitter do not tweet enough. One tweet every few days is as good as nothing. Even a couple of tweets every few days will not get you far.
The average lifetime of a tweet is a few minutes. That means if you tweet once a day your account is basically invisible for over 23 hours.
Now, imagine you have been tweeting one tweet per day and that tweet got you, let’s say, 2 clicks on average from Twitter to your blog.
If you now send two tweets per day, these could bring you 4 clicks per day – bam, you just doubled your traffic.
When you are starting out around 10 tweets that share valuable content in the form of links are a good start. Add the tweets from your conversations and you can easily send 20 to 30 tweets per day.
If you are still getting 2 clicks per tweet to your blog, 10 tweets in which you share a link to valuable content on your blog can easily get you 20 clicks. And tweting more will also make your Twitter account more visible on Twitter and allow you to earn more followers.
Sure, there is a limit to how much you can tweet and still get more traffic:
- You need a large number of content pieces if you want to tweet a lot and still not repeat your tweets more often than every 48 hours
- There will be a point when tweeting more turns into spam. How much is too much, you will have to test with your audience. As said, 10 tweets with valuable information is a good start. Jeff Bullas who is a marketing influencer who gets most of his social traffic from Twitter tweets one tweet with a link to content on his blog every 15 minutes!
But you want your tweets to go out at times when your target audience is online and active on Twitter and you want to spread out your activity over time. You will not see the best results if you send a couple of tweets in quick succession and then your account is silent for the remainder of the day.
The solution is scheduling your tweets so that they go out at the times you set.
There are multiple tools that can help you with this. Buffer is probably the best choice if you are starting out and simply looking for a tool that allows you to easily spread out your activity over the day. The free version lets you schedule up to 10 tweets at a time, that’s probably going to get you quite far.
Multiplying the number of tweets can easily multiply your traffic from Twitter. And this gain in traffic through added tweets is much easier to achieve than multiplying your Twitter followers would be.
6. Join Conversations on Twitter
There are many conversations happening on Twitter. And you are free to join the conversations any time you want to.
The key here is to find the best conversations that are happening between members of your target audience.
And here is how to do that:
You can search for keywords or keyphrases from your niche and monitor the tweets that come in. Answer tweets whenever you have a meaningful comment.
You will probably have to try a couple of keywords and phrases to find the most relevant conversations from your niche.
Twitter advanced search will help you to find even more specific tweets: For instance, you can search for tweets in a certain area or combinations of keywords – you can even exclude some keywords in the tweets.
You can use the Twitter tool Tweetdeck to set up feeds for keywords and phrases and make it easier to monitor the conversations.
The best thing about conversations and joining in? Answering questions, engaging with your audience can give you Twitter marketing success even when you still have a very small audience or are just starting out!
7. Use mention tweets and create content with promotion in mind
Sometimes a mention of another Twitter account can earn you a like or retweet. If you can mention a Twitter account with a large number of followers that can tremendously help to increase the reach of your tweet.
But: never abuse the mention tactic. Never mention a Twitter account that has nothing to do with your tweet.
What kind of tweets allow you to mention other Tweeps? You can do that if you want to ask someone a question.
But you can also create content that earns you the right to mention a Twitter account. Here are some examples:
- Interviews – you can mention the Twitter account of your Interview partner in the tweet for this content.
- Top lists. For example, “The best blogs from your niche people should read” – you can mention some of the blogs on your lost in the tweet.
- Expert roundups: mention some of the experts that took part in the roundup in the tweets.
8. Optimize your daily Twitter activity
In order to get the best results from your Twitter activity, there is still a lot you can do.
The following are just a few short tips to get you an idea that there is always something to optimize and do better.
Here are some Twitter tips to optimize your Twitter activity for more marketing success:
- Add images. Tweets with images get a ton more retweets and clicks. Or use Twitter Cards to provide a snippet from your blog.
- Provide share buttons: Without share buttons, you can be lucky if anyone at all will tweet your content. Make it easy for your readers to share your content and help you spread the word.
- Provide better headlines. The same piece of content can totally fail with one headline and go viral with another. Read this for more tips on creating better headlines.
- Add 1 or 2 hashtags.
- Pin your most important tweet to the top of your Twitter profile
- Use Twitter lists to sort your followers and follow people from special topic areas.
- Start the conversation with questions and Twitter polls.
- Use Twitter search to find conversations from your niche.
To understand what works and what does not, to prove that you are investing your time in something that is paying off: Watch your metrics. Take a look at your Twitter Analytics, consider if you are targeting the right audience and see if the number of retweets and other reactions you get are increasing.
If you do not have it yet, install Google Analytics or any other analytics tool and monitor if the traffic from Twitter back to the content that you shared increases.
And there is nothing wrong with using some tools to help you with your Twitter marketing and automation!
Watch the analytics in your scheduling tool (for instance Buffer) and make sure you know which tweets perform best – consider doing more of what works best.
Final words on how to start a Twitter account the right way
The above 9 steps should get you started and help your grow your followers, reach and traffic from Twitter. Twitter can be fun – but it can also be very frustrating if you do not know what you should do and what will work for you. These steps will get you started and now all you have to do is keep going.
Twitter is not something that you can set up one day and then forget about it. Before the success there comes the work. But it can be fun – and it is well worth the time you invest.
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