Wouldn’t it be great if you had access to hundreds of millions of people with a really easy way to get your message out to them?
What if I told you that you do, as long as you use it the right way?
Most people use Twitter as a way to spread their own opinion to the the rest of the world (or at least their circle of followers). While sometimes that works out for some people, it doesn’t seem like a good way to attract large numbers of visitors to your site.
Twitter can be a good tool for building a following, but only when you use it properly. And most people don’t. As of Jan 2014, Twitter has over 645 million active users, and 135K new users sign up every day.
I should point out before we go much further that this isn’t how you’re going to go viral (although the right content could). It’s more of a long game. You have to set the stage, lay the foundation, in order for Twitter to work properly for you. The technique I’ll show you today is how I’ve been using Twitter to build an engaged audience that grows steadily every day.
There are all kinds of schemes and groups that promise large amounts of followers. You can even pay someone a few bucks and they promise hundreds or even thousands of new Twitter followers. Don’t waste your money.
A proper strategy with Twitter starts with a quality set of followers, not a large number of them. Really, the number of followers you have is a vanity metric anyway, meaning the only reason it’s important is to make you feel like you have a lot of followers. A well-treated list of 100 people can drive way more traffic than a paid-for list of 1000 people.
Tip 1: Focus on quality, not quantity. That’s the first step.
There’s a way to sort of let your audience announce themselves, and you’ll find it quite simple to then convert them into a follower, and you’ll eventually know exactly how to speak their language.
If you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you’re familiar with hashtags (if not, here’s an article on Twitter to get familiar). These will be the key to finding your audience where they live.
When you use tools like Tweetdeck, you can set up ways to follow certain people, lists, or search terms. If you follow hashtags in your niche, you’ll start to see what people are saying about the niche.
For example, I blog in the 4 Hour Body space, so I monitor the “#4hb” hashtag. I see every tweet anyone anywhere posts about 4hb. By doing so, I can understand what people want to know about it, and it helps me develop content I know will be useful.
Tip 2: Monitor Twitter hashtags in your niche to start seeing what people are saying and begin to get to know your audience better.
If you’re in a specific niche, you probably already read blogs of authorities in your niche. Your next step is to follow them on Twitter to see what they’re saying.
Have conversations with them by responding to their tweets, when it makes sense to do so. Don’t just use Twitter to spam them with useless drivel until they respond (because they’ll probably just block you). Contributing to their discussions builds useful relationships with them in a natural way, and if you’re lucky they’ll follow you back.
Then when you do tweet something of your own they like, maybe you’ll get a retweet to thousands of people. That’ll get you more traffic to your site and will probably result in more quality Twitter followers too.
As an added bonus, when you follow authorities in your niche, you’ll be able to see how they use Twitter to market to their audience and get some free training out of it.
Tip 3: Follow authorities in your niche to start building relationships with them.
As you monitor the hashtags in your niche and begin to dialog with the authorities, get more and more active with the people who tweet about your niche. As you begin more conversations with people, they’ll start to follow you and see you as an authority, which will ultimately lead them to your site.
Spend time answering the questions you see popping up in your hashtag(s), and be sure to link to articles you’ve written when appropriate. If you see a really good question come up and you’re inspired to write an article with the answer, respond with the link. Then start to use that article in your own Twitter strategy.
You’ll find that over time you’ll get people following you because you’re awesome, and they’ll tell you so. Then they’ll retweet your posts which will extend your reach even further.
Tip 4: Become active in your niche and start engaging your audience with friendly, useful help.
You’d think that a crucial step in a traffic-building strategy is to promote your own content, and I suppose it makes sense. But it’s literally the last thing you should do.
When you’ve gotten to this phase of the strategy, you have identified where your audience is and what they talk about, who the influencers are and what they talk about, and you’ve already started building relationships with all of them.
Now you can share your content, but only a percentage of the time. Gary Vaynerchuck uses a phrase, which is also the title of his latest book: “Jab, jab, jab, right hook”. That’s your content sharing strategy. Essentially, share mostly other people’s content mixed in with some highly-useful content of your own that doesn’t ask for trust, have conversations, build relationships, then follow it with something that requires something of the person.
Here’s a practical example: let’s say you want email subscribers. You’ve followed the steps above and you know who you’re talking to. Share blog posts and tweets of authorities in your niche. Answer questions. Tweet a link that answers a question people have been asking. Then – and only then – tweet and ask people to sign up on your mailing list.
When you’ve mostly shared useful information, and when you’ve been helpful, people will do it because they feel the need to reciprocate. That’s where the magic happens.
Tip 5: Share useful content often, and occasionally share your own.
When handled properly, all of this will end up netting you more conversions on your own site. You’ll have established yourself as an authority (did you notice I never said you actually had to be an authority yet?), so people will come to you.
These are not the same as follows or likes people pay for. It’s not an automated task, although there are ways to automate it more. These are people that are already interested in what you have to say and respect you as a leader. When you enrich their lives and occasionally ask them for something, they’ll be happy to oblige.
So let me ask you: how have you used Twitter as a tool for building traffic? How might you be able to use this strategy immediately? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.Author bio: Jason is a freelance copywriter and web designer passionate about helping small businesses with marketing services. Click the link to get access to his 3 best tips for taking advantage of digital media to improve your business. Image sources: Twitter users, Jo@net and eldh