How essential is twitter to your blog?

twitterimage by Jsome1

Do you twitter?

Unless you've been living in a hole, covered up by ten feet of concrete, you have probably heard about twitter. Some people say that twitter will replace blogging, though I'm not exactly  sure how, certainly not in it's current state. As a blogger it's become an essential part of my online experience. I started twittering about a year ago. When I first started, it was very awkward. How do you say what you need to in 140 characters? How useful could anything be if it's that short?

I didn't get it.  I sat there so badly wanting to tweet a sarcastic ‘insert witty comment here.' and leave it there for ages. But I started following people, and watching conversations evolve, I started paying attention to the tweets I liked, sometimes business, sometimes personal. It was then that I started figuring out how I could best use twitter.

Blog updates

Every post I publish, gets tweeted. Every blog development, anything that has to do with my blog goes into my twitter. Chances are people who are following me read my blog so I'm sure they would like to know when new posts are published. In the beginning this had a little effect on my traffic, now twitter… not yet in the top ten traffic sources, but it's getting closer every month.

Candid Conversation

Twitter is great for getting to know people, it's immediate. On blogs, we see posts written, edited and leaving comments is great, but sometimes there's no response and the conversation goes into space. Twitter is an open platform for conversation, you get to see what people are talking about throughtout the day and get to know them a little better, you get to see how they converse, which a lot of time it's not on the same topic as the blog they write.

I use twitter to develop relationships, I work at home, and it gets lonely (oh I know…sad) so twittering is a great way to catch up with people, kind of like going to the water cooler. It's a nice break. I also use it as a way for my readers to get to know a less formal,  yes LESS formal, as if that's possible version of myself online. There I'll talk about things that I don't post on my blog that aren't always fashion related.

Microblogging

In the two years I've been blogging, being short of content was never a problem. Having too much to write about, that can be a problem. Often times I'll run  across something that's good, I want to share it, but write a post about it? A whole post? Well, this is where twitter comes in. Twitter is great for sharing links to things I think are important, but not something I would ordinarily post about (because I like to delve in my posts). For example, on my blog I don't post sale announcements. That's a good place for twitter.

I've also been experimenting with affiliate links in my twitter,  this I think should be done in moderation though… going overboard with it can get anyone unfollowed. I do it once a day from what I understand, people like my picks so it adds value to my twittering. Like with blogging, a good rule of thumb is to post only what adds value to your presence, whether it be on twitter or your blog.

Getting Help

It's hard to believe, but sometimes Google doesn't have the answer, and what other place can you ask a collective a question and get responses back? I've asked loads of questions on twitter and it really gets a conversation going, in my experience if it's out there, and someone will answer back.

Research

When I mentioned that I tweeted interesting things I didn't want to post about, it's also true of other people. Maybe they tweet things they don't want to or have the time to post but it's irresistible content for me. Or if I'm looking for sales or wondering what people are tweeting, I'll use the search feature in my tweetdeck to find out what people are twittering about.

Having fun

Most of all I like twitter because it's like hanging out and being social, only online. It's fun because it doesn't have to be so serious, it doesn't have to be perfect, and it's actually one of the parts I love about blogging.

Some handy tips…

On following

Try to follow people who share your interests. Having 40,000 followers doesn't mean a thing if you don't have a shared interests. I'm getting loads more follows these past few months than ever. I don't always follow who follows me anymore (don't worry, if you're reading this blog chances are I'd love to follow you) there are people who probably have no interest in what I have to tweet about, namely 50 year old men CEO-SEO-video-game-experts who write self help books on how to get girlfriends. You think there aren't alot of them in this world, but yes… on twitter there are.

Here's a listing in the IFB forums of members' twitter accounts

Be conversational

We all like being talked to, not talked at. One of the biggest reasons why traditional media is failing right now is because it's a one way monologue. Humans are funny because we crave engagement, so be engaging, be conversational. Dont' just post your blog posts unless you are super popular and we'll just do anything you say. It's helpful if we can get to know you on twitter so then we'll be more  happy to see what you are linking out to.

On auto DM…

How do you feel about it? The automatic generic message ‘Thanks for following, visit my website http…” I get the impression it's spammy and the person has no idea who I am or why they are following me, that or a freaky time management person. Either way, it's really impersonal.

Be human.

It almost should go without saying, but I perfer human friends to robots. Yet, I see a lot of really impersonal twitter pages. Click on this link! Great deals here! Visit my website! Robots miss the point just telling us what to do instead of giving us a reason to want to.

And most of all, humans have more fun.

What are some of your twitter tips?

I'm sure I'm missing some here…

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61 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief

    I loved your tip about occasionally putting out an affiliate link… I often share the new thing I’ve found & anxiously want to buy, but never thought to make it an affiliate link (doh!?!).

    I don’t think I’ve ever received an auto email, and have never sent one, but I occasionally do like to send a message to new followers thanking them for following me & I look forward to reading their tweets.

    Reply
  2. Retro Chick

    Brilliant advice there, I do think Twitter can be great for those quick links.

    Increasingly I’m using it to find great new blogs, and when people tweet about their new blog posts it often prompts me into paying it a visit when I might have not got round to it, or forgotten to look.

    Reply
  3. WendyB

    I’ve definitely found Twitter to be a great driver of traffic to the blog — especially if someone is kind enough to retweet a post. And I’ve been impressed by the level of interaction/number of conversations I see.

    Reply
  4. Dream Sequins

    I love that Twitter is this new frontier for marketing! Trying to explain it took more than a few sentences, especially to one of my friends who works in marketing…for a trad magazine! This article really says it all. Since my blog is so new, I’m glad to connect with people who are doing inspiring things. It’s another means of “networking” for me. Love talking to people and learning about what they’re up to. Looking over my stats, I was amazed by how many people checked out the blog through twitter!

    Reply
  5. apricot tea.

    This was a great post, Jennine. Very insightful. I personally needed to hear it, because lately I have been wondering what the hell to use twitter for. Sometimes it can seem so pointless & mundane; maybe even a little self-absorbed. But you put this into a better perspective.

    I’m pretty new to Twitter still, so I’m still getting the hang of its quirks. & this post helped immensely! Thank you.

    (PS; I’ve been a follower of yours since I joined!)

    Reply
  6. Stylish Thought

    I’ve only ever used twitter for my blog posts and an occasional update. I haven’t yet gotten the swing of it (or even the point) but I do think that twitter is good to create a brand and establish an identity (if you want to do that for your blog). Great post.

    Reply
  7. leigh

    Great timing on the post Jennine. I just signed up for an account this weekend…still trying to figure things out. Thanks for the tips…

    Reply
  8. glendy

    Twitter is absolutely amazing, I have met great people there and getting to know new blogger is awesome, and you can also have great convos, I also added to teh Forum a twitter exchange post, feel free to follow me guys and I’ll do the same, http://twitter.com/Styleamor

    much love

    Glendy 🙂

    Reply
  9. lisa

    Hmm I love the glimpses into the everyday lives of people Twitter offers–it makes bloggers seem more human and facilitates conversation as you point out. The only thing I’m struggling with is keeping up with all the Tweets!

    Reply
  10. dapper kid

    I know a lot of people on Twitter, however have never actually opened an account (…will I shame myself to say I am not even sure how it works exactly?). But thank you so much for this post, I did not realise what a help Twitter can be to blogging, I shall definitely investigate and maybe take the plunge into twittering!

    Reply
  11. super kawaii mama

    You’re right. When you are working alone, from home, twitter really does help you stay connected. Rather than having a large list of MSN friends, or giving out personal details willy nilly, it is a great way to bridge that gap. The human side is fantastic, it makes you feel much more connected to yur favorite people, and engenders stronger relationships.
    I’ve only recently signed up, but I can see enormous potential and it is expanding my world in the best way.
    I’ll have to get on and read some of the other commentators tips they’ve written.

    Reply
  12. Jennine

    ❤ ashe, i’ve only just started with the affiliates, but it’s been so far so good, and a replacement for a feature i used to have on my blog, but took too much work. so the twitter thing gives it a bit of instant conversation… i like it.
    ❤ retro, oh yes, i do the same thing particularly since i have gotten reader-phobic recently!
    ❤ wendy… you are so good at twitter! even before you got on, i was thinking how much better it would be if you were there.
    ❤ apricot… i know you’ll get it soon enough i adore your tweets!
    ❤ poochie, you’re also great at twitter! and perfect for doing 101’s
    ❤ stylish, you will, trust me
    ❤ leigh, glad to be of help!
    ❤ tami, tell me about it, i’m swimming in it, but there are ways to manage, tweetdeck helps
    ❤ mp..hahahah unexceptional! briliiant!
    ❤ glendy! i’m so glad you are on too.. i didn’t catch your follwo, but i am now!

    Reply
  13. Jennine

    ❤ lisa, you and me both, but i have used search in tweetdeck to filter out and find the tweets i want… but there is a lot ot keep up with
    ❤ dapper… be sure to follow me when you do get on, can’t wait to see your tweets!
    ❤ superkawaii, oh i’m so glad to see you on… and you’re right about the chats vs twitters, it’s nice to reach your friends on an open platform, and found it’s really strengthened friendships

    Reply
  14. Ms. Lyssa

    Twitter helps me find fashion content for my blog. Sometimes I’m not as quick on the scoop as I’d like to be, but with a little convo and search I ca come up ona good story or question that my readers might want to know about.

    Plus following other fashion bloggers tweets helps me stay up on business and developments in the fashion industry.

    Reply
  15. ShoeLaLa

    Great article. I’ve started using Twitter lately and am still getting the hang of it. At first I was like, uhh, what do I write? Who’s gonna care about that? But I’ve found it to be a really neat tool. I use TweetDeck, and you can have multiple columns going, so I have different ones for different search terms, which is really handy. I’ve found some really neat sites and blogs through other people’s tweets.

    One thing I am still figuring out though…I write two blogs; one is a shoe blog, and the other is more personal, random stuff. As a result, I haven’t really “branded” myself to one or the other on Twitter, and what I tweet is kind of a blend of both blogs (plus, you know, me). I suppose that is not so great from the perspective of creating a singular brand (which, honestly, I can’t bring myself to care about too much), but I am just being myself, so I guess it works somehow.

    Reply
  16. Fashiongrail

    I absolutely LOVE Twitter but you only get out of it what you put in. It’s not only an extension of your blog but also of yourself. The best tip I can give is be yourself and treat people not as a number or follower but as real humans who want to interact with you. I’ve found some amazing people on there (fashion related and some not) and A LOT of my traffic comes from Twitter.
    Feel free to follow me and I’ll follow back
    http://www.twitter.com/fashiongrail

    Reply
  17. MizzJ

    Interesting! Seems like Twitter is the hot new thing now, but I don’t know if I really need another distraction at work and another “work” thing to do with my blog lol.

    Reply
  18. Marie Denee

    Very interesting! I have been with twitter for almost two months… maybe longer. I have found the best contacts and best blogs. Twitter is a great tool I use to link my blog to and gain new readers and tips for blogging.

    Definitely a great resource!

    Reply
  19. jihanemo

    Great post! I’ve heard of Twitter but I admit that I’ve been reluctant to start an account. It’s hard to keep up with all these social networks. But thank you for simplifying!

    Reply
  20. Elissa of Spandexpony

    Timely post! I just signed up last week. To be honest, I don’t really follow other people’s tweets because I find following to be “noisy” and confusing. I’ve just been texting tweets of personal things throughout my day and hoping they entertain someone. 😉

    Reply
  21. WendyB

    @Jennine, you were the one who inspired me to get on Twitter by mentioning it to me. Plus I also blame you for inspiring my blog. You have a lot to answer for.

    Reply
  22. Lady Melbourne

    I can relate to your first experience so much! I’m new and I sometimes feel like, what the hell am I doing?!
    But I already like it, I can see it opening up a whole new world for me.
    LM
    x

    Reply
  23. Thom

    I pulled a 180 on Twitter, from being pretty dismissive of it, to a litte ambivalent, to full embrace in about 6 months. Not sure how essential it is to blogging though – I use it mostly to keep up with friends and follow people I like.

    Reply
  24. caro

    Oh, good post. I have to think about it. I just startet to follow people on twitter how I’m interesting in…. And yesterday i wrote my first comment. I will see…
    Greetings from germany and sorry about my bad english….

    Reply
  25. Winnie

    When I first got Twitter, I didn’t know what to do with it. At first I realised it was like the ‘your status’ box on facebook but actually, it’s more fun than that!

    I find myself logging on and seeing what everyone has on their mind, websites they like and inspirations. It’s really fun!

    Reply
  26. nina

    twitter is not giving me hits or else but I really connect with people..even become friends with few of them
    I think that’s why it’s great.and it brings much more fun
    it’s not all about hints!!
    xoxoxo
    p.s.I love IFB…

    Reply
  27. Marie

    I was thinking how nowadays the internet offers us constant documentation, constant commentary, constant communication. EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. It’s so crazy!!
    I really like Twitter because it allows us gals to communicate some info or a little LOL or two at the drop of a hat. A lot of my non-blogger friends talk shit about it but it really is good for those of us who blog and want to social network!

    Reply
  28. Elana

    I have to say the trend of Twitter (with newscasts reporting that ”
    According to a recent post in Twitter…”, I get a bit annoyed with those who just jump on the bandwagon without a real goal of networking with those in their field. I use it as a social site for me to reach out to other fashion obsessives, PR reps, designers, boutique owners, business owners, etc. For those who are daily tweeters…well, more power to you! I currently have nearly 1,700 followers…which is amazing. I suppose my voice, style, and interests attract others. More power to me! 🙂

    Reply
  29. Elana

    And yes, Twitter is one of my main sources of traffic! Being apart of it for over a year, I don’t plan on turning back on it any time soon…

    Reply
  30. Eyeliah

    thanks, I am still so new to twitter and these tips help alot! I am really enjoying the conversation of it, I didn’t think I would.

    Reply
  31. patingski

    So Twitter is awesome for Taking traffic to you website . It is very
    simple to setup and its a fun positive way to keep in contact with
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    Reply
  32. Johnathan

    I wouldn’t say that Twitter was essential to my everyday life, but I do love it so! I agree that it’s generally a positive force and I’d miss it if it weren’t there. Some days, I admit, it feels like a chore to update because of the ‘fail whale’ problems, but certainly it’s worth the effort.

    Reply
  33. Vinda

    great, inspirational post.
    i feel the same way about generic comments too. the sad fact is, some bloggers do copy-paste comments on many blogs. very impersonal.

    Reply
  34. jessy

    i love Twitter. i first noticed it when it landed my housemate the job of his dreams; seriously! a talented designer and photographer, he created a Flickr portfolio and a professional blog whilst also building a relationship with a local creative agency over Twitter. as weeks past, the agency couldn’t help but notice him and one day called him in for a meeting. they ambushed him with a contract and he now tweets from his new office.

    i recently wrote an article on my blog, encouraging other bloggers to use Twitter. you can take a peek here if you like… http://wideawakethoughts.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/fashion-forward/

    x jessy

    http://www.wideawakethoughts.wordpress.com

    Reply
  35. Oli Hille

    I have just worked out how to get Twitter buttons on my blog so that others can rewtweet my blogs. This is incredibly powerful and my readers actaully requested that I do it. Check out my Self Help blog:

    http://www.LifestyleBook.com/blog

    Cheers,

    Oli Hille
    Author
    “Creating the Perfect Lifestyle”

    Reply
  36. erica lynn

    great & helpful post! I am working on increasing my twitter following, yet I really want to converse with other fashion minded individuals! thanks again @fashionlushxx!

    Reply