Twitter Tips For Bloggers

TwitterWhile the rest of the blogosphere has gone nuts for Google+ I'm pushing some retro social media cool.


Yes, I might be a little bit in love with Twitter, but it's not just a case of better the devil you know.

Twitter not only makes me feel good (most of the time), it makes me look good (because I keep up a strong ratio of followers compared to how many people I follow) and my blog statistics show that Twitter nets me some lovely readers too.

Some might call it traffic but to me they are readers. Real people looking for really useful information who found my blog on Twitter.

Let's take Successful Blogging as an example of how Twitter can help get more readers to your blog.

Here at Successful Blogging, Twitter is the seventh best referer of traffic. Google is first which is a huge success for a new blog (it's only six months old) then StumbledUpon (this is a unique case I could write about in another post if you're interested), direct traffic (people who typed into  their browser bar) plus referrals from my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot, then from Personal Development Free (where my three free book chapters are listed as incitement to sign up) then, (drum roll, please) Twitter.

Twitter beats Facebook bringing 50% more readers than Facebook and, while Twitter is the seventh best referral for traffic, Google+ limps in at 31. Of course there's room for improvement and Google+ is new, but common sense and experience shows it's better to concentrate on the proven performers and not the potential performers.

So I want to share more Twitter tips about the tools I use to manage Twitter and my other social media accounts.

I've written about the joys of Twitter as a motivational tool, mentioned it in Over Online Networking? Start Stalking People Instead and shared some Twitter tactics which is a recommended read if you need tips on what to tweet and how.

This is more of a hands on guide to help you use those Twitter tips and streamline your Twitter and social media accounts so they don't eat up too much time but are still useful to you and your readers.

The Ugly Side of Twitter For Bloggers

I said I love Twitter but it can be a love/hate relationship and I want to talk about the downside too.

Sometimes Twitter can be a waste of time. What better place to go when you want to avoid work?

Sometimes Twitter can feel like an obligation. There's the feeling you have to be interesting, be connected or engage in conversation, when sometimes you don't have anything interesting to say and you'd rather enjoy a bit of isolation or not speak to anyone.

Twitter can induce feelings of paranoia too. It invites endless comparison between you and other bloggers or makes you wonder why so and so are talking to each other and not to you.

But that's just on a bad day. On a good day Twitter rules.

There's a lot of nonsense on Twitter too. There are some people who follow everyone to boost their own followers and who just seem to be self-promoting spin doctors. There are bots (robots) and spammers who send Direct Mail to sell, sell, sell and hackers who tweet phishing links you should not click on.

Never click on a link in Twitter from someone you don't know, even if they've tweeted to you. Usually when you look you'll see they have no followers and it's a hacking or phishing account.

But the majority of Twitter users are good people, normal people who want to find new information and make new contacts.

Twitter For New Bloggers

1. You have to be on Twitter. I recently wrote about 5 brilliant books to read. Only two of the author are on Twitter which is criminal.

Twitter offers writers an incredible opportunity to talk to their readers. Likewise business owners can use Twitter to connect with their clients and reach new ones.

Twitter is the very best social outpost because it's incredibly easy to get started. It's easy to use and it's easy to connect with amazing people. Often without even trying.

At the very least bloggers should start a Twitter account and set it to update automatically every time you add a new blog post.

2. Follow other genuine Twitter users who are interested in  your topic and keep your tweet stream 80% related to that topic.

I have two main Twitter accounts: @GetIntheHotSpot for travel and @BloggingMentor for blogging. If you tweet or blog about two different topics having separate Twitter accounts is a good move.

3. Make sure you follow no more than the number of people who follow you.  If you follow a lot more people than follow you it creates a bad impression.

@BloggingMentor has 1,172 followers, 888 being followed – there I follow everyone who's into blogging. @GetIntheHotSpot has 2,925 followers, 116 being followed – there I follow strong supporters, travel industry leaders and travel companies.

4. Mention your Twitter handle on your blog where people can easily find it and link to it. Some readers want to subscribe by email, others like RSS feed but some will want to follow you on Twitter so make sure they can.

Twitter For Established Bloggers

I recommend HootSuite for Twitter and social media management because:

1. I've tried using the Twitter site and Tweetdeck but I like Hootsuite best. There's a free version which lets you manage up to five different social media accounts including Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Twitter. It will also let you add the RSS feed to your blog (or two blogs of your choice) so your Twitter feed automatically updates when a new post is published.

2. Hootsuite has a built-in URL shortener.

3. If you use Firefox as your browser there's an extension called Hootlet which adds a button at the top of your browser window so if you read a post you like and want to tweet you just click the Hootlet button and it creates the tweet with the blog post title and a shortened url.

4. Hootsuite lets you set up streams for each of your Twitter account so you can easily see everything at a glance. I set up streams for direct mails, my sent tweets, my followers tweets, certain search terms or hashtags I'm interested in like #blogging.

5. It's free. Try out the free version of HootSuite if you like the sound of it.

Twitter For Pro Bloggers

While five social media accounts is enough for me I've signed up for the Hootsuite Pro and pay them $5.99 a month because:

1. I can automatically re-tweet new blog posts by as many other bloggers as I like because Hootsuite Pro allows me to add an unlimited number of RSS feeds to my account.

This is brilliant because it means my Twitter stream is constantly updating with relevant information and links – I only set up a blog for automatic retweets if I know the blogger and trust that their content will be useful or interesting to my followers.

I'm providing a useful service to my followers and helping other bloggers in my field who often reciprocate by auto-re-tweeting my posts.

2. I can schedule a whole month's worth of Twitter updates in advance. So if I'm away, or want to make sure my Twitter stream has useful tips from me without the distractions of actually being on Twitter, I can schedule my tweets once a month.

Of course I still check in at least daily to see if anyone's re-tweeted something and thank them or see if anyone has replied to me or said hello.

3. For $5.99 a month it's worth it because those things save me a lot of time.

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of HootSuite Pro if you'd like to try it.

How do you manage Twitter and your other social media outposts? Please leave a comment and feel free to include your Twitter handle so I can follow you.

PS. Here's where you can connect with me:

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  1. says

    I love how you call Twitter “retro” 🙂

    • says

      Hi Bree, lol, but it is now:) Not as retro as Facebook though but that is much more hard to navigate successfully and they change the rules all the time. That’s why I love Twitter and recommend it to other bloggers:)

  2. says

    I had earlier tried Hootsuite once and found it to be bit confusing and unconventional (to me) and hence I switched to Tweet Deck. But I am recently hearing from a lot of bloggers about Hootsuite and what you have explained here makes sense. I will give it a try this evening to see how it works again for me 🙂


    • says

      Hi Jane, thanks for swinging by:) There’s always a learning curve with everything but Hootsuite worked for me where nothing else did!

  3. says

    Amen to readers vs “traffic.”

    I find Twitter an obligation these days.

    I think I have one “post” (?) up on G+, not sure. I changed my profile picture if that counts. I am trying to follow everyone back who is following me, but I don’t actually seem to know any of these people at this point.

    Retro: I’m moving back to irc in a big way. I mean, really, Twitter to me is just a giant irc server with a single channel! Filtering a stream on hashtags is especially ironic.

    • says

      Hi Dave, lol, traffic is a bit rude isn’t it?! Wow, you are really winding back the clock. I do like the #amwriting hash tag on Twitter though. Very handy for writing bloggers:)

  4. says

    I signed up with Hootsuite a while ago and haven’t found time to get familiar and really use it. My bad. I’ll put that on my agenda for this week… what’s left of this week.

    I am a bit ambivalent about twitter but I keep trying to like it. It always amazes me how many people follow me because I don’t feel I know what I’m doing with it. Maybe when they find me out they’ll give up too.


  5. says

    Annabel – as a new twitter user, I found this post helpful. THe first time I tried Twitter a couple of years ago, it felt like speeding through a bazaar with shop-keepers throwing all kinds of things at you – in speedy 100+ character weapons.

    I’m giving it a second try and will be using your tips asap. As a soon to be blogger, I like your blog and the easy to read and implement solutions.

    • says

      Hi Vishnu, so glad you find my blogging tips handy:) Love the analogy, you should start experimenting with twitter now!

  6. says

    I totally love you for this article, Annabel! Right now I’m streamlining everything digital to make my life sane. This is exactly what I needed when it comes to twitter. I’m not tech savvy so I avoid trying programs like tweetdeck or Hoot Suite. But then when I finally get on board eons later, I realize how much time I save and, hence, how much time I’ve lost by being a stick-in-the mud. And I really resonate with the downsides of twitter that you mention!

    As always, your user-friendly information makes this all doable for me! Thank you. Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Sandra, yay! I hope it works for you too:) Glad it’s not just me who experiences the downsides too….

  7. says

    Thanks Annabe, this landed in my email inbox ths morning. How did you know I needed this topic covered??? I definitely have a love/hate thing with Twitter, it can suck too much time out of the day. It sometimes feels like being in a school playground with everyone shouting at the top of their lungs. Will try Hootsuite. Love your tweets!!

    • says

      Hi Seana, it is a bit much. I love it when I have time to spend browsing and getting distracted but when I don’t it’s so good to have systems in place so I can keep sending useful tweets to my followers anyway!

  8. says

    Thanks for this informative post on using Twitter. I’ve been tweeting for a while @justwritetoday but have been running out of steam. You’ve inspired me to keep going and learn more. Thank you!

    • says

      Don’t give up yet, Pamela! It just takes time, sometimes lots. Love your Twitter name and checked out your website. I’m already a fan!

      • says

        Hi Elle, I had to check out and follow that Twitter handle too:)

  9. says

    Great roundup, Annabel. I just discovered Hootsuite and love it, but didn’t know about the Firefox extension, so you’ve given me yet another really useful tip! Thanks.

  10. says

    Great post, Annabel. As you know Twitter is my first love too! I’ve jumped on to Google+ because it’s Google and I’m interested to see where it all goes. For my desktop, I’m a fan of TweetDeck; for my phone and iPad I find echofon the best Twitter application.

    • says

      Hi Nikki, interesting, I’ll have to try echophon next. I love my iPad but it only gets used when I’m away from home:)

  11. says

    Really appreciate the way you’ve presented this information, Annabel.
    Being fairly new to twitter, I’ve been trying to find the best way to make it work for me – so I now have a few more things to follow up.
    I find being able to post to facebook and linkedin from Tweetdeck is useful and time saving. May be time to explore Hootsuite 🙂

    • says

      Hi Desolie, if Tweetdeck works for you stick with it. I wonder if you can use it to schedule a month of tweets as you can with Hootsuit?

  12. says

    I can’t believe there’s ONLY “116” “strong supporters, travel industry leaders and travel companies” that you feel ‘worth’ following for GetintheHotSpot? ~
    The travel fraternity have really embraced Twitter, perhaps due to their mutual love of covering the world ~
    I’ve started my third list of 500 travel related Tweeps worth following plus I have nearly a full list of 500 treasured travelling folk on the road ALL blogging about their wonderful worldly experiences.

    Like you I use Hootesuite, although there are times I flip over to see my Twitter List streams in their raw form ~
    Twitter Lists are really worth creating if you want to keep any semblance of order once you get past the first 100 following or everyone just swishes past in the stream 🙂

    • says

      Hi Linda, definitely not that the others aren’t worth following. Just that I haven’t connected with them yet. Luckily I can benefit from following all those great lists you’ve made! And of course I follow you:) I like having the split Twitter experiment going on so although @getinthehotspot is growing followers MUCH more slowly than @bloggingmentor which I only set up six months ago I plan to stick with it. That way I can report my findings here:)

      Yes, I log into the real Twitter too quite often:)

  13. says

    I also agree with you.I read many blogs ,while reading i find that Tweeting is more than Facebook likes.So i think it is the best way for promoting our blog.

    • says

      Hi Sibin, maybe not the best way to promote our blogs but definitely a great way to do it:)

  14. says

    Hi Philipp, great to hear from you. I agree with what you say and there is an element of danger in auto-retweeting. I have to be very careful in only choosing blogs I know will always provide real value or interest. I also switch them around so my followers don’t get bored and I’m always introducing them to new things. Otherwise they can just follow the person who I’m retweeting can’t they?

  15. says

    Hi Annabel
    I read this blog and as I progressed began to feel like Stone Henge on a wet November evening…very old and very grey! The reason of course had nothing to do with you it was just that I did not understand a word of it! Being ancient and on the cusp of senility and a recent convert to “blogart” I find myself at this point quite beyond even the smallest tweet. The good news however is that the exploration of the currently unfathomable is great fun. Further I have a couple of very much younger friends (almost everyone at my age!) to whom I go for translation and the door slowly creeketh open! Go well, I always enjoy your missives even if they, like the peace of God..pass all understanding !

  16. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living says

    Philip, this resonates with me after writing a post on “How authentic are we online?”

  17. says

    Hi Annabel,

    Thanks for a great post. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to streamline my social media use for a wee while, so some of these tips are brill.

    I do think Twitter and other social media outlets definitely have their place, but sometimes you can get so sucked in that putting out good content and writing guest posts – my main aims – tend to fall by the wayside. And when time is already limited that’s not so good.

    Thanks again!

  18. says

    First blogpost I’ve read on returning to the land of tarred roads. And I love it, I am so glad to have discovered twitter. It brought even more fun into blogging! I love getting to know the twitter-side of my favorite bloggers.

  19. Lee Davy says

    As usual very informative.

    I managed to pull two gems of information from this article and I thank you for that. I too use Hootsuite and not Tweetdeck. I actually switched to Hootsuite after the awful customer service I experienced at Tweetdeck when their tweet scheduler failed.

    Keep up the good work (I doubt you class this as work mind you).


  20. says

    Hi Annabel, just found your blog via vintage shops Australia on facebook…and I was stunned to find out you’re local to me!!! as an old stick-in-the-mud who hates change, I don’t see how wordpress would be better for my (small-fry!) purposes…any chance you could do a post on google plus?? I don’t really get it!!

  21. Bishopston Mum says

    Thank you for posting about Twitter, that was really helpful for me as a new blogger and equally new Twitter user. Must confess That sometimes I do feel a bit like how you describe a Twitter user on a bad day. New year’s resolution to fully embrace Twitter! 🙂

  22. says

    Thanks a lot for the tips that you give very helpful and your writing is very meaningful to me, I will try your nice twitter tips for blogger like me 🙂

  23. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for sharing your post about Twitter. We have realized the importance of Twitter and advertising and have written several blogs about it on our website.

  24. says

    These were great tips. It actually inspires me to create a new blog so I can try them…

    On the subject of Twitter, we’re working on a Twitter app called Embedle that brings twitter conversations to webpages and turns tweets into threaded discussions. We will be releasing a new feature soon that will be made specifically for bloggers to increase engagement and interaction with their readers. I thought you might be interested!

  25. says

    Thanks for stopping by the blog today to comment, Zac!


    • says

      Hi, Ankit,

      I find the best social media platform is the one you like, that you use and that your target audience is on. So picking Facebook is great if that works best for you and your audience!

      Thanks for commenting,

  26. says

    Thanks, Sue! I’ve downloaded HootSuite and firguring out how to use it! Nice tips….

  27. says

    Twitter is a great way to promote your blog to a wide audience and reach influencers – you can easily share each blog post multiple times, spread out to reach as many people as possible. The good thing is you don’t need to spend money to promote your blog on Twitter, though it can help. Adding a call to action in each tweet is important as well as being as creative as possible with the characters you have – remember that photos and links no longer count towards the limit. Images perform well across the board, not just on Twitter. Make sure your blog post has at least one image associated with it, and include this image every time you tweet it out, this will make it more eye-catching!

  28. says

    Thank you for all the great tips. I’m not very familiar with Twitter and was unsure where to start. Thanks so much for explaining it and making it less confusing

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