How to Build a Twitter Following as a New Blogger
Our Twitter account @anotherdollarry just hit 3,000 followers and I’m seeing more engagement there than ever before! At the suggestion of a reader, I decided to write a how-to guide for the strategies I used to grow this account from nothing to 3,000 in five months. I’ll also be sharing the process I’m using to drive traffic to our posts from Twitter. If you don’t already follow us, stop everything, head to Twitter and follow @anotherdollarry now! The article will still be here when you get back.
When we first started Just Another Dollar, there were a million things to focus on. With a website to build from the ground up, content to create, and both of us working full-time, there never seemed to be enough time in the day. I had never published anything online before, so learning how to navigate the waters of the blogosphere was definitely an ambitious undertaking. Many new bloggers fail to consider how readers will find their site. You can have the most valuable and well-written content on your page, but if nobody can find it to read it, what’s the point?
I knew from the start that our goal was to draw readers and build up a community to help motivate each other. I read 3 Strategies I Used to Grow My Blog Quickly by Bobby at Millennial Money Man and decided to focus on Twitter from the start. Twitter is a great tool because it allows anyone to join in on the fun. From day one you can interact with the biggest users, and most major companies have a Twitter presence. Reporters, media outlets, and sponsoring brands often use someone’s Twitter following to assess their influence and whether they’re worth sharing.
Following Bobby’s example, I use a tactic called “targeted following” to increase our reach on Twitter. The principle behind this method is “if this user likes and follows other bloggers in my niche, maybe they will want to follow me too.” I see the process of following them first as your introduction to them, and whether they follow you back or not dictates whether the conversation continues.
Targeted Following process:
1: Identify your target audience and topic.
One piece of advice I got when starting our blog was to try and stay focused on one main topic rather than being too broad. This will ensure that anyone you draw to your page will likely be interested in your other posts as well. It also makes them more likely to come back again and again. The topic we’ve chosen for Just Another Dollar is finance-focused life advice for millennials. We target people like us who may just be getting out of college, starting a career, or overwhelmed about life’s choices.
2: Do some Twitter research for influential people talking about your topic.
This part is pretty easy; search in Google, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. for a couple of keywords related to your topic and identify a few well-known bloggers who are within the same topic range, or ‘vertical’. For my case, I was looking for bloggers who wrote mainly about personal finance. I started out targeting followers of sites like Making Sense of Cents, Budgets are Sexy, and Millennial Money Man. Browse these influencers’ Twitter accounts and see what they’re using the platform for. I really look up to users like J. Money from Budgets are Sexy; he is constantly interacting with his community on Twitter, and frequently replies to, likes, and retweets others’ content.
3: Scroll through their ‘followers’ lists and follow people.
Begin following people and other blogs out of this list. I try to follow only real people and avoid the spam/robot accounts that are becoming more and more prevalent. A good way to tell if an account is a real person is if they have a profile image and a bio talking about their interests. Adding a bunch of auto-followback robot accounts might get your follower number up, but these accounts will not contribute to an interactive community on your topic. I try to follow between 100-500 new people every day with this method and regularly gain 50-100 followers per day.
4: Periodically unfollow people who are inactive or don’t follow you.
I use ManageFlitter about once a week to clean out my following list. If you’re unfamiliar with this service, I highly recommend checking it out. You authorize the site to analyze your account and it will allow you to sort, filter, and see accounts who are inactive, spammers, or not following you back. From these lists, you can select as many or as few as you want to unfollow and process them all at once (up to 1000/day for free accounts). Keeping your ratio of followers/following near or above 1.0 is important to not look like a spam account.I have used this process to grow our Twitter following at a reasonable pace and plan to continue into the future. You’ll see me sharing our own posts a few times per day, sharing other inspiring blog posts, and interacting with other members of the community almost every day. In addition to the added value from joining in the conversation, it allows others to see my content and brings them to our site.
How to Drive Traffic from Twitter:
1: Link your website in your Twitter bio.
This might seem like common sense, but I’ve seen many popular users who don’t include a link to their own site on their profile. When someone decides to check out your profile, give them an easy and obvious path to follow. People won’t spend much time looking around and this might be your one chance to gain them as a reader.
2: Pin a tweet to the top of your profile.
Always keep a Tweet pinned to your page. I generally use one with a link to my most recent post, but you can choose whatever you’d like. Pinning the tweet will lock the post to the top of your page and is generally the second place someone will look when they view your profile (after your bio). Make sure they see a great example of your content and give them the opportunity to read more on your website.
3: Share your content on Twitter several times daily.
The life of a Tweet is less than an hour, so the likelihood of users seeing something you post in their feed is almost zero. For this reason, it is important to share your posts and links at different times throughout the day. I use a service called Buffer to schedule the majority of my Tweets ahead of time. You queue your posts and the service sends them at pre-scheduled times throughout the day. You can even look back to see which times had the most views, and figure out when your audience is active. Note: Always add an image if you’re sharing a post. Great images will draw users’ attention as they scroll through their feed and makes them far more likely to read your content. Think about what you look at when you’re scrolling on your own account.
4: Use Twitter’s ‘lists’ feature to build a group of other bloggers in your niche.
I have a private list called “Personal Finance” with about 100 users. This is where I find articles to retweet or discussions to reply and join. It’s much easier to find valuable content in this way than trying to pick it out of your feed, especially once you are following thousands of users.
Other Traffic Sources
Now that our website is running smoothly and we’ve gotten more comfortable with our writing process, we are beginning to branch out to try and expand our reach. Alyssa recently started getting more active on Pinterest, and I am working on building our Facebook following. We are constantly learning and working to improve our skills on these platforms, and we love the community interactions we have every day. We hope we will see you wherever you like to hang out online!
What is your preferred social media site? Do you use it more to promote your content or interact with other users?