I balked at using Twitter for the longest time. Sure, I signed up as soon as the blogosphere was buzzing about it a few years ago, and I tried really hard to like it. I tweeted a little. I followed people like crazy and tried to keep up. Still, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep up with what was going on, who was who, and why it even mattered in the grand scheme of blogging. Around the same time I signed up with Twitter I had also signed up with Facebook and because I kept my Facebook account private, it just seemed more personable and user-friendly. I confess, I let my Twitter account flounder for a long while. I tweeted out the obligatory posts when I had to for PR campaigns and signed out. I was determined not to use Twitter unless I absolutely had to.
I recently became curious about Twitter again, and since I had a week off from work, I’ve been playing around with it more. I can see where I made some common mistakes when I first signed up. I’m working to correct them and learning a few things in the process. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.
Be careful who you follow.
Following every single person who follows you is not a good idea. Whenever I received a notice saying someone was following me, I immediately followed them back. After all, it just seemed like the nice thing to do. What I ended up with by doing this was a slew of people in my Twitter stream who were mostly spammers. I suppose it’s all what you are interested in as an individual, but it’s no wonder I didn’t enjoy Twitter. I couldn’t see anything useful from all of the real estate, self-improvement, work-at-home, MLM, and grammatically incorrect sea of “nothingness” I was having to wade through. I’m a mom blogger. I like to interact with other mom and dad bloggers, people I know personally, and a few other bloggers outside of my niche. Once I started deleting the people/spammers I wasn’t interested in hearing from, things got instantly better. Real and relevant content was suddenly coming through my stream and I have enjoyed reading blog posts I might have otherwise missed.
Don’t limit yourself.
With all of the above being said about being careful about who you follow back, I also feel that you should give other people outside of your blogging niche a chance. Check out their websites and a few past tweets from them. You might just find out you have something in common and enjoy hearing different information from some of these people. Not everyone I follow is a mom blogger, and thank goodness, because variety is the spice of life. I enjoy hearing from other niche bloggers on other things I’m interested in, such as DIY projects, entertainment, and yes, even some who offer positive motivation on a daily basis. It’s definitely made my Twitter stream more diversified, and that’s important because it feeds my hunger for other news, not just all things parenting.
Twitter really is a great self-promotional tool in blogging.
How do I know this is true? I know tweeting out your latest blog posts works as a tool for driving traffic to your site because I click on links when people post theirs. The traffic may not be a significant amount, because I hardly get any to my own blog from Twitter, but when someone I follow posts a great teaser or lead-in to a post they have made with a link, I take the bait and click. This is how I discover other great blogs I may not know about. When someone I follow re-tweets a link from someone else I don’t follow and I read and like what I read, nine times out of ten I start following that someone new. It works for gaining traffic and gaining an audience.
I’m definitely not a Twitter expert and I’m still learning my way around, but I can see the error of my ways and am working to correct them to make Twitter a more meaningful experience. I’ve suddenly found myself checking Twitter much more often than Facebook, which is a big deal for me considering how I used to loathe Twitter and loved Facebook. I suppose it’s because Twitter constantly offers up something fresh, and not just post after post telling me where you are and what you are eating. Not that I’m not guilty of that myself.