How I Am Building My Blogging Platform, prt 2: Twitter

twitter_logoIn my last post in this series, I covered some issues that come up when first getting started with blogging. That post ended with the necessity of posting as regularly as possible. In today’s post I will write about Twitter, a tool which I think will be critical in the process of building your platform.

Once you are posting quality content regularly, you’re going to need some way of getting your writing out in front of as many people as possible. I have found Twitter to be essential. The more followers you gain on Twitter, the more people will see every new post you tweet out. Most people I know are not into Twitter very much, and the vast majority of people with Twitter accounts don’t tweet very often. I am going to show you how to put your Twitter account to good use.

If you are not following me on Twitter, I invite you to do so right away. Go to Twitter.com and either sign in to your account, or sign up for an account. In the search box (top right), enter @_davidkflowers. It will bring up my account, and you’ll simply click the Follow button. When you follow me, I will follow you back so that I will receive all future tweets from you. A small portion of all the people you follow on Twitter will automatically follow you back (between 10% and 30%). This means that for a while, following people on Twitter is the best way to get followers. Recent rules Twitter has implemented make it slower and more difficult to get followers than it used to be, but I am pleased with how my efforts in getting followers are going and I think you will be pleased with your efforts too.

Once you are following me on Twitter, you will receive all my Tweets. You will notice a few things here.

  • I have at least six tweets going out every day
  • Every time I write a new blog post, it gets tweeted out with a link to that post
  • I retweet a lot. Retweeting is taking great tweets other people have sent out and re-posting them for your own followers. People are very grateful when you retweet their stuff. It tells them you find their tweets valuable.
  • I send out tweets from previous blog entries and link back to those older posts. This is a way to keep bringing people back to my site.
  • I also regularly tweet out great articles I have found that I think my followers may find interesting.
  • I make efforts to visit the blogs of people I am following and comment either on their blog or tweet a comment to them. Twitter is about making real connections with people and it’s considered bad form to use Twitter relentlessly to promote your own material without reading and giving feedback on things other people are tweeting. Once you start getting a lot of followers it is almost impossible to get to everyone, but remember that every time you interact with someone on Twitter, all of your followers see it and know you are being part of the community.

Why Twitter is better than Facebook for making connections

There are critical differences between Facebook and Twitter that make Twitter generally better for making large numbers of connections quickly.

  • Anyone who gets your tweets in their feed has specifically chosen to follow you, not merely, like Facebook, granted your request to friend them. 
  • On Twitter, you can follow people who are interested in the things you write about and care about. On Facebook, you mostly choose to friend people you know or used to know. This limits your reach on Facebook.
  • Facebook is set up so people can go on for paragraphs. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. This means 1) the average tweet is much shorter than the average post on Facebook and you can thus scan through hundreds of tweets in the same amount of time it would take to read just a few posts on your Facebook timeline, 2) Many if not most tweets contain a sentence or main point from an internet article with a link to the entire article so Twitter is much more a place to find great material on your particular interests than Facebook, which is largely about the personal lives of your Facebook friends.
  • Facebook has expanded into games, photos, videos, and hundreds of other applications. Using Twitter is kind of like if you could see only Facebook status updates. It is intentionally stripped down.
  • Some people accuse Twitter of being stupid, suggesting that it will be full of tweets like, “Drinking my coffee now,” and “I have to pee.” My experience has been that Facebook has far more of this meaningless stuff than Twitter does. It all depends on who you follow and why you follow them.
As long as you attempt to build your platform using Facebook friends, you will be limited. It does play a role, working alongside Twitter to establish a presence on the Internet, but it is not sufficient for most people.
In my next post I will talk about how to gain followers on Twitter fairly quickly without getting your account suspended.
Question: How have you been using Twitter? What Twitter successes and frustrations can you share with my readers and me?