I certainly avoided using it for years.
You see, although I’ve had a Twitter account since April, 2008, I’ve been a sporadic user (at best). There were a few reasons for this, which I will detail in a later blog post.
But three weeks ago, I changed my mind.
In the last 3 weeks, I’ve used Twitter consistently (almost daily), and have gained an influx of blog traffic, followers, and retweets as a result.
On Sunday 5th January 2014 (3 weeks ago), I had only 279 Twitter followers. Right now, I have just hit 1004 followers (see below).
While this is nothing compared to the giants on Twitter, it shows what’s possible for a freelance blogger (with a 1 hour time investment per day).
In any case, in that time I discovered a number of tips, tricks and tactics that increase retweets, favorites and followers – exactly what you want.
What’s more, I actually enjoy the process of using Twitter.
Anyway, here are some of the best Twitter tips for freelance writers and bloggers.
1. Tweet every day
Remain in regular contact with your Twitter followers and engage with them each day. It’s also important to have a consistent message and theme. Consistency is the key if you want followers and useful conversations to take place.
2. Ask for retweets
Don’t neglect this tactic, but don’t overuse it. Simply asking people to share will increase your retweets. While you’re here, please help me Tweet this blog post.
3. Use hashtags
I didn’t understand the importance of hashtags initially.
But, as soon as I figured out the best hashtags for likely readers of my blog, my followers and RT’s increased considerably. I use hashtagify.me to find related hashtags quickly.
4. Follow people you genuinely want to connect with
If there some big names in your niche that you’d like to do business with, write for, or speak to – you need to follow them on Twitter.
From here, retweet their best material and start a dialog.
Also, follow people who you have a genuine interest in. You can learn from them, help promote their content and build a connection.
If you use this approach, you will be noticed, as most people won’t put in the time and effort.
5. Tweet quotes
People love quotes. I have had more interaction, retweets and favorites from this approach, than anything else. See one quote below that was retweeted 81 times (and counting).
6. Tweet directly to an author
After reading some content that you benefited from, find the author’s handle and send a tweet (thanking, and sharing your new identifications). This is a very personal touch, and people respond well to it. In general, the more personal – the better.
7. Have a clear bio
Make it obvious that you’re a writer or freelance blogger. Use hashtags in your bio so that you can be found via searches. This is a simple way to be hired for a blogging gig.
8. Use a good image of yourself
A photograph is the best way to go. Don’t hide behind a fancy logo as a freelance writer or blogger. Unless you have staff working for you, everyone knows that a freelancer is a one-man business.
9. Use lists
Lists are a great way to segregate people and brands by a common theme. Other Twitter users will find your lists and subscribe, which brings you more engagement.
10. Don’t tweet too much
While I would edge toward tweeting more (if you’re unsure about volume), there is a line that should be drawn. Besides taking up time during the day, you will annoy your followers by continually filling up their timeline.
11. Set rational expectations
If you have just signed up with Twitter, don’t expect to be an overnight sensation.
Unless you’re a well known celebrity, or can transfer people from another social media platform (do you have a Facebook following?), or a large email list – you will need to be patient.
You’ll note that my gains are modest when compared to other Twitter sensations. So what? It’s not a zero-sum game. Look at a long term strategy.
12. Tweet during peak times
After using Twitter for a couple of weeks, you’ll learn when your followers are online, and what time of day returns the best response.
13. Use images
Many of the big Twitter users report they receive more RT’s from images than plain text.
I have not applied this fully, as graphical editing doesn’t appeal to me. But, I suggest you test it out.
14. Share content from other users
Use Twitter to share relevant content with your audience and followers. Share great content that’s been created by others in your industry. Be selective, but give your followers more than your own material.
Doing this will lead to reciprocation from other users. When you post your next blog link, other will retweet it and your following will grow.
15. Schedule tweets
I like to engage with users, but I also schedule a number of tweets each day. This makes my day more productive, but doesn’t automatize everything. Use TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule tweets.
16. Use retweet, RT and other combinations
There are a few ways to retweet…
It is helpful to use a combination of options to see which works best for you. Use “retweet”, “RT”, and “via..”.
17. Don’t use all 140 characters
Utilizing all 140 characters means that other people can’t add their comments before retweeting.
A good rule of thumb is to leave about 30 characters at the end of your tweet (so others can personalize the tweet). This will help yo to generate more retweets.
If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to follow me: Follow @tomcrawford
If you’re not using twitter, now you have a number of reasons to begin.
Are you using Twitter? If so, what other tips have helped you to get the most from it?