Can you manage a successful blog without using Twitter? Yes, but you’ll be limiting your reach significantly. Twitter is usually in the top two or three traffic sources for most well-known blogs alongside Facebook and search.

When it comes to how to manage Twitter, there are multiple philosophies.

  • Follow all kinds of people in your target niche, hope some follow you back, and unfollow the ones who don’t. It’s fairly self-serving, but I suppose it’s a legitimate approach depending on your goals, your content, and other factors.
  • Follow only the people you are really interested in and hope for the best in terms of who might follow you. This is the approach of purists and celebrities.
  • Start an account, maybe tweet once, fail to ever upload a profile picture, leave the website field blank, make your account private, and leave your profile on the Twitter scrap heap.

I know the last one doesn’t sound too appealing. Or smart. But it happens all the time.

I use Crowdfire to manage multiple accounts in terms of following people back. It lets me see their profile pic, bio, and the follower-following numbers before I follow back.

And you’d be amazed at how many dead accounts I see. It’s a lot, perhaps because it’s so easy to start an account and so easy to walk away from it. With Facebook, you get one profile per human being. With Twitter, the limit is the number of accounts you can successfully manage.

So if you’re a blogger, you need to be on Twitter (and of course, you need to follow me there), and you need to do some basic things to establish your follow-worthiness so that more people will connect with you, see your content, and spread your message with you.

Twitter 101

Here are the basics, which are often overlooked.

  • Choose a normal username. You may have to get creative and insert an underscore here or there, or perhaps a digit. But you can avoid being @bl56oop7s19. (I hope that’s not a real account.)
  • Upload a nice profile pic. If you can, use your smiling face. If you can’t, use your non-smiling-but-still-not-mean-looking face. Use a logo only if the account is for a brand of some kind, and then only use a nice logo. I don’t follow eggs.
  • Fill in the bio. There are options. You can be concise and funny, snarky, basic but accurate, or you can indicate your interests with hash tags. There are really only two rules. 1.) Don’t leave it blank. 2.) DON’T USE ALL CAPS.
  • Use the website field. If you don’t have a website, feel free to put http://bloggingleaders in that spot. 🙂 Or better yet, put a link to your favorite charity. Just don’t waste the space.
  • Don’t make your account private. Unless you don’t have any reason to care about who sees your content. Or if you’re a minor. Or a fugitive from justice. I try never to follow locked accounts.

10 Quick Tips for Getting Better with Twitter

Those are the five basics. What follows is for established accounts. And again, these represent my feelings about my own approach, so you should tweak this to suit your own needs and preferences. I’m really offering these suggestions for those who are concerned about being more followable.

1. Tweet often.

Don’t tweet every few minutes, but also not every few days. Tweet a few times a day, perhaps.

2. Like some things (click the heart).

It demonstrates that you’re not completely self-absorbed and you do care about the thoughts and ideas of other people. It’s especially a good practice to click the heart when someone answers a question you asked.

3. Retweet some things.

It demonstrates that you see as much value in the content of others as your own. It also makes you valuable to the people who follow you. You are limited, on your own. But with a whole community, you’re an expert.

4. Tweet links.

It’s what most Twitter readers are looking for.

5. Tweet quotes, but in moderation.

Inspiring quotes are nice now and then, but are often overdone.

6. Be quotable.

Tweet your independent thoughts and observations. They’re more valuable than you think they are.

7. Share your content.

It’s expected. You can even share multiple times in different formats.

8. Use apps and tools.

Consider using some third-party tools such as SocialOomph and JustRetweet to extend your voice.

9. Join in on conversations.

It’s okay. It’s public. It’s like walking into a party, except that it’s way easier for introverts like me.

10. Use direct messages sparingly.

Think of direct messages like texts. I don’t care what any marketing expert says, I still despise self-promoting auto-DM’s. I don’t mind at all, however, when someone sends me a DM that has some meaning to it.

And further…

Should I follow everyone back?

No. Even if your strategy is to follow pretty much everyone back, don’t reward spammers or porn-pushers. But if you are hoping to grant some sense of access to people, yes, follow almost everyone back. But you don’t have to. It’s your experience.

Should I schedule tweets?

Why not? In the early days of Twitter, it was expected that people were manually and presently posting to Twitter. The problem is, you’re not on Twitter all the time (hopefully). So it’s perfectly acceptable to schedule tweets.

My absolute favorite, must-have tool for social media management is Buffer, which among other features, lets you trickle your content into the Twittersphere over the course of a day rather than all in one, annoying burst.

And Don’t Take Twitter Personally!

People are fickle. We get our feelings hurt easily. So don’t take anything that happens on Twitter, or any other online social network for that matter, too personally. Yes, it’s possible to make actual connections and strengthen actual relationships on Twitter, but there’s still a big difference between a Twitter follower and a real life friend.

People will tell you you’re selling too hard, you’re tweeting too much, or they’re unfollowing you because they just don’t like you anymore. Move on. Quickly.

I’ve been on Twitter since March 18, 2008. So I’m 9 years old in Twitter years, and I can remember the days before it was flooded with spammers and celebrities. I’d like to think it’s still an extremely valuable tool for business, for connecting, and for telling stories.

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