The chances are, you’ve heard of Twitter. Whether you can’t get enough of it, or you can’t abide by it, you really need to be using it to promote your blog.

I won’t go through the ‘don’t forget to set a profile picture and bio description’ that every other guide starts with – I’m assuming you’ve got that covered, instead, let’s jump straight in:

1. Automatically Tweet new blog posts

You’re probably already doing this, but if not, you need to set it up. You don’t have to tweet for every single blog post, or page creation – you can set it up to only send tweets on posts, and even then you can deselect it before you publish a post – but you should be tweeting all of your best/featured posts.

Top tool for WordPress: Social Networks Auto-Poster from NextScripts

Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) has functionality for a number of different social networks (including a paid option for some other networks, such as Google+ and Pinterest). The Twitter posting options we need are free (hooray!), but setting up the Twitter API access we need isn’t as simple as it once was.NextScripts

NextScripts provide instructions once you’ve installed the plugin, however, so just follow along closely (leave a comment or send a message to @taptappost if you need a hand) and you should be fine.

Top tool for other platforms: IFTTT

If This Then That is a tool that saves the day when you can’t get anything else to work! It’s a free-to-use rules engine where you can connect different services you use (they’re always adding more) and setup a rule (or, ‘recipe’) for what you want to happen and when.

Creating an IFTTT recipe

Creating If This Then That rules is easy!

Also useful: Jetpack for WordPress

Jetpack is a whole suite of tools, and buried in the sharing options is social sharing functionality. It seems to work well enough, however, the default Jetpack settings can tweak quite a few things on your site, so I wouldn’t recommend installing on a live system.

2. Promote interest with captioned images

By default, whatever tool you use to automatically post to Twitter will take the featured image, or if there isn’t one, the first image in the post. This may be suitable, but some sites will use fairly plain featured images if post title will sit over the top.

You should, therefore, pick a more suitable image; one which you’ve ideally created yourself.

Promoting Your Blog With Twitter - Top Twitter Tips

A customised, captioned image is much more attention grabbing than either a plain stock photo, or a tweet with no image at all, and it also shows potential visitors how much effort you’re putting into posts.

Screenshot of SNAP - Promoting your blog with Twitter

Don’t forget to choose your new image before you publish a post!

Of course, you can use Photoshop to do something like this if you have it, but alternatively:

Top Tool: Pablo (from Buffer)

Pablo is a very useful little web-based tool that allows you to create a captioned image (I used Pablo for the one above, as an example). You can upload your own background, or use on of theirs, choose a few different effects, upload a logo and set your text. The controls are very intuitive, and you can choose different aspect ratios for the file that’s to be created (they have recommendations depending on which website you’re uploading it to).

It’s free to use, and you don’t even need to sign up for an account.

Also good: Canva

If Pablo isn’t for you, then perhaps try Canva. It’s slightly more powerful than Pablo, although you do need to sign up for an account, and if you accidentally choose a non-free asset, it will prompt you to pay for each one you’ve used ($1).

Screenshot of 'Canva' - Promoting your blog with Twitter

3. Tweet multiple times per post

You definitely don’t want to go mad with this and start annoying followers, however, tweeting two, or even, three times to publicise a post can be a very effective strategy. How effective, depends on a number of factors, but it really comes down to your target audience. If you’re targeting professionals, you can publicise a post during the morning commute, and if you then post again mid-afternoon, you’ll find you’re reaching a whole different group of people.

A clever way around the repetitiveness is to update your blog posts, and to send a tweet prefixed with ‘UPDATE:’.

Predict the behaviour of the groups of people you want to respond to your content, and try to work out when you can catch both groups separately.

Similarly, posting again for different time zones is a great way to boost your reach in a completely different regions.

You probably will get the odd person who sees a duplicate, but if they’re already into your content, they’ll most likely not mind (if you’re not sure, put yourself in their shoes).

A clever way around the repetitiveness is to update your blog posts, and to send a tweet prefixed with ‘UPDATE:’.

4. Run a poll

In my opinion, Twitter polls are very clever. People like a poll as it gives instant gratification, especially when the medium in question doesn’t tell you the current results until after you’ve clicked.

So how does a poll help?

Well, it depends on what your aim is. If you tweet: ‘Just redesigned myblog.com! What do you think?’, most people would be happy to jump on over, thinking they’ll be straight back. Some of them will be, but you’ll also hopefully hook some of them with your awesome content.

You could also use it to build your voice within the community. If you run a poll, get some nice stats, and come back a couple of days later with a nicely designed chart/infographic, and thank everyone for taking part, you’ve generated awareness and goodwill at multiple points.

Here’s a poll I started while writing this post, which confirms what I said regarding point 3. Although you may annoy a couple of people by reposting links to blog posts in tweets, most people are fairly tolerant.

5. Promote your tweets

Isn’t it funny how if you’re paying a third party to promote a tweet/retweet, it’s against TOS, but if you pay Twitter, it’s all fine!

Frankly, I can’t see why people pay dodgy companies to send hundreds of retweets their way when those shell accounts have no followers to see your content. But I digress…

Using Twitter’s advertising service is completely pain-free. Just go to ads.twitter.com, enable your account for business and start your campaign. As an example, I promoted the poll from point 4, with a maximum budget of £5.

After I’d entered payment details, and set it off, it was only 3 or 4 minutes before I started seeing the stats for the ad. It was only about 10 minutes longer before the campaign had used the entire £5. At that point, the campaign had caused the tweet to be seen 2,609, and it had 17 engagements – not bad for 10 minutes!

Aside from promoting blog posts, promoted tweets are a great way to:

  • Introduce yourself to potential clients/customers/followers
  • Gain publicity for a competition/sweepstake
  • Carrying out market research using a poll

6. Ask visitors to tweet to unlock additional content

Points 1 to 5 have been all about leveraging your own Twitter account to promote your blog, but this can be tricky when you’re starting out. If you don’t have many followers, it can feel like you’re publishing posts which are garnering no interest or attention whatsoever.

So… purely as an example, why not unlock the BONUS TIP below?

As people start to find your blog (through Google, via Facebook, or wherever else), you could tempt them into tweeting to unlock an extra tip!

There are a number of ways of doing this, but a plugin for your blogging platform (there are lots of plugins for WordPress which offer this functionality) is the most seamless, as the content will appear without having to reload the page. If you’re not using a platform where you can run a plugin like there, there are third party solution where you could forward the user to another page containing the bonus, or send it to them via email.

You should be reasonable locking content away, though… it’s far more acceptable to do this with a final, bonus tip than it would be to lock down most of an article. You also might not want to lock away content in every single article, unless you were adding value in some way (for example, providing a PDF checklist download summarising the article).

So… purely as an example, why not unlock the BONUS TIP below? (I’ve just started using Social Locker for WordPress – help testing it would be awesome :D)

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but I believe that the tips mentioned above will set you on the path to promoting your blog with Twitter efficiently, and effectively.

If there’s something blindingly obvious that I’ve missed, or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or send it to @taptappost.

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