If there’s one group that’s well-versed in developing large and loyal audiences on Twitter, it’s bloggers. They do, after all, have a content strategy built into their title — ahem blogging — which means that even when they’re promoting their personal brand, it’s more likely to be with content that their followers find helpful or otherwise more interesting than, say, a random company selling bar soap.
Bloggers who want to be successful have a kind of urgency to directly engage with, build and look after their following, as there’s really no better way to attract visitors to their sites. (Can you imagine a blogger running a TV campaign ad, particularly before they’ve had any measure of success? Yeah, no).
But of course, not all bloggers have thousands of followers, so, what separates the superstars from those that hover indefinitely in the middle of the pack?
Let’s take a look at a few bloggers and their Twitter marketing tactics who really knock it out of the park to see if we can’t glean a lesson or two.
1. Get targeted
Twitter is a pretty reciprocal place, so you could hop onto the platform every night and just randomly add people, and in the morning you’d have a fair amount of people following in return. But having a mass of followers doesn’t mean much if they’re not engaged, and if one new follower is all about muscle cars while the next is all about creative applications for doilies, you’re going to have quite the time appealing to all of them. And if they’re not engaged, they’re certainly not going to share your work and help you grow your following.
One great example of someone who does this kind of singular focus right is Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. Originally started as a way to share her many recipes with her friends, Swanson’s site features a wealth of healthy recipes and is also home to her cookbooks, which have a “supernatural” focus.
Clearly, Swanson is targeting not just cooks but also those with a crunchier bent. You can see this hyper-focus on her Twitter feed:
While Swanson does do some retweeting of causes close to her heart and recipes from likeminded sites, the majority of her tweets are links to her content, prefaced with a listing of ingredients. This fits well with the mentality of Swanson’s site, which allows users to search for recipes based on ingredients, and it does what it needs to do simply before getting out of the way. This is just what her avid audience, on the hunt for seasonal recipes, is looking for.
What This Means for You As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that it’s better to be hyper targeted than too broad; you can always expand from your base once you get going. While you may not need to get as targeted as this, having some kind of theme is crucial — all the better if you can turn that into a hook, a la @shitmydadsays. In fact, sometimes just getting a great Twitter handle can frame all of your activities. Once you have that, get as creative as possible within those confines.
Who can you follow that clearly shares your interests? What kind of content can you retweet? How can you mix up the content? Give your followers not just information but actionable insights, and you’re sure to grow.
2. Help each other
Call it guest posting, call it co-branding, call it coasting on each other’s tail winds — whatever. There are few strategies quite as effective for growing your following than teaming up with or regularly giving press to another blogger or business. Teaming up with someone else not only gives you great material for your Twitter feed (and who couldn’t use a little bit more meat to feed the social-content beast?) but it also exposes your work to a much wider audience. And while not everyone in that audience will be primed to follow you, if you’ve done a good job of picking a partner whose interests parallel your own, you should gain a sizable chunk.
Blogger DIY Victoria E. Barnes, who focuses on renovations of her Victorian home, does this in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s as simple as retweeting a fellow blogger’s contest:
Sometimes it means riffing on popular culture, a la this Mad Men Spoof:
Whether it’s directly teaming up with someone or just a playful tease, being in on it with someone else is a great way to gain exposure