For years now Google has been thought of as the main way to get more website traffic. While it’s still a useful way to get website traffic it can take time to do and can be difficult if you’re not an SEO expert. Of all the other methods to get website traffic Twitter is probably one of the easiest …. and it can get traffic fast.
Here’s a quick ‘Twitter 101’ briefing to give you some ideas of how to do it, and how to write better Tweets:
Getting started with Twitter
First, make sure your website is worth getting traffic for. If it’s not been revamped for some time think about doing that. It also needs to be mobile friendly, as most Twitter users will visit from a phone.
Start adding good content to your website, if you don’t already. This needs to be more than product or service information. You need to have news, articles, reviews and so on around your product or service area. And do it regularly – at least once a week or even daily if you can.
Open your Twitter account, if you don’t already have one. If you have a personal Twitter account you can open a separate one for your business. They don’t have to be linked in any way (unlike Facebook).
Make sure you have a way of tracking traffic to your website – there are lots of plug ins that can do this. Twitter won’t provide you with ‘tweet’ activity statistics unless you have a couple of hundred tweets under your belt.
Find a mentor. Start by searching for other Twitter accounts that are around your product or service area and follow them. See what they tweet about and how successful (or otherwise) their tweets are. This should give you some ideas for what to tweet about and how to do it.
When you’re ready, you can start writing and tweeting tweets of your own:
How to write better tweets
Tweet regularly, but don’t overdo it. Apparently a tweet only has a life time of 30 seconds, so you need to push out a far number of tweets in a week to get any decent exposure. Then again, you don’t want to flood your followers with too many tweets. I would suggest you start with just one tweet a day initially and progress up to three-four tweets a day.
How to write a tweet: Tweets are limited in length, so you need to do a lot in a short burst of words. Your tweet should: Attract attention, interest your reader and give them a good reason or reasons to click through to your story (more about this coming up). Think of your tweet as a newspaper headline for your story.
Off the cuff tweets are sometimes fantastic …. but are more often awful. It’s best to think about what you really want to say, the best way to do it, and what you want people to do as a result.
If like most people you tweet from a phone or tablet I’d suggest trying this when you first start: Rather than composing your tweets on Twitter compose your tweets in a word processor document and take some time to get them right before copying them over to Twitter and sending them.
Make your tweets newsy or topical. People want to know what’s going on in the world right now or, alternatively, your thoughts about something that’s happened recently. Think ahead about upcoming news stories and how you can tweet something that ties in with them.
Also watch ‘trends’ on your Twitter page and see if you can tweet something relevant to those.
Be different – sometimes if not all the time. There’s are an awful lot of bland tweets on Twitter so something different stands out. Something quirky, funny or even a bit controversial (but do this with care) can get a lot more response.
How to get better results
Get involved in the Twitter community. As well as finding people to follow, follow people who follow you if their product/service is relevant to yours. Retweet the best of their tweets. Respond to direct messages you get. Twitter has a very ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ mentality and the more you give, the more you get.
Link your tweets to something, more often than not. Tweets are always more effective when they are linked back to a story on your site, eg. an article or news item. This makes things a lot more interesting for your followers and readers. It’s also easier to monitor your campaigns and get some results from them.
For every story you tweet about, try several different tweets with a different message or twist. This will give you an idea of what works best. Twitter automatically makes the content of your tweet the headline of your story, but it does not have to be.
Twitter do’s and don’ts
Promote products and services using tweets indirectly – and even then very sparingly. People generally don’t want to read obvious ads. in tweets or get the hard sell. If you want to draw attention to a new product or service, for example, write a story around that subject and tweet about that story, not about the product or service.
Use the hashtag in most if not all tweets. Hashtags help index your tweets so that people searching for information on that subject can find it. Tweets that are hashtagged will gets more views than untagged tweets. Tweets with hashtags that are very relevant to the tweet will get the best quality views and so the best quality traffic.
Encourage retweets. The ‘holy grail’ of Twitter is to get your tweets retweeted by those who see them as much as possible. This can act as a very effective form of viral marketing – a tweet that is retweeted and retweeted can get thousands of views in a very short time.
This is a difficult thing to master. You can maximise your chances of getting retweets by being timely, topical, humorous or controversial.
Use pics. As Twitter is essentially a text based broadcasting platform it’s easy to forget that you can also tweet photos. Good photo tweets usually get more views than good text tweets. Try to post pics that tell a story and, as with text tweets link them back to something on your website.
The great thing about Twitter is that it’s essentially short copy writing – so it’s easy to write lots of content in a short time. You also get results fast – new visitors will start arriving at your site within seconds of your tweet being posted.
Mark Hempshell is a copywriting consultant and content marketer. You can contact him with questions and queries here: Mark Hempshell