How to Harness the Power of Twitter in 4 Easy Steps

April 6, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

twitter-powerBy now I’m sure you’ve read my case study on how I used Twitter to generate 35,967 extra hits to my site in just 14 days. Want to achieve the same explosive results? I admit that much of the viral content on Twitter currently favors tech articles, but that should change as Twitter gains mass appeal and is used by more web surfers with different interests. I’m not going to guarantee you any results of viral traffic and buzz (it’s usually hit or miss) but what I can do is offer some tips on how to maximize your traffic from Twitter and increase your chances of achieving success through re-tweets of your articles.

Below are my 4 steps on how to optimize your site for big increases in Twitter traffic.

1. Optimize your Twitter account for your brand

Username and avatar:
Twitter is gaining widespread popularity, but even still it will always be just an extension of your online brand and website. Choose a user name and profile image that closely matches your site. For example, my own personal brand (Gyutae Park) is a big part of Winning the Web and it’s the reason why I use @gyutae on Twitter for people to interact with me. On several of my other sites, I use the actual brand name as the Twitter handle.

Also, don’t forget to include an interesting avatar that accurately represents who you are. Check out the 5 killer strategies to get your avatar noticed.

Name and website:
Once you create your Twitter account, fill out your name, location, and website information. Use your personal name if possible (it’s just more personable) and include a link to your targeted site. The link doesn’t pass much SEO value but it’ll show people the sites you run and drive some traffic.

Custom background:
Customize your profile background to fit in with your branding objectives (i.e. pictures, contact information, etc.). If you want something really professional, Hugh Briss at Twitter Image creates custom backgrounds for many of the top Twitterers. A custom background costs $100 and probably isn’t a bad investment considering that they look great and do wonders for your social marketing campaigns. I’m planning on getting one myself.

2. Build up your profile with targeted followers

Like everything else in Internet marketing, quality matters. Just because you have a ton of followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean that they’ll all be responsive to you and take notice of what you have to say. There are a lot of black hat Twitter techniques springing up that artificially pump up your Twitter count. They may work in the short term but they won’t leave you with rabid fans who are truly interested in what you have to say. That of course should be your goal, no?

Build connections online and use Twitter as a tool to develop relationships (hint: use TweetDeck to easily segment groups of people). Tweet out interesting related news and articles and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. It’s what will make you attractive and follow-worthy on Twitter.

3. Pimp out your site with some Twitter gear

There are various Twitter-related tools and widgets that will help you to integrate your site and receive more exposure. Below are some of my favorites that I use here on Winning the Web.

Follow me on Twitter link
Add a link to your Twitter profile on your homepage, in your posts, and on your About page. You can use one of the catchy Twitter buttons or you can use the Twitter counter widget for social proof (if you already have a few thousand followers). Give you visitors various ways to find your profile and follow you.

Display most recent tweets
Twitter Tools is a WordPress plugin that pulls your tweets into your blog (in a sidebar or in posts). You can even create new tweets based on new blog posts that you create. If you’re serious about using Twitter as a marketing tool for your blog, download and install this plugin.

Tweet This plugin
Another crucial Twitter plugin for WordPress that I recommend is Tweet This. It automatically adds a re-tweet link on every post and shortens the URLs in advance using a service like bit.ly. The links actually perform very well and I’ve received a nice bump in re-tweets after installation. Best of all, the process is completely automated and there’s little you need to do after you set it up. You can see an example at the bottom of this post (be sure to test it out by re-tweeting 🙂 )

Tweetmeme re-tweets widget
The Tweetmeme button is a Digg-style widget that shows how many times an article has been re-tweeted and shared on Twitter. Not only is it a great way for you to keep track of your hot articles, but it also serves as social proof and encourages people to further share your content. You can see an example of the button on the top of this post.

4. Promote your content on Twitter

Once you’ve optimized both your profile and your site for Twitter, it’s time to get active and promote the heck out of your content. Below are some of the steps you can take to seed a viral campaign.

Ask for help
Contact some of your friends and contacts in your industry and ask them to send around your article, via re-tweet and other means. Just one big player can make a huge difference (as you saw with TechCrunch in my case study).

Tweet out the link yourself
If you have a large following, tweeting out a link to your article is a good start (mixed in with non self-promotional content). You can either do this manually or automatically using a plugin like Twitter Tools. I like to tweet out my links manually because I can customize the message and test different variations. If you’re seeing good results with this method, tweet out followup messages that encourage user interaction (e.g. questions, replies to individual people, etc).

When all is said and done, Twitter is really about building good content and maintaining key relationships (which is true of pretty much everything related to online business – see a trend?).

How are you using Twitter to drive traffic back to your sites? It’s a powerful tool that can potentially lead to a huge viral wave of exposure. Are you harnessing the power of the Twitter yet?

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Posted in Articles, SEO, Social Media
Winners Circle - Internet Marketing Case Studies
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Comments

22 Responses to “How to Harness the Power of Twitter in 4 Easy Steps”

marco on April 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

good article , thanks

 
Kandice on April 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

All pretty simple stuff, but it works.

Gyutae Park on April 7th, 2009

Simple stuff, yes. But you’d be surprised by the number of “social media gurus” who forget to do the basics. Plus all of this information is crucial for those just getting started with Twitter marketing.

 
 
Jason on April 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks so much for that article.
It is very helpful for someone like me, who is about to use
twitter for my online business.

After reading your post, im sure it will be a blast.

More power to you!

Gyutae Park on April 7th, 2009

Very cool, Jason. I’m glad the article could be of use for you. Best of luck! And be sure to follow me @gyutae. 🙂

 
 
Mike Huang on April 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Why even bother paying $100 for just a background that is mainly just a side of the whole background image.

I posted this on John’s post too…you can do it free yourself just with a little work.

http://www.prettytweet.com/

Gyutae Park on April 23rd, 2009

True, but what you get is customization from an experienced Twitter designer. Sure you can probably do it yourself, but I’d prefer not to mess around in that area. Maybe if yours is good I can hire you instead. 😛

 
 
FoxNewsBoycott on April 7th, 2009

Great read! Sounds extremely simple. Now I need a way to use it behind a firewall…

 
Pituitary Gland on April 10th, 2009

Haha, I must have now read about 10,000 articles about Twitter and even now I still can’t be bothered to use it… shows how motivated I am :p

Gyutae Park on April 22nd, 2009

I don’t think you should be proud of that. Twitter is one of those things where you’ll regret not getting in on early when you had the chance.

 
 
Referrals Cash on April 11th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Any twitter newbies will benefit tremendously from this post. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

This is the kind of article which really helped people to succeed online.

Cheers!

 
Jeff Scott on April 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thank you for this info. I was struggling to get my head around Twitter. And this is despite having watched several Youtube vids showing me how easy it was understand.

 
Jason@internetmarketing on April 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for that insight Gyutae. That will be very helpful for me in my online business. Looking forward to more of your posts.

 
Mike on April 27th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

These are some great (simple and easy to follow) recommendations for growing a good following for your site/blog using social bookmarking sites like Twitter. The same applies to all the other social bookmarking sites… Twitter being the one that is getting the most traffic due to recent media coverage of Oprah and other celebrities using it.

 
venkat on May 18th, 2009

For anyone to follow on twitter every twitter user must ahve bio and updates .

 
Quality SEO Services on July 3rd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

It’s utterly amazing!! Proof that there is always a way to make a difference, and anyone can do it!

 
Gerald Weber on October 31st, 2009

Note: Tweet meme is also used to tweet out post.In fact the new version allows you to tweet with only one click. So you can use it in place of Tweet this. I previously used Tweet this and thought it was cool, but it was causing my blog to slow and crash under high traffic. I have since changed to tweet meme and problem solved. Also as you mentioned it keeps track of the number of retweets for social proof.

 
Chris Peterson on December 28th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for great hints to built brand on twitter.
I want to say one thing by creative, engage and interact we can make more creative Leading off interesting conversations and introducing stimulating topics and content that contain relevant keywords is definitely the way to go.

 
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