June 8, 2019

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Twitter to Promote your Blog

Twitter

Every so often, I see atheist bloggers I respect and think more people should be reading making bad mistakes on Twitter with respect to how they are trying to promote their blogs. This post is aimed at helping them. As I have said here repeatedly, I think that lifting each other up is key to promoting secularism.

Twitter can be great for promoting one's blog, but it has to be used correctly if you expect to see much benefit. The first thing I'd suggest, even before you start tweeting, is to finish your profile. This is your opportunity to tell the world about you and/or your blog. A surprising number of people don't do this, and it holds them back. You are going to want to attract followers, and how you present yourself matters.

Assuming you have a complete Twitter profile, let's consider some of the most common mistakes those who are using Twitter to promote their blogs make. Afterward, we'll address what to do instead:

  1. Your tweets contain nothing but a link (i.e., there is no text accompanying the link).
  2. Your tweets do not include hashtags OR your tweets include more than two hashtags.
  3. Your tweets sound spammy.
  4. You are tweeting too much in too short a time frame.
  5. Your tweets ask questions, but you never respond to those who answer them.

Of these mistakes, #1 is probably the most important. You tweet the link to your latest blog post without a title or description. There's nothing there but the link. When you do this, you are giving those who see this tweet no reason to click on your link. You are also guaranteeing that nobody is going to retweet it because they don't want to annoy their followers. If you are using Twitter to promote your blog, getting others to click on your links is the goal. At a minimum, include the title of your post or a description of the content.

On to #2. Hashtags are important on Twitter for many reasons, not the least of which is that they make your content easier to find. Many of us search for hashtags when we are interested in seeing what people are saying about various topics or looking for new people to follow (e.g., #atheism, #separationofchurchandstate). Most of your tweets should include 1-2 hashtags to take advantage of this. Why no more than 2? Many consider that spammy, and there is some evidence from those who study such things that tweets with more than 2 hashtags do not perform as well as those with 1-2. I would not say you should never have more than 2 hashtags, but up to 2 should be the norm.

The more you use Twitter, the clearer idea you will develop about what you enjoy and what you find annoying. Chances are good that others will be annoyed by many of the same things that annoy you, and one most of us would agree on is that spam is annoying (#3 above). You can promote your content without sounding spammy, and this is something you'll want to pay attention to. Note how others do it, and when you see a tweet that sounds spammy, be sure to avoid whatever they did to make it sound that way.

I see some bloggers tweet 5 or more recent posts in 30 seconds (#4). This is a bad idea for many reasons. You are only hitting those of your followers who are on Twitter at that moment and will likely have better luck if you spread your tweets out throughout the day. People live in different time zones and may be busy or sleeping when you are tweeting. Besides, tweeting that much that fast will also annoy many of your followers.

There is nothing wrong with using Twitter primarily (or even exclusively) to promote your blog. But if many of your tweets end with question marks and you ignore those who respond to them (#5), you will likely see fewer responses over time. You may also see a drop in followers. Regardless of how you plan to use Twitter, many of those who use it are interested in at least some interaction with others. If you show them that you do not care about what they think, some will likely move on.

By avoiding these mistakes, you should be more successful at using Twitter to promote your blog. As always, you can find me on Twitter @vjack.