5 Ways to Engage Your Twitter Followers

Use Twitter to engage your audienceTwitter is a smaller network than Facebook, but it fills a specific niche in social media.  It’s a “broadcasting” tool.  Twitter gives you the ability to attract followers you don’t know. Use it meet new people, connect with influencers and spread your message.  You never know when what you say on Twitter will be seen by someone with a huge following.  If that happens and they share your tweet, the tweet could go viral. Here are five ways to engage your Twitter followers and position yourself for generating engagement and more connections.

  1. If you craft awesome Tweets, you never know when what you say will become viral. The 140 character limit imposed by Twitter means you’re forced to keep it short. You have just a few characters to get someone to click and inspire them to share your Tweet. Consider if what you are writing makes sense to your followers, and if it will entice them to take action.
  1. URL shorteners allow you to shorten links to your content so they don’t take up the space you need for eye catching headlines. If you use WordPress there are plugins that will help you automatically shorten your URLs. There are other opts like bit.ly and goo.gl that shorten your link and have tracking tools, too. By shortening URLs you give yourself more space for the headlines plus since a lot of it is automated you’ll be able to share links faster with your followers.
  1. Create polls using a website like Pollowers to ask your followers a question. Your poll will automatically be shared with your followers, and when they answer it’s shared with their followers via an option to re-tweet the poll. Try it, and you might be surprised at the conversation you get started and the traffic you generate.
  1. Want to see how many of your Twitter followers will become customers if you send out a coupon? You can easily find out by creating a coupon on twtqpon.com. Coupons can be used for online business or brick and mortar locations.
  1. You can use tools like OneKontest or WooBox to create contests to engage with your followers. You can use #hashtags, photos, or trivia to inspire your audience to interact with your Tweets and share with their followers. It’s not hard to do and no special coding is needed. Let your imagination run wild!

By incorporating engaging and interactive ways to use Twitter, you and your followers will have fun, you will increase your following and deepen your relationship. Twitter is an effective platform for connecting with followers outside of your current sphere of influence.

5 Ideas for Promoting Your Blog

Promote Your BlogBy now you should be brimming with ideas for useful blog post that will engage and provide value to your audience. You have also been actively promoting your post through social media.  While social media sites are a valuable tool for growing your readership and subscribers, don’t overlook other places to spread the word about your valuable content.

There are many places where you can promote your blog.  Some are free and others require an investment. Start with the free options.   As you begin to see a return on your investment of time, you can use some of your earnings to promote your blog with paid options.

1) Join a forum. This is a simple way promote your blog. Interact with your fellow forum members and include your blog in your signature line, if it’s allowed. If it’s not allowed, there’s usually a folder available within that forum that does allow you to promote your site. Use them.

2)  Submit to social bookmarking sites. Write a great, thought provoking post on your blog and submit it to sites like Digg.com or Reddit.com. There are hundreds of people who spend hours at these sites searching for good articles to recommend to their followers. Your blog can get a surge of traffic through this strategic and viral sharing method. Typically, a site has a particular focus, so do some research to find one that is a good fit for your content.

3)  Join a blogging community like Biz Sugar or the Google + Community. These sites offer you a way of connecting with other bloggers who may do a review of your blog on theirs, which would help drive more traffic to your site.

4) Create a campaign with Google AdWords or Bing Ads. This will mean purchasing ad on the search engine result pages, but you pay only when someone clicks (this is known as pay per click, or PPC) on the link. Make sure you use the best keywords to get the ad noticed, so that you can drive more traffic to your blog.  Google and Bing frequently offer a coupon for first time advertisers.

5) Advertise on popular blogs. Large sites work through sites like BuySellAds.com and BlogAds.com to sell ad space. Smaller blogs might be open to the idea if you approach them directly. Contact some of the blogs that are popular with your target market and see if they would be willing to sell you some advertising space.

I recommend using caution when using paid options.  If your site is not converting visitors to subscribers or buyers, do a careful analysis and improve your conversion rate before paying for visitors.

These are just a few of the potential ways to increase visitors to your blog. What has been your experience with promoting your blog?

10 Blogging Inspirations

blog to attract search enginesWhile there’s no hard and fast rule for the ideal blogging schedule, a successful blog will need to be updated regularly.

After all, one of the benefits of blogging is to signal the search engines that the site is active and generating material that will be of interest to people searching for the most up to date information.

To help you keep generating useful content, here are 10 ideas for creating blog posts that will interest your readers.

1. Give in depth answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Most business have a consistent list of questions that prospects will ask before they become clients.  Create useful blog posts that answer them.

2. Ask your customers for feedback. Send out a short survey your customers. The answers you receive can become blog posts.

3. Share news stories. Set up a Google Alert to find the latest news developments in your industry, and blog about them.

4. Invite guest bloggers.  Clients, vendors and colleagues from other areas of your business can bring value to readers and a new perspective to your blog.

5. Create a “How To” Post.  Teach your blog readers how to do something related to your business.

6. Write about your industry expertise. Share a recent experience you had, perhaps at a tradeshow or other industry event.

7. Answer questions from your inbox. Go through your email to look for questions and share the answers in a blog post.

8. Review videos. Find a video on YouTube that would provide value to your readers.  Write a review of the video. YouTube supplies code that will imbed the video into your blog posts.

9.  Share a cautionary tale.  Find a news item about something your readers need to avoid, and show them how.

10.  Celebrate success. Create a case study featuring a success story from a customer or local business.

If you are attuned to it, inspiration is everywhere.  Keep a small notebook or use the recording app on your smart phone to make notes about things you see that would make good blog posts.  You might even take a photo to include when you write the post.

Where do you find inspiration for your blogging?

Blog Success: Persistent, not Perfect

As I discussed in Monday’s blog post, persistence over time is one of the keys to creating a successful blog.  While we may have the best intentions for posting to our blog on a regular basis, life happens and sometimes we find ourselves short of time or in the middle of another project.

Here are some excellent tips from Ginny Soskey at Hubspot about how to keep posting, even when the best laid plans (crafting three killer, 1000 word post a week, for example) fall through.

A wise marketer once said, “Done is better than perfect.”  If you keep falling in the perfectionist trap, these Blogging Hacks for Efficient Marketers will help you break through and keep focused on the consistent effort necessary to grow your business through blogging.



Your Blogging Fortune: Persistence Pays

Blogging fortuneRecently, I wrote a blog post about the importance of finding a purpose for your blogging efforts.  When you know your purpose, generating ideas for engaging your readers becomes much easier.

Another road block to a successful blogging effort is the feeling that you are writing, writing, writing and nothing is really happening.  Your blog stats are dismal, or practically nonexistent. You are in despair because you feel that your efforts are in vain.

I understand the feeling.  I’ve been there.

This seems like an appropriate time to share some ancient Chinese wisdom.

Many years ago, I was at a Chinese buffet with a group of friends.  We were finishing our meal and reading our fortune cookies.  I opened mine.  It was empty.  Seeing the disappointment on my face, one of my friends gave me their fortune cookie.

I opened it, hopeful that ancient Chinese wisdom would be revealed.  It was empty.  Though I’m not a superstitious person, this was a little unsettling.  It was a too much like an episode of The Twilight Zone I’d just seen on late night television – the one where a man ceases to exist because all of his recorded evidence of his life has been erased.  Was the fortune cookie failing to predict my future because I had none????

Fortunately, another generous friend gave me his fortune cookie.  I held it with trepidation.  Would a third empty fortune cookie reveal that I was doomed?  That I had no future ahead of me?

My heart was pounding as I carefully cracked the fortune cookie.  All eyes were on me.  I was happy to see the bright white strip of paper appear between the halves of the cookie.  Before breathing a final sigh of relief, I read the words of ancient Chinese wisdom aloud: persistence pays.

I offer you these words of wisdom about blogging.  Many times, it feels like you are performing to an empty theater. That is, sadly, because you probably are.  Growing your blog readership takes time and effort.

Fortunately, there are simple things to do that will spread the word about your blog. Here are three actions to take every time you blog so that you build up a base of regular readers eager for your words of wisdom:

1)      Share your blog on your social media sites.  Pick several platforms and post on a consistent basis.  There are plugins that will automate the process.

2)      Send your most recent post to your email subscribers.  Most email services providers have a RSS to email feature that will create automatically generate an email when you post to your blog.

3)       Always ask for a comment in your blog post itself, when you post on social media, and when you send out your emails.

Persistence pays, especially when you persistently do the simple things that will yield results.

What successes, and failures, have you had in growing your blog readership?