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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Growing a Highly Engaged Twitter Following from Scratch

Introduction

girl-phone-beachTwitter is an excellent platform to grow your blog audience.

I know, I know:

It gets a lot of flack for having low engagement, tons of trolls/bots, being weird, etc.

But several bloggers use Twitter to drive serious traffic to their websites like Neil Patel and Jeff Bullas.

And this post explains exactly how to do that!

You’ll learn how to grow an engaged Twitter audience that turns into website visitors and ultimately customers.

Let’s dive in.

Defining your Target Audience

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Before you dive into Twitter marketing, it’s important to know if Twitter is the best place to reach your target audience.

Don’t know who your blog’s target audience is?

In most cases, it’s you.

That’s right.

Usually, people that are similar to you in some way are the people who are going to like your blog content.

So if you’re a mom writing about home-making, recipes, and DIY projects, then other mom’s interested in the same thing are probably going to be your blog’s target audience.

Or if you’re a debt-laden millennial like me, writing about side-hustles and how to build a profitable blog from scratch, then other debt-laden millennials interested in the same are likely your target audience.

Just like defining a niche, defining a target audience can feel limiting.

If you’re like me, you probably think:

But SO many people could benefit from my content!

I don’t want to limit my target audience to ONLY [insert target audience similar to you here]!

But just like defining your niche, it will benefit you to narrowly define your target audience at first.

Paradoxically, success within a narrowly defined target audience will draw in more than just your target audience.

And as you experience this success within your target audience, you can expand your marketing efforts to target a broader following.

So what does all this have to do with Twitter?

You need to know if your target audience is on Twitter.

If they aren’t, then your marketing efforts are better spent where your target audience spends its time.

Not sure if your target audience hangs out on Twitter?

We’ll dive into Twitter demographics in the next section.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter-demographics

Remember that social media demographics are always changing.

So it’s important to check up on their demographics every once in a while.

That’s why I’ll try to keep this post up-to-date with the latest demographic information on Twitter

So who hangs out on the platform?

Sources differ on gender demographics, but most say that Twitter is at least slightly male heavy and heading towards an even gender split. (source) (source)

The largest age group on Twitter is between 18 and 29 (millennials)

And the largest income group on Twitter is comprised of those making over $75,000 a year.

But keep in mind that 80% of Twitter use occurs on mobile platforms and nearly 80% of Twitter users are outside the US.

So your website needs to be blazing fast and optimized for mobile to fully take advantage of your Twitter traffic.

FYI: If you have the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) plugin installed on your WordPress blog, Twitter will show your AMP content by default.

The Best Type of Content for Twitter engagement

you can share four types of content on Twitter.

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Links
  • Text

I’ve had trouble finding specific and recent data for what content performs best on Twitter.

However, it seems to follow the pattern of other social platforms where:

Video > links with twitter cards > images > links and plain text (source)

It should come as no surprise that native video on Twitter performs best.

Need personal proof?

Try scrolling through Gary Vaynerchuk’s feed and observe which content you linger on longest.

If you’re like me (and apparently everyone else) you’ll spend the most time on his native video content.

So if you have video content, try incorporating it natively into your Twitter feed.

But what if if you’re a blogger like me with primarily written content?

Check out the section below for the next best way to get Twitter users to engage with your content.

The Proven Method of Getting the Most Engagement from Tweeting Blog Links

If you don’t have tons of video to post to Twitter, links with Twitter cards are the next best tool for driving engagement.

What’s a Twitter card?

It’s the image and metadata automatically displayed when you share a link on Twitter.

Twitter Cards are powerful because when you click on the image link in a Twitter card, it leads you to the web page.

And Twitter Cards drive more engagement than when you simply share an image with a link. (source)

If you want to test out what your Twitter cards will look like when shared on Twitter, you can use Twitter’s card validator tool here.

Twitter Card Validation

And if you aren’t pleased with the image Twitter shows (or if it shows no image at all), you can change it easily.

How?

First, check out the plugin, Social Warfare.

This WordPress plugin allows you to customize exactly how your blog posts appear across social platforms, including Twitter of course.

If you don’t define the Twitter Card image with a plugin, Twitter will pull the “featured image” you’ve chosen in WordPress for the post.

This is on the right-hand sidebar of your WordPress back end and looks something like this.

set-featured-image

You can also easily modify the preview text or “meta-data” shown with your link’s card with the SEO Yoast WordPress plugin.

Post-Metadata

Remember:

Your blog post title, image, and preview text or metadata are all opportunities to convince the viewer to follow your link and check out your content.

Be sure to make the most of each of these opportunities to sell your content.

And if you need guidance about proper image dimensions for your Twitter cards (or any other social platform), just check out this always up-to-date Google doc.

Optimizing Your Tweet Length, Hashtags, and More

hashtags

I wish I had better data on how to growth hack with Twitter hashtags.

But I believe much of Twitter growth hacking (and growth hacking in general) comes down to personal experimentation.

So while I could tell you that Tweets with a single hashtag receive the most engagement, you’ll probably have to test different hashtag quantities to see which works best for you. (source)

And although data suggests that the optimal tweet length is between 71 and 100 characters, again, you’ll have to experiment with it yourself. (source)

So what hashtags should you share to maximize engagement with your content?

Of course, you want to keep them relevant to your brand.

And if you choose to have a single hashtag per tweet, you can easily tell if a particular hashtag yields higher engagement.

In 2010, Search Engine Land asked Twitter’s then chief scientist how “top tweets” worked (which provides some insight as to how top hashtags might work too).

His response:

Top Tweets is a new algorithm we developed that finds tweets that are catching the attention of other users. The algorithm looks at all kinds of interactions with tweets including retweets, favorites, and more to identify the tweets with the highest velocity beyond expectations. (source)

Though this information is dated, it stands to reason that a similar algorithmic logic applies to Twitter’s top posts for hashtags.

So how do you increase the likelihood of your tweets achieving velocity beyond expectations?

Read on to find out!

How to Make Your Tweets Go Viral

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As the above quote indicates, Twitter has baseline expectations for how your tweets will perform.

After all, Twitter has access to an unbelievably large pool of Tweet data.

So surely they can predict interaction with your content with stunning accuracy.

But how do you make your tweets achieve velocity beyond those expectations?

It has to do with Twitter’s powerful viral feature that other social platforms lack:

The retweet button.

Retweeting on Twitter is simple, native, and common practice giving you the opportunity to go viral in a big way.

So how do you get retweeted, go viral, and potentially end up on the top tweets or top hashtags lists?

The easiest way is to tag influencers you mention in your blog posts.

For instance:

I have an article about finding monetizable skills in which I mention a technique used by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.

He retweeted my tweet where I mention the article to his 195,000+ followers.

I also mentioned James Altucher in a tweet which he retweeted to his 187,000+ followers.

You can even use Buzzsumo to find influencers in your niche with a high retweet ratio and connect with them. (source)

In other words, if you can get a larger influencer to retweet your content, you can boost the likelihood of being featured in top tweets and hashtags.

Optimal Tweet Frequency & Content Automation with Twitter

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Now that you have a better idea of what to tweet, let’s discuss how frequently you should tweet.

According to Co-Scedule, the optimal tweet frequency is 15 times a day with about half of those as retweets or other people’s content. (source)

Co-Schedule came to this conclusion largely because of Neil Patel.

Neil says he radically increased his referral traffic from Twitter by increasing his tweet frequency.


While 15 tweets a day might be optimal, don’t feel like you have to tweet with this frequency.

I only tweet my content 3 times a day.

So how do you come up with so much content for twitter?

Ideally, you have a high volume of blog posts to promote.

Those who have blogged for years might have enough content to tweet a different article 7 or 8 times a day every day for a month.

For those with fewer posts, you can still create several tweets for a single blog post and promote that multiple times a day/week/month.

But do you have to tweet all that content in real time?

Of course not!

You’ve probably heard of Buffer, the social media scheduling app, that can post all this content for you.

Like I mentioned, I use Buffer to post my content 3 times a day, not 15.

My Buffer plan allows me 99 posts a month which means I can only schedule about 3 tweets a day.

If you’re on a shoestring budget like me, you might not be able to afford the Buffer plan that allows you to tweet 15+ times a day.

That’s OK.

Just keep in mind that the closer you can get to that 15 tweet a day frequency, the faster you will see growth on Twitter.

Recycling Evergreen Content on Twitter

bulkly

15 tweets a day might seem overwhelming.

But what if you could schedule your evergreen content to tweet automatically and indefinitely!

With Bulk.ly, you can!

Bulk.ly is a social media scheduling app built for Buffer to recycle your evergreen tweets automatically.

So instead of scheduling the same tweets in your Buffer feed over and over again, Bulk.ly will post your content to your Buffer feed at whatever frequency you like.

If you have evergreen blog posts that you could feasibly share once a month forever, you can schedule it once with bulk.ly and never schedule it again!

Another great feature of bulk.ly is the ability to upload your social media updates in bulk.

So you can set up a google sheet or excel file with hundreds of social media updates and upload it to bulk.ly in a few simple steps.

This is how I initially scheduled all my Twitter content.

And now when I publish a new evergreen post, I go into my bulk.ly account and add it to the queue to be published to my Buffer and ultimately Twitter feed three times a month.

How to Quickly Grow a (Real) Following on Twitter

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Now you should have the knowledge and tools to tweet enough of the right type of content to optimize engagement and drive traffic to your blog.

Tweeting this content will grow your following organically.

But just like on Instagram, you can radically increase your Twitter follower growth rate by following and unfollowing relevant users in mass.

So how do you find people to follow in mass?

Your best bet is to follow those following your successful competitors with the same target audience and niche.

Why?

These are the people most likely to be interested in your content and ultimately to buy what you’re selling.

And remember:

It’s better to follow the followers of 10 micro influencers with 10,000 followers than 1 large influencer with 100,000 followers.

Why?

The larger influencer is bound to have more bot followers and followers who aren’t in your target audience.

Plus, it’s always good to diversify your source of followers.

You never know which influencer’s followers will be particularly interested in your content and likely to follow you back.

How to Automate Following and Unfollowing on Twitter

Before you try to do this following and unfollowing manually, consider using this free Chrome extension to automate the process for you.

It’s what I use to automatically follow and unfollow Twitter users and it works wonderfully.

Here’s how you use it.

Once you’ve downloaded it here, you should see it as an extension in your Chrome toolbar.

Now head over to Twitter and visit the follower page of a micro-influencer whose followers you’d like to follow in mass.

You should see a box pop up in the upper right-hand corner of your browser asking you to follow/unfollow all.

mass-follow-for-twitter

Before you click the follow all button, open up the settings.

These are the settings I use to follow people in mass.

mass-follow-settings

I’ve successfully unfollowed 1300 people in a day and followed 1,000 in the same day. (as long as I keep my total following to <5,000)

But Twitter has spam-blocking protocols in place.

So be careful with how many you follow and unfollow a day.

Also, I’ve noticed this Chrome plugin doesn’t run if it’s a secondary tab on your browser or if it’s minimized.

So I recommend running it in its own Chrome instance and opening a second Chrome browsing session to work in while the plugin runs.

Conclusion

I hope this post has give you the knowledge and tools to grow a large and engaged Twitter following that becomes your blog following and ultimately your customers.

What tools do you use to optimize your Twitter engagement and growth?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

In the spirit of full disclosure, links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase anything through the link. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, sometimes I am able to offer a lower price (or bonuses) not available elsewhere. Your support in purchasing through these links empowers more people worldwide to blog with less worry and less hassle and enables me to continue to provide free blog content and to provide for myself and loved ones. Thank you! 🙂
Check out this post to learn exactly how to grow a large, engaged Twitter following (fast!) that turns into website visitors and ultimately customers! #Twitter #growthhacking #socialmedia #marketing