Twitter. The standard for micro blogging.
Twitter’s best use is through its ability to instantly put you in touch with like-minded individuals within your interests, topics, and industry. Over the years, Twitter has evolved beyond its simplistic beginnings and has set itself as one of the most useful tools for small and large businesses to reach their desired community members.
Though Twitter is still primarily a tool for personal communication – it certainly packs a punch when used for traffic generation.
In this article, I’ll take you through a short-and-sweet guide on getting started with the platform, strategies for building a following, and the various methods you could be using to drive the Twitter community deep into your site.
The Attraction of Twitter and Your Marketing
What made Twitter such a valuable resource for traffic generation?
Like all great things on the Web, it didn’t take long for marketers to see the potential embedded in Twitter due to the fact that it’s both free and easy-to-use. In no time at all, millions of individuals flocked to the micro blogging platform to connect with one another and with it came a slew of big and small brands vying for the attention of their respective communities.
In the past, the Twitter platform has been exploited for personal gain but we’ve seen a big shift away from bots and Tweet spam. Today, Twitter is a valuable, real asset for anyone willing to take the time to learn the platform and interact with users – it’s become the perfect inbound marketing tool.
For your affiliate marketing, Twitter presents plenty of opportunities that are quite visible up-front, including:
- Feedback and gaining opinion about your work
- Networking potential with other industry professionals
- Keeping up-to-date with news within your niche
- The ability to drive traffic to your site
- Joining larger discussions and leaving an impact with your brand
But, alas, I don’t think I need to get too deep into the why of Twitter because it’s been around long enough that you understand the benefits of the platform. Instead, let’s focus on the how …
Getting Started with the Twitter Platform
The Twitter platform has gone through quite a few changes since the early days and the biggest improvements has come from new technologies which allow users to setup profiles through a guided approach which means if you’re not yet on the network than everything will be spelled out for you as you get started.
The process is as you’d expect:
- Sign up for your account using login credentials
- Upload a profile picture
- Write in your profile biography
- Include additional visual elements such as a background and header
- Get Tweeting
I don’t think I need to get into the specifics on this one in terms of the basic setup because you’ve done these steps time and time again with other networks. Get on over to Twitter, sign up for an account, and confirm your email (at least for now).
The three items you may be hung up on are the graphical elements (though I don’t think these will pose a problem, either).
Here are the dimensions to work with (though you could always upload larger images and crop them once they’re on your account):
- Background: 1280 width, 66 – 194 height (if you want a left “sidebar” image)
- Profile image: 128 x 128
- Header: 1252 width, 626 height
I’d say to play around with these design features and incorporate the graphics which represent your brand.
For the profile image, try to stick to your face if you’re running a personal business otherwise a logo can work fine for the majority of accounts. The background is a good way to make an impact so go with the colors that users would find your website (and consider adding a few other touches to spice up your page – take a look at these examples for inspiration). The header, a relatively new item to the mix, acts much like a landing page header; try to use it to expand on your profile picture and create a bit of design mix which gives it a very visually appealing look.
The First Tweets
Now that you’re all set with the account, it’s a matter of playing with the platform.
You can read a laundry list of things you should be Tweeting, best practices, case studies, and so on, but I feel that your best entry into this platform is to play with it for a few hours to understand the nuances of the network.
- Do a few updates such as announcing yourself on the network
- Find a few friends and associates to follow
- Test out the direct messaging (DM), hashtag (#), and ‘@’ functions
- Use the search feature to dig up some recent updates about your industry
You can read all you want about the network but the best way to get started is to dive right in.
Developing Your Initial Following and Twitter Marketing Strategies
Now that you’re setup and ready to roll with Twitter in your affiliate marketing – it’s time to start building a following and implementing a few marketing strategies.
The number of Twitter tools is astounding; I would recommend freshening up by using this list of Twitter tools to get a basic understanding of what’s out there. The most useful Twitter tool I recommend is TweetDeck which gives you a full interact and a good bit of tools for managing your Twitter account and feeds.
The Early Followers (and Beyond)
Twitter is really however you make it.
Many marketers feel the need to build a massive following to compensate their time with the network while others keep the micro blogging service as a networking tool for just a handful of individuals. I would recommend that you find a comfortable medium between the two; don’t worry about massive numbers but, instead, focus on building that core set of followers that are more likely to engage with you rather than ignoring the message.
Here are a few ways to get situated in your following:
- Import contacts using during the initial Twitter setup
- Seek and find community members on the network
- Include Twitter links on your site, emails, and other social networks
- Use tools like Twellow.com to find relevant industry professionals
- Look at the competition and follow a few of their followers
You’ll find the first 100 followers to be the most difficult; beyond that, it seems to take a life of its own because your follower list will grow as you’re present on the network and you get your Twitter profile out into the wild through various Web platforms.
I know this sounds like it would take forever but just focus on building one new connection on your Twitter account each day; in a year you’ll have a very, very solid following that you’ve cultivated.
The Marketing Side
So you’ve built your initial list of followers, got a good grip on the platform, and want to begin tapping its potential for driving traffic – good stuff, here’s how …
Share great content and talk with people.
Like any social network, it’s a value exchange. People either want information or entertainment. They want value out of the time they spend on their connections.
If you’re looking for something concrete, here are a few tips:
- Work on building your authority in your industry by sharing great information
- Network with industry leaders and pull them back to your site for interviews
- Ride on the coat tails of trending topics in your industry to chime in on the discussion
- Start hashtag discussions as part of your normal routine
- Share other people’s content, let them know you did, see if they’ll reciprocate
- Spend time digging into profiles, visiting a follower’s site, and send an email
So, in essence, you’re sharing and receiving valuable information, conversations, or networking potential for business. You can certainly do some searches and find additional strategies for the network but keeping it at its core usage (which is, you know, social) is more than enough to utilize the platform for traffic generation.
One last note: Avoid using direct links to affiliate product if you do a promotion as it’s generally frowned upon within the Twitter community. Instead, point people to your landing pages or rich content that include these links.
Final Words and Wisdom about Twitter Traffic Generation
Twitter is quite an anomaly when it comes to social networks. Who would have thought that a limit of 140 characters would pass as acceptable? Well, it did, it’s here to stay, and it’s a great platform for connecting with great people and sharing/receiving excellent information.
The initial setup of your account can be knocked down in just a few hours; A few more hours to learn the platform are highly recommended. From there, it’s all about consistency in your message and usage of the platform – curate the content so you’re only sending out the best links, start real conversations, and don’t get too overwhelmed by the sheer volume of noise that comes with the network.
Play with the network because that’s what it’s there for. Build up your traffic by getting your message out there, send people to your money pages, setup cross promotional efforts, and most importantly: be social.
Are you currently using Twitter for traffic generation? Maybe you’re just getting started? Share your experience and tips in the comment area below.