Twitter: Rethinking Your Approach

Many site owners and SEOs use Twitter for website promotion, dropping links and generally getting the word out about their business and their brand. Some of these may be good ideas, but you might get better results by diversifying how you use the microblogging platform.

Indeed, how to best use Twitter to promote your website comes up as a topic for discussion regularly on our forums; you can take a look at the latest thread covering this subject for some ideas. The best ways to use Twitter to increase the traffic on your website might actually be more indirect than you might think.

Take SEO Chat founder Darren Ward, for example. While not a big fan of Twitter, he’s been able to make it work for his clients “by just actively engaging,” he says. You can do this by searching for keywords relevant to your niche on Twitter, and responding to related tweets. You should also respond when others address you and post reactions to your tweets – and do it quickly, as Twitter users tend to have a very short attention span.

Respected SEO Chat member and moderator Darren Haye shared that his company does giveaways on their Twitter feed; those who hope to win need to follow their Twitter feed. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any followers, you can begin by advertising the giveaways on your website.

Haye notes that there are a lot of “ifs” for someone with a new website who is also new to Twitter. “If you’re a new site and have no real visitors you could always search Twitter and follow anyone talking about your topic and hope they follow you back. If they do they may well click on the profile link to your site, and if your content is great maybe they will share it with their Twitter followers, thus increasing yours…”

As another way to get the word out about your company and your brand, you might consider sending gifts to celebrities with lots of followers to get them to tweet about you. But Haye noted that, in his experience, “people with 200,000+ followers tweeting at the optimum time only sends about 3,000 people…the bounce rate is very high and the sales are very low, but we do sell expensive products that aren’t really easy to impulse buy.” Obviously, if you’re selling something that is not very expensive and more likely to be purchased on an impulse, your mileage may vary.

The poster to this thread that made me really believe that most of us need to rethink the way we use Twitter for promotion, though, was Dr. Marie. She’s a veterinarian with a popular pet care website, so she has a certain amount of built-in expert authority in her niche. Still, I think that her approach can be duplicated by anyone.

Dr. Marie notes that she has just over 1,000 hard-earned Twitter followers; not a single one of them came from being bought or auto-followed. Still, she notes that she might get ten visits, if she’s lucky, after she tweets something about her website. As you might guess, this is not the main way she uses Twitter, and it’s not the reason she loves it. Instead, she’s found four different ways to use Twitter that help her business quite a bit, albeit more indirectly.

The first way she uses it is to keep informed about her own niche. “I follow important people in my industry and get info on breaking news stories very fast,” she explained. “That way I can write blog posts about the news stories.” This plays right into Google’s preference for a constant stream of fresh content.

The second way she uses Twitter is to help with building relationships in her niche. “I connect with people in my industry. Sometimes these connections turn into friends who I share links with,” Dr. Marie added. Using a social networking website for…social networking? Not a bad idea at all.

The third way Dr. Marie uses Twitter is to help her keep informed on the latest SEO developments. For that, she uses a separate account to “follow the top SEO folks,” since she wouldn’t want to confuse anyone about her brand. “I learn a lot about what is happening in the SEO world this way,” she noted.

Finally, if you do all the writing for your website, you’ll appreciate the fourth way Dr. Marie uses the microblogging platform: “I use Twitter search to get ideas for content.”

It’s worth noting, by the way, that Dr. Marie doesn’t really care how many people are following her; indeed, given how she uses Twitter, that hardly matters. If you haven’t considered using the microblogging site to build up your website and your traffic in this way, I urge you to consider it. Instead of looking like a self-promoting spammer, you’ll be building quality content on your website. Such content should improve your ranking and visibility in Google, which should also improve your traffic. It might not be the most direct way to use Twitter for increasing the number of visitors to your website, but it’s probably a lot more sustainable over time. Good luck!

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