I used to get asked regularly how you can use social media to drive traffic to your websites. I’d say “Simple! All you have to do is start providing great value, use nice images, and create amazing content.” Although I had to use social media for a couple of my businesses before, I had never actually used it to do any hardcore marketing on. Looking back, I realize it was more of a brand awareness and vanity thing.
When I decided to start Pivotal, I realized that I would have to start getting active, at least on Twitter, if I wanted to start taking advantage social media traffic. I did have a Twitter account, but might as well have never used it before. I’m pretty sure I started off with 12 followers. I was then faced with this task of growing my social presence from scratch, although I had always talked about how simple it was before. In order to keep my Twitter account business oriented, my own personal connections would not do me any good. I needed to grow my follower base with followers in my niche.
The Social Proof Phenomenon
There is this phenomenon that comes in to play when trying to grow your business as well as your social media following from scratch. Let me ask you a question.
Would you ever follow someone on Twitter, that you didn’t know, who only has 3 followers?
Now, would you follow someone who was providing interesting content that had hundreds of followers?
- I set my “Organic threshold” at about 300 followers. I see lots of average accounts with followers in the 200 range, so I figured 300 would be a good number to hit before I could start getting natural followers
- Drive engagement with my followers. No one wants junk followers!
- About 2 minutes a weekday, over a month. Total time: Approx. 50 mins
- Could I drive traffic to my blog through Twitter?
- Could I build my personal brand on Twitter?
Money Spent: $0
- It took a little virtual elbow grease, but no cash.
I was able to complete this technique that I implemented using only one tool. Good news too, it’s free!
How I did it:
The Clawing Yourself out of the Trenches Social Media Formula:
1. Start Tweeting
So when starting from 0 followers, you have a small chicken and egg dilemma. If you start trying to get followers right off the bat, you will have a ghost account with no tweets. No one wants to follow ghost accounts! But if you start tweeting regularly, there will be no one to see them.
So what do you do first?
I can tell you in this situation, the egg definitely comes first, (or is it the chicken?) That is to say, you have to begin posting content first. You need to start tweeting, before you make a huge effort to start gaining followers. Sure you can ask your friends to follow you initially, but in order to expand into potential customers in your niche you’ll need fill your profile with some content first. It will feel awkward tweeting to no one, but it is a must. Put some links to content, and also some tweets that show that you are a real person. E.g. normal updates with no links, pictures. Get some good visuals with links as well.
2. Follow Niche Specific People.
This is where the real social media account growth comes in. This is where you would hear some marketers that are selling a product say “I’ll teach you how to ethically STEAL your competitors followers.” Although, the technique doesn’t really involve stealing anything. It involves following the people that follow other brands in your niche.
Most people on Twitter want more followers themselves, so when you follow them, many will follow you back in hopes that you don’t unfollow them. It’s common practice for many twitter users. Others will follow you back because you followed them, and the find your account interesting. In order to get started doing this you’ll want to log in to Toolset, and go to the “Copy Follow” tab.
There just type in the user name of the person’s followers that you want, and start following. I usually follow 50-100 people a day, then cycle back the next day, unfollow those who did not follow me back, and follow 50-100 new accounts.
Quick Tip: Spammers and “cheap marketers” will not succeed no matter what. The key is to keep offering great value with your account, and people will want to follow you. Twitter does have rules, and you should play within them.
3. Follow Keyword Targeted People
Inside of the Toolset dashboard, you can repeat the same process as above, but just by searching hashtags.
4. Increase Engagement with Your New Followers
I’ve always found it strange and creepy when you follow someone on twitter and they randomly shout you out and say thanks for following. Is that supposed to increase the amount that I click the links to whatever you’re promoting in the future? Or when people send automated direct messages that say “thanks for the follow.” #pleasestop
But there is another widely used social media practice that will bring you better results. As much as I hate to admit it, I had to get over my hashtag phobia. The simple fact of the matter is that content with hashtags get more exposure, more engagement, and more clicks. You need great content AND use hashtags. Let me show you an example of a hashtagged post, and a non hashtagged post of mine.
— Travis Levell (@travislevell) April 3, 2015
2 retweets and 12 favorites.
Hashtags = 😀
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar — Travis Levell (@travislevell) April 22, 2015
1 retweet and 1 favorite.
No Hashtags = 🙁
It’s logical to use hashtags, because people that are not currently following you and searching twitter for your keywords will see your posts, and you will get more engagement and followers from your tweets. Simple as that.
People that are now following me on Twitter (not too much mystery here)
I had an average of 1% engagement per tweet. This means that out of the number of impressions that each of my tweets got, 1% of the people interacted with the tweet (whether it was a click, a retweet, or a favorite.) As I continue to test and implement the best tweeting practices that I find, this number will continue to rise. Especially since my best tweets had above 3.0% engagements.
On Twitter, an impression counts each time that your tweet loads on someone’s feed. This counts your tweet being shown to your followers, retweets, and in results for hashtags. For instance, this tweet had more impressions than I had followers at the time. This was a result of it being retweeted, and viewed through hashtag searches.
How to Refine This Process
Not only does twitter help you build credibility, it helps you connect with your audience. So there are definitely some immeasurable benefits here. But as far as strategy for the future, here is what I plan to do to bring better results:
Considering my tweets so far have a 1% engagement rate, even if I do increase that percentage, I will still have to increase to volume of my tweets in order to bring results that would be worthwhile. The Twitter accounts that I’ve worked with before that do a good job of driving traffic, Tweet once every 1-2 hours. To get the best results, I will have to start tweeting multiple times a day.
Use More Hashtags
It will be key for me to continue to find popular hashtags in my niche, and use them as I tweet. The more the merrier.
Use More Images
I have not used a ton of image tweets so far, but the ones that I did use averaged more engagements than my average text based tweets. Every successful social media marketer that I know says that images get better results. In fact, this study shows that you can get a 150% increase in retweets, just by sharing an image in your tweet.
I have yet to test more ways to interact on twitter to build relationships and drive engagement, but I plan to start interacting with influencers in the near future to see what results and I can bring.
How You Can Do This
- Overcome your fear of social media, right now (seriously)
- Make a Twitter account with a nice profile picture
- Fill your account with at least 5 starter tweets (even if you have no followers)
- Use Toolset to start following people in your niche
- Provide useful content (links, quotes, inspiration, images) and use hashtags
Twitter has a lot of potential as a marketing channel. This post was aimed at getting you started, but I am definitely planning on testing more tactics and writing a post in the future on how to scale your efforts and take your twitter account to the next level. Be sure to subscribe to stay updated on these lessons!
Tags: Baby Steps, beginner, social media, Traction
Categorised in: Lessons