When I give presentations on blogging and social media, I often hear folks expressing concern over the difficulty of finding readers for their blogs. I know the feeling. You’re going through all of this trouble to post something special, and then no one shows up to read it.
It’s one step removed from having a conversation with yourself.
I’ve heard lots of people unfamiliar with Twitter deride it as a silly exercise in narcissism. For those new to blogging and social media, it’s either intimidating or simply beyond their comprehension.
However, if you want people to read your blog, to learn about your work, and to hopefully pass it on to others, Twitter is an indispensable tool that you’ll learn to love once you figure it out. By signing up and then learning a simple program such as Tweet Deck (or HootSuite), you’ll soon find yourself tweeting the praises of this service. Here are a few reasons why you need to start tweeting:
It’s Easy to Follow and Connect
Start off by following all of your favorite bloggers and authors. Also do searches for those with similar interests. Using a tool like “Twitter Local” will enable you to search for users in your locale.
Following them is as easy as a click, they’ll receive an e-mail that you’re following them, and they may even follow you back. Over time you’ll notice mentions and “ReTweets” (RT) that are particularly interesting, and now you have other interesting folks to follow. After you have a few followers, sign in to Mr. Tweet to get recommendations of others to follow.
It’s Easy to Share Information
OK, now you’re on Twitter and you have a few followers, but what’s next? Did you just finish a blog post and begin to worry that no one will read it? Copy the link to your post, type something like this into the status update in Tweet Deck: “New blog post ‘Title’”, and then paste the link in there. Tweet Deck can shorten the link for you automatically.
Once you send it out there, you’ve just alerted folks to your blog post. About three to four hours later post a reminder tweet that your blog post is our there just in case anyone missed it. If someone loves your post, they may Retweet it and share it with others.
It’s a Community
As you post your own updates, share links, and send out blog post alerts, you’ll find yourself in conversations with other users on Twitter. You can either reply with a public comment or you can send a private direct message to someone who has reciprocated your follow.
You’ll find your network of friends and colleagues expanding, your knowledge of blogs and other valuable information growing, and your own work reaching new readers. I find that I rarely check my RSS subscriptions these days since I’m already following my favorite bloggers in Twitter.
The Love You Take…
Twitter is only as good as your last tweet, so be sure to write up valuable updates, share solid content, and ReTweet generously when you find something excellent. Twitter is one of those services that can become a huge waste if you don’t manage your time and content wisely.
As the Beatles said, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Put into it’s proper place, Twitter is an indispensable networking, marketing, and friend-making tool that in many cases thrives on excellence and generosity. For bloggers worried about finding readers for their posts, Twitter is the perfect place to spark the conversations all writers long to have.