As you know, I am a big believer in Twitter and its potential as the future of online communication. You should also know that Twitter can help you achieve a lot of your goals, but contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not a magical solution. One cannot join Twitter and expect immediate results without investing substantial amounts of time building up your network. However, the next question asked by every person on Twitter at some point or another, is how do I build up my network? How do I get more followers?
Let me answer that question with one golden rule of how NOT to get more followers! I actually tweeted this right before writing this post. Any service, no matter how good its results are, that promises or provides more followers is a scam! You might get 20,000 new followers in a month, but you can be sure that a high percentage of them are spam accounts, and those that are not, are also not the kind of people you want following you. How do I know this?
The people who use Twitter properly, to communicate with others while contributing quality content, are not going to be using these services to find people to follow! They will be participating in collective dialog, which will in turn lead them to meet other interesting people. They might also search wefollow to meet others like them, but you can be sure, the serious Twitter users will not use artificial services to find followers or followees.
OK, so no follower services, then how DO you build your network effectively? For starters, there are some basic prerequisites you need to know before tweeting. There are also things you have to avoid when tweeting, but at the end of the day, what will enhance your Twitter experience the most, is implementing the principles of SEO in your use of Twitter.
Here are 5 SEO principles you should use while Tweeting if you want to see the best results:
1: Relevant Titles: Like I have said on many occasions, you need to define yourself and what you are presenting, before even sending out your first tweet. Are you a blogger? Is tech your thing or are you a stay-at-home mom that is looking to communicate with others like yourself? Just like in SEO, your titles need to match your theme!
When it comes to Twitter, your title should appear in the first 5 words of your bio, so anyone who comes across your profile, knows immediately whether to follow you or to move on.
2: Compelling Description: Any SEO newbie knows that each page on your website should have a description that best explains what is on that specific page. No different with Twitter. Your Twitter bio is of utmost importance, as it is in essence your personal description. It is the first thing people see when checking your profile.
Just like no one person, no matter how much of an SEO expert he/she is can tell you what percentage of importance Google attributes to titles or descriptions, same goes for Twitter. However, anyone will tell you that a page’s description can have a serious effect on your Google ranking, and the same is true for your Twitter network. Do not make people search through your tweets to determine who you are and if they want to follow you. Make the information easily accessible in your bio.
3: Interesting Tags: The truth is, this is very similar to your title, but also different, and important enough to mention on its own. As a continuation to your initial decision of who you are on Twitter, you need to add yourself to Twitter directories using relevant and attractive tags.
If for example, you are a tech blogger, the tags “blogger” “techie” and possibly “iPhone” are words you might consider, assuming of course they are somewhat relevant to your content. You should choose words that best describe you and your content, while keeping in mind the things that people generally search for. Same deal as a website!
4: Content is King: I don’t care what any SEO expert says (even though most will agree with this statement), content is the number one most important factor when optimizing a website. Without interesting and unique articles on your site, people will not want to visit your site, and at the end of the day, that is the reason you are optimizing your site, to get more traffic. See where this is going?
No matter how good your Twitter title is, how compelling your description is, or how attractive your tags are, if your tweets do not provide an added service to your followers, you will not succeed in maximizing your Twitter network! You might have a lot of followers, but they do not follow you because they are interested in what you have to say. They might follow you because they want you to follow them back or for many other possible reasons, but you can be sure, this is not a long term solution, and it will not give you the ability to get the most of out of Twitter as a tool.
Do not listen to people when they say Twitter is about answering the question “What are you doing”? It isn’t! It might have started out that way, but any heavy Twitter user will tell you that the question you should be answering on Twitter is “What can you share”? In SEO, great content equals top traffic, both in quantity and quality. On Twitter, interesting and beneficial tweets equals a better network both in quantity and quality!
5: Inbound Links: Someone once told me that SEO is a lot like the restaurant industry! The more serious food publications that review and discuss your restaurant, the better your reputation, and in turn, the better your customer base becomes. So too in SEO, the more “serious” websites that link to your content, the more Google will realize you are a force to be reckoned with, and will advance your ranking in their search results.
The same is of course true with Twitter, just replace the links with RTs. The more you tweet top notch content, the more you will be RTed, which will of course lead to more followers in your field. Now the goal should not to be RTed, just like your goal in SEO should not be links, but at all times, you should have this in the back of your mind when tweeting. “Is this tweet something people will find interesting?” If it is, press Update, if not, think twice before putting it out there.
I am sure there are many more SEO principles that can be implemented with your Twitter network, but being as I know close to nothing about SEO, this is what I could come up with. The bottom line is, and if you come away with one thing from this post this should be it, there is no fast track or easy way to maximize your Twitter network. You will need to spend some serious time building up your following as well as finding interesting people to follow in your field. It might take some time, but at the end, you will get your return on investment, and then some!