How Engaging Followers On Twitter Will Grow Your Blog

engaging-twitter-followers

It Makes Sense To Use Twitter

Twitter is one of the many social media channels available today. If you have a blog, it makes sense to use Twitter to promote your posts and increase the number of readers who follow you. Signing up for Twitter is a start, but it’s crucial you understand the other steps in the social media game. While it seems daunting, it’s possible to grow real connections and contribute to your target audience in a meaningful way.

Here is how to get started the right way on Twitter, for the quickest results.

Create And Schedule Your Tweets

After starting your Twitter account, it’s important to think about the content you’ll offer your audience. Start creating a series of tweets. Don’t post anything yet. You want to have a bank of content ready when your Twitter is launched. Try to create enough content for at least a week. You can analyze and see how well your audience is responding to what you post about, and change it as needed.

Some ideas for content include:

  • News in your industry
  • When you update your blog with a new post
  • Events in your industry that are of interest to others, regardless of location

When seeking out a way to schedule your Tweets, consider platforms such as Hootsuite or Basecamp. These allow you to select the date and time when the tweet is published.  Social media scheduling offers benefits that go beyond planning when to post your tweet. Among them are:

  • The ability to see when your username is mentioned
  • Telling you when the most interaction occurs
  • Showing likes and Retweets for your content

Certain programs involve a small investment. If you are serious about using Twitter to grow your blog, it is worth the time and cost.

Take Advantage Of Hashtags To Reach Users

george the collie twitter

Hashtags will help your Twitter reach a wide audience than just creating tweets and hoping for the best. Using a hashtag associated with certain words, phrases, or brands creates a hyperlink in the Twitter universe. This links your tweets to like-minded content. When individuals search for that specific hashtag, they will find yours among them.

While you don’t want to make every word a hashtag, there are positive benefits to using them in your blog’s social media. Mainly, hashtags create engagement and unity. They allow those who are wanting to discover social media channels like yours. Your business can drill down and market to the right folks when you put Twitter to use correctly. Use your hashtags in a variety of ways such as:

  • Days of the week (#FollowFriday)
  • To encourage followers to follow or retweet you or someone in your industry

In addition, you can use a hashtag involving your website domain. This will familiarize your audience with the domain name for your website.

Use Twitter To Encourage Live Events And Gatherings

WordCamps (1)

At some point, your blog might be involved in an event where you can do a meet and greet. This might be at an expo, for products that are related to those shown on your blog. Or, it might be as simple as the platform your blog is hosted on, helping you to gain followers and exposure locally.

For example, WordPress users get involved in WordCamps where they share knowledge and tactics with others in their WordPress community.  You can use Twitter to alert your followers to events you will take part in, allowing them to get involved and even meet you.

Creating Blog Posts Your Readers Are Looking For

Through Twitter, you’ll gain a better understanding of your audience, and the type of content they are looking for. Folks may be searching for material about something that is new in your industry. Or, they want to solve a problem that is not widely talked about. Through Twitter, you can get feedback about the type of content they are searching for. This can be achieved by:

  • Direct conversations
  • Private messages (known as DMs)
  • Polls on Twitter

Once you have identified a need and how to serve your readers, you can create the content they are looking for. You can publicize your content on Twitter, and reach out by tagging the users you have talked to. Doing so creates awareness, and gives users the feeling you’ve established a personal connection with them. This is something they won’t forget anytime soon. Being social with your readers shows them you care about their needs.

Too Valuable To Pass Up

Twitter offers bloggers and readers benefits of interaction and fulfilling a niche. Both create valuable relationships and a free-to-low cost marketing plan. If your blog doesn’t have a spot-on Twitter, start today. You’ll connect and help many people with what you’re offering and the solutions they are looking for.

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How To Really Make Money Blogging

How To Create a Blog For FREE and Make Money Online Blogging – Beginner’s Guide

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Instagram Unleashes the Ultimate Weapon for Marketers

Opinion: ‘Regramming’ could encroach on Pinterest’s position as a king of brand content discovery

InstagramExploreOniPhone

In the battle of the social media networks, Instagram’s latest salvo against the competition may be a powerful new marketing tool for brands.

The new “regram” feature Instagram is testing allows users to repost content for the first time by adding public feed posts from other users to their Instagram Stories, and it could make the platform a more dominant brand-discovery platform.

The move not only challenges Snapchat in the feature arms race, but it could encroach on Pinterest’s position as a king of brand content discovery. As a colleague has said, Pinterest is like a search engine for visual content, and brands will wisely continue to optimize for it. The brands we work with at ShareIQ have long valued the “repin” feature on that platform, which encourages users to share content by posting it to their boards.

As I’ve explained, the ability to repost and share content gives brands exponentially more earned media value from visual content once it moves from Pinterest board to Pinterest board and user to user.

However, until now, Instagram didn’t have a way to take advantage of the network effect. The lack of a resharing function meant that once a brand’s content was posted—by the brand, users or influencers—it had a viral but very short shelf life on the platform. What’s more, since only the followers of a brand could see the content it posted, it was hard for brands to find new customers.

Previously, if I liked something on Instagram, you would have no idea what content I liked. The new feature means that I can surface brand content, make my endorsement clear and create a brand impression within my Instagram Stories.

Stories typically have an ephemeral quality, so they are not going to challenge the stamina of Pinterest content just yet. However, this regram function is similar enough to a repin to make Instagram an attractive channel for brands to extend the lifetime value of visual content. Think of this new feature as a network multiplier that helps brands get wider traction for content and gives them access to the audiences of their followers and potential new customers.

This is a big opportunity for brands to empower their followers and influencers with a channel to highlight brand content and get it in the hands of their networks. It will impact how companies work with influencers, making the connection between the brand, the influencer and the consumer more intuitive and seamless.

The feature will bring more marketer focus, budget and resources to Instagram. However, it further complicates the intricacies of how a brand manages and optimizes earned media strategy across a web of social channels. As recent news like the “fake followers” scandal has shown, it’s all too easy to get lost in the woods without the ability to track visual content and how it’s shared, reshared and moves between social media networks. Now it’s even more imperative that marketers track where their content goes, who engages with it and what value is created.

Brands should certainly test out the new regram functionality. I’d venture to guess that marketers will step up creating quality content for Instagram that begs to be shared and refine their influencer content seeding strategies.

This new feature will be embraced by Instagrammers and is likely just the first of many new “repost, share and disseminate” features on the horizon. The platform feature wars have shown us that we’re clearly in a new “sharing economy,” and marketers should not fall behind the innovation of platforms and users.

Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are top platforms for people to discover brand content, so this won’t be the last effort by Instagram to steal brand interest away from the competition. In the war between Instagram and Pinterest for user stickiness, marketer interest and dollars, it’s still more about fast and viral Instagram pops versus slow and steady Pinterest brand discovery. Marketers will win by recognizing the strengths of each channel and placing their bets on the sidelines of the battle of the social media networks.

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History of Hashtags: How a Symbol Changed the Way We Search & Share

hashtags

In the span of approximately 10 years, hashtags went from being a useful tool known in programmer culture to a mainstream organizational device for online content.

In the pre-internet days, what we called the # symbol depended on what country we were raised in. Americans and Canadians called it the pound sign or the number sign, whereas Britons and the Irish called it a hash. However, in the context of the internet, we all call the # a hashtag.

Stowe Boyd, who published the first known use of the word “hashtag,” told Wired that the name “hashtag” comes from programmer culture because he and his friends would refer to the symbol as the hash, not the pound sign.

Today, the symbol is so pervasive in social media that almost every major social media platform supports some functionality for the hashtag.

Pre-Twitter Days

In 1988, the first hash symbol was used on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to label groups and topics that were available across the entire network. They were used for grouping similar messages and content to make it easy for users to find the information they were looking for.

Twitter

Twitter did not always have a hashtag feature. In its early days, users complained that it was a bit of a free for all and that they were seeing irrelevant content. Looking for a solution to this problem, Chris Messina took inspiration from IRC and unleashed the first Twitter hashtag on August 23, 2007. However, the hashtag wouldn’t take off until the 2007 California wildfires in October 2007.

While Twitter did not support the hashtag in 2007, Chris Messina saw an opportunity to get the hashtag noticed. California resident Nate Ritter happened to be prolifically tweeting about the wildfires. At the same time, Messina noticed that SanDiegoFire was being used as a tag on Flickr. This inspired Messina to reach out to Ritter and suggest the use of #SanDiegoFire on all relevant tweets.

Ritter’s tweets became so well known that Twitter users started using hashtags to group relevant content. In 2009, Twitter finally embraced them and introduced a search tool, so that users could see who else was using a particular hashtag. The following year Twitter introduced “Trending Topics,” which displays the most popular hashtags at a given time.

From there, hashtags were adopted by other platforms and became part of the internet lexicon. Instagram, which was launched in 2010, has used them from day one. Facebook added them in 2013. Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest also let users group content by simply using the # symbol.

Since their introduction to the mainstream internet, hashtags have gone from a convenient way to group content to an indispensable tool. In 2010, they were used to coordinate the Arab Spring. The hashtag #MeToo is used to raise awareness about sexual assault and harassment. The latest hashtag to go viral is #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, which is being used to celebrate a superhero movie starring black actors and African American culture. Now the question isn’t “How will we organize topics on social media?,” it’s “What will be the next movement to be inspired by a hashtag?”

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Twitter Is Finally Working To Purge Those Bots By Limiting Mass Tweets

twitter birds

Twitter Is Going On A Bot Diet.

On Wednesday, February 21, the social media platform announced a set of new guidelines that will prohibit mass tweets, likes and follows using both third-party platforms and the company’s own TweetDeck. The move is designed to prevent bots from mass posting similar tweets, as well as preventing automated tweets from artificially putting a hashtag on the trending list.

The change comes shortly after 13 individuals and three businesses were indicted for interfering in the U.S. election last week. Bots are believed to have created mass numbers of election-related posts, sometimes impersonating American individuals and others purporting to be organizations, according to the investigation. A New York Times report earlier this week claims that bots aren’t only driven during an election season, alleging that, after the school shooting in Florida that left 17 students dead, Twitter bots also mass-posted on gun control.

To curb the bot abuse, Twitter is focusing on three different areas. First, third-party programs can no longer allow users to “simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.” Twitter says it doesn’t matter if those identical or similar tweets are scheduled at different times, either. Twitter encourages platforms using multiple legitimate accounts to retweet instead, though in high volumes, even retweets won’t be permitted.

Next, Twitter is banning these third-party apps from simultaneous likes, retweets and follows coordinated across multiple accounts. Finally, Twitter’s bot purge is prohibiting applications from automating posts and actions across multiple separate accounts around a specific topic. The change is an attempt to remove automated posts that attempt to make a hashtag appear more popular than it actually is, to drive the topic into Twitter’s trending section.

Third-party apps have until March 23 to remove those features or face possible suspension of the app and associated accounts. Twitter is applying those same guidelines to the Twitter-owned TweetDeck, which will no longer have the option to tweet, retweet, like or follow from multiple accounts at once.

While many users will be happy to see fewer fakes on Twitter, the new guidelines could also pose a challenge for the organizations that have a legitimate reason for using multiple accounts to post similar content. For example, news publications sometimes have separate accounts for different regions or different topics, segregating tech stories from politics, like @nytimesbooks, @nytimesarts, and @nytimestech. With the change, these publications won’t be able to use a scheduling tool to post a tweet that spans multiple regions or categories to the respective accounts. With the identical and similar tweet ban including posts scheduled in advance, the change could also potentially affect publications that frequently re-share existing but relevant content.

Twitter is allowing for one exception, however. Emergency alerts, public service announcements and weather alerts won’t be part of the new exclusions, so that earthquake warning can still be mass-tweeted over multiple accounts.

“These changes are an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter — including elections in the United States and around the world,” Twitter Trust and Safety manager  Yoel Roth said in the announcement.

Editors’ Recommendations

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Instagram Marketing: 4 Features You Should Be Using [Examples]

Let’s explore how to use these features to maximize your content marketing strategy.instagram-marketing-390x215

It’s obviously not enough to create an account on Instagram and start shooting photos to share. Successful content marketers on this social platform tailor their content to take advantage of the channel’s strengths, from hashtags and Stories to advertising and live video.

Powerful hashtags

You can use two types of hashtags in your Instagram campaigns – branded or community.

Branded hashtags make your post easier to find for people who already know your company and are looking to find out more about it. Branded hashtag examples from Bullet Journal, which has over 260,000 followers, include #bulletjournal #bulletjournaling, and #bulletjournalcollection.

instagram post

Community hashtags are commonly used or created by Instagram users to follow a topic, interest, or other unifying theme. In the Bullet Journal example, community hashtags include #writing, #stationery, #plannermom.

TIP: Instagram limits users to 30 hashtags per post.

This Instagram post shows how Mercedes Benz uses hashtags.

mercedes-benz-hashtags

Observe the hashtags Mercedes uses besidesthe branded ones: #GTfamily, #DreamCar, #Cartastic, #InstaCar, #Luxury, #Lifestyle, #Performance. The community following those hashtags is interested in vehicles or products fitting in those categories. This is how prospects can find your brand and how they relate to your products in a quick and easy way.

Find the most relevant community hashtags to get discovered on @Instagram, says @katairobi.CLICK TO TWEETIn The Ultimate Guide to Best Instagram Hashtags for Likes, Andrew Roach offers several tools to help generate effective community hashtags, including:

I like Display Purposes because I simply enter my topic and it generates a list of the most relevant existing hashtags.

hashtags

Don’t want to spend time coming up with the perfect hashtags? Oberlo reports the 10 best hashtags for Instagram:

  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #photooftheday
  • #fashion
  • #beautiful
  • #happy
  • #cute
  • #tbt
  • #like4like
  • #followme

Dynamic Stories

The Stories feature allows you to interact more directly and transparently with your audience, but these Stories are deleted after 24 hours from the top of the feed. Nobody expects you to invest significant time and money to create content for such a short time. However, last year Instagram added a way for Stories to last forever. It now automatically saves your Stories in your archives. You can choose to share them again through Instagram’s Stories Highlights feature.

Instagram Stories help you grow your audience and keep it engaged with your brand because it allows you to keep your profile in their feeds not once but several times during each day. More Stories mean more chances to attract the audience’s attention.

Posting multiple @Instagram Stories lets your profile appear in feeds several times a day, says @katairobi.CLICK TO TWEETVogue Magazine uses Stories, such as this one from the presidential inauguration last year, to drive traffic to its website.

vogue-magazine-stories.png

The approach is simple. Post a series of pictures and integrate a call to action inviting people to view more on Vogue’s website.

TIP: The swipe-up feature is available to those who have at least 10,000 followers – another great reason to concentrate on building your community first.

Cheerios uses Instagram Stories to keep people engaged with the brand through a series of personal messages. They are intended to make people feel good about themselves and the brand by triggering positive emotions.

cheerios-instagram-story

Skillful Instagram Live

Eighty percent of people prefer to watch live video from a brand than to read a blog, and 82%prefer live video from a brand to social posts, according to research cited by Livestream.

82% of people prefer live #video from a brand to #socialmedia posts, according to @livestream #research.CLICK TO TWEETInstagram allows you to do live video, but you must take an extra step and share it to ensure that it shows up – and stands out – in Stories feeds. Live videos also can be featured in the Explore section, which expands your audience to possible new followers.

A great example comes from Tim Coppens, creative director and founder of the fashion brand that carries his name. He is one of the first designers to use Instagram Live to stream his show of menswear at Pitti Uomo in Florence, giving his followers a chance to see the show without traveling to Italy.

.@TIMCOPPENS is one of first designers to use @Instagram Live to stream his fashion show, says @katairobi.CLICK TO TWEETOn a more personal level, you can do live video with a follower or group of followers, giving you the ability to deliver your content one on one or one to a few.

Adaptable Instagram Ads

Ads offer a flexible opportunity to achieve your brand’s objective. Not only can they be used to market a product or service, they can also be used for calls to action such as:

  • Install now
  • Book now
  • Download
  • Learn more
  • Play game
  • Sign up
  • Watch more
  • Apply now
  • Contact us

Instagram Ads are not intrusive because they look similar to other posts. And, unlike other social media platforms, they allow you to deliver full-screen ads.

Instagram Ads deliver full-screen ads, unlike other #socialmedia platforms, says @katairobi.CLICK TO TWEETA great example of an Instagram advertising success is Russia’s S7 Airline campaign, which delivered ads on Instagram Stories through a series of videos showcasing new features of the planes.

As Instagram reports, “It reached 60% of the target audience and saw a 20-point lift in ad recall, which rose to 24 points among 25- to 34-year-olds.”

On the other hand, Vitaly earned success with more traditional ads on Instagram. As a lifestyle and fashion brand, Vitaly knows the power of visual imagery. To re-engage people who visited its website but didn’t make a purchase, Vitaly invested in dynamic ads on Instagram.

Instagram Business reports the retargeting campaign reached more than 243,000 people and achieved a 3.9 multiple return on the ad spend.

Conclusion

Instagram is a perfect channel for brands to deliver visual content customized for its followers and delivered in the best ways to attract their interest. Whether it’s a branded or community hashtag, a Story shared from your archives, live video, or inconspicuous ads, you can select the formats most relevant to your audience and your messaging.

What are your experiences with Instagram? What tips do you have?

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Get expert insight into maximizing your social media content experiences at Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today for the best rates. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

 

 

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