As a newbie blogger (July 2016), I have had to get my head around a number of things about blogging and, most especially, social media. This post, The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter is about my experience with Twitter. So let me start by saying that Twitter has been pretty kind to me so far, because Twitter has introduced me to an amazing community of bloggers. And it’s that community that has made the difference to me and my blog. I, for one, never realised the power of Twitter.

The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter

I still have a long way to go, but for any newbie bloggers out there who are unsure about the power of Twitter and what it can do for your blog, below you will find a few tips to whet your appetite. This list is not exclusive by any means; after all, I’m still a newbie who is on an extremely steep learning curve. In fact, with this list all I’m probably showing is how naïve I am with Twitter and social media in general. I’m still taking it all in. My Twitter experience is only as old – or as young – as my blog. So if you already know or do the things mentioned below, then you’re well on your way. If not, I hope they will be of help in the future.

So here’s the overview. I created my Twitter account in August 2015, but didn’t really get going until my blog went live in July 2016. As with my blog, I was quite shy about entering the world of Twitter. As a Twitter virgin, I had no real notion of what to do, or how it could help my fledgling blog. My only thought was that Twitter could help me market my blog. But the problem with that was simple: there are already a mass of amazing blogs doing that very thing on Twitter – and doing it very well, indeed. So the ‘how to’ question became a hell of a lot bigger than I had first anticipated, and it all had to be done in 140 characters or less. My first thought was that this isn’t going to be easy.

So I jumped in and stumbled along the way with the odd tweet mentioning new posts I had published. I read a lot of tweets picking up on conversation streams and looking at discussions across a lot of different topics and themes. I looked for what was popular, because what looked like working for others on Twitter might just work for me. But there was so much information flying by. The mind boggled. Conversations flew by in the blink of an eye with several participants joining in at once. It was difficult to follow. At this stage I read just about anything and everything in an attempt to get a handle on Twitter protocol. But I needed a tighter focus; in Twitter parlance, I needed to find my ‘tribe’.

The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter

What I needed was a tribe of parent bloggers to follow, to interact with. To learn from. So I searched on Twitter and found an abundance of groups and communities devoted to parenting. And there are probably dozens more I’m yet to find. But from there I followed parent bloggers and hoped they would follow back. This was my first strategy for building my own following; I would be deliberate, I would target those with the same interests and subject bias, and build from there. As I said above, this approach has been kind to me, I have managed to link up with some very experienced and successful parenting bloggers.

It was then that I noticed I was being added to lists. Now I didn’t understand the benefits of lists until realisation dawned. A lot of these lists were made up of kindred spirits. Lists suddenly became a place to find like-minded bloggers; bloggers who had the same interests and focus. So lists became the place to point my spotlight, to enhance my parent blogging experience; to read more of what I was interested in.

It was through these lists and the generally tighter focus they created that I noticed one thing that I was failing at. And I must admit that I fail at it still.

The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter

I noticed that there are those who tweet consistently and those who don’t. There are those who tweet to create conversation just to converse with other Twitter users, and those who tweet just to promote their posts or business. It’s at this point that I take a long hard look in the mirror, because I know that at the moment I fall into the latter group. I find it hard to start conversations on Twitter. I get caught up in the ‘what-to-tweet-about’ question and get no farther. I don’t want to just tweet for the sake of tweeting, because everything I have read says that tweets need to be meaningful if others are going to interact with them.

Then there are the conversations I follow, but don’t join in with, even when I have something to say that could add value, something that could be meaningful to others. To me jumping into a Twitter chat would feel like walking up to a group of people I don’t know and joining their conversation. I’m sure some of you will laugh at this point, but for me that scenario has a cringe factor of 10. This is a challenge I need to address, a Twitter hurdle I need to get over. And because of this, I’m sure I have been ‘blocked’ or ‘muted’ by some because, generally, the only tweets they see from me are post promotions or retweets of other bloggers’ posts, and I will say that I have probably over-tweeted my posts at times. But that’s another learning curve I’m working on.

The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter

Which brings me to another point: I am a total advocate of tweeting posts I have read and enjoyed. The idea being that if I like a post then why not share it with others. Surely it’s a compliment to the author who has enthused you. So taking the time to leave a comment and retweeting is the order of the day. Because I have done this there has been a certain amount of quid pro quo which has also helped my blog and post reach. But there are those who do not reciprocate, and that’s fine too. It doesn’t take away from the fact that their post was a good read and therefore worthy of a retweet that takes a mere few seconds to do.

The channel that has been the most rewarding for me on Twitter has to be the linkies I have recently been involved with. My first experience of this was when I was invited to join a linky that posts every Friday: #ThatFridayLinky. It’s hosted by Emily (@Twinmumanddad) and Nige (@NigeHiggins4). Not only has it benefited the reach of the posts I had linked up, but it has introduced me to even more fantastic bloggers (here’s the link for this week).

The Newbie Blogger Versus Twitter

Since then, I have also linked up to #Blogstorm run by Laura (@Laura_BabyKicks) and Martyn (@Mr_Kitney). It’s a monthly linky for bloggers about blogging, where I have read some wonderful posts and found some great ideas (here’s their link for this month). Now I am sure there are others I will find or be invited to join, that’s the beauty of the Twitter community; there are many wonderful opportunities to pursue on Twitter that can help the fledgling blogger expand their profile. So here are six things I think the newbie blogger should consider when starting out on Twitter:

 

 

  1. Find your Tribe: Search for like-minded bloggers and follow. Check who they follow and do the same. I would definitely suggest that following people with the same interests is a good idea initially because it creates a focus to start with.

  2. Lists: Most lists are great because, in my experience, the people on those list already have a common focus. Follow away when you find them.

  3. Tweet Consistently and Chat: This is a must! Regardless of my failure in this area, it is now something I am working on. I see a number of bloggers who tweet regularly, asking open questions that other users connect with and the conversations begin. Because of this their profiles seem quite high.

  4. Publicising Your Posts: Definitely publicise. It’s a must. But the difficult question is how often to tweet a post. What you don’t want to do is ‘over-publicise’ your posts. I say this because you will regularly see Twitter conversations that lament the users who do over-publicise (I’m sure my Twitter strategy has been questioned!). The problem for the newbie here is that, from the Twitter conversations I have followed, there does not appear to be a general consensus on what is the correct amount and what is overkill. I would now suggest that if you are going to retweet a link then try a few times a day at first. This amount would seem acceptable. Just try and change the wording on the tweet, so that it’s not the same tweet going round and round and catching the Twitter critics’ eyes. After all, you don’t want to alienate your followers. What you really want is their support; so don’t crowd their feed by constantly retweeting the same link (again, I take a long look in the mirror. But we all have to start somewhere).

  5. Helpful Tweets: Help others by commenting on posts and retweeting. It definitely adds value to your profile – your Twitter presence. It gets you noticed; it helps you expand your community in a very positive way.

  6. Linkies: YES! YES! YES! Get involved! If you don’t already link up then try the two above, they’re both great. Now I can only speak from a newbie’s perspective, but the benefits are fantastic, and it’s so easy to do. You can reach a whole new audience with a copy-and-paste and a click of a button. I adore linkies; so much so that, I am open to hearing about other linkies as comments below.

So that’s my Twitter story and advice to the newbies out there. It’s not much and I’m sure the more experienced Twitter user can see lots of glaring holes and important exclusions; if so, apologies. But to the newbie blogger on Twitter, I would like to say one thing: keep your focus and get involved. If you want to be read, join in and read other bloggers’ posts and share, share, share. Get noticed in a good way, because there are some amazingly supportive bloggers out there who are more than happy to help us newbies along the way.

Happy tweeting.

 

 

 

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