A guest post by Nandita Iyer/Saffron Trail
Twitter is the place for all the latest news, trends and memes. It the one place to stay updated on topics that are important to you. That said, it is also a platform that takes time to grow on you. Many people find Twitter intimidating, either because it’s too noisy or they feel stumped on how to use it.
What is the right kind of content to share on Twitter? How can you use Twitter to drive traffic to your website, build your brand, and increase your book sales or newsletter sign-ups?
I’ve used Twitter successfully for over a decade, and I’m sharing 5 tips to help you up your Twitter following and engagement:
1. Work that bio.
Apart from a profile photo, header photo, name, location and website link, Twitter allows you 160 characters to write something about yourself. Use the words in your profile wisely. Humblebrags, humour, call to action, emojis, hashtags – use any or all in the right measure to ensure your profile reads like an elevator pitch with a hearty dose of personality.
Bonus tip: If you want more than 160 characters to describe all that you do, put it in a pinned tweet (280 characters), which stays at the top of your tweets. For the longest time, my pinned tweet was the preorder link of my first book and it really helped me get the visibility and clicks.
2. Promote your Twitter handle.
Now that you have a Twitter handle, let the world know about it. Share it in your email signatures, other social media profiles, columns and articles in print media, as well as online and in the ‘about me’ section of your blog or book.
Embed your relevant tweets in blogs or articles online, so the people who visit the blog or website can also choose to follow you on Twitter. Here’s an example:
Performed a surgery on my dining table this morning pic.twitter.com/mtG0D6rJPG
— Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) July 21, 2020
3. Get lots more social.
Follow and interact with people and accounts from your niche. Follow your peers, top food publications, editors, chefs, restaurants, markets and so on. Reading the tweets alone gives plenty of insights, perspectives and understanding into our industry. Reply to tweets that resonate with you, whether you agree or disagree. Add your thoughts and insights.
The beauty of Twitter is that you never have to feel embarrassed about butting into a conversation with strangers. In fact, that is the whole point of this platform. Sometimes, a witty reply to a celebrity tweet ends up getting 1000s of likes and retweets.
Retweeting (RT), or retweeting with your own words added are two more ways of interacting with accounts.
Bonus tip: If you follow hundreds of accounts, make a Twitter list of the few accounts that you consider the most relevant or important. Follow this list instead of your entire timeline for a more concentrated source of information. You can choose to keep this list public or private.
4. Tweet a variety of content.
The question of what to tweet plagued me in my early Twitter days. It took a while to find my groove, understand the type of content I like to share, and what my audience likes to consume.
Currently Twitter allows you to post text, polls, images, videos as well as voice tweets. You can be as opinionated as you like on Twitter. Edgy tweets about current topics get a lot of eyeballs.
Use the text space to tweet a recipe, along with a photo of the dish. Start the tweet and then continue the recipe step-by-step recipe as a thread of tweets. Cooking tips are useful and readers always appreciate them.
Behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your work — be it writing, photography or cooking — help keep your content interesting.
Short videos of food prep or the recipe preparation itself are a great way to gain engagement while sharing useful information. Polls help you gauge audience preferences. By all means, use Twitter to share links of your latest columns or blogs, but they should not be the only thing you share.
What’s your favourite cream biscuit? Vote below or comment if any other!
— Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) July 6, 2020
In short, use your tweets to build your online personality and brand, and show your expertise. Help people with that expertise.
After years of self control, finally gave in and bought a waffle maker. Weekend breakfasts are set.
From the test run this morning – Oat cinnamon waffles 🧇
The waffle maker gives good and fast browning (1000watts), crisp outside, nice size waffles, compact storage. pic.twitter.com/xnPDtqUd5g
— Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) July 29, 2020
Bonus tip: Slo-mo action videos of food prep, whether stirring, drizzling or sprinkling flour, are visually appealing and attention-grabbing — even if just a few seconds long. Consider doing a Periscope (Live on Twitter) with a book reading, cooking your latest recipe or exploring a market in your city.
5. Get a wider reach with interactive strategies.
Organize a monthly chat, quiz or an AMA (Ask Me Anything) using a specific hashtag in collaboration with peers, media handles, or brands to help widen your visibility and reach. Be regular with this activity. Set a day of the month and tweet out the schedule in advance. Invite people from your niche to participate. This is a win-win for all the participants involved.
You may not get an immediate boost in traffic for your website, or an overnight increase in newsletter sign-ups, but all these methods, when put together, will go a long way towards increasing online visibility and personal brand building. These tweets will help you get noticed for your expertise, too. You might be quoted by media outlets, get featured in interviews, receive more event invites, and end up networking with people from around the world with the touch of a button. So try some of these tips and up your Twitter following and engagement.
What is your favorite Twitter tip?
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(Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.)