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Top Ten Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Small Business Blog Using Twitter

Posted By Darren Rowse 23rd of February 2010 Blog Promotion, Social Media 0 Comments

This is a guest post by Mark Hayward on driving traffic to your small business blog with Twitter.

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Based on the success of the recent ProBlogger post, Top 10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using LinkedIn, I thought it would be useful to put a resource post together for small business owners who would like to use Twitter to drive targeted traffic to their blog.

We all know that blogging is a powerful medium for any small business owner that wants to improve SEO, create a social media footprint, or share their backstory.

But how the heck do you use Twitter to drive more traffic to your small business blog?

If you are a small business owner like me, then you are no stranger to the fact that learning how to master Twitter can seem a little bit like wrestling a hungry alligator. Meaning, there is a steep learning curve and if you mess up it can be deadly.

Figuratively speaking, of course!

After using Twitter for the past couple of years, and following a lot of trial and error, below are ten ways that I think you can begin to use Twitter to drive more traffic to your small business blog.

#1: Change the Default Logo

After creating your small business Twitter account, change the default logo to one that represents your style and helps to brand your small business. Twitter is not a ‘join it and they will come’ small business marketing tool.

If you are hoping to reap the rewards and added blog traffic that Twitter can offer, then you have to be willing to put in the time to build trustworthy relationships with potential customers. To that end, when it comes to any business on Twitter, people want to feel like they are engaging with real human beings.

The profile picture is the first thing that new followers will look at. You need to create a logo that quickly gains follower interest if you want them to carry on further and check out your small business blog. By all means, if you use a personal picture make sure it does not portray you as an axe murderer.

Below are two examples of small business profile pictures, and I’ll let you be the judge of which one will work best.

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I think this next one is better. How about you?

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#2: Show Up

As noted in the intro above, there can be a steep learning curve when it comes to using Twitter to drive traffic to your small business blog. According to a recent article in Adweek:

Only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December — an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next.

However, I think a lot of small business owners show up once and send a Tweet similar to the one below.

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When business owners don’t get any @ replies, identify any new customers, or gain new traffic to their small business blog they feel like they are wasting their time and are gone for good.

Using Twitter properly as a tool to drive blog traffic requires a long term outlook, persistence, and a consistent effort every day.

#3: Complete the Bio Profile

Similar to a mini ‘About’ page, Twitter gives you 160 characters in your profile so you can write a brief Bio to describe who you are and further specify your business. Make sure the link to your small business blog appears somewhere in this section. Or, even better, include your blog as the one html link you are allowed to have.

I am amazed at how many small businesses skip the Bio step. The results of not taking the time to fill out the profile section will give your business a look similar to the one below. Ask yourself, would you visit the small business blog of the ‘iamabusiness’ profile?

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If you are not getting targeted traffic for your small business blog from your Twitter Bio, try spicing it up with something similar to SmileMakers INC. When I read the profile for SmileMakers INC I don’t have any questions as to what business they are in.

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#4: Brand Your Small Business Twitter background

The available Twitter background space is like getting free real estate where you can create an online billboard. When properly used, the background can help to build your small businesses image and highlight your brand. If you struggle with design work then use one of the many online background creation tools that are available, such as, TwitterImage, TwitBacks, and TwitrBackgrounds.

Although ProBlogger is not a ‘brick & mortar’ small business, Darren has an easily identifiable Twitter background that helps to pique interest in what he is about and can drive casual follower traffic to his blog.

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#5: Social proof matters

When it comes to getting traffic for your small business blog on Twitter, the ugly truth is, social proof absolutely matters!

The number of followers you have, the number of people you are following, and the number of Tweets you have sent out will all be a determining factor in the minds of potential customers.

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You don’t need to wait until your small business account has as many followers as ProBlogger, Chris Brogan, or even John Jantsch. Although, it certainly helps to have a few hundred followers and to be following a few hundred (see: #2 show up above) before you promote your small business blog on Twitter.

#6: Be Sincere

If you are sincere in your interactions on Twitter, after the initial frustration and dip of feeling like you’re in an echo chamber, you will slowly gain a following that you’ll be able to direct to your small business blog.

Try starting off the morning with a friendly greeting like Jonathan Fields.

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When you interact and engage on Twitter in a sincere manner, and follow Jeff Pulver’s 95% giving & 5% taking rule, potential customers will slowly begin to trust you and this will gradually open them up to visiting your small business blog.

#7: Use Twitter Search

Twitter Search is a valuable tool for any small business owner who wants to increase traffic to a website or blog. Searching for relevant keyword terms related to your business niche, and finding traffic for your blog, is made much easier with this tool.

However, when using Twitter Search the key is to provide valuable and helpful information in your @ replies and to not press people with spam.

For a bit of a real life example, the other day on Twitter I was looking for some input on web hosting companies. The amount of spam I got back in my Twitter stream was unreal. The reply below stands out in particular as an example of ‘How not to drive traffic to your small business or blog’ when using Twitter Search.

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I know you are going to be absolutely shocked! But when you click on the link included in @forsgren’s Tweet you find out that he actually OWNS the company and website that the link directs to.

For the record, I have absolutely no problem with him directing an @ reply to me. However, please be honest and disclose up front that you own the hosting company. In this particular case, my trust has been lost and the potential for him to gain my business is gone. Additionally, I will never look at his blog. Period.

#8: Collaborative Relationships

When attempting to get more traffic for your small business blog, find out who the thought leaders and influencers are in your industry and connect with them on Twitter. It does not always get discussed out in the open, but collaborative partnerships, particularly with people in your industry, can send a tremendous amount of targeted visitors to your blog.

As a personal example, the actress Alyssa Milano happens to be a passionate animal rights advocate. At present, I help to do the social media activities for the animal rescue organization on my tiny island, and through the magic of Twitter I was able to connect with Ms. Milano.

The animal rescue organization has (what is essentially) a small business blog, which is used to update people on stray animals who need help and any current rescues who are looking for a home. On a couple of occasions now Alyssa has been kind enough to help get our message out over Twitter. In fact, back in June she Tweeted about one particular dog that was really in dire need of some help.

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Because many of her followers are also animal lovers (i.e targeted traffic), below you can see the spike in visitors that was generated to the animal welfare blog from her Tweet, which is a site that typically gets about fifty visitors per day.

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#9: Useful Links & Hashtags

Once you have gained a few followers and created some collaborative relationships, you should start sharing useful links that are related to your small business. Sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit make it easy for you to search and discover the best of what’s on the web in your niche.

If you’re sharing good stuff and educating your followers, then their natural tendency will be to investigate your profile further and visit your small business blog.

For example, if I owned a bike shop and wanted to drive traffic to my business blog, I would begin Tweeting all of the useful links that I could find on the subject of bikes and bike riding.

When it comes to increasing follower count, resource posts always seem to get ReTweeted well. Be on the lookout for ‘Best of’ and ‘How to’ posts. When Tweeting links, if space provides, you might want to create a branded hashtag for your small business as well.

#10: Power of the Picture

Who you are and what you do on a daily basis at your small business matters to your followers. Tweeting pictures provides a contextual basis to your daily activities, which goes beyond the normal status update.

In order to gain more targeted traffic to your small business blog, I would highly recommend utilizing a Twitter photo-sharing site like TwitPic or Yfrog. These sites allow the small business owner to share cool photos from their typical business day, or while plying their craft, so that people get to know you. Photos help to build social trust and intrigue, which leads to more traffic on your small business blog. Have a look at this Tweeted photo that I just sent this past Friday and one of the responses I received.

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Below, Tim demonstrates perfectly why photos matter!

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As a final note, I have said this before, but its importance cannot be overlooked. It can take a very long time to develop a trusting follower base for your small business on Twitter but it only takes one Tweet to alienate and lose the trust of your followers.

What other suggestions would you offer to those small business owners who are looking to use Twitter to drive traffic to their small business blog?

Mark Hayward owns a small business in the Caribbean and when it comes to social media he is passionate about helping other small business owners with avoid the online mistakes he has made. You can follow Mark on Twitter @mark_hayward and you can subscribe to his RSS Feed for weekly small business social media marketing tips.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. and don’t forget the golden rule — DON’T SPAM !! as you mentioned. keep it sincere and appropriate to your business and YOU.

    tweet consistently and add to the conversation!

    thanks for the http://twitter.com/robbtg reminders !!!

  2. Scot Duke says: 02/23/2010 at 1:16 am

    I can go with all of this except Number 1..Logos, trademarks and funny cartoon characters do not replace the photo of the person who is Tweeting. My survey shows that over 90% of my contacts report they will not follow, respond or click on a Tweet post that does not have a headshot photo.. The photograph of the person on all social networking sites is becoming a requirement by most in an effort to cut down on the scamming and spamming that seems to be on the increase from tweets who post a logo.
    Good points otherwise and I can confirm that the rest does work.

  3. I especially like the point about that dude not disclosing his affiliation with the hosting company. It’s better to disclose too much than to disclose too little in my opinion.

    I haven’t really gotten adept at using twitter search well, and I don’t get a lot of traffic from twitter. But then again, I focus my efforts on guest posting and other stuff a lot so I’m good. It’s all about what your goal is when using twitter.

    Other tips for driving traffic? Since I don’t know what I’m doing I should probably keep my mouth shut ;)

  4. Yay ! I strongly agree with your 10th point, When sharing photo’s, your social trust increases plus the stats of the link when checked to other post links will be high :) btw Great post :)

  5. Just like any medium you can create your own tweet style. You will find it beneficial not only be interesting but to be interested in others and what they have to say.

    Having a retweet button on your blog makes it easy for others to forward your message…also include a follow me button. When ever you come across sites or posts you like use these tools to promote them. They will often return the favor and follow you too.

  6. The previous post concerning LinkedIn was very useful as well as this one.

    I’m new to this blog but now I’m checking it a few times a day. It has a flow of a very useful info.

  7. Point #10 strikes me the most as even as a person who adores visual effects, I hardly incorporate Twitpic in my networking strategy. The thoughts of always keeping the tweet in-niche and helpful, made me overlooked the casual tweets, as simple as a picture can be effective.

    I’m glad the author points out the importance of ‘impression’ — to have a presentable amount of follower/following ratio before promoting the Twitter account. It is still a matter of trust, how people reacting to this new account by observing others’ responses. Human nature. :-)

    Something to ponder for whoever is starting Twitter, even bloggers.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  8. Great ideas. I already do some, but will try out some others. I have a question though… I’ve been sending out useful links as you advise… I don’t ever tweet about my own blog posts. I figured that was too much self-promotion. I’ve been hoping that if people like the tweets they will eventually check out my twitter bio and that will lead them to my blog. Is that the “correct” or “best” strategy? How much self-promotion is ok? Is it ever ok? Or does it need to be subtle, such as, “I’m speaking at the XXX conference. If you are planning on going let me know and we’ll meet”… etc. etc. Should I ever say, “Just wrote a blog post about ….”?

  9. Hi Mark,

    I am quite new to Twitter world yet, but these tips are really quite useful, especially about being honest and sincere.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. Forgetting to add my input: to encourage existing customers who are involved in social media sites to share their testimonials; either through blog posts or short updates on how the business had benefit them. Have these info compiled and tweeted accordingly.

    Using proper applications to brand themselves; using keywords to locate potential clients and initiate the conversations. Direct them to their business blogs. Start small with a small group of targeted individuals.

    Word of mouth is still the best advertising alive.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  11. I have around 2000 followers and I think something like 1900 are spam bots. if only the spambots would retweet my links between themselves i think i’d have a good seo program with twitter. well, that and a few paying customers.

  12. One of the most surprising things about Twitter for me is the friendships I’ve formed. People that I recognized as readers on my blog, or whose blogs I read have become online friends thanks to Twitter.

    I think building community and and friendships is a big point! I wasn’t actually thinking about increasing traffic when I started to get to know some other bloggers, but it is a natural consequence. And I’m ok with that :)

  13. Good pointers … one and only one thing that I would like to add to this list is the timing of your tweet… Do not over tweet . I have followed and then unfollowed many people just because they over tweet a lot … hate my whole tweet page full with just one followers tweet…

  14. Very interesting ideas. As a small-time blogger, I feel that these apply to me, even though I am not a business.

    I will be using twitter search a little more often now that I see how it can be used to drive traffic to my blog.

    Thanks Mark!

  15. When I first started on twitter, I didn’t “get it” I believe most people feel that way. Over a period of time as I began to be consistent and update regularly, I started to notice my followers going up. Now I’ve adopted a business mindset where I try to not only update regularly but I try to keep my tweets closely related to my blog. Thanks again for the great article!

  16. Mark,

    I rarely see articles worth leaving comments on. But I forwarded our URL link about how to increase traffic with Twitter because it was concise, excellent, and provide some great, simple traffic strategies that we should all use. Now I just have to find the time! Thanks so much for putting great content out there.

    Regards,

    Adrienne DeVita

  17. How about adding a Retweet Icon in the blog. It will also increase the traffic.

    Hyder
    http://www.winwinmantra.com

  18. Thanks for the suggestion, before this I only use twitter as a complementary post suggestions. This may be a major consideration.

  19. I wonder if there’s a bit of software available to integrate Twitter search into a keyword research tool.

    Aside from attempts to garner targeted followers on Twitter, daily I am faced with following or not following “that guy” who has just found and followed me, but already has, say, thirty thousand followers and is following more.

    If at best we can keep up with 150 others (as some stat suggests), I need some reason to join the throng of “that guy’s” followers. I’ll just get lost in the huge crowd. My tweets will be a blur in the blur of “that guy’s” twitter stream.

    If lower competition is a goal in keyword research, a smaller crowd of followers surely makes my job of being noticed easier on Twitter. My “listed” followers are a greater measure of my potential than my list of followers.

  20. great post i’m having hard time with twitter hope this will help me. thanks

  21. I have more than 1200 followers in 2 months, but I seriously wonder how many percents are bots. Nowadays, twitter is like a micro blog for bots.

  22. Interesting how people forget about such simple things as these described in this post.

  23. Be useful, be involved, and be sincere! People want to read about PEOPLE and not just quick press blurbs.

  24. Oh, Twitter, how I miss you.

    I’m trying to get my blog off the ground from a country where Twitter isn’t, er, available…so many lost opportunities!

    Just booked my flight back to Toronto, though…and I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind come April!

    Thanks for a great post.

  25. I’ve heard of Nielsen statistics before; I think the practical application of that info is to transition our Twitter followers to our blog as soon as possible. If newbie tweeple don’t return to Twitter after their first 30 days on it, then that’s our window of opportunity.

    Ana/YourNetBiz

  26. Graet post,

    I was lokking for such advise for some time now.

    Thanks.

    Ami

  27. Great Post

    Hard to disagree with any of that.

    A couple of points to add. Twitter’s geo targeting has made local relevant following much easier and more precise.

    The advents of lists has also been a great boon to building quality followers.

    Thanks

    Mike

  28. Nice, I’m totally reading through is again later when I get home. I’ve attempted at using twitter a few times, but I never really did any research on how to use it successfully. I just threw out tweets and hopes for the best, raise your hand if you think that failed miserably? haha

    Thanks for the post, hopefully I can use twitter to my advantage one day lol

  29. What are the best Automatic programs to use? Social Too seems to work. Nice checklist.

  30. Great post with some brill tips. I’m going to try posting photos from now on. Not something I’ve tried before.

    Dyfed.

  31. I’m a songwriter not a business, but I’m just about to sign up for twitter and this was a really helpful primer. thanks.

  32. I agree with many of your points, Mark. The point of Twitter that is often lost on people is the fact that it is an organic process, just like any other social endeavor. It’s better to have 200 quality followers to connect with than it is to have 20,000 followers who are bots and/or are only in it for self serving reasons.

    Thanks.

  33. I have just started out promoting my blogs and find it hard driving traffic to to them. However I found your info very interesting and helpful to read so will be putting some of the points mentioned into practise. it takes a lot of time and effort especially when you have to keep up your day job too. I am hoping that eventually I will reap the rewards and be able to spend my time putting together more blogs

  34. Twitter is getting too stuffy. I doubt you can get quality readers from it. Although it might help to make relations with high profile social new submitters.

  35. Good stuff here I pretty much when and did everything you said here to my twitter business…Darren I am just opening my business this month and I hope you can do a blog post on how to use social media for brick and mortar business since that’s what I on to be starting since I’ve been unemployed for to long. I would love to get some constructive criticism on my twitter account if any of you would mind it is @chasecleaning but my personal account is @helpmewilson leave me a mention there on what I can do better.

    Darren I hope you dont mind this comment.

    I am new to blogging so if this comment is not OK I understand

  36. Thank you so much for this article. At my small company we are trying to do everything that you spoke about here. This article was really easy to read. Thanks for putting together my to-do list. I will pass this along to my other co-workers so I can get started today! I look forward to reading your future articles.

    Thank you,

    Melissa

  37. If I had the space to do “11 Ways to Drive Traffic…” I would mention that running Twitter only discounts and specials that direct people to your small business blog can also help to increase traffic.

    @rob – I would say that not spamming is key!

    @henri – yeah, I have no problem with someone sending offers my way if I am seeking a product or service. But, disclosure has to come before the veiled pitch…

    @sheila – that ‘retweet’ button can do wonders when it comes to spreading a popular post around Twitter.

    @sudeep – overtweeting can certainly kill your follower count if you’re sending out useless drivel. I think the trick is in finding helpful links and sending original tweets.

    @peter – I think someone could do very well ($$$) if they created a tool that integrated keyword search and twitter search.

  38. Darren,

    Thanks for the continued great content. I always pickup at least 1 or 2 ideas for improving my blog and my presence on the internet.

    This time the big “ah ha” was how to get the really cool background like you have.

    Also, adding pictures, who would have thought!

    Boomer54

    Mark

  39. Solid article Mark, many thanks. Just wondering about something: do you think using scheduled tweets is a good idea? I get annoyed when I see my entire home page taken up by just a few accounts, so I schedule mine in groups of three or so — at least part of the time. I’ve noticed fairly good results, though I haven’t been that consistent with the technique to be sure. What do you think – is it useful and when does it become spamming?

  40. Hey Mark, Based on your info, I now know that I should be using the search functionality more in Twitter. Thanks for the tip.

  41. Twitter is THE marketing instrument to drive traffic. I wonder what the next best/new thing will be … I mean, what will be there after twitter? I think that people in general would like to keep their sense of anonymity with texting…
    so I wonder, what will be next, if you factor in the need for anonymity?

    Wannabe
    http://www.wannabemillionaire.com

  42. I am just getting my feet wet in Twitter and loving the experience. I found this article to be very helpful in confirming some of my own thougths and also providing me with new ideas.

    Thanks for sharing.
    -jack
    http://twitter.com/jackwbruce

  43. Thanks for these article Mark. I’m just getting into Twitter and find it fun to use. I will use these tips that you’ve written to interact with other people and to also hopefully drive more traffic to my blog.

  44. Good tips Mark. It’s very important to take note and actually use the tips you shared because there’s a lot out there who will just post links and start autofollowing random people. To be really effective, you’ve got to take a different approach. Find like-minded people. Engage. Give out great value (I liked that 95% giving, 5% taking idea) and at the end of the day, actually give a crap and care.

  45. I’ve been using twiter just a month and made several mistakes (example incomplete bio or photo) . Reading this post I realize everything that I can fix, thanks for sharing this is great stuff.

    Javier

  46. Daren/Mark
    Thanks – Great info.
    I’m always looking for ways to improve my use of Twitter, and increase my followers.
    I love to continue learning what’s available out there, that I have not yet found. If I can use even 60% of all your tips — I’ll be doing a better than before.

    Carlene
    http://www.twitter.com/carlenetb

  47. Sound advice, Mark! I am new to Twitter – joined a year ago but only active past couple of months so I am still getting the hang of things.

    A couple of queries related to your points. In posting links to articles, how current should those articles be? Is it a no-no to post to, say, articles a year old?

    Further, do you accept ‘anyone’ as a follower? Lately I’ve been getting followers totally unrelated to my line of work or interest. I’m not sure whether it is good practice to simply accept them, what’s your view on this? Especially suspicious to me are those that have twitted on very few occasions, have very few followers but are following loads of people.

  48. I have picked up some traffic from both twitter and linkedin to my blog for which I’m grateful. While I try to follow that 95% give 5% take rule which I think is good, I am trying to figure out the magic mix of time vs reward. To understand Twitter more, I’ve spent a ton of time on it, and it’s been very rewarding, but now I’ve come round full circle to figure out I really do need to make the blog a priority and my bs a #1 priority.

    While I think Twitter can be or is very valuable, you still have to be mindful of your time or priorities I guess is a better way to say it.

    Otherwise I’ve met some wonderful people through Twitter and up to this point, no matter what, my time hasn’t been wasted. It does take some time though to make it work and I do think it best to know why you are on there to begin with. I have a marketing and trend forecasting agency but I’ve also just launched an eco friendly pet bed company….my trend info tends to have me looking into and therefore reaching out to many different types of people for various things but always trying to tweet out really useful info. However, I do want people to know about my eco friendly pet beds and the progress I am making as a manufacturer.

    So, I cover a lot of information as a result. It may be too much, but what I think is that every one or most every one loves animals so even if my following is all different most will probably have a love of animals. And that is my main reason for being on Twitter.

    Too complicated? Maybe. I’ll let you know in part II (to be continued).

  49. Good post. I’ve been using twitter since the first time my blog online, but I’m still a little follower. I’ll try these 10 ways to make more traffic for my blog. Thanks for the tips.

  50. It’s amazing that when i started tweeting in Spring of last year, I TOTALLY didn’t get it. I suspect that the Twittequette has changed as rapidly as it grew in popularity.

    Twitter is such a simple program but it’s depths of communication are extremely complex that it needs constant articles to help educate conceptually how to work it.

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