In this week’s Community Pool, we noticed lots of you asking about how to grow traffic to your blogs. Participating in the Community Pool is a great first step, along with commenting on others’ blogs. Another way is letting your social networks know what you’re writing about, which WordPress.com lets you do easily with Publicize.
Elizabeth is going to be taking a wide-angle look at promoting your blog on social networks tomorrow, so today we thought we’d focus on one platform that seems to confound many people: Twitter. To tweet or not to tweet?
I often talk to bloggers who are reluctant to join the Twitterverse:
“I don’t have time to keep up with another thing.”
“I don’t care what people are having for lunch.”
“It seems like a giant waste of time.”
On one hand, these are legitimate complaints. It is yet another password to remember, there are lots of people talking about their lunches, and you can get sucked in and end up wondering where those three hours of your life went.
(Hint: you were probably following the #famousmoviesrenamedforcandy hashtag.)
(Like “Zero Dark Chocolate Thirty.”)
On the other, it can be a really effective and efficient way to make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise make. You can follow — and converse — with bigwigs in your field, along with lots of other folks dedicated to the same things you are. You’ll read posts and find links to information that will inform and inspire, and can stay on the pulse of your issues.
Here are some considerations for helping you decide whether to join the fray:
- It’s a medium for conversation, not just broadcasting. Yes, you can and should let people know about new posts on your blog via Twitter. But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not going to get very far. Twitter is a place to extend the conversation, not just ply people with “Hey, Read Me!” links. If you’re not tweeting original content and engaging with others (through dialogue or by re-tweeting them), don’t bother.
- It takes time. It can be a worthwhile investment, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it does require some. You’ll need to figure out who to follow, and then make sure to interact. This doesn’t mean you need to keep your Twitter feed open on your computer all day long, but it does mean you’ll want to check in periodically to see what’s going on. No one bothers following a person who posts once every two months.
- It’s not the same as Facebook. Or Tumblr, or LinkedIn. Elizabeth will fill you in tomorrow on how these sites differ and how they’re most useful; suffice it to say that your Twitter content should be unique. If all you’re doing is auto-tweeting your Facebook status updates, you’re not really being an engaged twitizen.
The bottom line is that Twitter can be (1) a lot of fun, (2) a great place to connect with people in your areas of interest, and (3) a way to sow your blogular seeds among a larger audience. But if you’re not prepared to invest a little time, you might be better off letting it go.
Are you on Twitter? Has it been useful for growing your blog, in your career, or in another way entirely?