The Secret of Promoting Your Site via Twitter

July 8, 2009 Posted by Joel Vaillancourt

This is a guest post written by Joel Vaillancourt (aka TKE71709) over at Twittley.com which is a social bookmarking site focussing on using Twitter to categorize and rank web content. To see how you can use Twittley to supercharge your site’s social marketing, visit their blog at blog.twittley.com.

They lied to you.

Everything you’ve been told about promoting your site via Twitter is a lie. Maybe lie is a little harsh, let’s say that you’ve been listening to the wrong people. They mean well, they really do, but they’re just recycling the same misinformation that they hear others say.

Lie #1 – Build It and They Will Come

Unless you’re Ashton Kutcher, no one is going to decide to follow you. Odds are nobody knows who you are, so why would they? But wait you say, I get people following me all the time, and for some strange reason they’re normally attractive girls. I’ve got some bad news for you friend, those aren’t real people, they’re spammers (gasp), hoping that you’ll actually visit their profile/twitter feed and visit their sites.

Lie #2 – Give out Great Tips and They Will Come

See #1, you can give out the best tips in the world, create awesome content, link to only the best sites and guess what? Nobody knows who you are so nobody is following you, so nobody sees your awesome content.

Lie #3 – Follow People and They Will Follow You

OK, this isn’t really a lie, it’s more of a misunderstanding (like the time I told my wife I was working late when I was out with the guys, but I digress). It’s technically true (the guys were from work, and I think we talked about how Bill always forgets to put the new cover sheets on the TPS report between lap dances). If you follow people, they often will follow you. That’s how you see people with 5,000 followers and they’re following 5,100 back. So the advice you’ll hear on the street (internet marketing boards) is that you should follow as many people as you can, and hope that they follow you back. Heck, some people have even created websites dedicated to finding people interested in your topic to follow.

So, what’s the lie then? You can build up a large followers list doing this. It’s not a lie, but the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t work. Anyone who is following that many people isn’t actually reading their tweets, they’re just sending out tweets in the hopes that other people will read them. And guess what, the other 5,000 people involved in this “conversation” aren’t reading them either.

I call this strategy the reciprocal linking strategy for Twitter. Not so long ago, if you had a web site that you wanted to do well in Google, you could engage in what’s called reciprocal linking, or you link to me and I link to you. So you had a site about pet cemetaries linking to Bob the Laguna beach real estate agent. Neither of them actually expected the other to send them any traffic, they just did it to make themselves look more important in the search engines’ eyes. So, if you’re one of those people with 5,000 followers and you’re following 5,100 back, congratulations, it looks pretty but it’s pretty much useless.

Those are the lies, what are the truths?

Truth #1 – People Trust Their Friends

If someone receives a tweet from a friend about how awesome your site is, they’re probably going to visit it.

Truth #2 – People Associate with People That are Like Them

My friends are people like me, they’re upper-middle class, university educated, and we share interests in common (for example, a lot of my friends, and I, play Ultimate Frisbee). So if I’m interested in something, odds are my friends are too. You’re probably in the same boat, if you’re reading Tyler’s blog you’re probably interested in Internet Marketing, and therefore some of your friends are probably interested in that as well.

Truth #3 – People are Lazy

Don’t deny it, we all know it, people are LAZY! Conversion study after conversion study shows that adding even a single step to a checkout process reduces conversion rates to a large extent.

Tying those truths into a Twitter marketing campaign.

What we’ve learned is the most effective means of marketing on Twitter is to leverage your existing relationships with your site visitors by getting them to recommend your site to their followers and we have to make it as easy for them to do so as possible. You need to provide them with a means to tweet about your site that does not require to leave the site, does not require them to formulate a message, and that is easy for them figure out (remember, people are lazy, they won’t go looking for a way to tweet your site, it has to be easy for them to find).

But what can one person tweeting do for my site traffic you’re asking yourself (you really should stop talking to yourself, people are staring). If Twitter was a superhero, their superpower would be the retweet (not much use in fighting crime, but who are we to judge). So you have Mary visit your site on designer handbags where you review the latest bags straight off the runways of Paris (fashion runways, please don’t review handbags where airplanes land, no seriously, please please don’t). Mary loves your post, so she tweets her 40 followers who are also interested in handbags (Truth # 2 – people hang out with people they share common interests with).

Seeing as Mary has recommended the site (Truth # 1 – people trust their friends) most of them decide to visit the site as well. So we’re gone from 1 visitor to let’s say 31 (Mary + 30 of her Twitter followers). Of those 30, 10 love the site so much they retweet them to 20 friends each, of which half take the time to visit as well. So now we’re up to 131 visitors (Mary + 30 followers + 100 retweeted visitors) from that one single tweet. The retweeting process can continue forever as well but I’ll stop there.If your site provides quality material, then you can encourage the visitors to follow you, and even if they don’t they’ll probably visit your site again and again.

So let’s recap, you’ve been doing Twitter marketing all wrong. Your goal should not be to build a gigantic non-responsive follower’s list, but rather to leverage the lists of your existing users to build traffic and to build a responsive follower’s list of you own. Once you get that down, the rest is easy.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: July 8th, 2009 under Guest Posts  

29 Responses to “The Secret of Promoting Your Site via Twitter”

  1. Twittley is a great tool for twitter promotion. I been using for almost a week or 2. Really drives from to my blog from twitter and twittley. Got to love that Twittley/Twitter combo.

  2. Many people are taking advantage by using the twitter to their blogs and they get lot of traffic and follower.Your all points are very appropriate.

    • yes many ppl are getting huge traffic from twitter (retweets more) and get good success in getting huge amount of visitors. but there are many spammers out there as well. i am also trying to get good from twitter and other Social sites

  3. Buat blog says:

    Your post explaining much about twitter tips, thanks.

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  5. Luca says:

    I’ve got to say that I love twitter. I’ve seen a big increase intraffic since I’ve been using it. Having said that I see people not using it properly – it’s true that people will follow like minded people, build a relationship and don’t spam then your tweets will actually be read.

  6. A few friends and myself have been analyzing Twitter traffic for almost a year now and have come to the conclusion that Twitter traffic is about as useful as traffic exchange traffic. Very high bounce rates, low conversion rates. I’ll stick to PPC because the time involved in milking Twitter for non-converting traffic is worth more to me than what I pay in PPC.

    Also, the whole concept of making friends so you can market to them (ie: permissive marketing) is quite banal in IMHO.

    • I agree on most of your points about standard Twitter traffic and the amount of effort required to generate said traffic not being commensurate with the reward (too much work, too little reward).

      That’s why I recommend letting your users do the work for you, let them find the followers, let them tweet the information.

      To do that I obviously recommend services such as ours at http://www.Twittley.com, just install the code and let others do your Twitter marketing for you while you concentrate on other items such as SEO and PPC.

  7. Nice tips Joel. I personally think that blindly following people that is in different niche doesn’t really helps, because they’re not interested in what you’re saying. If you’re tending to make money from your followers by selling products, this way doesn’t really help.

    -Davis-

  8. DirectAgents says:

    Great post! Brutally honest, but absolutely true. A lot of people have misconceptions about who will read their twitter updates and how much other people will actually care. You bring light to some really valid points.

    • If there is one thing I am known for, it’s being brutally honest ;)

      Heck, I’ve even trashed Tyler a few times on this blog and I think we should all give him credit for giving me a guest post spot in spite of that.

  9. Although I don’t consider a very good marketing tool there are several free tools that can help your efforts. Here 2..

    Twitterfeed – This tool allows you to tweet your lastest blog post automatically,

    Tweetlater – This service allows you to set up a min-autoresponder. When people follow you it will automatically send out a direct message to them. It also allows you to set up automatic tweets for later dates.

  10. Twitter sure is a great marketing tool, I implement it all the time

  11. […] Read this article: The Secret of Promoting Your Site via Twitter | TylerCruz.com: An … […]

  12. Dana says:

    Tyler, I complained about your last paid post, so I feel it’s only fair to compliment you on this one. (To everyone: I’m sure that both were not written by Tyler, but since they are on his blog, that’s where I will voice my opinion.)

    This post is very well-written, and the bits of humor here and there help keep the reader engaged. I like how it offers helpful information about Twitter without making any dubious claims. The entire post made me rethink how I am using Twitter for my needs. Right now, I have almost 500 followers and am following about the same amount of people. The “noise” from all their tweets can be quite deafening at times and none of it seems suited to my purpose. I’m definitely going to learn more about Twittley and see what they have to offer.

  13. Johno says:

    Wow, this post sucked. No good advice, not funny, irritating to read. Who taught you English? Do you know what a run on sentence is?

    “What we’ve learned is the most effective means of marketing on Twitter is to leverage your existing relationships with your site visitors by getting them to recommend your site to their followers and we have to make it as easy for them to do so as possible.”

    Jesus that was a terrible read.

  14. Twitter is a QUICK and EASY giant Link Dump :)

    -Mike

  15. gurtey says:

    yeah, agreed …i dont know many chicks are following me!

  16. Saurabh says:

    So, who is the best person on the net giving make money online tips..

    http://www.hiburrito.com/en/PollRotation.aspx?IdPoll=460

    Right now John Chow is leading, could it be, tyler cruz..??

  17. JJ says:

    Interesting article. It seems that the automated retweet is making a lot of prolific tweeters roll their eyes, and yet you’re absolutely right: people retweet when you make it easy to retweet, and it WORKS.
    I haven’t decided which philosophical side I come down on on this topic, but I really like the perspective from which you wrote it.
    Thanks for making it available.

  18. Dustin says:

    The big problem I see with Twitter is that although its good for marketing purposes, many people are beginning to SPAM Twitter and use it for advertising purposes. The idea of getting traffic from Twitter should be to target your traffic and have them convert through clicking your link to your landing page. Many people are just doing blackhat techniques through it.

    Bottom line, Twitter needs to do a bit of cleaning up of those accounts. Believe it or not, I did a search on “search.twitter.com” the other day for the search term “acne.” Believe it or not, almost 75% of the results were people promoting acne products. 75% advertisers fighting for 25% consumers, you do the math.

    Another thing that is crazy is the fact that there are services offering to get you XX amount of followers for $0.10+ a follower. Why pay all that when you can do it on your own? Another way people are trying to monetize Twitter just for their own pockets. I haven’t heard anything bad about these services, then again, I’ve never heard any good neither.

  19. Thats quite true, two sites which help in finding people with similar interests to follow (and hence make them follow back, cos they usually do) are
    Twollo.com – The autofollow site. Feed in a keyword, and it’ll find you people to follow based on who ever used the word recently.
    Twellow.com – The twitter yellow pages site. where you can find people having the same interests as you, as the users are categorized.

  20. Twitter is one of the famous social media sites most used these days, you can get sales by referring other person or professional to a certain product in return thy will refer you the same thing you did for them.

  21. Yes, you can send as a text. First go to your Twitter account and go to “devices” under “settings” and type in your number and save. They will give you a code that you have to send as a text to the number they provide depending where you live:

  22. Twitter is a micro-blogging site. Twittering is a verb form made from the name of the site to signify participation. Micro-Blogging in general is a designation for a SHORT update that fits in the allowed characters of an SMS message.

  23. Ben Pei says:

    Hmm really good pointers there Tyler.. All that myths about twitter…

  24. Twitter can be very useful in promoting your site. However, you need to make it appear more natural than sort of automated in form.

  25. fx15 says:

    Twittley is a great tool for twitter promotion. ;)

PeerFly

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