Saturday, March 20, 2010

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.

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

#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.

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?

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.

#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.

#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.

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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