One of the best ways of creating your own online community is using Twitter. Enough has been said & written about Twitter. But as a new blogger, you will find it rather difficult to create your own community on Twitter.
The first part of the challenge is to get good followers. The second part of the challenge is to engage your followers, or the people you are following, into more meaningful conversations.
Simply following, or being followed, does not help anyone.
Getting popular on Twitter is not easy – simply because its too crowded already. It has famous people twittering & it has spammers crying for attention. Creating your own conversing Twitter community is going to take time. You can begin with the simple tips that had helped me get started:
1. Tweet regularly, but Tweet sense. Think of what all could be essential to your followers – what you think could add some value to their time & Tweet about that. You have to keep it less than 140 words!
2. Use the Twitter Plugin for WordPress. This helps you send a Tweet anytime you post. You may wish not to publish certains posts on Tweet & the plugin has the option to do that too.
3. Show your Tweeter activities on your blog sidebar. This is a nifty way to let your readers know what you are busy with at that moment.
4. Use Twitter apps to search for popular Tweets. Addictomatic helps you search for the hot Tweets & TweetBeep sends you an email alert every time Twitter finds a match to your search. With these you can easily find out the other people on Twitter who are talking about topics useful to you, or you can contribute too.
5. Follow some of the more respected people on Twitter. They may not even know who you are, but you can follow them to learn from them – how they tweet, what they tweet, when they tweet, how they respond to tweets etc – a complete range of behavior.
6. Say Thanks & Say it often. Well you are thankful to anyone who is following you, but you should be specially thankful who are willing to engage in more meaningful conversations with you. They are equally inclined to build an online Twitter community with you. Return the favor with contributions & a simple thank you.
7. Re-Tweet – I picked this up from Kevin Rose, the architect & founder of Digg. Kevin explains retweeting as broadcasting a tweet to your group. This is a viral way of spreading any messages from one network to another.
8. Create activities in your twitter groups – I used to do a lot of “asking questions” & “asking for suggestions” to my Twitter groups. Many of the people following me would not respond, simply because they are busy following people. There would always be some who would take the time to respond. They are very valuable members of your Twitter followers. Track them carefully.
9. Create your Twitter profile with all the essential information. I always suggest to post a picture of your self – this helps people to put a face to a name. If you are serious about your Twitter community, do not post a scenery on your profile. Most suspicious people & spammers would put up a vague picture. I usually block such followers. Use your primary website or blog as a link to your portfolio.
10. Answer questions in your twitter community. If anyone has asked for information or help, respond with your thoughts & follow through. It is all right if you do not know what to answer, but if you do, reach out to help! Online communities are all about helping & co-operation. If you cannot help while you can, you will not be helped either.
I have followed most of the above when I began using Twitter. I had reasonable success & I got to know of quite a few people in various other networks through my Twitter friends.
I must say it was not always easy. You will ask questions & no one will answer. You will answer to someone’s question & you will not hear back. Do not be disappointed, keep doing it & over a period of time, you will get through to the right people.
The one thing I would stress is to be cautious of your image & identity. If you are a serious internet blogger & want to make money from blogging, you should create your online identity accordingly. And done right, Twitter could help you in the long run.