Increase website traffic with Twitter for free
Updated 9th September 2016
Twitter is a massive source of free traffic for your website or blog. Don’t just take my word for it, some of the top marketers in the world use Twitter to drive massive traffic to their blogs or websites.
As Social Media expert Kim Garst says:
“Twitter is my #1 source of social media referral traffic… consistently in the top 3 sources of my website traffic as a whole… and the important part is… I can do it all for free!”
Best of all, it’s not difficult.
If you follow the simple Twitter marketing strategy outlined in this article, it will only take you a few minutes per day to grow your followers, engage with them, have them share your content, and get free traffic from Twitter to your website or blog.
What you will learn in this article
- How to grow a large base of targeted Twitter followers in just a few minutes a day
- How to automatically fill your Twitter feed with high-quality content your followers will love
- How to turn your followers into engaged fans
- How to get your posts seen and shared
- Free Tools you can use to do most of the work for you
- A simple workflow to use for all your articles or blog posts to drive traffic to them
And because of the automated tools and systems we’re going to use, it will only take you a few minutes a day. A lot of this Twitter traffic strategy will run on autopilot once you’ve set it up.
To stay updated on the latest Twitter marketing tips, make sure you follow me on Twitter:
Prepare your Twitter profile for more traffic
Your Profile is your shop window on Twitter, so you need to make this attractive, engaging and relevant to the followers you want to attract.
Your profile pictures are the first things people see, so make sure you’ve got good ones! You can create these yourself using free tools like Canva or PicMonkey, which can enable even the graphically-challenged to produce good results.
Optimise your Twitter Bio
Your Bio is crucial. Think of it as your business card, or your shop window — it needs to get across who you are and what you do. You’ve only got 160 characters so make them count.
It’s important to make sure your profile contains relevant keywords, so your profile pops up when people search for them within Twitter.
Note: Don’t include #hashtags in your bio — if you do, people will click on them and that instantly takes them away from your page! Use keywords instead (without the #), you’ll still show up in searches but they aren’t clickable.
There is a field in your Twitter profile for your website address, make sure you fill it in.
You can also include a website address in your Bio, as well as in the website field. You can use this to send visitors to a different site or landing page if you want, and having two links increases your chances of a click though.
It goes without saying that you should have links to your Twitter profile, and ‘Follow me on Twitter’ buttons all over everything — your website, your blog, your other social media accounts, your email signature etc.
You should also make sure you have social sharing buttons on all your blog posts and web pages, to make it easy for people to share your content on Twitter.
Once your Profile is ready, make sure you have some interesting and engaging content in your Twitter stream for your new followers to see. Nobody is going to follow you if it looks like you have nothing useful to say!
If you’re struggling to have enough Tweets of your own to begin with, share other people’s (see the section below on how to do this).
Now you’ve got your house in order, we can start getting some more Twitter followers.
How to get more Twitter followers
Let’s be very clear here — you only want targeted followers who are interested in what you do.
There is absolutely no point in adding followers who aren’t relevant. They won’t do anything for you, and will only make you look spammy. So steer well clear of those people on fiverr.com promising you 1,000 new Twitter followers for $5 and the like.
So, how do you get more Twitter followers who are relevant to what you do — your target audience — where do you go to find them?
Well it’s surprisingly easy.
All you have to do is to find people who do something similar to you (such as your competitors), or other people who are influential in your market, and see who is following them.
These people are the people you want to attract as followers — your target audience.
Once you’ve found them, all you have to do is to follow them, and a percentage of them will follow you back. They will see your profile when you follow them (and you already know they are interested in what you do), so if your profile appeals to them, then they will want to follow you too. Or they may just follow you back out of good manners!
Either way, you will add new followers very easily this way. And they will be very targeted — the sort of followers you want to attract. In my experience, around 30%—40% of people you follow in this way will follow you back.
So, to summarise, the process is:
- Find people who are influential in your market (including your competitors)
- Find the people who are following them — these are the followers you want
- Follow them and and they will follow you back
Step 1 — Find people who are influential in your market
How do you do this? Well the chances are you’ll know some of them already, especially your competitors (you do follow your competitors don’t you…?).
But to find more, just head over to BuzzSumo.
This is a great free tool for finding the most shared content, and the key influencers in any market.
Click on the ‘Influencers’ tab at the top, and then enter your topic in the search box, and you’ll get back a list of people who are influential in this topic. You can see how many followers they have got, how often they retweet, information about their domain authority, and you can even see which links they have shared.
In the example below, I’ve searched for the people who are most influential on the topic “SEO”.
Sort the list by ‘Followers’, and you’ll get a list of the people with the most twitter followers
Make a list of the Twitter user names of the top few that you think look relevant to you.
You won’t need too many. Just 5 key influencers will keep you going for quite a while if they have lots of followers. You can always come back for more later, and perhaps try a different topic that is still related to yours.
Bonus Tip — find potential sharers for your content
You can also use the ‘Content Research’ tab on BuzzSumo to find the most shared articles on your topic.
If you then click ‘View Sharers’, you can see all the people who have shared these articles.
So here you have a list of people who are known to share content on your topic. Rich pickings for you — if you engage with these people, they will likely share your content too. Follow them, and as before, many of them will follow you back.
Now you have a list of several key influencers in your market, and hopefully you already know who your competitors are. What we now want to do is to find all the people following these people, and follow them so that they can in turn follow you back.
Luckily there is a free tool to do this for you. Enter Tweepi.
Step 2 — Find their followers and follow them
Tweepi will find all the followers of your influencers/competitors that you found in the previous step, and let you follow them.
There’s a bit more to it than this though. We need to add some refinements, and for this I am indebted to Robbie Richards as I first saw this method in his tutorial on YouTube.
Signup with Tweepi (it’s free) and login to your account.
Go to ‘Follow Tools’ in the top menu and select ‘by @user’s followers’.
You can now enter the Twitter username of the influencer whose followers you wish to harvest. I’m going to use @neilpatel as an example as he’s a huge influencer in my market.
Tweepi will now show you all the people who are following your chosen influencer, together with some information: when they last tweeted, how many followers they have, and their ratio of followers:friends (people they follow).
You can add some filters to narrow the selection down a bit. We only want people who are active on twitter, who have a reasonable number of followers (so that people see what they share), and who aren’t following so many people that they will never see our tweets in the crowd.
Also, we can filter out people who are already following us.
Use the ‘Add filter criteria’ button to do this, like in the example below:
Robbie uses some different filtering criteria from me, this is just what is working well for me at the moment. Experiment with your own settings and see what works best for you.
To avoid getting shut down by Twitter, limit the people you follow to no more than 120 per day.
I keep a log of how many people I add each day, which filters I used, and which influencer they came from, and record how many of them follow me so I can measure the results and fine-tune my process.
Now you can’t just keep on doing this forever, as you’ll end up following millions of people and you’ll drown in a sea of tweets and your friends:followers ratio will look really poor.
Tweepi has another tool that will remove all the people who haven’t followed you back after 5 days. You access this tool under under the ‘Manage Twitter’ menu > ‘Not following back’.
So each day, before you start following new people, run this tool to unfollow all the people who didn’t follow you back. This will keep the number of people you are following under control.
In total this takes about 10 minutes per day, and you should be able to add about 30-50 targeted new followers per day, depending upon the influencers and filters you use. Some will work better than others so record your results to help you see what works best.
Over a month you should add about 900—1,500 targeted twitter followers, for just 10 minutes work per day. And for free!
Now you’ve got a good profile and a growing base of target followers, what’s next?
You have a hungry crowd, so you need to feed it. And most importantly, you need to engage with it, and build relationships with your followers.
Thank people for following you
I always thank people for following me, either with a tweet or a simple direct message. It’s only good manners, and it can be the start of a conversation. People that you engage with personally are far more likely to share your content.
A good tip (this one from Michael Karp at Copytactics) is to include a link to an article on your blog, or your website in this message.
People will often click on your link (if you make your link with bit.ly you can see how many do), and they may well share the thing you have directed them to as well.
You can use the free service from crowdfire to send these messages automatically when somebody follows you.
I generally try to send them manually then I can be more personal, but if I know I’m not going to be around for a while to send them, I’ll use crowdfire to send them in my absence.
This technique is controversial however, as a lot of people hate auto-DMs, and may unfollow you as a result. Test it, and see if it works for you.
People will often send you welcome messages when you follow them too. Reply to them, it’s all part of building relationships.
Somebody, I forget who (it was probably Kim Garst) said in relation to social media — “Be Social”.
Share useful and valuable information (not just your own posts!)
You know yourself, if somebody just sends you self-serving ‘look at my stuff’ emails or tweets, you soon lose interest and unfollow them, or don’t read their messages.
Don’t fall into that trap yourself.
Sure you want to promote your own content, that’s why we’re here, but don’t just promote your own stuff. It’s all part of being social — nobody likes somebody who just talks about themselves all the time.
When you see content from your followers (and elsewhere), that is relevant and useful for your audience, then share it.
If it’s valuable then your followers will thank you for it, and so will the person whose content you shared. And they will be more likely to share your content in return.
The more high-quality content you share the better. It reflects well on you as the person who brought it to your audience’s attention. It builds goodwill in your community, encourages people to share your content in return, and dilutes your own posts so you don’t look too self-serving.
But where do you find the good stuff to share?
How to find shareworthy content from other people
There are a few methods you can use.
Firstly, you can use BuzzSumo ‘Content Research’ as described above to find popular content and share it.
Your own personal web browsing, Twitter feed, Facebook news feed, and so on will often show you things that it would be worthwhile sharing. All you have to do is to be consciously on the lookout for things to share, and you’ll find plenty of them. Just share them!
Setup Google Alerts for keywords in your market to notify you when new articles or news stories are published, and share the best ones.
That all involves a bit of work. Not much, but you may not have time to do it every day. Luckily there’s an easy solution using a free service called Twitterfeed which will give you a steady stream of relevant, targeted content on autopilot.
Twitterfeed is designed to allow you to publish your blog posts automatically to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But you can also use it to post other people’s blog posts to your twitter account automatically
Make a list of say 5 people who can be relied upon to consistently produce good quality content, that is relevant and useful to your audience (make sure that it is good relevant content though, as you’re going to setup a system to automatically share it to all your followers!).
Find the URL of the RSS newsfeed on their site (it will normally just their domain name with ‘/feed’ at the end of it — e.g. timfelmingham.com/feed).
Head over to Twitterfeed and setup a free account.
Add the URL of the feed and customise the settings for how and where you want the articles shared. Every time a new blog post is published it will be tweeted automatically on your twitter account.
Whilst you’re at it, post it to your Facebook Page at the same time — posting quality, useful content to your Facebook page has the same benefits for your Facebook engagement.
Set up a feed for each of the 5 sites whose content you want to share.
You now have a stream of top-quality, relevant, useful items that are shared automatically on your Twitter account without you having to do anything. Total time to setup about 10 minutes, no further work required!
How to get more Twitter traffic to your website
Now you have a growing following that is highly engaged, and used to receiving quality information from you, it’s time to start sharing some of your own content. Which was after all the object of the exercise!
Well that’s not actually correct, the object of the exercise is to drive traffic to your website. You do this by sharing tweets that include a link to your site. A tweet without a link is a wasted opportunity. Also tweets with links get shared (retweeted) more than tweets without links.
Use a link-shortening service like bit.ly. This will also give you some useful stats about how often your link was clicked on, and shared by other people.
The aim of the game is to get your tweet seen by as many people as possible, and the way to do that is to get people to share it.
There are some specific techniques you can use to get more retweets (shares), but first you have to make sure your tweets are inherently shareable in the first place.
4 Tips to make your tweets more shareable
1. Use images
Tweets with images get more clicks, more favourites and more retweets. Bright colourful images stand out in the Twitter stream and are more likely to be seen, leading to more clicks and more shares. Again, you can use free tools like PicMonkey or Canva to create the images which should be 1024 pixels x 512 pixels. You can get some great royalty-free stock photographs to use as they are, or modify by overlaying text and graphics on them. This article shows you where to find stock photos for free.
2. Use #hashtags
Hashtags help people to find the content that interests them. By using hashtags you will reach people outside your followers who are looking for your content. How do you find which hashtags to use? Look at what hashtags your competitors and key influencers are using, and you can use services like hashtagify.me to research new ones. According to Postcron, Tweets that include hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted than those without.
3. Write great headlines
Headlines sell newspapers. They also sell tweets. If your headlines are attention-grabbing and engaging, more people will read your tweets and click through to your links. Don’t forget to include visual headlines in your images too.
4. Keep your tweets below 100 characters
Leave space in your tweet so people have room to add a comment and don’t have to edit your tweet before they retweet it. Make it easy for them.
For some great ideas and inspiration on different types of tweets you can use, see this excellent article by Kim Garst.
8 ways to get more retweets
Assuming you now have the basis of a shareable tweet, here are some specific techniques that will help you get more retweets:
1. Ask for a retweet
Simple — if people know what you want them to do, they are more likely to do it! Saying ‘Please Retweet’ will work better than abbreviating it to ‘RT’.
2. @Mention others in your tweet
If you mention other people in a tweet they are firstly more likely to see it, and secondly, more likely to retweet it.
3. Reach out to people who have shared similar content
Find people who have shared similar content in the past (see ‘Bonus Tip’ above) and send them a tweet or a direct message. Something along the lines of “I know you’re interested in XXX, thought you might like this…”. You know they have shared similar content in the past so there’s a good chance they will share yours too.
4. Build a list of receptive followers/friends
Keep a note of people who share or favourite your tweets and reach out to them individually, again with tweet or DM asking them for a retweet. Tools such as HootSuite can help with this.
5. Form alliances with other people who share the same audience
Often you can find people who are in the same market as you, but who aren’t direct competitors, and agree between you to share each other’s content. This applies not just on Twitter, but with website links, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
6. Thank people who share your content and share theirs in return
Good manners and karma — what goes around comes round. If you appreciate people and help them back, they will help you more in future.
7. Tag Retweet Groups
Retweet Groups are Twitter accounts that will retweet your tweet if you tag it with their hashtag. For example, there is a Business Marketing Retweet Group that will retweet any tweet with #BMRTG in it. To find relevant retweet groups for your audience, just enter ‘retweet group’ in the twitter search box, together with your keywords, and look for suitable ones. Once you’ve found them, add their hashtag to tweets you’d like them to retweet and they will be retweeted automatically.
8. Use only one hashtag
Tweets with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two.
How to get more people to see your tweets
Everybody’s Twitter feed is very congested, with new tweets appearing every couple of seconds. Just like Facebook, all of your followers will not see all of your tweets. People have been lamenting the declining organic reach (the number of people who see your posts without you paying for advertising) of both Facebook and Twitter for some time now, but it’s a physical impossibility for all of your followers to see all of your tweets. They aren’t all online all the time, a problem made worse by different time zones, and if they aren’t online at the moment you tweet, the chances are your tweet will be long gone the next time they login.
You can check your own Twitter Analytics to confirm, but it’s likely that less than 10% of your followers will see your tweets. In other words, over 90% of your followers won’t even see your tweets, let alone click on them or retweet them!
Not really, there’s a simple solution — just repeat your tweets. Each time you send it, more people will see it, and eventually, most of your followers will hopefully see it at some point.
But doesn’t that get annoying, and look spammy?
Yes, if everybody saw all your tweets it would certainly be annoying. But they don’t (that’s the whole reason for repeating them), so it can’t be annoying!
Obviously there is a fine line between repeating them often enough to get seen, and not repeating them so often that people do see them several times and get bored or annoyed — potentially leading to an unfollow.
The secret is to not just keep repeating the same tweet over and over again. Apart from anything else, when people look at your profile, it’s going to look ridiculous.
What you must do is to alternate it with other repeat tweets, so that the same one doesn’t come around too often.
If you look back through your old content (blog articles, web pages etc.), you’ll probably find a lot that is still relevant and useful today — so called ‘Evergreen Content’. There’s probably even more that could be dusted off and updated to make it Evergreen.
And most of your Twitter followers have probably never even seen it!
Make a list of these articles — as many as you can. Ideally you want at least 20, but if you haven’t got enough you can supplement them with the best of other people’s content that has performed well. If you’ve got 50+, that’s ideal.
Compose a tweet for each one, employing all the best practices covered above — links, images, hashtags, headline etc.
You can then load these tweets into an automated scheduler that will send them out in sequence for as long as you want. That way you can repeat your tweets without it being obvious or annoying, and once you’ve setup your queue, you don’t have to do anything, they will go out automatically.
The best tool I have found for this is Post Planner.
Post Planner will allow you to create a queue of tweets that will be sent out at specified times. These tweets can be set to repeat at any interval you choose, or can be set to recycle endlessly.
You can fill up your queue with your evergreen posts, and then just leave it to run on autopilot. If you have sufficient tweets in your queue (around 20-30 minimum), and you are also sharing other people’s tweets using the automated system above, the repetition won’t be obvious, and hopefully in time your tweets will now reach most of your followers.
Post Planner will also post your updates to Facebook as well, which will help you get around the same problem of declining organic reach on Facebook too.
Buffer is another popular system for doing this, and has a handy tool for analysing the best times of day to post, but you have to keep on refilling your queue — it won’t recycle posts automatically. For that reason, I prefer Post Planner, and it’s only $7 per month which is insignificant considering the time it will save you.
By using this technique you will get your tweets seen by many more people, and make use of your Evergreen Content to drive traffic to your website.
Add all of your future tweets to this queue (unless there is a reason not to, e.g. they are relevant only at a certain time) and get all of your tweets seen more from now on.
Summary — your action plan for getting free traffic from Twitter
You now have a strategy and a process for:
- Adding more targeted Twitter followers every day
- Engaging with them and building relationships
- Automatically providing them with quality, useful information they will appreciate, which in turn enhances your reputation and engagement
- Getting your promotional tweets seen
- Getting your content shared by others
All of which will result in more free traffic to your website to blog from Twitter. After the initial setup, which might take you a couple of hours, much of it can be automated, leaving you with just a few minutes work each day.
Next steps — get the free worksheet
To make it easier for you to implement this process, I’ve produced a step-by-step Twitter Traffic Worksheet which will guide you through the process. Just follow the steps in the worksheet and you’ll be adding more followers and driving more traffic in no time. You’ll also know who the key influencers are in your market, and who you can reach out to to promote your content.
Click here to get the free Twitter Traffic Worksheet. It will help you enormously.
If you have any questions, as always don’t hesitate to drop me a line (I read and answer ALL emails, but I do get a lot so please bear with me if it takes a couple of days!) or leave a comment below. Please also share your experiences in the comments below and let me know how you get on.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
TIP: To get your content shared on Twitter more often, make sure you restore the Twitter Share Count on your social media sharing buttons. The more proof there is that your content has been shared already, the more likely people are to share it.