Understanding Twitter Part 2 – Why You Should Use Twitter
Last week during part 1, I talked about what Twitter is and terminology you need to know. Now, I know I told you that this week’s guide would be about promoting your blog. However, I am pushing that back to another post. I know, I know. I didn’t keep my word. I’m sorry. I promise it was with good intention. You see, a lot of the feedback I got from part 1 was figuring out why you should be on Twitter. After all, there are so many other social media platforms, how can you possibly have time for one more? Please forgive me, but I thought it would make more sense to explain why you should be on Twitter before I got into tips, tricks, and etiquette. Part 2 will be covering why you should use Twitter, both for non-bloggers and bloggers.
There are a handful of reasons, with these being the top three: to network, to promote your brand, and to stay current with news. Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook or Pinterest, Twitter allows you to (easily) have conversations with other Twitter users. Imagine texting someone without actually giving out your phone number or worrying about international charges. It’s amazing how much support you can find on social media. On the down side, there are some hateful people and spoilers. If you watch reality tv and didn’t see a certain episode right when it aired, stay away. Stay far away from Twitter (And Facebook. Someone on Facebook decided to announce the Top Chef Master winner literally right after it aired. One. Minute. After. I was not happy).
If you are a non-blogger, you can use Twitter to stay up to date with your favorite bloggers and companies. What I love about Twitter is you can easily send someone a message and (hopefully) hear back. It is a great platform to have a conversation versus writing on someone’s Facebook wall. Sometimes companies run Twitter-only specials. Take Georgetown Cupcakes for example. Every day, they have a hidden flavor on the menu. If you go to their bakery and ask for it, you’ll get it free. Other companies will let you know of upcoming events or specials that are open to everyone (not just Twitter followers). Some companies such as Verizon will respond to troubleshooting tweets. One time, I said something about Verizon network being down at work. Verizon tech support replied to my tweet about it, asking if they can help resolve it. Companies can keep an eye on certain key words that pop up in tweets (such as the company name), so even if you don’t tweet them directly, they can still find your tweets and act accordingly.
If you are following food bloggers, not only will you find never-ending inspiring recipes, if you ask, we will answer (ok so not everyone will answer, but most of us will!). I’ve gotten several questions about recipes via Twitter, and I was more than happy to respond. It may not be right away, but I will answer. Even if it’s something not related to me specifically (“how do you substitute x item?”), I will do my best to either answer you or refer you to a website or even another blogger. Bloggers definitely know other bloggers, so if you ask me about Mexican cuisine, I have 2 or 3 bloggers I can connect you with since that is not a specialty of mine. Bloggers love hearing from readers, especially if you have made our recipes. I welcome comments with open arms. Hey, I’ll even share with my readers if you send me a picture. We also appreciate any not-so-happy feedback too, like if a recipe didn’t work out or if you had some concern. Or you can just send us a message saying hi.
You can also find people who share your interests. You can go to search and type in a keyword, such as photography or gardening. Or you can follow a certain hashtag (remember that? It’s the keyword with # in front of it). Chopped on Food Network is a good one. If you are currently watching it, especially a new episode, you can find others watching it by using the hashtag #Chopped.
Twitter is also good for staying current with news. You can focus on a certain industry, such as a career you work in, or you can follow local news stations. When something big happens in the current world, such as a shooting, celebrity death, election debates, or websites being hacked, I typically find out first on Twitter from other users. I’m usually not near a tv otherwise. I was joking during the Democratic Convention, saying that I didn’t need to watch it because everybody was tweeting every quote from that night.
If you are a blogger, you can use Twitter not only to stay up to date with other bloggers and companies, you can use it to connect with your readers. Bonding with your readers is almost as important as having good content, if not more. Think about customer service. If you had a great experience, you are more than likely to keep using that company, yes? However, if you had a terrible experience, you will do anything and everything to never use that company and make sure others know too. There is one particular blogger who no matter how hard I tried would never reply to me. I’ve tried on numerous occasions, so it’s not an isolated incident. I know she’s there because she will reply to other people. Regardless of the reason, this makes me not want to support her. Don’t snub your readers, especially if there is a question involved. I’ll admit I sometimes forget to thank people for retweets and shares (thank you!), so I’m not perfect either. I will, however, make sure you get an answer if you ask me something (even if it’s just “I don’t know”).
Twitter is also a great tool to promote your blog. People follow you to stay up to date, not only for new posts but to also get to know you personally. It’s much easier for people to relate to you if you show that you are a human being. Think about the people you follow – why? Is it because that person has recipes that make you drool? Is it because that person has a very photogenic cat? Perhaps that person is great with words and has tweets that you constantly want to share. Whatever that reason is (and all three are perfectly acceptable), don’t forget readers are thinking the same about you. I will talk more about using Twitter to promote your blog in a future post. Just keep in mind that you always want to view your account from a reader’s perspective, not a blogger’s perspective.
This wraps up part 2 as to why you should be on Twitter. Have I convinced you yet to join? Or do you still have questions? Check back next week for part 3!