Lately, it’s been easy to fall out of love with Twitter.
After all, Instagram is so much prettier and Twitter seems to have become full of auto-Tweets, people endlessly promoting themselves (seriously, Tweeting your own blog post 10 times in 30 minutes is just unacceptable) and competition entries.
But Twitter remains a useful tool for food bloggers on many levels – if you’re prepared to put in a little work.
Here are our top 10 tips to fall in love with Twitter again:
Pin your favourite Tweet to your profile page. Log into Twitter.com on the web and you can ‘pin’ a particularly popular, pretty or otherwise interesting Tweet to the top of your Twitter stream, meaning people will see that before the, ahem, questionable Tweet you sent last night about Harry Styles. It’s a great way to help stellar content stand out.
Share more Photos
Twitter in 2015 is way more photo friendly than it used to be, with photos showing in people’s streams, even in third-party apps like Hootsuite. When you post a link to a recipe, be sure to include a great photo of the finished dish, and you’ll likely see up to 100% more clicks as a result.
Unclutter your Feed
If you’ve fallen out of love with Twitter because of the content of your timeline, the only person causing that problem is YOU! Using a tool such as Crowdfire or Tweepi allows you to quickly identify people you’re following who haven’t Tweeted lately or who only Tweet links, for example. Tweepi is also a fantastic way to find new people to follow based on their location, keywords, hashtags or even who they’re following (chances are if they’re following other food bloggers in your niche, they’re potentially a new contact for you, too!)
Make the Most of Current Events
At a certain point, it can feel like everyone relevant to your blog is following your account, and new followers are harder to come by. To overcome this hump, get involved in live tweeting at events and conferences, or even TV shows. Using a hashtag like #GBBO is a good way to network with people who are interested in food, but also a good way to connect with the brands and channels hosting these events and shows.
Stop Selling (so much)
There’s a good rule of thumb in online marketing circles that a Twitter stream should be equal parts telling, sharing and engaging. So, for every blog post you Tweet out, you should share another user’s Tweet, and respond to someone who has Tweeted you. And that doesn’t just mean you should RT people who said nice things about you, or respond to someone who shared your latest post. Keep some variety in your Tweets and don’t over-do the promotion.
Promote your Tweets
Twitter now lets you embed Tweets into content, meaning it’s easy to share a Tweet on your blog posts – why not ask a question at the end of a recipe, inviting readers to share the Tweet or reply with any questions they might have? Using your blog to drive people to Twitter will score you more engagement and potentially more followers.
Don’t be repetitive
Life moves pretty fast, especially on Twitter (as Ferris might have said if he was born 20 years later) so it’s not considered bad form to share a single blog post 3 or more times in a day, and perhaps over several days. But mindlessly sending duplicate Tweets every 2 hours isn’t going to make you many friends – if someone sees the same Tweet more than twice, there’s a good chance they will start to see you as spammy. When Tweeting posts, consider Tweeting the headline and main image first, then Tweeting with a different photo, then Tweeting with a question or challenge that gets people curious about the content. Mix it up a little.
Twitter has finally let us embed GIFs in Tweets and yes, that does mean you get access to many more amusing cat videos in your day, but they’re also a fab opportunity to showcase your content – why not share a tiny snippet of your recipe by creating your own GIF, or to add a fun emoticon-style ending to a Tweet? You can make your own GIFs pretty easily in Photoshop, or use a third party site like MakeaGif, which even offers a Chrome browser extension.
A nice idea for Twitter is to Tweet a small number of new people every day – between three and five. Look for people you’re not following using a relevant hashtag, or Tweeting at an event you’re interested in, or based in your home town. Maybe you offer a response to their opinion, or congratulate them on some good news, or offer some advice on a challenge they’re having (this doesn’t mean sending them a link to your foolproof custard recipe). It’s a great way to get out of the habit of Tweeting the same 10 people, day in, day out.
Join Twitter chats
They aren’t for everyone, but Twitter chats (where a bunch of people talk for an hour or more about a topic, and connect by using the same hashtag) can be a great way to meet new people who share a common interest. Some Twitter chats are sponsored by brands, while others are simply run by interested community users – there are food, family, travel, blogging and countless other hashtags out there – go and explore!