Want to get your blog in front of an audience? It isn’t easy. If you want to succeed as a professional blogger you have to realize that most people who try to break into this field fail at it. This means you need to set yourself apart from the rest and realize what the most successful bloggers are doing.

The good news is that once you realize what they are doing right, success isn’t all that hard. It just takes time, dedication, and tools. One of the most helpful tools you should have in your arsenal is Twitter.

But Nobody’s On Twitter

Many bloggers are hesitant to get on Twitter because they don’t believe it’s where their customers are. In reality, there are 100 million people who use the site at least once a month . While this may seem paltry in comparison to Facebook’s claimed 800 million users, half of which sign on every day, it’s a mistake to directly compare the two networks in this way.

Most people who use Facebook use it exclusively to talk to their friends and acquaintances. They do not use Facebook to find information. Their friends might occasionally share a piece of entertainment with them, and this might get a conversation going. But Facebook communities revolve around close, personal relationships. Twitter communities are much more likely to revolve around topics. And this is the kind of community that you need to build to get a loyal following on your blog.

A recent survey demonstrates that those who tweet are five times more likely than the average American to own their own blog. They are three times more likely to comment on a blog or a forum. They are 4.5 times more likely to upload videos to a blog or YouTube.

Twitter users also bring this tendency to promote things into the offline world. They are twice as likely to have professionally published something, 142 percent more likely to be involved in political causes, and 141 percent more likely to be a member of a lobbyist group or something similar.

Why Does this Matter?

A successful blog doesn’t just have a lot of visitors, it has visitors who are strongly engaged with it. It has visitors who get excited about the material, want to share it with other people, and who want to have discussions about it. It doesn’t just have visitors, it has a genuine community.

A blog without a community might have short term success if it has a lot of traffic, but it is at risk of failing in the long term. Whether the traffic is coming from search engines or advertisements, it means that your visitors are coming from somebody else. Changes in the search engine algorithms or advertising landscape could wipe out the traffic overnight. But a community keeps coming back as long as you still offer what they want.

How to Build a Following Using Twitter

Simply being on Twitter will not reap rewards. Yes, it’s the place to be if you want to find users who are seriously interested in the topic of your blog, but you’ll have to be strategic about it in order to succeed. Millions of people are on Twitter and most of them aren’t full time bloggers. While there’s no one right way to build a Twitter following, these suggestions should prove fruitful:

Shameless self promotion isn’t the way to go – Nobody gets on Twitter to be sold to. They might be there to talk about something, to learn something, or to declare their allegiance to something, but they aren’t their to be marketed to. Marketing on Twitter, then, can be nothing like marketing on the television or in the magazines.

Offer value to your audience – Always think about your audience first, even if you don’t have one yet. Before you share one of your blog posts, ask how it will benefit them to read it. If it won’t, don’t bother. Write a new blog post. Share more than just your own material, since this is seen as greedy, not to mention people will expect you to Tweet more often than you post on your blog.

Use the search field – The ability to search Twitter for information about a particular topic is one of its greatest strengths. It helps you find people who are interested in the topics you are writing about. Don’t start the conversation by telling them to visit your blog. Try asking a question or sharing something interesting that they would like to know instead.

Look for partners, not just customers – This is what separates the bloggers who use Twitter from the bloggers who dominate it. They realize that the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” has never been more true. They also realize that it no longer makes sense to draw a hard line between partner and customer. Instead, there are simply partners who are more or less influential than one another.

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