Most business owners and bloggers use Twitter to just for tweeting, and for the most part, do not get many customers from it. It has become a box that we check because everyone else is doing it. Unless you have a huge following and know what you are doing, it is hard to get people to go from your Twitter account to your business or blog.
Today, I am going to share an easy way for anyone to hack the power of Twitter and leverage it to deliver real people to your business, blog, or podcast. The great thing about this hack is that it will work for even the person that has only five followers on Twitter.
There are four simple steps to making the most of this Twitter hack.
#1 Set your profile up to stand out and drive traffic
#2 Identify Twitter profiles that match your target audience
#3 Follow the right people that are power users
#4 Send a direct message with a purpose to all new followers
Let’s go ahead and get right into breaking down this four step process, so you can start using today.
Step 1 – Design Your Twitter Profile for Maximum Engagement
The goal is to make your profile stand out and for you to look as sharp as possible in front of potential future customers. This marketing hack does not work if you do not optimize your Twitter profile for engagement. The three most important aspects of your profile for this hack are your profile photo, cover art, and bio.
What makes a good profile photo?
In episode 10, I talked about the results of a study that identified what types of profile photos made people like and trust you. There were four things that stood out above everything else.
- Wearing Glasses – This makes people perceive you as more competent and likeable.
- Eye Squinching Smiles – The big eye squinching smile had a positive impact on people believing that you were competent, likable, and influential.
- Show Your Teeth – The closed mouthed smile had only half of the positive impact as the open mouthed smile on perceived competence and influence.
- Dress Sharp – If you wear a nice dress shirt, then people believe that you are more influential.
Here are a few examples of great Twitter profile photos…
Pat Flynn squinching his eyes and showing his teeth right next to his microphone.
Michael Hyatt wearing a nice shirt with a great teethy smile.
Amy Porterfield is wearing a professional blue top paired with her gorgeous smile.
Three Best Types of Twitter Cover Photos
While the profile photo is more important than the cover art, a nice cover will make you stand out from the rest of the crowd that does not take the time to execute this.
#1 The Panoramic Photo
This photo can be of your family, you and your employees, or you standing on top of a mountain. The most important part of the panoramic photo is that you are in it.
I love how John Maxwell uses this tactic in his Twitter cover photo to show the excitement of an audience right before he begins speaking to them.
#2 The Promotion
The cover photo is a great location to promote something about yourself or your business. The best practice is to focus on one single call to action that is completely free. This could be a free download, free mini course, or your podcast.
Tim Ferriss does an excellent job promoting his podcast on his Twitter cover art. It showcases his show logo and lets people know to go listen to it on iTunes.
#3 The Logo and Tagline
Using your logo and tagline always looks great standing over your profile picture. Make it bold and use the logo’s colors to create a nice theme around your Twitter cover art.
Kate Erickson hits a home run with her cover art. She highlights the logo and tagline to the EOFire podcast in the middle of her Twitter cover, which also has the burning microphone icon in the background.
Create a Profile Bio that Drives Action
In this marketing hack, your bio is the driving force that makes people go to your website. You have 160 characters to work with, but you want to make sure your call to action makes up the first 80 characters. This will allow you to grab everyone’s attention and insure that your main message is read.
Here is my three point Twitter bio call to action template…
- First Sentence – Call to action for the url you are promoting.
- Target URL – Keep it nice and short.
- Last Sentence – Secondary reason for clicking on the target url.
Take a look at my bio to see how I used this three point tactic.
First Sentence Call to Action and Target URL
Host of The Blog Millionaire podcast (theblogmillionaire.com/podcast).
I do not have to go overboard on my first sentence because the name of my podcast, The Blog Millionaire, does a great job of selling the reason for clicking. I place my URL in parenthesis so that it has a natural flow with the sentence.
While preparing for this episode, I reviewed 1000s of bios and less than 5% even had a url. All links on Twitter are bright blue. Twitter has spent millions on how to get more of their users to click on links. When I scan through my followers, it is amazing how the profiles with bio links just jump out at me.
Last Sentence with Secondary Reason
Over 1 million people read Brandon’s blog every month.
With the secondary reason sentence, I used some social proof to let people know the reason why they should listen to my podcast.
Pin Your Best Piece of Content to the Top of Your Tweets
When someone comes to your profile page they are going to scan through your first couple of tweets. It is important that you put your best foot forward with a perfectly optimized tweet that links to one of your best pieces of content.
Here are some pinned tweets I have used in the past three years.
Pillar Content that Leads People to My Course – My best piece of pillar content is a 3000 word blog post breaking down the four strategies that I used to build my blog to 1 million monthly visitors.
My Podcast – I have a podcast page on my blog that has its own podcast player along with links to iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.
A Masterclass or Webinar – The pinned tweet that I am using right now is promoting my free online master class, “How I Got to 1 Million Monthly Visitors.”
The one thing that all my pinned tweets have in common is that they all generate signups to my course. If you do not have a course or a product, then you should promote a great post that has a content upgrade at the end. That way, you will at least be getting people to opt in to your email list.
There are three primary elements of an optimized pinned tweet.
Strong Call-to-Action – The words you use in your tweet should drive people to take action.
Link to a Post or Landing Page – This may sound like a no brainer, but I am constantly coming across pinned tweets that do not have any links.
A Supporting Image – An image is going to help frame your tweet, and tweets with images get more retweets. It is important to use an image that supports your call-to-action. Stay away from using stock images.
Here is my current pinned tweet.
My call-to-action asks them to watch my free masterclass, “How I Got to 1 Million Visitors.” I used a social proof image of my Google Analytics, which shows an upward line graph going beyond 2 million monthly visitors. I also merged a snapshot from SEMRush that values my monthly traffic at $250,000. Whether you are using statistics or testimonials, a social proof image can dramatically increase your clicks and conversions.
The bottom line is that 99% of Twitter users do not know how to optimize their profile to drive clicks and convert sales. By taking the time to create a great profile photo, cover image, bio, and pinned tweet, your profile will stand out and make you look like a true influencer in your industry.
Step 2 – Identify Twitter Profiles Whose Followers Are Your Target Audience
You should have a good idea of who the leaders in your industry are. Whether it is someone who offers the same type of service or someone that covers the same topics as your podcast, many of these competitors will have a strong following on Twitter.
If you take the time to identify these people, then you have direct access to their audience. It is a simple as clicking on their followers tab, and you will be able to see all of their raving fans.
There are three keys to narrowing down the profiles to the ones that you will focus your efforts around.
Key 1 – Choose the Best of the Best
You want to make a list of the 10 to 20 most successful people within the same space that you are playing in. These are the people that will have solid followers. The bulk of their followers will be some of the most active people on their email lists that also account for most of their social shares.
Key 2 – Make Sure They Are Active and Have at Least 5,000 Followers
The simple fact is that there are many industry leaders that do not invest time in Twitter. Make sure that they have a strong base of followers and are at the very least posting tweets on a weekly basis.
Key 3 – Eliminate Profiles that Do Not Have a Strong Followers to Following Ratio
You want to only go after Twitter accounts that have organic followers. Stay away from accounts that have built their followers up by following tens of thousands of other accounts. I look for accounts that have at least a 5 to 1 ratio. That means they would have 50,000 followers to following 10,000 or less.
How I Chose My Targets
For me, my target audience is a blogger that is wanting to increase their traffic and get the most out of monetizing their blog. Once I went through the three steps in identifying accounts to focus my efforts on, I was left eight solid profiles to target.
I focused my search on people that were direct competitors or had a similar audience to mine.
Since I run an online blogging course, I identified my top competitors that also were selling an online blogging course. Ruth Soukup was one of three of my competitors that met all of my qualifications. I recommend starting with your direct competitors first since this will produce the highest conversion ratio in regards to direct sales.
In addition to direct competitors, I went on to expand my target by looking for people that had a similar audience to mine. Pat Flynn’s audience is made up of people looking to build passive income. The majority of this audience is attempting to accomplish this via blogging. He also has an extremely popular podcast in the same category that my podcast is in.
Step 3 – Follow the Twitter Accounts that Are Active Power Users
Now that you have optimized your Twitter profile and identified your target accounts, now it is time to start engaging their audience.
Once you click on your target account’s followers tab, then you will have full access to every user that has followed their account. Although there are many programs out there that will automatically follow accounts, I recommend doing this by your own hand.
It does not take that long, and it will allow you to only follow the right people that have the greatest chance of engaging with your profile.
Three Qualifications to Make When Choosing Who to Follow
There is a simple way to scan and identify quality profiles to follow.
Qualification #1 – Profile Photo is a Real Person
Stay away from logos and the dreaded egg. Logos are typically company profiles that are mostly automated and run by some lower level admin. If it has an egg, then that person has not even taking the time to upload their own profile pic.
Qualification #2 – Use the Same Language as You
If you speak English and they speak Chinese, then it is going to be hard for them to understand your message.
Qualification #3 – Have a Complete Profile with Cover Art and Bio
The more complete their profile is, the more active they are on Twitter. This is a real easy way to focus your effort on the most active users, which will increase the amount of reciprocated engagement.
Here’s a quick visual example of how I chose who to follow and who not to follow.
What Happens When You Follow Someone Who is Active on Twitter
People that are active on Twitter will usually check their followers section on a daily basis. The vast majority of the people that you follow will have less than 1000 followers. This means that they may get a handful of new followers each week, and your follow is going to be noticed.
If your profile is optimized with a strong call to action, then you give the people you follow a way to return the favor. Once you optimize your profile, I recommend that you follow someone new and check out how your profile looks in their followers section.
When I take a look at how my profile looks on people that I have followed, it literally pops off the page compared to everyone else. Most people are curious to find out more about the other Twitter users that follow them. Some will check out your tweets and follow you. Others will click on your url to see what your website is all about.
Here’s a screenshot to let you see how powerful an optimized profile can be when you put it to work by following targeted users.
How Many People Should I Follow a Day
I recommend following between 50 and 100 profiles each day. This will take you five minutes to complete, which is a small investment to get your message in front of your target audience.
Twitter does have two following limits that you should be aware of…
- The Friend Limit – This limit basically allows anyone with less than 5000 followers to follow up to 5000 accounts. That means if you have 100 followers, then you will not be able to follow more than 5000.
- The Ten Percent Limit – This limiter allows you to follow up to 10% more than your total followers at any given point. If you have 100,000 followers, then you will be able to follow up to 110,000 Twitter accounts.
I also advise that you spend your time following people that have recently followed the accounts that you are targeting. These people will show up at the top of the followers section within each of the targeted accounts. The more target accounts you have, the easier it will be for you to focus on the people that have recently followed these accounts.
By doing this, you are going to be interacting with highly active Twitter users that recently found value in the individual that owns that specific Twitter account. Let me give you a real example that illustrates this a little better.
A female blogger reads a post by Pat Flynn on ways to make money with a blog. She liked what she read and decide to follow Pat Flynn. I see her in Pat Flynn’s followers section of his Twitter account, and I follow her. The blogger gets a message of a new follower and takes a look at my Twitter page. She sees my pinned tweet and clicks on my call to action for my masterclass, “How I Got to 1 Million Monthly Visitors.” The masterclass hits the blogger during a time when she is being proactive about growing her blog, and she decides to sign up for my online course.
Converting social media traffic is all about timing. That is why you want to focus your efforts on the most recent followers of your target accounts.
Step 4 – Direct Message Every Person that Follows You
The direct message is a very powerful tool that very few people use. While there are no hard numbers out there, most experts estimate that less than 1% of Twitter profiles send more than one direct message per month. And for the ones that are using direct messaging, few are leveraging it for maximum engagement.
While some power users have turned off notifications for new followers, the vast majority of Twitter users get direct message notifications sent to their email and directly to their cell phone via text message. Most of us know that every email does not get opened and read. However, when was the last time that you did not read a text that popped up on your phone? I read every text that I get. Even the occasional text spam.
This is why you need to send every new follower a direct message.
The Three Direct Message Types that Get the Highest Engagement
When it comes to direct messaging there are three clear winners that are used 95% of the time by Twitter marketing experts. The first thing you should do before you try to engage them is to thank them for following you.
Your direct message should begin like this..
Thank you for following me.
Then you can go into one of the three popular engagement strategies.
DM Tactic #1 – Ask a Question
Since you only follow people that fall into a target audience with a specific pain point, then it should be pretty easy to come up with a single question that resonates with every new follower.
Here are two that I have used in the past couple of years..
What is the biggest struggle you are having with your blog right now?
I get over 1 million monthly visitors to my blog. Would you like me to take a quick look at your blog and show you a few simple changes you can make to get more traffic?
DM Tactic #2 – Give a Freebie Away
The freebie is the most used DM tactic by marketing firms with their clients. You will want to do your best in phrasing it as a special reward that is only available to your followers.
Here is a good example of how to execute the exclusive freebie…
Since you followed me, I am going to go ahead and give you free access to my mini course that explains how I get 1 million visitors to my blog each month:
After you watch it, feel free to send me any questions.
DM Tactic #3 – Listen to My Podcast
This is the tactic that I have used on multiple occasions. Since many of you reading right now found out about my podcast this way, you may be very familiar with this message.
Please check out my award winning podcast (The Blog Millionaire) on iTunes here: http://apple.co/22LaNO2
Feel free to send me any questions you have on blogging. Last month my blog received over 1.6 million visitors.
Make Your First 138 Characters Count
One final tip in regards to crafting your direct message… Keep your thank you message short and sweet so that your call to action will show up in the Twitter messaging preview box. Twitter currently shows the first 138 characters of your message in the preview box.
Below you can see how my message is cut off, along with a reply that shows you how this Twitter hack works like a charm.
My Direct Message Response Formula
Here is the formula that I use for all of my direct message responses.
#1 Address Them By Their Name – If they do not have their name listed on their Twitter profile, then you can find it on their website. There is no word in the human language that stimulates the brain like a person’s first name. We are trained to stop and listen everytime we hear it or see it.
#2 Thank Them for Sending You Their Information – It always pays to be courteous. When I ask a question and someone responds, I always thank them first. This will make them open to hearing the rest of your message.
Thanks for sending me the link to your blog.
#3 Let Them Know You Took Time Looking Through Their Website – I let each person know that I went through their posts, pages, and even looked through their Google rankings. If someone reads that you took time to look through their website, then they will take time to read your message.
I looked through some of your posts, pages, and how well your blog is ranking on Google.
#4 Pick Out Something Specific and Give Some Insight – I make a point to mention a specific post that I liked the most, and I tell them a statistically proven reason that made that post special.
I really liked your post, “21 Ways to Make Yourself Happy.” Post titles that start with an odd number actually get clicked on and shared more than any other type of post title.
#5 Link to a Post that Shares Valuable Information that They Can Take Action On – You do not want to type out what you think they should do in the direct message. This would take forever, and it would be giving out sub par or incomplete information. If you do not have a post, then create one and link to it. I also like to add some social proof in the call to action that asks them to go check out the post.
There were four things I did with my blog that helped me build my Google traffic to over 1 million monthly visitors, which I think your blog can also do. I broke them down in this post for you:
#6 End it with a Statement of Encouragement – All of my response DMs end with a simple statement that encourages the individual to keep up the great work. Most entrepreneurs and bloggers live in a world of isolation, and they rarely hear votes of encouragement.
Keep up the great work on your blog!
After a couple of weeks of executing my Twitter growth hack, I had created five canned messages that I used for 98% of my responses. This is a vital point. You have to develop canned responses so that you can have the time to review their website, LinkedIn profile, or whatever else you decide to look at.
This is going to allow you to copy and paste your core message. Then you will add in the custom pieces that are specific to that individual.
For example, the response that I just broke down, has only one section, other than the person’s name, that is changed with every response. That section is…
I really liked your post, “21 Ways to Make Yourself Happy.”
I swap out the post title that I liked the most, and everything else remains the same. This simple process allows me to have more time to review their site and find out more about each blogger.
It also keeps my carefully crafted engagement formula intact. I am left with five buckets that 98% of all direct message responses fall into. Each bucket has a dedicated canned message that it designed to engage and deliver pinpoint value.
The pinpoint value is delivered in the form of one of my pillar blog posts. These posts are filled with my best content. They are also specifically designed to drive the readers into a sales funnel for my blogging course.
A Quick Review of How to Put This in Action Today
The beautiful thing about this Twitter hack is that anyone can use it right now. You do not need a big email list, existing traffic to your blog, or anything else. So, let’s go over the action items that you need to execute to make this happen today.
Step 1 – Optimize Your Profile to Drive Clicks and Follows
Make sure you have a great picture of your smiling face wearing some nice clothes. Take a moment to create a nice cover photo, and create a bio using my 3 point formula.
(Primary Call to Action Sentence + URL + Social Proof Sentence)
Step 2 – Identify Twitter Profiles that Your Target Audience Follows
Choose the leaders in your industry with 5000+ followers and a 5 to 1 followers to following ratio.
Step 3 – Only Follow Individuals that Have a Complete Profile
This means that a person’s face needs to be the profile picture, and they need to have a cover photo along with a bio.
Step 4 – Craft a Direct Message That is Designed to Spur Engagement
The three best tactics are to ask a question, offer an exclusive freebie, or link to your podcast.
One final note before I wrap this up… Use this system to promote and engage. The promotion pretty much runs itself, but you need to remember to engage anyone that replies to your direct messages. Give them great answers to their questions, and take the time to visit their website to see what they have to offer.
This is one of the reasons why I personally choose every person that I follow. It allows me to select people that have similar ambitions that I am sincerely interested in getting to know. At the end of each year, I am left with new podcast listeners, customers, partners, pen pals, and even friends that I meet with for lunch every month. For me, that is the true power of social media.