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5 Top Tips For Driving a Ton of Free Traffic with Twitter

5 Insider Tips For Driving a Ton of Free Traffic with Twitter

Twitter has been my secret sauce to building an online brand.

It became obvious to me early on that Twitter had the potential to drive traffic to my blog.

So I started growing my followers, tweeting links to my blog and testing different tactics to see what worked and what didn’t. I remember someone saying a few years ago that……”a tweet without a link is a wasted opportunity”.

That made sense to me.

So tweets were always sent with a link that took them from Twitter to my digital asset. That was my online portal and blog.

Why do I know it works?

Data proof.

Here are my last months metrics from Google Analytics on the top 3 social media channels that are driving traffic to my blog.

Twitter traffic

So Twitter is killing it but it is not given the attention it deserves.

What you don’t notice is the flow on effects that Twitter creates. From the tweet people visit the blog, then they link to the site and this builds search engine authority and traffic. From the Twitter click they also discover your free ebook and subscribe to your email list.

The flow on benefits are much bigger behind the scenes than is apparent at first glance.

Twitter is great for that digital brand discovery.

Twitter is still an enigma to many

It is still an often misunderstood social network.

“What’s the point of Twitter?” was and still is a question raised offline and online. It’s only 140 characters. …..why bother.

Twitter’s necessity was often challenged. Bemusement and confusion as to its purpose on a web that allowed thousands of words and extensive multi-media.

It developed a reputation as a micro-blog. I don’t agree with that. I saw it more as a headline with a bigger purpose in life.

But its news breaking role also started to get noticed

Today it is emerging into a snack size multi-media stream and ecosystem that allows 6 second “Vine” videos, images, video and live streaming via it’s little brother “Periscope”

But don’t be fooled by its seeming simplicity. It’s a great brand awareness facilitator, traffic driver and viral powerhouse.

Some Twitter facts

Twitter was never designed to be a social media network .

But but it went from an internal messaging service pilot product at a podcasting company to bursting onto the scene at SXSW in Austin.  Just like what happened to Meerkat in 2015. It went from anonymity to public consciousness fuelled by viral conversations and sharing online.

Here are some more quick Twitter facts.

  • Twitter is very close to 300 million active users at last count
  • 88% of Twitter users are on mobile
  • 500 million tweets per day
  • 92% of all interaction with tweets are done via link clicks

Twitter facts

Source: Digitalinformationworld.com

Where is Twitter going?

Two things are obvious.

The web is much more mobile and visual than it was 5 years ago.

Twitter’s (and every other platform) needs to adapt and continue to develop its ecosystem and platform. It’s constant beta. Images now appear in the stream, videos are now included. and the looping video Vine app was added.

The latest addition is the mobile app Periscope that offers live video streaming from your smartphone. It was launched in response to the fast growing Meerkat.

Here is a quick comparison of their features.

Meerkat vs PeriscopeSource: LewisPR.com

So where Twitter evolves from here will depend on the popularity and growth of these apps and also its ability to monetize the different platforms.

Top mistakes to avoid on Twitter

Even though it is a simple platform in many ways you can still make mistakes on Twitter. Here are 3 rookie mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to look cool and be effective

1. You are still an egg

Not uploading a photo or a logo sort of screams out… “Hey, I am totally clueless”. If you are that person, stop reading this post and fix it now!

2. Crap headlines

Just don’t throw 140 characters into a tweet and hope people will click. Just like a blog post, the headline is key to get that click to read and to share.

3. Not tweeting enough

Twitter is not Facebook or a LinkedIn. It’s different. It is also not an email inbox. So you need to tweet often. Keep feeding the stream and keep tossing content into the Twitter torrent.

They are just some of the basic Twitter mistakes that are easy to fix.

5 Twitter tips to drive traffic

Here are my top tips for driving a ton of free traffic with Twitter that I have tried and tested over the last 6 years.

1. Hashtags

If there is one thing you have to love about Twitter is that sometimes it seems like the “Wild West”. Untamed but with many opportunities.

At other moments it feels like you are herding cats.

A chaotic stream of tweets that have no apparent organisation, theme or filters.

Wikipedia says this on herding cats:

An idiomatic saying that refers to an attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic. Implies a task that is extremely difficult or impossible to do, primarily due to chaotic factors.

Now doesn’t that sound like Twitter?

It is trying to make sense of its chaos, embracing a jumble of jellyfish or throwing a net over a swarm of bees.

Always fun, sometimes dangerous but with a lot of potential.

The #hashtag first proposed by the user Chris Messina debuted in August, 2007. The common wisdom at the time was that it would be “too techy” to catch on. Chris now has over 75,000 followers.

The herding of this torrent is done in part by Twitter tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and others.

The other part of the herding equation apart from the tools is the lowly #hashtag. Here are some facts on #hashtags.


Infographic source: Social Caffeine

Want to find the top hashtags to help you use them well? Here are 3 tools.

  1. Hashtags.org
  2. Twubs.com
  3. Tagdef.com

But using hashtags can increase engagement by up to 200%. So make sure you include them.

2. Use shareable visuals

When Twitter started it was just text. That is starting to change big time.

Since they introduced the new function, some users have noticed a significant increase in engagement. This means more retweets, favourites, mentions and sharing.

Buffer has been performing some tests and analytics on the impact of this change and has discovered the following:

  • Tweets with images received 89% more favourites
  • Tweets with images received 18% more clicks than those without
  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets

Now this doesn’t mean that every tweet should include an  image. But it certainly means that wise use of images should be woven into your content amplification strategy. An increase in engagement on Twitter can be a very effective tactic to increase sales and traffic.

I ran my own tests and found it was even higher using these 3 types of images.

1. Mini infographics

Twitter images

2. Images containing quotes

Twitter images

3. Generic images

Twitter images

These were the results from my data.

  • The percentage increase in impressions of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a substantial 197%.
  • Increase for “engagement” of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a staggering 581%
  • Percentage increase of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a significant 111%.

So the increase in metrics when you include a great visual with your tweet can be between 100 and 600%.

That is significant and leads to a big boost in traffic, so start adding visual tweets to your tactics.

3. Tweet often

Most people bring their email goggles to Twitter tweeting. They think it is an inbox. It’s not . it’s a stream that goes past your online consciousness attention.

Posting frequency on Twitter and Facebook is sometimes treated by companies in the same way. It shouldn’t. Twitter will tolerate much more frequent posting than Facebook. In fact some studies show that a tweet every 15 minutes receives higher engagement than every 30 minutes.

The study results shows that tweeting every fifteen minutes instead of thirty led to the following:

  • Increased traffic by 31%
  • Engagement was up by 89%

That just confirmed what I have been doing for years.

What is also interesting is to see brands tweeting more frequently.

Twitter frequency

Even though nearly 50% are only tweeting 1-5 times a day, the number that are posting 25+ times has increased.

4. @Mention influencers

Using @mentions allows you to get attention from the top influencers. So if you are tweeting other peoples posts on Twitter then let them know by using their Twitter handle eg @kimgarst

How do you identify them?

Simply Measured is a great tool to to identify your best influencers for you either using their Klout score or the number of followers.

I used the “Simply Measured” application, entered in my social media network accounts and let it collect data. After a week it was  a revelation to take a closer look at the insights it revealed regarding the influencers in my network.

Here is the Klout ranking results when I used the app.

Klout score for influencers

So this is a great way to identify them and then use that to start getting their attention

5. Write great headlines

So you crawled out of bed this morning bleary eyed, went to the front porch and picked up your freshly minted newspaper, scanned the front page and went straight to the first headline that caught your attention and started reading.

That scene is starting to seem surreal and historical. The web has changed that.


The alarm went off on your smart phone, you grabbed your iPad and checked the latest online news. Then you tapped your Twitter app and scanned your Twitter streams.

The first decent headline gets the click and you haven’t left the bed.

Good headlines are the lifeblood of  success on Twitter.

Studies have shown that you can increase your conversion rate on a link by 73% if you use a compelling headline.

So here’s some tips to create headlines that will captivate and get your readers attention.

1. What you want

What do your readers always, always want?

Readers click on headlines that promise a reward. And it has to be a reward they want and identify with, such as a solution to their problem or a sure fire way to success. The most popular examples are start with “How to” or “Tips for”.

  • Example 1: How to save your marriage with social media.
  • Example 2: Six steps to perfect blog structure.
  • Example 3: What everyone should know about Google.

2. Intrigue

Tell a story, but don’t tell it all. This is possibly the hardest headline for readers to resist because it taps into natural reader curiosity.

  • Example 1: How is it even possible to do this with social media?
  • Example 2: Marketing has forgotten this technique, but it might just change the world.

3. New

That’s what news is.

Something new and relevant to your readers. The world spins fast in social media, and jobs and reputations depend on being up to date with the latest social media trends. Your headline should strive to say something new to rise about the social media clamour.

Example 1: How new research is revolutionizing marketing practice.

Example 2: How a new discovery is changing the way we use social media.

Example 3: 5 social media trends you need to know right now.

4. They said what?

Controversy is newsworthy and often creates the most social media attention. Tap into controversy in your area of interest, or create controversy by disagreeing with a generally accepted notion in your area of interest.

Example 1: Why men hate pinterest.

Example 2. “F**k it NFL…Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” (Packer T.J. Lang showing how it’s done.)

What about you?

How are you using Twitter? To drive traffic, build communities or share your  content?

Could you do better?

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  • Alan Gifford

    Great article! Thanks for your experience and insight. One question regarding Headlines – What about headline fatigue. It seems EVERYONE is now writing headlines like they’re producers of the evening news! Savvy readers see through this, don’t they? #alangifford

  • Excellent article, thanks Jeff!

  • Hey Jeff,

    Writing great headlines is the builk of getting more traffic for me. I’ve notice with some headlines where I don’t get a lot of shares are both on twitter and my blog tells me how pretty crappy they are, versus those that aren’t. This is why I constantly use tools like cowriter’s headline analyzer and EMV’s to write great headlines for me posts which in turn are shared on twitter.

    Also I’ve became a more avid twitter user because I’ve added the app on my phone. As the statistics states, 88% of twitter users are on their mobile phones. For me at made much more easier and convenient since I don’t go on my desktop or laptop to check tweets anyways.

    Thanks for the share Jeff and i will put some of the other tips you mentioned to practice. Have a great weekend!

  • MaryJaksch

    Jeff, this post is pure gold! I immediately told my blogging students to bookmark this post as a MUST-READ resource!

    Ever since I met you in Chicago a month or so ago, I’ve put into practice the tips you shared over lunch. And, as a result, one of my Twitter accounts has grown from 9,500 to over 17,200 targeted followers. In fact, the account is growing by about 400 each day.

    And that’s all thanks to you!

    Thanks for your inspiration and generous sharing of your expertise, Jeff.

    • Thanks Mary and great to hear that awesome news on growing your Twitter followers!

  • Very helpful, thanks!

  • DUDE!!! THIS IS SOLID GOLD. I literally just took two days to read this, re-read this, study each link and take notes. I consider myself in the upper 25% of social marketing but you knocked it out of the park. You just won over a new bonafide tribe member. Can’t wait to consume more of your work and put it to use! Thank you.

    • Thanks Kevin and glad to hear you enjoyed it and it added value. 🙂

  • Hey, Jeff. Super stuff! I still need to work on my Twitterquette and growth. I’ve been on Twitter for almost two years, and only have about 2K followers.

    Thanks for the tips!!!

  • Really great post here, Jeff.
    One thing I have to start doing is tweetable images. I really tweet no images currently and I know it’s working against me. This information is pure gold. Thanks for sharing this out.
    – Andrew

  • Patrick Vassell

    Thanks Jeff for the info on how to use Twitter. That has been my number #1 question for some time now. How to use Twitter to grow a list.

  • Great read, Jeff! A very informative post. Twitter, obviously, has a very big piece in social media. We’d love to ride the wave of their traffic any day of the week. haha. I think these tips will help us get to it. 🙂

  • Thanks Jeff for useful info and i am able to use my social media marketing perfectly for my website.

  • I’m not an expert on Twitter–more of a learn as you go person. But this is exactly what I need to send a few clients who TWIT but don’t tweet. I’m not calling them twits; they are smart people (wits) but they think the essence of Twitter is to log on and write about their product and that’s it. Basically they are missing out on an entire Twittersphere. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    • Most people don’t know how to use Twitter and it is a great tool to drive traffic and increase brand awareness. Automating is necessary to make it really efficient!

  • I’ve always wanted to maximize my Twitter, but I guess I’m still learning how to do it. I personally don’t use Twitter so it’s a learning process for me on how to use this for my brand. Would you know how to shorten the links to your site when posting to Twitter?

    • Twitter shortens it for you automatically when posting and you can also use tools like bit.ly and Hootsuite. Jeff

  • Michael W Mackay

    Such an awesome and thorough article! I’ve been driving traffic for a few sites the past few months through Twitter. I feel that it’s a ver noisy social network and hard to stand out as opposed to other social media sites. I’ve been looking into Instagram to see how it can help and typed up this quick guide in case anyone needs help: http://theamericanidealist.com/blog/2016/2/10/how-to-increase-web-traffic-through-instagram

  • Now I understand better why I have very little engagement on Twitter. I just post once thinking that proper might be upset with so many tweets. I failed to see Twitter’s uniqueness. Thanks for this.

  • Sunil Pasbola

    Great tips to improve visibility of a website. The reliable and relevant references from authentic sources make it worth reading. Its interesting to note that you have been driving the majority of your website traffic with Twitter. I never thought it could be such an effective medium. However, In the recent months I have also been experiencing significant increase in traffic to my blog largely due to Twitter.

  • korede gentle

    What a lovely post Jeff! Thanks for sharing

  • Entrepreneurs’ Digest

    Wow, this a detailed tutorial. Thanks for sharing Jeff!

  • Thanks and glad to hear you are now getting traction! 🙂

  • This is Pure Gold..!! Really Awesome..!! Although I have read this post very late but better late then never..!!