Publicity, relationship-building, just plain keeping in touch – Twitter offers it all and the art is to integrate your tweeting into your blogging, if that doesn’t sound too salacious. Here’s a few scattered suggestions on the subject.
First up, to begin at the beginning, reply to @’s – I know it’s absolutely bleedin’ obvious, but if you’re going to use Twitter at all, then it does make sense to keep an eye on people taking the trouble to contact you – if the @message isn’t total spam, of course. And probably a good idea nowadays never to let a tweet out on the world without one #hashtag.
Display your twitterstream on the blog – there’s WordPress plugins for this – a lot of plugins, in all shapes, sizes and functionalities, such that the jury is still out on who’s the market leader. At the moment, the advice has to be download two or three, try them out and find the one that suits you…
Twitter Tools has a fair few features. Personally, I haven’t had much luck with this one – it seems to give up after a while and only start again when re-installed, and I haven’t got round to digging around the code to see if it’s a localised problem or intrinsic to the plugin. There’s also the issue of deleting manually, ie directly at the database level, any deleted tweets.
Wider than just Twitter, there’s also the Lifestream WordPress plugin. Lots of features included, which do take a little bit of figuring out but you can merge twitter feeds, extra RSS and then any of the other social entities, Digg, FriendFeed etc etc.
One thing – if you’re going through a twitter-lazy period and all that appears in the sidebar is a set of auto-generated new blog posts 181 days ago, 193 days ago – that doesn’t look so good. A successful blog does actually require some work.
Among other Twitter-related WordPress plugins: -
TwitterLink Comments is a WordPress plugin which adds an input field to a post’s comment form for commenters to include their Twitter username – a follow me link is shown against that commenter’s profile – caution, a definite invitation for spam…
The slightly bilious TweetMeme retweet button does what it says – a link allowing visitors to your blog to quickly retweet the post. For the competitive, there’s also a display of number of retweets of that url across Twitter.
Do consider having a custom Twitter landing page on your blog. A relatively old dodge, but useful…
Instead of using your blog front page as your profile url without even thinking about it – take the trouble to produce a specialised landing page – a digest of who you are, what’s going on, all in a couple of hundred words. The logic behind this is that people using Twitter may well have different priorities and interests than your average blog-reader who’s arrived via search engine.
This profile url appears on your Twitter web page (and with the growth in non-browser-based twitter tools that gets viewed less and less) but also in various other places, directories etc. so it’s worth considering.
If you can give them what they want, grab their attention better, that’s one more connection made. Attention spans (of the young) are not very long nowadays…
And do watch out for shortened urls – don’t display or retweet anything you haven’t checked, and that definitely includes anything that arrives in a comment.