This is a guest post by Brandon Yanofsky.
When you first heard about Twitter, what was your reaction to this absurdly named website?
I literally laughed at it. Who’d spend all day writing 140 character status updates? Sounded ludicrous.
Flash forward 3 years, and it is now the key to my blogging success. Since I started using Twitter, I’ve seen my blog traffic increase nearly tenfold, and have begun making an income with my blog.
This article will show you the main technique I used to start and grow my blogging business with Twitter. My hope is that you’ll adapt this technique to meet your own business goals for your blog.
My technique can be broken down into two steps. Borrowing from Dale Carnegie, I’ve decided to call them Win Friends and Influence People.
Step 1: Win Friends – Find and Friend People with Similar Interests
A Brief History of Communication
There used to be a time when your entire social network consisted of only the people in your village. You were born, lived, and died in that village. You had no contact with any outsiders.
Then, man began creating new forms of communication. The invention of writing and a mailing system allowed us to communicate with those outside our own village. The printing press allowed an individual to mass produce his thoughts. Telephones allowed us to communicate instantly. Television allowed instantaneous distribution of thought to an entire nation.
Yet, even with all these advances, only those with financial backing were able to communicate their thoughts.
Until the Internet came along and broke down these barriers. Now, someone with almost no technical knowledge and no financial capital has the ability to broadcast any and every thought to the entire world.
A Loner No Longer
If your interest wasn’t shared by the masses during those early days of communication, you lived in a form of isolation. You didn’t have any way to reach outside your immediate, geographic social circle to find others with similar interests. You were therefore forced to adopt the interests of the masses.
Today, no matter how obscure or specific your interest is, you can find people who share that interest. And Twitter has made it even easier.
I knew someone in high school who had an obsession with pink hats. Let’s call him Dave. No matter what the occasion was, Dave always wore a pink baseball hat. In our small city, Dave stood out from the rest of us. No one else was obsessed with pink hats like he was.
But do a quick search on Twitter, and you’ll find tweet after tweet about pink hats from people all over the world.
Dave had started a blog about pink hats. But not one person ever visited it.
Why is that?
Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. Dave needs to attract people to his blog, and he can do this with Twitter.
Dave needs to befriend people with his similar interest.
Creating a Community on Twitter
Imagine someone in the middle of a busy street shouting: “Look at me! Be my friend!” At the very least, most people will ignore him. Worse though, a lot of people will run away.
When you send Tweet after Tweet telling people to read your blog articles, you become that shouting lunatic.
Instead, find those people who are tweeting about “pink hats” and start a conversation with them. RT an interesting article they post. Read their articles and ask them a question about it. If they Tweet a question, respond with an answer. Make that effort to get engaged with other people (side note: humor helps).
What you are doing is winning friends. You are creating your own social circle of people with similar interests.
As your circle begins growing, you can begin tweeting articles you write. However, don’t simply send a tweet saying, “Read my new article.” Instead, your tweet should add value. For instance, “Here’s an article I wrote that will help you do XYZ.”
See the difference?
As you build your social circle, your Twitter following will begin to increase, as will your blog traffic..
This is where the second part of growing your blog business comes in. It’s time to make money.
It’s time for step 2.
Step 2: Influence People – Offer Your Circle Value
What is Influence?
Before we begin this section, I want to get something out of the way. Many people consider “influence” a negative thing. When they think of influence, they think of a wealthy company waving thousands of dollars in a politician’s face, or someone driving under the influence, or a salesman tricking an unsuspecting customer into buying an overpriced car.
But influence isn’t a negative word. It simply means one person affects another’s decision.
For instance, you are considering buying a new PC, but one of your friends tells you, “You should buy a Mac instead of a PC. It’s much more powerful and simpler to use.” So you decide to go to the Apple Store instead of Best Buy.
Who Has Influence
It has been proven time and time again that people are more influenced by those in their social circle, such as friends and family, than outside forces like marketers.
You’ve been “winning friends” on Twitter and have been building your own extended social circle of people with a similar interest. You, and every other person in this social circle, has influence over all other members.
Dave, the pink hat fanatic I mentioned earlier, now has a degree of influence over other pink hat fanatics.
Your Social Circle has Unmet Desires
People always want more; it’s basic human instinct. We all have desires, wants, and needs that need to be fulfilled. And until they are, we are unsatisfied.
As you get closer with your social circle, you will begin to see unmet needs and wants. Dave may notice that the other pink hat fanatics have been looking for a better pink hat guide than any sold on the market.
A business opportunity just appeared. Dave, who we already know is an extensive and well versed pink hat enthusiast, and who, on the side, enjoys writing, decides to create a pink hat guide, one that his social circle is looking for.
How Influence Pays Off
After creating his pink hat guide, Dave begins selling it to his social circle. They know Dave. They know he is knowledgable about pink hats. So they buy his guide.
In fact, this is exactly what I have done and continue to do with my blog, B-list Marketing. I noticed that many people I’d friended on Twitter did not know how to install their own self-hosted WordPress blog. So I created a guide for them. I’m also beginning to notice that many people want to begin customizing their WordPress themes, but don’t understand HTML or CSS. So I’m now working on a course to teach them.
And because I have influence among my social circles, my friends purchase from me.
To Those Who Say Influence is Wrong
Some people will still say, “Brandon, what you’re doing is taking advantage of friendships.” I completely disagree. I have knowledge that a lot of people I know want. And because I know these people, I know HOW to teach it to them most effectively.
For me not to provide these services and products would be a disservice to them.
It’s a win-win situation. And…
If it’s a win-win situation, you can’t call it wrong.
That’s the basic, two step technique I’ve used to start and grow my blog business.
To recap: win friends on twitter who have the same interest as you, and then, find an unmet need and use your influence to sell.
I wish you much success.