Win Friends and Influence People – Advice to Grow Your Blog Business with Twitter

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.

Influence.

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.

Enjoyed this post?

Be sure to subscribe to the biweekly Kikolani newsletter and get regular updates about awesome posts just like this one and more! You will also receive my free 8,000+ word guide on guest blogging!


Kikolani Proudly Uses StudioPress

Genesis Framework

Like the new design? Kikolani uses a theme called Magazine Pro on the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. It's great design right out of the box, easy to follow installation instructions, and built-in SEO features makes it perfect for professional bloggers.

If you have several websites and blogs powered by WordPress or design websites for others, then you will want the Pro Plus Package. It gives you lifetime access to all of their current 40+ professional designs plus new themes regularly added to their collection for unlimited use on your own websites and blogs as well as your clients' websites and blogs. Learn more about Pro Plus!

If you already use StudioPress and love it like I do, be sure to sign up for their affiliate program and start making money with your blog today!



Comments are open for one year after the post goes live. If you don't see the comment form below and you'd like to discuss this topic with me, become a fan of my Facebook page and post a comment on my wall!





Comments

    • says

      Thanks Raj

      I think it’s a big misconception that you have to be online all the time. I’ve actually come across people who are on twitter pretty much 24/7 and don’t accomplish much.

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing, Brandon !

    Even if some problogger assume that Twitter is dead, it is a social networking that is still very popular and a medium where you can make some money online.

    Twitter is free and not also it will help you build up your social media presence, but it will bring you massive amount of traffic.

    Of course the key of Twitter marketing success is to have a lot of followers :

    some tips to build more?
    Erik Emanuelli just posted 25 Basic Traffic Tips for New Blogs ( that YOU Should Check )

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Erik,

      My tip to building a following is a) be consistent, b) be friendly, and c) be unique

      I’ve been busy with a few projects that take up much of my time, so my twitter has fallen down a bit. But when I was active on twitter, I followed these principles and built a very tight twitter following.

  2. says

    You couldn’t have put it better Brandon! Too many people go out there with adhoc tactics on Twitter and just follow anyone and everyone, and as you point out it is about connecting with people that have common interests. We are very careful in our approach and only follow people with similar interests so we can be of value and a resource to them. Quite a few people see Twitter as a platform to target a large audience, and there is truth to that, but we like to keep communication personal and connect with people one person at a time, just like the old days before social media :-) Thanks for the informative post!

  3. says

    This is a great 2 step explanation of relationship marketing, and is often overlooked by a lot of businesses and bloggers. The best thing is that this doesn’t only work for Twitter, but for Facebook and other social networks. With so many auto-posting and tweets, people like to know they are engaging with a real human who is listening and responding to them.

  4. says

    I also underestimated the power of a text box which only allow 140 characters to take place in it, and almost ignored it but soon I start hearing the twitter buzz and wonder why people are so mad about it what is so special. Soon I realized the beauty of twitter which is a user can easily connect him self with his idols and role models and friends. Twitter will tell you right away what your connection are upto. As soon as you link to them.
    If you go deep in the beauty of twitter you will surely find the paradise of marketing but you need to be very careful and ethical in your approach if finding that paradise
    Umair Abid just posted Things Internet Marketers Should Know About Web Development

  5. says

    What a breath of fresh air!

    I know I’ve been a bit link heavy, though I’ve been trying to share things not necessarily on my site, but from other sites I think some might find interesting. I want to engage people more, and need to make more of an effort. But I’ve been finding it difficult to find conversations going on.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Grady Pruitt just posted How to Have Good Parenting Skills

  6. says

    Brandon,

    Great post man!

    The important thing for people to know is that twitter is what you make of it. For those who purely use it to pump a marketing message into the aether it is fairly pointless. People are growing more savvy and this spam is quickly filtered out.

    It is essential to follow the steps you have outlined here and really grow in influence and “trust”.
    Steve just posted Blog Conversion Rates: How a Few Simple Tweaks can Increase your Blogging Revenue

  7. says

    Yeah, I like the example of the guy yelling “be my friend” in a street. In the end, social medias such as Twitter, but also Facebook are the same. A bit of logic, some real interest, no pushing for sales, giving value and relevant information is what makes Twitter and co. what they are. Thanks for sharing your strategy, Brandon!
    AlessandroBrunelli just posted Webinars professionals meet for a one of its kind conference – Webinar Summit

  8. says

    No doubt in that Twitter is one of the useful Social Media site where we can earn lot of things like name, fame and Money but it will be possible only after that when we will do enough activity on our Twitter account.

    Beside that we need to maintain our Twitter account and we should do something daily on our twitter account and make a circle of great friends where we can catch as much as possible information regarding our job profile or our work.

    We should choose that type of people only which all are have great knowledge regarding business development skills.
    sam just posted Goa Carnival 2012

  9. says

    Brandon,

    You are definitely not “taking advantage of your friendships” by offering or even selling information to your sphere of influence. If they didn’t want your products, services, and courses, they wouldn’t buy them. It would be a disservice not to let them know that you have information on installing wordpress, using html, css, etc and then offering a course on it. Even, if someone else has a course on HTML, your online “friends” don’t know the other person, never heard of him or her, and even if they did, can’t necessarily trust them. They know you, like your stuff so they want to buy from people they know. I think you have a nice business model that offers Value-for-Value all the way around!
    Thanks,
    Jupiter Jim
    Jupiter Jim just posted CommentLuv Premium Plugin on Sale 50% for 7 more days ONLY!

  10. says

    Great article, No doubt about it. You used the Dave example brilliantly while elaborating your points and it makes it very easy to understand how a simple guy start his business, his mentality and how he can work to achieve success.

    Twitter is really useful plateform, but you can get maximum out of it when you build your responsible community, where you try to help out each other genuinely. All these efforts really consume time but it provide you positive outcome as well.
    Aaron just posted Goa Carnival 2012

  11. says

    Great post, Brandon. You are good at writing a step by step process.

    As a big Twitter fan who has created some great connections on there as well, I can agree that your tips work well.

    Being unique is most definitely a great way to be noticed.
    Ana just posted Aweber Review

  12. says

    Thanks for the tips as my experience promoting with Twitter is so bad and I have tried many times and I have failed the same time. I hope it will work now.

    • says

      Don’t give up Anna. Just know that every time you fail, you are learning more that will help you get better.

      If you want to be great, you have to fail a lot.

  13. says

    I’ve got a lot of love for people I know who have with similar interests to mine. Why would I deprive them of answers I have to problems they have? Reason: I don’t feel like I deserve to be compensated for my wisdom. Over. Period. Done.

    I would say let this unconscious garbage stops experts from making money with information. It kills the completion of many a book and product. And if a person actually puts their shingle out selling their services or the product they finished, this garbage belief stops them from marketing effectively AND it stops them from asking for the sale.

    Good thing there’s guys like Brandon who help awesome people with high quality solutions overcome this challenge. :)
    Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 just posted Marketing Notes That Reveal Why Your Business Has More In Common With An Escort Service Than You Think It Does

  14. says

    Would you say that building a business using Twitter only works in certain niches/markets?

    Or is it just a case of being persistent and taking an interesting angle?

    I would like to get into Twitter, but I’m not sure if my niche is worth it really.

    Regards.

    • says

      Hey Caerleon

      You need to see if there are people in your niche on Twitter. If there aren’t, it won’t matter. For instance, let’s assume you’re market is the Amish. I doubt they are on Twitter.

  15. says

    I started getting heavily into twitter just over the last month, where as before I just didn’t use it very much. I’m like you, when I first created an account a few months ago, I just didn’t get it. Who cares what I have to say? The appeal and value of twitter really becomes apparent after building some relationships and getting some followers under your belt. The amount of news stories and really interesting blog entries I’ve read solely because of seeing them on twitter, tweeted or retweeted by people I follow is really staggering.

    So hey, feel free to follow me, and I’ll follow you! I’m that guy standing in the street yelling “be my friend!”
    Ross just posted Blogs Can Give a Boost to Your Onsite SEO

  16. says

    Nice post Brandon! I hear people talk about the power of Social networks especially Twitter and Facebook all the time. But to be honest, I haven’t given them a try yet. I use them but for other purposes not marketing. Your post gave me some ideas and I think I could go and apply them in a near future :) Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Cheers!

    Duy.
    Duy just posted M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Powered Speaker System Review updated Wed Sep 7 2011 7:52 pm CDT

  17. says

    Friendships are there to be taken advantage of (on both sides)… that one of the reasons why people are friends – it’s the process of making friends thats a can sometimes be a little tricky but when done right, can be v profitable… Nicely applied to twitter
    Sandip just posted KGB Deals

  18. says

    >>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.

    I’ve had at least one personal Twitter account for over four years, basically since its inception…While I never like the name, the concept certainly didn’t make me laugh or compel me to mock the idea. I played around with it for a few months, but I only knew two or three other people who used it, so I eventually gave up. Of course after another year or two, Twitter blew up and quickly everyone and their brother had an account! So of course I dusted off my old account… ;)

  19. says

    I just used that sentence “Build it and they will not come” in my summary of my first year of blogging (not posted yet!). Great minds think alike, :) You do have to get out there and make that connection.

    Thanks for the review.
    Rajka

  20. says

    Twitter is definitely a great tool for building connections.

    I like to use it for getting in touch with people for interviews and the like, which they always tweet out later!

    Great traffic generation strategy.