So I opened my @atravellingc account on the 18th March 2015. I can’t claim to be an absolute twitter novice as I do have another account – EbolaUK@heidiEVD – covering Ebola and Natural Disasters, however I had mainly used this account for following news/current issues, for retweeting and favs. I hadn’t quite got brave enough to make comments, join in conversations etc. I’d learned what a hashtag was and how to tag others, but that was about it! I am an absolute novice at blogging though!
The aim, after talking about it for years, was to make a living as a blogger/writer. I’ve spent the last 20+ years bringing up our daughters while working as Behaviour and Emotional Difficulties Specialist in a variety of secondary schools and specialist placements with youngsters deemed challenging and chaotic. As you can imagine it’s quite a challenging career and burn out is inevitable. I didn’t fall out of love with the kids or the actual teaching, just the system and the expectations put on teachers today. Ten years ago I would have encouraged a career in teaching, now I would advocate steering well clear, if you want any life of your own. I left teaching for good on the 27th January 2015. Took a 6 weeks or so off, went to India and then came back and made a start.
Before I continue I want to quickly mention these folks... a massive, gigantic thank you for your support.They retweeted, and advertised my need for a few more follows and were very supportive with fav's and returning comments. Thanks You Lot x.
Lesson No.2: Twitter is called ‘social media’ for a reason!
As I said on my other account I hadn’t really communicated with many people, I was too nervous to put out my opinion. Trolls on Human Rights/ Humanitarian issues can be quite aggressive so that made matters worse! Little did I know that it’s much easier when connected to travel, there’s so little not to like! I began by adding positive comments on tweets I liked. And guess what, I got positive comments back. I also read lots of other people’s stuff, took on board their advice and began to feel much more confident about posting tweets. The old adage is true, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. It’s a two way relationship. Mostly if you retweet some-ones stuff they’ll return the favour! Get social, talk, retweet, fav, ask questions. It's not that scary once you get going! Keep in mind if you want interactions, you have to interact...don't be a wallflower!
I continued to read quite a lot free information from @JonMorrow and @MrScottEddy
Jon Morrow's, CEO of Boost Blog Traffic, plain speaking appeals to me, I can't be doing with verbose use of language to sound clever, he doesn't and he 'calls a spade a spade' which massively appeals to the Yorkshire in me! If you're more serious about blogging, have a roam around his twitter / website.
And Mr Scott Eddy, 633k followers, is great guy - an influencer- who speaks plainly and positively - doesn't take himself too seriously and his manners are lovely, and he was one of the first people to retweet my 'food' picture - Monumental moment and it is still my most popular tweet, so thanks for that Scott, massively appreciated.
'Follow to be Followed'
The biggest thing I learned was if you want more followers, you have to follow more people. The easiest way to do this is to check out the followers of anyone who 1) retweets/favs your tweets, or 2) anyone whose stuff you like. Go into their follower lists and simply follow those people who appeal to you. You can also check out who they are following and go through these lists too. In this way you tend to find the most influential tweeters. I also, on Scott Eddy’s advice, began to use ManageFlitter. This app lets you check who is following you back and unfollow those who aren’t, freeing up the number you can connect with. It highlights inactive, spam and non-english accounts. I’m not deterred by not English accounts as twitter has a translation option, although not always exactly accurate, it gives you the gist of the tweet. There are other alternatives but I’ve found this really easy to use. Because a little careful how you unfollow though… there seems to be a slight delay be in registering follow backs and so you might unwittingly unfollow someone who has actually followed back but the app hasn’t yet picked up on. I check this every few days or so now. Feel free to go into my lists and follow away, I’ve got some fabulous followers.
Lesson No.5: Ask for help!
I did this as I headed towards 2000 followers, I used the hashtag #2000followers and asked for followers… cheeky some might say, but it worked (another little trick from Mr Guberti ). I also returned the favour by helping others to reach their target. I’ve got a list of people who are working towards #2000followers so check that out too. Newer tweeters tend to be extremely helpful and supportive. I also made a poster which advertised my ‘noviceness’ and this attracted lots of followers as many of us are in exactly the same boat… I’ve asked for help on lots of things I didn’t understand and 99% of the time I get a reply and some valuable advice.
Lesson No.5: Don’t waste time retweeting /trying to communicate with auto-feeds.
Some (and it is only some) of the biggest twitter accounts only use twitter for advertising their content/product. They never answer back, never acknowledge the free advertising you are doing for them! I personally find this rude and not very social! If you find yourself retweeting and faving someones stuff without some much as a follow back or retweet, then stop. It’s likely that their feed is fully automated and you’ll never get a response. It’s a waste of your time and energy.
I’ve also found that some (and again it’s only some) tweeters will follow you and then very sneakily unfollow you after you’ve followed them back. Height of bad manners in my humble opinion – this is easily detected in Manageflitter though so don’t let them get away with it!!
You might also want to wary of those with a very high numbers of followers and a low follow back number. Again bad manners I think. This is either because they're very famous and unlikely to bother with us menials or they have paid for followers in which case their list will be full of spam accounts and auto-feed accounts. I might follow these accounts but will watch out carefully for a follow back and unfollow is it’s not forth coming. The best folk to follow are those with almost equal numbers of followers and followed – they tend to be real people! You’d be surprised how many accounts have no living being behind them. Never ever pay for followers!
Lesson No.6: Be Nice!
Be nice, use your manners. It never hurts to say thank you, or to retweet / fav. One thing though, don’t clog your feed with thank you messages. People get bored looking at these and it definitely turns some people off. I tend to thank new followers in one tweet in a morning and at teatime. I even made a thank you poster. Or by retweeting something from a new followers feed. I always try to choose a tweet that is their own personal stuff rather than retweet a retweet… although sometimes this is the only option.
Another thing to be wary of doing is adding loads of tags in one tweet eg.. Thanks too @.... @... @... @... @... it looks awful, clogs up feeds from more interesting stuff and if that’s the only thing you’re tweeting, you’ll soon lose followers. If giving thanks start your tweet with @theirtag. Then it will only be read by that follower and those who follow you rather than all of twitter. People are unlikely to follow you if all they ever see is ‘Thanks @... @... etc. You could send a DM but as most peoples’ DM box is now completely overrun with messages which read ‘Thanks for follow – now go to my page on FB/Buy my product’ these might be missed. I’m personally not overly found of these message sent by auto app. They’re impersonal and just another form of advertising. However I do get that people like to be polite. Juries out on this one for me and I haven’t succumbed to auto thank-you messages yet!
Lesson No.7: Comment on Blog Posts.
Make a comment on people’s blogs. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just a few words. I’ve found that the vast majority will respond and it helps to build your presence on line and build relationships with other bloggers who are more likely to remember you and return the favour. The feeling when I got my first comments was great. Give it a go!
So there we have it. Some of the most important ( I think) stuff I learned in the last 10 weeks. I've now got over 4000 fab followers. I'm getting lots more page hits on my blog. I'm not earning a penny but not too worried yet...
I've been really busy. I've published another couple of blog posts, done an interview for TravelontheBrain.net (check it out here ) who has been incredibly supportive and helpful.
Been nominated for a Liebster Award, which is specifically awarded to new bloggers, by @DeafWanderlust - massive thanks guys... responding is next on my list of stuff to do.
Hope some of this was useful to you. I'm still learning and positively welcome any advice or ideas to move forward. Sharing is Caring as they say! Hope you will check out some more of my posts and leave a comment, I'll definitely return the favour.