How to Use Twitter and Hootsuite for Link Building
Building links over the past year has become a challenge for most SEO and inbound marketing agencies. Agencies would simply create a list of directories, article submission websites or PR sites to publish their content on. Google, Bing or Yahoo would crawl these sources and pick up links and use them as a ranking factor. That simply isn’t the case anymore. Google has released many updates that have changed the game for the long term.
Some SEOs and agencies call Google for what they are; Bullies when it comes to search engine results. It’s always been about content and link building. Maybe it’s time we took a different approach to building awareness for our websites.
Getting Familiar with Twitter
Twitter isn’t a source for you to just write about your personal life and how you mowed the lawn this morning. It’s actually a source to get immediate information from the most important players in any industry right when it gets published (and in some cases, before the information gets published). By following individuals with authority you can essentially get any information you need before it hits major websites. Assuming these individuals are actually on Twitter (and most are). You can now interact with people like never before when just a few years ago it would be near impossible to reach a public figure. Let’s face it, some people get hundreds of emails. In most cases they will ignore the ones they deem not important. I’ve seen unlikely relationships build from a simple @ symbol.
The user experience for Twitter is pretty dismal. That’s why there are tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to organize and speed up your reputation management. I’m from Vancouver so Hootsuite was hands down the only choice for me. However, Tweetdeck has a desktop app, which is great since it won’t bog down your browser. I find myself with 50 tabs open at a time and Hootsuite definitely takes a lot of your browser juice away. A huge bonus with Hootsuite is that you can pretty much add all your social media accounts in one place (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Myspace, WordPress and many more).You can make your own judgment by trying both. They’re both free so you can take them for a spin and decide for yourself.
I am going to assume that you’ve already setup Hootsuite and you know your way around. I am also going to assume that you’re familiar with Twitter and you know how to us #, @ or d. The first step for me has always been to create an organized list for each category of links I want to acquire. For example, I might want to go after websites that talk about inbound marketing so I add a stream and add Twitter accounts that focus just on inbound marketing. Or I might simply create a stream, which would only show any @ messages for me. Here’s how a stream would look:
You can expect the same structure with lists. With Hootsuite (or Tweetdeck) what you’ll have are several lists and streams to scan through. These tools essentially organize all your tweets so you don’t miss an opportunity to engage anyone that would be otherwise buried in Twitter.
Warming Up The Relationship
When you have all your streams and lists ready what you want to do is start engaging and following influencers that can really have an impact on your business. Remember, you would add these folks in your lists. Simply click on “Add Stream” on the top left when you login and “Lists”, which would be the last option in the pop-up window. See below and you’ll know where to start:
streamsYou can also make the list private or public. In my case, I always have it set on private.
You can then start talking to industry leaders and engage in the conversation. Now keep in mind that you can’t just up and ask for a link. You have to engage and build up a relationship with these people and that can take weeks or months. But that one link could be a 100 okay links and I am sure you’ll get solid traffic from these credible websites if you manage to score the link.
Some people simply re-tweet someone’s tweet and expect something in return. No one cares that you re-tweeted their tweet. The Tweet itself could be from someone else. What you want to do is:
- actually read the article
- see who’s the author
- comment on the post
- re-tweet the article mentioning the author with an @ symbol and thank them for their great work
- if and when they reply, you can start a conversation and hopefully in the future ask to:
- interview them on your website
- write a guest blog post for them
- exchange articles
- or simply ask to have one of your posts re-tweeted
Nurturing Your Relationships
Everyone has an “end game”. Most of us want better exposure across multiple networks. This is just one channel to obtain high quality links and build relationships from. We now understand that each and every effort that’s made should be beneficial to the user. Once the user/reader/browser (whatever you want to call them) is impressed consistently, you would have a loyal visitor who will eventually turn into a customer or client.
So get your links in places where you’ll see qualified traffic pour in and use Twitter to jump start the process.