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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Complete: How to build a brand on Twitter for FREE!

(Note: This is a consolidated post from 5 previous blog entries that were posted as a series. Minor alterations have been made to this consolidation.)

Twitter can be a little bit daunting when you first start using it. You just type some stuff and off it goes into the Internet for all to see. Wow, I just tweeted my lunch. Wow, I just tweeted my car accident. Wow, I just tweeted my break up with my boyfriend... You know how it goes.

But you get through the first couple of days and you've tweeted twenty things, all totally unrelated, and then you start staring at your screen. Nothing. Just a handful of followers and no one is replying back to you. Well what do you know? Like everything in life, it's all about branding. (If you're interested in building up a lot of Twitter followers read this post).

Why do I need a brand?
I'll state this once and simply: To maximize your following and legitimacy, you need a brand. If you have a large number of followers and a legitimate brand, people will take note of what you tweet and action on it (think: click your links!).

Finding your Twitter brand is a difficult but necessary thing to do to maximize your following. Me? I now write about books and blogging and publishing. That's my brand. When I first started on Twitter my brand was quotes and weird news stories, but that all changed a couple of months ago. The important thing though is to have a brand. That way people know what you're Tweeting about. So just choose a passion, something that you can happily tweet about forever, and then stick to it. Of course, you can send the occasional tweet about something completely different, but for most part stick to your brand.

This article will cover:
  1. Where do I get my material from?
  2. How often should I tweet?
  3. How can I automate my Tweets?
  4. What about a blog?
  5. How do I pull the whole thing together?
So, let's get started on step 1:

1. Where do I get my material from?
If you're like most people, there is only so much relevant content you can make up for yourself on a daily basis. This means you're going to need to get more material from somewhere else. But where? The Internet of course. But the question still is, how do you get it? I use Google alerts. Go to and try setting some up. To start you can have the results emailed to you. (There are other ways to use Alerts and I shall be covering those in Step 3 - Automating). Use the Alert information that is emailed to you for writing Tweets. Another place is your favorite RSS feeds. You probably read this stuff already so use it and re-tweet it. Your brand is beginning to form.

Experiment. Find out what works for you. Spend a few days tweeting about a topic you like and then refine it slightly until you're happy.

2. How often should I tweet?
There are millions and millions of Twitter users on the Internet and your tweets represent the smallest of a fraction you could ever imagine. Unless you have millions of followers, the chances that a lot of people will see all your tweets and click on links are very small. But don't be despondent, this can work to your advantage as well.

I have over 50,000 followers on Twitter. Think about this. What do you think the chances of everyone reading and actioning any single tweet I make are? Actually, the number is very small. Twitter is a bit like a fire hose, you spray water everywhere; it's not a direct pressure jet of water that is directed specifically at something. And this is an important fact to remember. What does it mean? Well, actually it means that if I tweet one thing at 8am and then a very similar thing at 9am, there's a good chance that the tweet will be seen by different people. But, if I only have 10 followers, then they will all most likely see both of my tweets. So, follower numbers are important as a ratio to tweet frequency too.

As a general ratio, for every 10,000 followers you have you can tweet the same thing one time per day. So in my case, I can safely send the same tweet out 5 times a day without worry that people will notice I'm spamming them. But - and here's the important other factor - you have to intersperse your tweets with other tweets so that anyone looking through your timeline doesn't see the repeated pattern. A reasonable timeline that anyone looking back through will be about 20 tweets or so. Taking my example further, this means that if I am to repeat a tweet 5 times a day and I need to create 20 tweets between each repeat, then I should be tweeting about 100 times a day! Now that's a lot more than I currently tweet. In fact I guess I send out around 50-60 tweets a day. This means I shouldn't repeat the same tweet more than twice a day.

But the question still remains, how often should I tweet? The simple answer is that the more followers you have and the more you want to build a brand, the more you should tweet - up to a limit of about 6 tweets an hour (above that and it will be impossible to follow you). This means you need to build your Twitter following as an urgent task (read this post about how to build 16,000+ followers). Then you can increase your tweet frequency appropriately.

Tweeting 50 times a day (for me) is a lot of tweeting so I have automated much of the process.

3. How can I automate my Tweets?
There are two tools I want to introduce; Twitterfeed and Twaitter. They both are slightly different and they both serve different purposes.

In the first step I wrote about building alerts and having them delivered as emails. Well, now it's time to change those emails to RSS feeds so that you make better use of them. If you go to and edit one of your alerts, you can select 'Feed' in the edit box. Save this and then you should see a little RSS button next to the alert. By right-clicking on the RSS feed you can copy its feed address. Do this! Next, go to and set up an account there if you don't already have one. Create a new feed and then follow the prompts, pasting in the RSS feed address when appropriate (use the advanced settings to determine how often to update Twitter - every 30 mins or so). Then finish off the process and you are now automatically posting new alerts into your Twitter feed (you may need to wait up to an hour for the first feed to kick in). So, onto automating your own Tweets.

Twaitter is a free product that allows you to schedule your own tweets (up to 10 an hour) on a single or recurring basis.The process is very easy so I'm not going to go into details (just try it)...

With the combination on Google Alerts, Twitterfeed and Twaitter, you can have most of your tweeting automated and your branding well underway. The only question that remains is "what do I tweet about that will drive traffic to me?" This is the subject of the next step - 'What about a blog?'

4. What about a blog?
Previously I wrote about how to automate your tweets so that you don't have to sit in front of the computer all day long. We have also written about how to convert Google Alerts into Twitter feeds and so all that remains is for you to supply your own stream of relevant content. This is where blogs come in!

I started this blog at the end of February 2011 and it is now April 25th. Only two months have passed and my blog already has over 7,000 page hits and is growing by about 300 hits per day. I hope that within a few months I'll be getting 500+ hits a day. What does this mean to me? Quite simply, every page hit I get is a chance for me to sell something, educate someone, solicit someone, or just pass on a simple message. I also get the opportunity to earn a little money from Google ad sponsoring. The way I figure it, the more people that visit my blog, the better my branding will be and the better my messages will be getting out. Also, Google will rank my blog higher the more interaction I'll have with people, etc. The list is endless.

So, you need to write a blog. And then you need to post at least once a day. Anything. It doesn't really matter to a certain extent. If you build it, they will come. If you link to it, they will come. If you keep on writing, they will come! The point is that without a blog at the center of your branding you are nothing! Your voice is your brand.

Okay, you've built your blog, now what? Simple. Reread the previous step and link your blog to Twitterfeed. It's as simple as that. Every time your blog has something new it will get sent to Twitter (and you can send it to Facebook too). Cool. But wait, it's not over. Remember we also wrote about Twaitter? Well this is where you put all your best blog posts. When you've built up thirty or fifty blog posts, I'm sure you'll have a handful of favorites that you'd like others to read again. Post the links in Twaitter and schedule them (recurring). Your work is nearly done.

5. How do I pull the whole thing together?
If you've followed along and read all the steps so far, you should now be sending 30+ automated tweets every day to your Twitter feed. Now all you need to do is a little gardening!

With the increased flow of tweets you're going to get more replies from people. Be prepared to answer them! You're also going to have to carefully monitor the traffic that's flowing to your blog. This is the only way to understand which of your tweets are working and which are not. Hopefully you have analytics on your blog and you can see (preferably hourly) just how many hits you are getting. Look for peaks and troughs. What time of day do you not get any visitors? When do you get peak traffic? Rearrange tweets to try and smooth things out a little.

Then try new things. Maybe a few video blogs on YouTube, or a series of special blog posts that you can link to again and again (like this one!). Over time, you can reinforce your brand by helping others to discover you and getting them to retweet your posts.

Oh, and that reminds me of one more thing - Use exciting headlines for your tweets. There's a lot more chance of people clicking on them that way. Words like 'FREE', 'advice', 'help', 'dummies', etc. will all drive traffic to you. Put yourself in the head of the reader. Which headline would make them want to click your tweet? If I had called this series 'Building brands on Twitter' it wouldn't have had as much reader power as 'How to build a brand on Twitter for FREE!'

So, remember the steps:
  1. Decide what your brand is
  2. Find external sources that reinforce your brand
  3. Set up automated tweets based on your sources
  4. Keep a blog and feed the posts automatically to Twitter
  5. Select 'top' blog posts to auto-tweet
  6. Monitor and adapt as necessary
It's not an overnight process and there a lot more nuances I could write about. But if you follow everything I've written you'll be well on your way to building your own brand on Twitter for FREE! Good luck...


  1. This is a really helpful post. There is so much information that I have bookmarked it to return later. Thank you very much for providing this info free. It's not often that something in life is truly free.

  2. Okay, it's probably me, but I don't understand how the number of followers *I* have affects how often *they* see my tweets. I have two twitter accounts. One has over 900 followers (and I follow about as many), one has about 20 (and I follow 40). The accounts follow each other. On the large account, I never see my smaller account's tweets. On the smaller account, I see every tweet from the larger account. My point is, it seems to me that each individual is going to see your tweets a lot or not depending on *how many people they follow.* It seems to have little to do with how many followers you have yourself.

  3. Sophia - "How many people they follow" are the people that follow you! Therefore your followers are what is important. The more followers you have, the more chance you have of one of them retweeting you and reaching an even larger audience.

  4. Hello Paul,
    love your blogs!

    For scheduling on Twitter I prefer very much

    Twaitter is no Gremln - but I find it extremely difficult to work. I was not able so far to get anything going...
    Just wrote them an email:
    Hello, your website is not easy to work with...

    Why don't you open the support in a new window?

    Why don't you have instructions, the site is NOT self-explaining at all - unless you are an IT guy at Gremln....

    An average internet user who is not a geek, has really difficulties with your page. Please set up an instruction - thanks in advance.

    You know what? Go to your mom or dad, give her Gremln - but NO instructions how to use it, leave the room for 30 minutes and come back and see how he/she fares

    Thanks for future improvement,


  5. Great post! Not surprisingly I found my way to this page via twitter. Your advice about branding makes a lot of sense. I've been having a hard time figuring out what to tweet myself. I realize it's probably because my tweets tend to be more random in nature. Picking a couple of core subjects would probably help focus my attention and make writing easier. I guess the only thing left is to try it! - I wonder what I should tweet about?

  6. Great advice - I too found it via twitter and you (Paul) show up in my twitter-feed most days when I browse it. (I've passed this link on to my sister who is trying to brand her yoga bag website - - on twitter and through a blog). It's a lot of work at first, as I found out and she is now.

    I'm now using Hootsuite, which I find helpful. With just over 5k followers, I'm basically re-posting older tweets only twice monthly at max, and mixing in new, timely content as I go.

  7. Just a fantastic post Paul, more great advice.

    Looking forward to the book featuring the Author Interviews, and I promise to reply to the email very soon!


  8. Nice guideline to follow. Helpful for folks looking for some assistance on getting started in this beautiful monster we call social media.

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