A Simple Idea That Increased My Traffic From Twitter Tenfold

Twitter Marketing is a topic that never gets old. Social Media Experts keep coming up with new strategies and tactics and their readers happily consume them and come back for more. (a vicious circle that is)


But would you be surprised if I tell you that I know a “twitter marketing expert”, who has slightly over a thousand followers and is struggling to get any solid traffic from Twitter?

How come a guy who knows hundreds of ways to attract twitter followers and all the best times of the day to tweet can?t grow his own traffic from Twitter?

Well, that’s because most of these “twitter marketing tips” are total BS.

And this “twitter marketing expert” is someone I used to be, till I realised something.

Monstrous Twitter Guide

About 3 years ago I wrote a huge Twitter Marketing Guide. I spent a month on research and I think I gathered all the advice that internet had to offer at the time in one single guide.

It was so neat that we decided to turn it into an ?art directed post?, which is something between the infographic and a regular article (sadly after site was redesigned it got messed up and looks different now).

The post easily got 600 tweets and a ton of comments. But what about me?

Knowing all these tips I still wasn?t able to get any solid traffic from Twitter.

Proof That “Twitter Marketing” Doesn’t Work

Next year I was working with Webdesign.Org on their blogging and social media strategies. And of course I suggested a ton of different things they had to do with their Twitter and Facebook accounts. We even decided to hire a full time SMM guy.

Fast forward 6 months we looked at the results:

  • Our Twitter and Facebook presence was super perfect and good-looking;
  • We were getting some new organic fans and followers daily;
  • We were getting some retweets from time to time and people clicked our links.

But what about things that truly matter?

  • Were we making more money? NO!
  • Were we getting more traffic? NO!
  • Our community got any stronger? NO!

All my knowledge about Social Media Marketing just made us do lots of hard work that didn’t bring any results. I was doing everything that “experts” taught and it didn’t work that well.

That?s when I thought I will never ever invest time in growing my social media accounts.

My next project was Photodoto, a photography blog. And this time I wasn?t focusing on our social media presence at all.

Yet, when I checked our traffic stats, Twitter was the 3rd biggest traffic source after Google & Facebook.

I can?t say that traffic from Twitter was steadily growing, but we had some nice spikes almost every week. The overall traffic increased by 500% within 6 months after we took over this blog.

So I seemed to be doing something right this time.

Twitter Marketing For Dummies

The realisation came to me only when I decided to outline my Twitter Marketing strategy for this very blog.

I was recalling my past experience and I didn’t want to yet again waste my time and money on doing things that didn’t bring any results.

So I focused solely on things that brought me real traffic from Twitter, other than hunting for unicorns and rainbows.

And you know what I’ve realised?

Twitter Marketing is not about growing and cherishing your social presence, it?s about having OTHER people tweet your content!

[tweet_box]Twitter traffic doesnt come from your own followers. It comes from other people, who tweet your stuff![/tweet_box]

People think they need to have a twitter account with thousands of followers because messages on Twitter spread like this:


As if you tweet something and then it spreads like wildfire gaining momentum.

But that?s terribly-terribly wrong!

Here’s how something gets viral on Twitter (this is a real graph, not a silly infographic):

See the difference? The momentum is there from the start and then it just fades slowly.

Things get ?viral? on Twitter only after guys with huge following tweet them. It?s not the ordinary people that make things go viral, it?s the power users.

I have a more detailed writeup regarding this misconception right here: How To Write Tweets That Get a Lot of ReTweets

If your Twitter Marketing is aimed at becoming such a power user I sincerely wish you luck, but I?m afraid it?s not that easy.

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That is why instead I?m suggesting you to focus your Twitter Marketing efforts around creating tweet-worthy content and getting Twitter power users to notice it.

That is what worked for me personally and that is why I wrote this article for you. I?ll be happy to discuss it with you in comments.

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product Advisor at Ahrefs, a leading tool trusted by hundreds of thousands of SEOs and marketers worldwide. His SEO-related data research studies have been cited by media giants, including Inc, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat. He's also a regular speaker at some of the largest industry conferences around the globe, such as PubCon (US), BrightonSEO (UK), and the Digital Marketers Australia Conference (AU).


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  1. So true! I’ve analysed what people do, and noticed the same thing. Yes, social media is very important. But it’s not about followers and fans, etc, but the sharers.

    • Tim Soulo

      Yep… I’d go even further and say it’s about the content :) If the content sucks – people won’t spread it. But if the content is great – you just need to funnel an initial flux of visitors and they will spread it a lot further!

  2. Hi Tim,

    Our RTers really do make or break our twitter accounts. Smart tweeters retweet good, relevant content aggressively, and create their own smart, intriguing tweets.

    I retweet a bunch. I just RTed this post through Triberr BTW ;) Doing so draws people to your account because you’re generating good twitter karma, noting the Golden Rule of social media; give to receive.

    Of course your tweets to be informative, valuable and it doesn’t hurt if they’re funny, aka the Ryan Gosling mention above.

    But really, people who RT us will expand our presence so much more quickly than if we tweet our own stuff all day long. I have over 29,000 followers and I engage frequently, and see about 10 to 30 instant page views to my new blog posts…..some through my handle but much through the tribes that have my RSS feed on send out.

    Thanks Tim, smart post.

    Enjoy your day.


    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Ryan,

      That’s the problem actually.. with 29k followers you only get 10-30 page views to your new blog posts.

      So instead of focusing on your own twitter account, you should try to get 10 other people tweet about you. And if each tweet will get you 10 pageviews, that would be 100 pageviews from 10 tweets. Simple maths :)

  3. Hi Tim,

    Great article. I have been focusing A LOT on Twitter marketing recently and yes, some of your ideas (written above) is insane! Great tips indeed and thanks for the food for thought.

    Looking forward for your writing man.

    • Tim Soulo

      Thanks, Reginald! I spent way too much time trying to grow my twitter account and get more followers. But that’s not the way people get mass traffic from Twitter.

  4. Hi Tim glad that you get this! It is all about engaging in strong and active Pillar 6 communities like Triberr as Ryan has said. This has been the maun crux of my teaching about social media for about 6 years. I found this post because Kathi Kruse tweeted it via Triberr. I will follow you there now

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Michael.. communities is just one of the ways to attract tweets from other people.. but I believe the content itself should motivate people to tweet it… in the first place!

  5. Twitter has change over the years – a LOT!

    What has not changed is that it is always better to have a third party talk about you. Does that mean it is not effective to share your own content, no.

    My audience would be really upset if I never shared #BBSradio show’s content, they look for my avatar and track our twitter account.

    Like many have said before and after me, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Listen to what your following says is important to them. Then use what aligns to your own business objectives that matters to them = winning activities.

    • Tim Soulo

      When you create a piece of content, be it video or a blog post – you want other people to share it with their social circles. This brings a lot more traffic than just sharing your piece of content with your own social circle, no matter how big it is

      • I recently wrote a pretty through twitter hack guide. I would love for you to review it before I publish the content. Email me and let’s talk…

  6. Hi,

    I have been using Facebook mainly for engagement, soon I moved to twitter and trust me twitter got me more traffic than Facebook. Yes, Twitter works.

    Thank you for those quick tips – I will try them.

  7. Ronald

    Loved this article, Tim! thanks a lot for sharing your perspective!