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How A Few Tweets Led to a 370% Increase In My Traffic

This guest post is by Tom Meitner of The Practical Nerd.

The other night, I found out author/marketer Chris Brogan was in town. I am a big fan of his and his book Trust Agents, so I wanted to go meet him. I’m not going to go through all of the details of the tweet exchange—you can read about how I wound up not meeting him after all on my blog.

Photo by Aidan Jones, licensed under Creative Commons

However, as a result of trying to meet him, I had a conversation with him via Twitter. So, I wrote up a post about what I learned from not meeting him, and I put his name in the title when I tweeted it out to my followers. Chris was notified, and he retweeted it to his followers, with the tag, “Very nice story.”

That doesn’t sound that interesting, does it? I mean, Chris doesn’t know me, has really never met me, and it was one tweet. But by putting his stamp of approval on it, Chris was publicly inviting people to read my article—and he has over 177,000 followers. In a matter of minutes, I had an influx of traffic (see the screenshot below). These are by no means numbers to write home about, but when you average 50-60 visitors a day, 185 sure is a big jump—especially in the span of a couple of hours!

The "Brogan Effect"—An hourly breakdown of traffic that day

It never would have happened if I had decided to go meet Chris but didn’t tell him about it. I had to break the ice with him first and give it a shot. Through that, I got on his radar, and that’s how my post was tweeted out to his followers.

It also taught me a few very important lessons about networking:

  1. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the big dogs. Chris Brogan, in the small interaction I’ve had with him, seems to be a pretty genuinely nice guy, and my post only brought more people who told me the same thing about him. Twitter has such a low barrier to entry that it gives you the opportunity to connect with just about anybody who’s there, and most of them are just normal people.
  2. You have to be genuine. If I had gone into this interaction with Chris and was purely motivated by the thought, “Hey, maybe I can score some free traffic to my blog,” he would have sniffed that out pretty quickly. He wouldn’t want anything to do with me—and he’d be right. Sometimes you have to catch it, and remind yourself of the motivation for your actions. The rest of it will take care of itself. Just focus on building the relationship. That was the opportunity I saw when I found out Chris was in town.
  3. Be proactive in your efforts. One of my favorite stories of networking is my friend Jacob Sokol’s adventure of taking author and well-known entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk to a New York Jets football game. He reached out to Gary proactively and regularly to get noticed—and on Gary’s terms. Sometimes it will feel like a throwaway; I tweeted Chris that I was heading downtown to see him just on a whim in case he checked his Twitter feed while he was out. I never thought he would reply, let alone do any of this. But that happened because I took action.
  4. Don’t ask for anything. This goes along with being genuine. I did not ask Chris to tweet my post. I did hope he would read it, but I didn’t ask him to read it. I merely let him know it was there. It’s the same thing I did when I got 19 other people to share their small achievements with me: I told them, “Here it is, it’s done, read it if you want, and thank you.” Most of them took it upon themselves to share it with their followers. Instead of asking for something, work hard to make what you are doing to be noticeable and different. Let your sincerity show through, and that’s what motivates people to share your stuff—not because you asked, but because they want to.

As a result, I have new readers and a few new followers on Twitter—and I never even met the guy.

Have you had any experiences like this, where a small contact led to a traffic burst for your blog? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Tom Meitner is a writer who helps people break through their boundaries at The Practical Nerd. Check out what he’s reading and sharing on Twitter @TomMeitner.

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Comments

  1. Nice Work!. Gary Vaynerchuk tweeted back to me the other day and didn’t touch his account for 24 hours!.

    Sent a bit of traffic my way!,

    ;]

  2. Danny Starr says:

    How did your bounce rate compare to normal?

    • Tom Meitner says:

      My bounce rate was actually down a little bit. It was 74.05% and the average time spent on the site was 2:31. The beauty of this kind of traffic is that people are clicking the link because they actually want to read the article and see the site, as opposed to StumbleUpon traffic where you might keep them there for 2 seconds before they ditch. I think my bounce rate usually sits at around 80%.

  3. Well, I did remember Darren tweeted/RT my blog post about being unique and not trying to be like him. Had a bit of flux traffic coming to my post too. I wasn’t really expecting him to tweet it or anything so it was a surprise and a good one :)

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Those are the best surprises, Michael. Obviously it’s more about getting engaged traffic than just numbers, but these guys carry a lot of “social weight”, so when they tweet something out, you get a lot of great new exposure (as opposed to buying traffic or spamming to get it).

  4. Christin says:

    Yep, I know the feeling. :) I’m friends with a blogger who has pretty high traffic on all her blogs, and we’re working together on promoting her new e-book so she sent LOTS of traffic my way this week. It’s a win-win. I promote her book, she promotes me promoting her book, and sends me traffic.

    I had over a 1023% increase in unique visitors.

    I agree, don’t be afraid to talk to the high traffic bloggers. Throw ideas out on how you can connect/partner, etc. :)

  5. Rison Simon says:

    Nice experience indeed. I have started a new blog and is using twitter to build relationships as you said. You can connect with me at twitter.com/risonsimon. Some people think social media like twitter is for getting traffic or increasing conversions. But the real reason why these services exist is because man is a social animal and it should be used to build relationships. The benefit you may get from it is a mere by product which you shouldn’t focus on.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      You’re right, Rison. It’s all about building relationships. But getting a little exposure can be valuable for building new relationships. Right now, this post is introducing me to some great new people. Best of luck to your future blogging success!

  6. darkduck says:

    50-60 visitors a day? I think this is very low for the blog.
    And then, only 185 from 177000? Hm…
    I don’t buy any of those values.

    BTW. I peeked at your blog. Why are you changing font to bold when mouseover? It makes all the text jump!

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Every blog starts somewhere. 50-60 is low, but if it’s consistent, I’m thankful. I love the opportunity to help anybody out, not just pad numbers. Not sure what you “don’t buy” about it. I can take more screenshots if you don’t believe me. :-) The thing about Twitter is that it is fast-moving. Not all 177,000 saw those, and some of those are bots anyway. Again, I’m just happy to have the opportunity to get in front of more eyeballs.

      As far as my blog design, I set it up how I like it. If a bunch of my readers complain, then I would make changes, but I haven’t heard any problems from anybody. Sorry you don’t like it.

  7. Ty says:

    It all goes back (all networking that is) to being genuine. Great example of how being real pays off.

    Ty

  8. Congrats on the growth of your twitter first off. Secondly when you go about doing something with the intent of just learning and wanting nothing in return you will see more surprises coming back to you than you could ask for. I know when I just express my thoughts on my blog just to talk about the experience I had I get more responses and comments back than if I actually tried to get them.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Justice, you got that right! Keeping your priorities in check is hard to do sometimes, but that’s when you reap the most rewards!

  9. Making your tweet read interesting will attract a lot of RT’s. That’s what I’ve learnt from my experience.

  10. I’m not sure Twitter is worth the trouble. You didn’t get an amazing amount of hits from his 177,000 followers. Still, better than nothing at all, I suppose.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Well, Michael, if you’re on Twitter just for the traffic, yeah, then it’s not worth the trouble. Twitter is there for building relationships. Far more valuable than the 185 visitors that day was the tiny building of a relationship with Chris, not to mention the chance to build relationships with other tweeters that saw his post.

      As for the hit count, if you are running a business and you do something that gives you three times the exposure that you usually get, you jump all over it. So even in the purely traffic sense, I would argue that it was “worth it”. Heck, ProBlogger gets hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, and their Twitter account is over 125,000 people. I’m not expecting to drive that much traffic to my blog, but I’m already building relationships with some pretty cool people as a result.

      Worth it, in my book!

      • I’m just saying if I’m going to put my time and energy into anything, it’s going to be writing – rather than promotion or something else.

        • Tom Meitner says:

          Well, you definitely want to make sure that you are writing great content. But if nobody knows that your great content is there, what’s the point? Every successful blogger does some sort of promotion, whether it is guest posting, engagement on Twitter, or something else.

  11. Fredrik says:

    It began with me replying to one tweet. I then asked the established swedish screenwriter in question, if I could ask a few questions. It turned into an interview that I was allowed to put on my blog about screenwriting. She was nice enough to mention this interview to her followers, but all I ever asked was for the questions and to publish the answears. As you say, they are people like you and me, common sense and maners goes a long way. If you have honest intentions, don`t be afraid to ask.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Fredrik, I’ve had other big-timers tell me to stop being so apologetic about asking them to promote something. They tell me if I put in the work and created something worth talking about, then they are happy to help. It’s all in the approach!

  12. Dan says:

    I definitely think it’s a combination of #1 and #3 to get noticed. Just be persitent and be proactive. Sometimes approaching “the big dogs” on the lesser-known social networks is a good idea to get noticed as well as there’s less of a stream coming from them.

    Also nice one Dave re: Vaynerchuk!

  13. Matt Poc says:

    Yeah, I totally agree with that you have to genuine. I would like to add to this:

    Always think what’s in it for them. You can discover a lot of useful information if you read Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”. It is a great book and I think this is one of the best books that I’ve ever read. This book not only helps to make new friends, but helped to make more money in my online business. It helps to recruit affiliates. It helps to get my guest posts published on someone else’s blog.

    The main idea of that book is always think what’s in it for them. Always. People don’t care about you. You care to them only then if you can provide something of value to them.

    Recently, there was an earthquake in Japan. Who cares about that here in Europe, US about that? No ome (unless you have some relatives there). People don’t care about the earthquake, but they care about what they are going to eat for launch today.

    So remember, always think what’s in it for them and you will get everyone to tweet about you :)

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Well, your earthquake example is accurate and somewhat depressing, but you’re right, offering value to other people is the key.

  14. Brankica says:

    Definitely needed a kick in the behind for some things and just got it. I think we all want to play with the big dogs but we do have to learn that not all dogs are as big as they present themselves.

    Chris is and there is not discussion about that, lol. But I am referring to some bloggers that think they are big but have no real influence, they look at the numbers of followers they have on twitter being all mighty but they neglect the fact they built those numbers using automated tools and being artificial.

    So in this case I am very happy you got these great results (I believe I even read that post at the time) and I am glad you connected with such a great blogger like Chris.

    But I just wanna tell people, that not everyone is like Chris and you should be smart about who you spend your time trying to reach :)

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Excellent point, Brankica! I usually try to “feel them out” before I really go after them. I didn’t know what kind of guy Chris was like until I saw the open invite to go downtown and meet up with him. I’m guessing they don’t all do that. ;-)

    • Chris Brogan says:

      I got into twitter in the 10,000th user area, and have been at it for years. But then suddenly people had 300,000 or more followers who started a few months ago. I feel like the only guy not taking steroids in baseball or something. But I don’t care. I wouldn’t change the numbers.

      Fake numbers don’t retweet or drive traffic.

  15. Tim says:

    Social media is an extremity powerful blogging too. Any serious blogger would be a fool to neglect the powers of twitter and facebook. Getting a RT from a “big dog” is almost as good as a link from a large site.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      You bet, Tim! It’s pretty clear that even one RT can net you some great opportunities!

      • Santosh says:

        That may be true, but I was wondering if it will be possible to maintain the new traffic numbers. After all, you can’t get an RT from a big guy everyday. In most cases what you get are a few hundred visitors who land on your site out of sheer curiosity. That may be worth your while if you have PPM ads. Otherwise, I don’t think these accidental spurt in traffic is something you should get excited about.

        That said, this is the humble opinion of a guy who has absolutely no presence on Twitter.

  16. Susan says:

    I had almost the exact same experience. Chris Brogan did a video post about confidence. It was very inspiring to me, so I wrote a response on my blog — and went back to Chris’s post and commented with a link to my own.

    Not very long after, Chris tweeted my post and my traffic soared. My blog was actually still in the soft launch stage (I think I had only one or two other posts up at that point). I certainly wasn’t expecting to get that tweet! But it made me really commit to the blog and I got lots of great followers.

    Chris is so honest and straightforward and kind. He’s one of those people who truly enjoys promoting others. Would love to get a chance to meet him some day.

  17. Tom says:

    When I launched my blog, I contacted one of the sales trainers who I’ve worked with over the past couple of years.

    I completely forgot to send him a link, but he found the site.

    Shortly thereafter I started getting spikes of traffic over 3 or 4 days.

    Not huge traffic, but enough to keep me motivated.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Tom (awesome name, by the way!), motivation is huge, especially when you are starting out as a blogger. Those little spikes can keep you going until you really go places!

  18. In Kenya one of the most followed tweeters is @AlykhanSatchu with over 10 200 followers due to his free interactive website on tracking the Nairobi stock exchange. When we are analyzing the stock markets on twitter, i usually get a bump in traffic :-)

  19. Irene says:

    What a great experience, Tom! I’m currently in a MBA class that teaches about personal branding and the one thing the professor keeps stressing is to “meet” people on Twitter to increase traffic to our blogs. Seeing your experience definitely gives me the hope and motivation I need since I’m fairly new to blogging. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Thanks for reading, Irene! The big secret to improving any exposure or traffic or whatever is to network and do so genuinely (without the sole selfish motivation). Good luck!

  20. That is utterly amazing! Just a couple of tweets can result in that?! These guys have quite a following.

  21. Jacob says:

    But ya know, getting all of that traffic is useless if no one sticks around. You mentioned that you got a few new readers and a few new Twitter followers. However, how do your stats look now? Are the people coming to your site from Brogan or now from the traffic from ProBlogger actually going to result in people sticking around? What makes your site sticky?

    If you can develop a strategy that maximizes the stickiness of your blog, when you get mentioned by–or contribute too–these big names, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of it for the long term. I’d rather get 100 visitors who come back than 1000 visitors who forget about me in a day, ya know?

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Absolutely, Jacob, and that’s a great point. Traffic obviously levels off but my traffic has been improved. This guest post has driven hundreds of new eyes to my site and I’m seeing a nice spike in email subscribers too, which means something is being done right.

      What I like about these spikes is that I can get more feedback and better analysis on what is working and what isn’t. It’s hard to tell when it’s the same 30-40 people every day. Engagement is key for this, and I’m always looking for ways to improve and make my site worth revisiting. I won’t know if I’m accomplishing that if I don’t get those spikes and see what happens. Excellent thoughts!

  22. Jan Udlock says:

    On Friday I learned about Twitter and TweetDeck. Sunday I tweeted for the first time about my blog book giveaway and got similar results. 163 views while my normal numbers are in the 20′s – 30′s. I’m a convert.

    And the big dogs were once in our shoes and now they’re giving back. Thanks for giving back today.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Jan, that last sentence implies I’m a big dog. Couldn’t be further from the truth, but you get the award for First Person To Think I’m Important. :-)

      Anyway, always remember that everybody started somewhere. And if you engage with people on Twitter, some cool things certainly can happen!

  23. I would add a corollary to the statement “Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the big dogs…”: or anyone else on Twitter. After getting great tips from Brankica and reading Mark Schaefer’s book “The Tao of Twitter,” I started realizing that I had to get over my fear of contacting people on Twitter, because, yes, it is all about making real connections. If I see something that really interests me, and I have a question or comment, I respond. Big dog, small dog, no matter. That’s what makes Twitter so much fun.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      You got it, Marianne! There are so many people who tell me they think Twitter is a waste of time (especially family and friends), they have no idea not just how powerful it is, but how fun it can be!

  24. I got something like a 1300% increase by mentioning @guykawasaki in one of my tweets. I reviewed his latest book, “Enchantment,” posted a link on Twitter, and included his name in the post. He saw it, mentioned it on Stumbeupon, and suddenly my hits went from ~15 or 20 a day to 220. And as a bonus, Guy commented on the review in the blog post.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Hey, that’s great Bill! I’ve heard stories of Guy being a very giving fellow online, too. Glad to hear that you were able to get some exposure!

  25. Nancy Davis says:

    I love this post. I have had the opportunity to meet one of my personal favorite business/social media bloggers because I frequently comment on his blog and am friends with him on Twitter. I have “met” several other great people just by being myself. I recently “met” on Twitter another blogger that I like quite a bit, and my boss is very quick to ask “how does this make us money?”

    Silence. What? How? How does that make money? By them maybe retweeting something they liked is how!

    I mentioned to my boss that these people know who I am and that I am on their radar is good enough for me. I did this with less than 100 followers.

    I love reading things like this because it gives me hope to see things like this happen.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      People will keep trying to apply ROI to it, and it’s hard to, Nancy. It’s like going to a networking event – you can’t always directly measure the ROI, at least not yet. Keep it up!

  26. Great point. The big guys are people too! I think the less traffic hungry you are, the more traffic will come your way because that neediness doesn’t come through in your communication.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Stephen, it’s kind of like dating, right? A girl doesn’t go out with the guy who seems desperate for a date, she wants the cool, confident one who knows the date will come along at the right time. Just like traffic! ;-)

  27. Togrul says:

    This is pretty interesting approach.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Togrul

  28. Kiran says:

    A workable approach. I created a header for a famous food blogger and received huge amount of traffic on my site, twitter and facebook. Keeping in tune with huge industry names is essential, as long as one pushes the right button :)

  29. Rachel says:

    What a great story. I love it. Law of attraction in action.
    Thanks for sharing Tom!

  30. making your tweets best and better :) , the twitter also a place which goes viral like youtube

  31. making your tweets best and better :) , the twitter also a place which goes viral like youtube

  32. I agree with “just being yourself”. I have had the most success when I stopped trying so hard and worring about “numbers” Keep it simple on any twitter, blog, email…

    • Tom Meitner says:

      It goes along with being sincere, Mike. It’s easy to be sincere when you’re not trying to be someone you’re not. Great point!

  33. Good post. I love how people sometimes surprise us with kindness.

  34. If you can let go of outcomes life has a way of making things work out to your favor. Your story proves my point.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      That’s right Justin. Just focus on what you can control, and the rest will fall into place when it’s time. Thanks for reading!

  35. jorge257 says:

    I thought twitter was just for people that had nothing better to do (wrong again, shame on me). There seems to be always something new again (i am learning things too).

  36. Hisyam says:

    Its amazing after knowing the power of sosial network.

  37. PrasantN says:

    140 is the world if we can use it wisely. Twitter has allowed me to contact people and the big ones too. I was looking for speakers for a smm summit in India and i contacted 20 people via twitter. great exp and now i talk to them once in a while. same with chris, i have asked couple of questions on twitter and i was surprised to see him reply. for me it was like a cleb coming and saying hi :). i agree that if you work hard and be genuine you will grow and social media is all about that :)
    thanks Tom for a simple and a refreshing post.

  38. Kevin Cullis says:

    Hi Tom,

    It’s great that you have a spike and how you did it, but a more important part is to create a long lasting “long tail” with your “fans” http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php A spike can be fleeting, but a long tail can be more rewarding.

    So, Mac or PC? :-)

    Kevin

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Kevin, absolutely right. There’s no point in chasing big spikes in traffic if you can’t connect with your audience.

      And I’m a PC running Ubuntu. :-)

  39. Denys Yeo says:

    I haven’t used Twitter in this way but thanks for the good ideas. I am going to have a go at following your suggestions and see what happens!

  40. OK, I had to comment on this one! I had a similar experience. Saw from his twitterstream that Chris was actually in my area last December, and about ten minutes from where I lived. I sent him a DM and, after assuring him we would be in close proximity, he agreed to meet me and told me to call him in a few hours. I was pleasantly surprised that he actually gave me his phone number. So, I called at the appointed time, and was able to meet up with him at a nearby hotel lounge where some other very well known internet folks were all meeting. I had actually met him briefly the year before at the Affiliate Marketing Summit in New York, so he remembered me from there. In any case, we had a great chat, he signed my copy of “Trust Agents” and we took a quick photo before he retired for the evening, as he was tired and I don’t blame him. I did write a blog post afterwards about the experience, which he did see, but he did not retweet it. In the time since, I have tried twice to do Fan page giveaways for the book, but no nibbles, a bit surprising given his reach. I’m hoping to try again and maybe he can send some folks over to my page. Lessons learned: be realistic about expectations, learn what you can, stay in touch, and hope to come full circle again in future.

    PS Also met Gary V 2 weeks ago. He remembered a tweet I’d sent out several months earlier about extra copy of Thank You Economy for Fan page, and made sure I got it before the end of the event. Very classy.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Those are awesome stories, Caroline! Looks like you’ve got a lot more experience at this than me! Managing your expectations is huge for this kind of stuff, but I think it’s awesome that these guys remembered you. What a cool feeling!

  41. Praveen says:

    I do like to get one experience like the one you got !
    Single retweet gained that traffic, shows that mans power :)

  42. ananta says:

    unfortunately, in my region [North Sumatra province, Indonesia], no sponsorship willing to give advantage for bloggers. But, this article really inspiring me. :)

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Ananta, not sure what you mean by “sponsorship”. From what I can see, building relationships on Twitter is pretty even across the world.

  43. Miroslav says:

    Well i have 1000 followers and they give me like 5-10 unique views, it’s not effective for me at all. It’s all about the twitter connections i think. :)

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Miroslav – I find that it’s not so much how many followers you have, but what kind of engagement you have with them. Do you ask them questions? Do you respond to their queries and get involved in their conversations? Once you start connecting with them on a more individual level, some cool things can happen!

  44. Good story — thanks for sharing. Now, if I just almost meet someone famous. :)

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  45. I know the feeling on a much smaller scale. :) My friend runs a popular blog. One day blog traffic increased and I have no idea why. I was like where are these people coming from! I looked at my Google analytics and it said Facebook, but I couldn’t understand why. Turns out my Facebook page was rotating on her “likes”. So I got traffic that day, which I was pleasantly surprised.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      And the key there is that you were friends with this person. Having real relationships with those with more influence than you can do some wonderful things!

  46. Brad says:

    My posts automatically go to Twitter and with the plug-in I use, I have the ability to add tags on a per-tweet basis (although it could be anything, including twitter names) and so I do usually try to include the twitter tags of those the article mentions, be they individuals or organizations. Most of the time it doesn’t help, but the small percentage of time that a celebrity or major company retweets it makes up for it. And while I believe Twitter is too fleeting of a medium for generating traffic, if the right person retweets it, it can have impact for days or more, even weeks in some cases.

    • Tom Meitner says:

      You’re right, Brad. It’s all about that possibility of something going viral on there (even though I hate that word). The key is also making sure that you are balancing the automatic tweeting with regular use and getting involved in conversations!

  47. ScorpionGod says:

    Great Story! heart touching and attraction is the best. I can take a great advice from this article.

  48. Tom,

    How wonderful that you are still getting a valuable response from reaching out to others! I’m enjoying watching your “rise to fame.” ;-)

    And reading Chris Brogan responding to some of these comments speaks volumes for the real guy he is.

    Rebecca

  49. Jacob Sokol says:

    Awesome work Tom!! Thanx so much for the mention bro. Really enjoyed getting to know you a bit better in the Trader Joes parking lot.

    Not sure what it is about you, but i think you have the potential to do really well monetizing. Why do i say that?

    I spent nearly double what i normally spend at TJs after speaking to you. Good job! -=)

  50. That is a terrific story, Tom! Worthy of a Hollywood screenplay adaptation if you ask me! All your points resonated with me on a huge scale, especially the points about being genuine and taking action in an inspired but selfless way.

    Thank you for sharing the adventuresome details, as well!

    Best wishes,

    Peter

    • Tom Meitner says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Peter. I’ll send your check in the mail tomorrow. ;-) Just kidding.

      Seriously, I appreciate the support. I’m really enjoying getting to interact with so many people because of a fluke hour on a Friday night in March!