Since I started blogging regularly, there are plenty of things that I’ve learned and plenty of things that I still need to learn. Along the way, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes but I’ve also had a few successes. Because of that, I want to share what I’ve learned (both on my own and through my mistakes) to anyone who is willing to listen or wanting to learn. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I’d want to think that I know what I’m talking about. For this first part of this, I’m going to talk about building a presence on social media. And maybe that seems odd to not talk about something related to blogging, but stick with me.
Building a Presence on Social Media
(Learning From My Mistakes)
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After making the decision to monetize and really get serious about blogging, quite a few things became apparent to me within the first few weeks. I was getting overwhelmed with where to start and I probably went a little bit overboard in terms of applying for blog networks and blogging groups. I was trying to get so many things in place and done that I wasn’t focusing and I was in over my head. I was almost ready to quit by second month in, but I stuck to my guns.
There is still plenty that I need to learn and that’s one of the things that I really enjoy about blogging- there’s a never ending opportunity to learn something. It could be about SEO, layouts, photography… anything.
Something that I wish I had paid more attention to in the beginning is social media and building a presence on social media. I know that with everything in blogging, this takes time and it’s not going to be an overnight explosion of followers and likes. But I also want to build a relationship with my audience on social media and I want it to be an authentic experience.
So that’s all well and good, but where do you start with building a presence on social media? And is being on social media really that important for bloggers?
To answer the second, in a nutshell, yes- I think it’s very important. Being on social media allows you to connect with your audience in new ways. By asking questions on Twitter or Facebook, you can interact in real time. By sharing on Pinterest, you’re entering a visual buffet and hopefully offering something enticing.
But should you really try to tackle all of the networks at once? Is one more important than the other?
Yes and no. Over time, you’ll learn which networks bring you traffic and which ones that you enjoy focusing on or interacting with. But, I also think it would be foolish to just focus on one or two networks for your traffic and audience- especially with the variety available. I check Analytics to see which of my social media channels are driving the most traffic. Sometimes I’ll pick a channel to focus on and sometimes I’ll work on two.
As far as where to start, it’s quite simple. Sign up for an account and you’re off and running.
Or maybe not quite that simple…
First, you’ll want to identify your goals for each social media network that you’re considering.
Why are you using social media and what do you hope to accomplish? There are many different reasons to use social media. You may use it to sell products, to build your opt-in list, or to drive traffic to your landing page. Do you want to generate new leads or build relationships with your existing prospects and clients? Consider both long-term and short-term goals.
Second, you’ll want to make sure that your social media accounts are branded to your blog. This lets your audience know, in an easily identifiable way, that this social media account is connected with your blog.
Or maybe it is simple.
While you’re building a relationship with your audience – both on social media and on your blog – don’t get too overwhelmed. Yes, there are days that I just want to ignore social media but I also realize that I can’t. Part of building a presence on social media is being social. That means retweeting or replying to tweets. Liking and sharing on Facebook or interacting with others on Google+ or Pinterest.
How else can building a presence on social media help your blog?
1. Make Your Content Searchable
Sites like Twitter allow you to include tags in your posts, aka hashtags#. Pinterest allows you to identify categories and include tags. Use these features in your post so that your prospects can readily find your information. This simple tactic will help attract more people to your social media profile and subsequently more people to your website.
2. Obvious Contact Information
You might be surprised how many business owners have social media pages and profiles but their website address is a real challenge to find. It’s a simple thing; make sure your URL, email address, and even your phone number are on your site. Be completely transparent so prospects feel comfortable trusting you. Additionally, the more obvious your URL is, the more likely a prospect is to click on it and visit your website.
3. Value Driven
Before you post anything on any social media site, make sure it provides value to your audience. If it doesn’t have a clear benefit, don’t post it. That means often keeping personal posts and business posts separate – unless your personality and personal life are relevant to your brand.
Test and track your posts to identify which posts generate the most traffic and interest. Also consider including a call to action and a link in some of your posts, and test and track those as well.
Some social media posts should lead directly to your website or blog. Include a few sentences teaser on your social media page and a link to read more. You can do this on any of the social media sites, from 140 characters on Twitter to tantalizing paragraphs on LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.
And those are just four simple things!
Social Media can help in a lot of ways, from Facebook to Instagram, building a presence on social media is essential for bloggers. Whether you’re monetizing or not, by being on social media, you are connecting with your audience in so many different ways.
And yes, building a presence on social media also means making time for social media. But that doesn’t have to be time consuming at all. I’ll talk about that in the next part of this series and hope to see you there!
How do you use social media for your blog? What are your favorite social media networks?