Started a blog for your business or have a campaign to promote with Social Media? It may look complicated, but just follow these six simple steps.
Since I started using Twitter to promote my blog, I have gained a lot of readers. And more people comment, both on the blog or on Twitter. And let’s be honest, that is what we are all looking for, us bloggers. As much fun as it is to write, it is a lot more fun if people are reading and enjoying the blog. For a business, you are looking to connect to your customers, and to strengthen customer loyalty.
If you don’t use Twitter, then have a look at my Twitter guide first to get a basic overview of what it is all about. Don’t be mislead by the Daily Mail – Twitter is not about discussing what you had for breakfast, but a fast moving, information exchange highway.
I use Twitter to stay up to date with the trends and news, to communicate with both real and imaginary internet friends, to have fun. It might take a couple of days to get into it, but do persevere. And most importantly, do not lurk. Twitter is best when you communicate with others, don’t be afraid, jump in and reply to something one of the people you follow posts.
When using Twitter to promote your blog or business, don’t just post links to your website – no one will follow you if you do this, it is like following a spammer (a twitter account set up to promote a dodgy business deal or spread viruses; they spams others in the hope that they will click on the link).
Think about using the name of your blog or business in your Twitter name – you have a NAME and a USERNAME which begins with @ (mine is @lynncschreiber) – I don’t actually do this any more as I use my name but if you don’t use your real name on your website, then get your blog or business name on your Twitter profile.
For bloggers – Find other bloggers you like and follow them, then look at the people who they follow, check out their profiles and latest tweets and follow them too. Once you build up a group of other interested bloggers, you will notice an increase in blog traffic. Bloggers tend to like reading blogs, and may link to your blog or retweet (RT) one of your posts if they find it interesting. I am sometimes inspired by a blog that I have read, and write a post based on that one, linking to the original blog.
Many businesses have a Facebook page set up to promote their websites, to reach people who are not on Twitter. Use your private FB account, and set up a page with the name of your business or blog – this gives you the advantage of remaining anonymous if you want to be. Beware though, when posting a link that you do it from the page, and not from your private FB profile.
As with Twitter, the key thing is posting enough to stay interesting and interacting with others. Facebook is slightly tricky, because not all your posts show up in your follower’s timelines. On average, only 16% of page followers see the update posted.
Without being creative, it is really quite difficult to make FB work for a blog or brand, as this post shows. Why do Facebook do this? They want you to pay for promoted posts. I have experimented with promoted posts, and I have to say it does make a difference. I picked up quite a few followers, and the engagement was definitely higher. Not everyone wants to pay for this, and that is where the creativity comes in.
You can raise the number of people seeing your page posts by encouraging your readers to [like] or share content. This could be because you have published a really great photo (cute cats and inspiring words do well), or because your post is so well written that they just HAVE to pass it on.
A bit slow off the ground, but G+ is not to be ignored. For one thing, it is GOOGLE, which means that your website will score better in the google rankings if it is on G+. The huge advantage it has over Facebook is that every single G+ post pops up in your follower’s timelines. This means that you don’t have to pay for promoted posts. The downside is that, as yet, G+ is still not mainstream. There are a lot of Social Media geeks, and a lot of brands on there, which leads me to believe that it will become more important. ‘If you build it, they will come’, seems to be the Google+ motto. We are all there, waiting for people to migrate over from Facebook. I think that it will happen eventually, so worth setting up a page now and slowly building up with G+.
Pinterest is of great interest to any business or blog that uses a lot of photos in their posts. It is to be seen as a virtual pinboard, where you can save photos and the attached website for later. Followers of your Pinterest boards, can repin then, so sharing them with others. Only use this to pin pictures that you have taken yourself, or have been given permission to pass on – creative people get (rightly) quite irate when their work is distributed and copied without their permission or even a link back to their site.
It is worth putting a watermark on your original images, giving either your website address or your Twitter profile, so that even if someone removes the link to your site, interested customers can still find where the picture came from. It also prevents naughty folk passing off your work as their own.
Like Pinterest, these sites are visual and great to promote creative brands or blogs. Vine is the new kid on the block, and offers the opportunity to upload 6 second videos. You can really let your creative spirit run riot – here are some examples of brands who have made great Vines, and some that just don’t hit the spot. Don’t try and cram too much into one Vine, and spend some time thinking about what you want to highlight. Make sure it suits your brand or blog, and make it fun.
If the six second limit is too short for you, check out Instagram instead. The other advantage that Instagram has is the ability to upload pre-recorded clips, which means that you can make the videos look much more professional. Other advantages that Instagram has, is the ability to choose which still should show on Facebook upload, and the fun filters that helped make the apps so popular. Instagram belongs to Facebook and therefore the integration is smoother and better than Vine, which is owned by Twitter.
Your decision might be influenced by where your customers and readers are. If you already have a large Twitter following, then Vine could work better for you. More FB fans then look to Instagram.
6. Blogger Networks
Look to see if there is a network that would suit your blog.
On Mumsnet, there are, as you would expect, a fair few blogs about parenting, but also blogs on many other topics. You must apply to join, and your blog will be checked to see if the content is appropriate for a parenting website (so maybe don’t apply if you blog about the latest bondage gear). The blog will then be included in the list of blogs, latest posts put on the Bloggers’ Network homepage, promoted on their Twitter feed (the mainMNTowers account has followers) and Facebook page.
Netmums tends to be less political than Mumsnet, and more focussed on reviews and brands. They also promote on other social media channels, plus mentioned on their Twitter feed and Facebook page – I have noticed they are quite active on Google+.They also highlight a Blog of the Week, With almost 2300 bloggers at time of writing this post, it is a fair sized network. Another great blogging network is Britmums which is much more blogger focussed than Netmums or Mumsnet, which are parenting fora with a Blogger’ Network.
Don’t feel that you have to do all of these options. They are ways of building followers, but you do not have to do them all. And some of them, such as Mumsnet and BritMums update automatically so you don’t have to be constantly posting links to your blog.
Do’s And Don’t
Do publicise your website, but don’t spam people with too many links to it. A couple a day is fine, especially on Twitter as it is fast moving.
Do make it easy for your readers to find you – add buttons to your blog to encourage readers to share on Twitter or Facebook, and a link to your Twitter page.
Do build up a community around your website– read and comment on other blogs, reply to comments on your own blog
Do read and comment on other blogs, using your blog email address and linking to your blog (if there is an option to do this, most comment forms have space for your URL).
Do get involved in “memes” if you want to – basically a meme is when one blogger posts about something that interests them and asks others to do the same, linking to other blogs on the same topic. It can be feminism, frocks or something completely different. Another popular one is Silent Sunday.
Do use hashtags to direct traffic to your website. If you blog about knitting, use #knitting. That way anyone seeking information on these topics will find your blog link.
Don’t think you have to do everything, and be everywhere. There is such a thing as Social Media Fatigue.