So, I knew I needed to write a blog post. I was so busy that I didn't have any time to prepare anything in advance. So, what did I do?
I went to my social media accounts and asked. The very first suggestion that came in (quick reply) was from @CavemanHomeComp who suggested – suprise! – the very post that I'm writing right now.
So, I'm going to put together a lightning-round of tips for how I think bloggers should use social media to promote their blog. And, at the end, I'd like you to chime in with a comment and let me know what tips I forgot to include that have worked for you.
First, a word of note…
Don't Expect Miracles
I find that many bloggers place way too much emphasis on social media. They think that hanging out on Twitter is some kind of killer traffic strategy.
Yes, you can drive traffic via social media. Many people have done pretty well at it, in fact. However, I don't want people to fall into the trap of thinking everything revolves around social. Those bloggers who hang out on Twitter all the time usually don't get much traffic at all.
Social media should be a “value add” to other traffic-building efforts. It should not be THE traffic building strategy.
The Lightning Round
So, here we go…
- Don't be a firehose of links. Be a person. I see too many newbies to social media who end up just broadcasting links. Nobody cares about that, and the staying power of a tweet is damn close to none. So, be a real person. Interact. Reply to people. Have conversations. Then, when you have something new (like a blog post), link it up. People will listen more if they give a crap about who you are.
- Use a Twitter bio which answers what YOU can do for THEM. In other words, make it benefit-driven rather than stuff all about you.
- Don't link your Twitter profile to your blog homepage. Wasted opportunity since most blog homepages are cluttery. Instead, link to a squeeze page (to get them on your list), a Twitter-specific landing page, or your About page.
- Monitor your keywords. You can use Twitter search to monitor keywords related to your blog niche in real-time. When you see a valid question you can answer, chime in and answer it. What an awesome way to introduce people to you – helping them in their moment of need. Just don't be a douchebag about it by peppering them with promo for your blog. Legitimately help them via your tweet. You can send them to your blog for more info. A good way to monitor search is to set up columns in your Twitter client for search terms and periodically see what goes by.
- Use a custom background on your profile. Make it professional. Enough said.
- Use your name. I'm one that thinks you should be yourself, not the name of your blog. If anything, you can have a separate account for your brand and make that account just a link firehose. But, people will bond with you as a person.
- Don't auto-follow. Let things happen organically. Followers who actually listen are a lot more valuable then followers who were only after your return follow.
- Don't auto-DM people. HHAAAAATTTEEEE that. Immediate douchebag label should be applied to your forehead if you do that. With a permanent tattoo.
- Involve Twitter followers with your blog. Periodically give your followers some say in your blog by letting them suggest a topic. Or, you can ask a question and then feature their answers in the form of a blog post (along with their Twitter handles). The idea is to have your followers belong to a community around your blog, even if they are on Twitter. NOTE: See how I got the idea for this post? Werd. 😉
- Ask questions. Gets your followers involved and used to actually TALKING with you. You want them to interact and not be spectators, and you need to have tweets designed to do that.
- Don't blindly use retweet buttons on your blog. Just because you're into Twitter doesn't mean your audience is. As a blogger with the aim to promote, your needs are quite different than your audience's (unless you blog about this stuff as I do). A lot of niches out there don't care one bit about Twitter. In that case, a retweet button will hardly get used and you have a bunch of 0's all over your blog and it makes it look dead. So, be strategic. Perhaps Facebook is a better way to get them to share your stuff.
OK, onto Facebook…
- Share your posts on Facebook. Kinda goes without saying, but I said it anyway. That's how I roll.
- Put the Share button on your blog posts. Keep in mind that there's a lot more people on Facebook than there are on Twitter, so chances are your audience has a Facebook profile (which they use often). Plus, when they click to share/recommend one of your posts, it puts a nice, fat link to your post on their wall, with thumbnail and everything.
- Have a fan page. Well, whatever they call it now. I used to think “more the merrier” when it comes to my personal profile, but these days, I lean heavily toward keeping your blog presence and your personal presence separate on Facebook. Sure, there will be overlap and there's nothing wrong with connecting to your readers personally on Facebook. But, you should have a page so you can set it up as an extension to the blog on Facebook.
- Set up a custom landing page on your fan page. They keep changing the specs (ugh), but it is still a good idea. Use the page to tell them why they should click the Like button, and give them a call to action to do exactly that. If you're a power user, see about finding a way to give them access to something cool after they've liked you on Facebook (just like building an email list).
- Interact on your fan page. A lot of people set up pages which just end up being 1-way funnels for their blog posts. That defeats the point, and I know… because I used to do it wrong. 🙂 It takes more work, but your fan page will be a lot more useful for you AND your “fans” if you interact with them just as much as you would your friends on your personal profile. In fact, you can involve your fans with your blog just like I recommended you do for Twitter (see above).
- Find ways to strengthen the bond on Facebook by providing exclusive value. One good example of this I saw recently was Ryan Lee offering “speed consulting” for a short period of time – exclusive to his fan page. So, they could ask him questions and he would reply in real-time, right there on his page wall. Maybe I'll try that soon. 🙂
- Ask questions. Just like on Twitter, this is an involvement device. But, it is even better on Facebook because you can actually set up polls and everything.
- Have a nice, custom image on your page. And that image should match, brand-wise, with what you have on Twitter and your blog. At least it is best to do so.
Lastly, a few more tid-bits. Bonus!
- Don't forget LinkedIn. I'm not really an expert on this network, but I've talked to enough people to realize the hidden power of LinkedIn. Well, not hidden, but usually forgotten by most bloggers and marketers. LinkedIn is an audience of professional people, with higher household incomes. Sound like a good group of people to network with? Potentially better than a bunch of teeny-boppers talking about weird stuff? You bet.
- Check out Hootsuite. I've been using it for a few months now, and it is a nice 1-stop shop for managing all these profiles from one place. It also works in a nice column format (ala Tweetdeck), making it easy to monitor multiple things. That's Hootsuite.
- Think about lead capture. Ultimately, the big goal should be to get your social media connections to subscribe to your email list. So, find ways to do that. It is your list where you have the best opportunity to strengthen the “know, like and trust” factor and potentially turn this into a profitable thing.
- This is a big party. Treat it as such. Social media, collectively, is just a bunch of people talking to each other. Now, in real life, you wouldn't raid a party and start yelling your URL at people's faces. So, for God's sakes, don't do it on social media. At least online, they'll just unfollow or block you. In the real world, you might get your ass kicked.
Your Next Move Is…
To post a comment and let me know…
What did I miss? Let's help each other. That's how communities work.
And, hey, if you liked it, maybe you can slap the buttons right beneath this sentence and share this out on Twitter and/or Facebook. If you're into that kind of thing. 🙂