If you’re a blogger, you know readers don’t magically appear. Word of mouth and commenting on other blogs in your niche are a great source of exposure, but you know you have to do a little marketing yourself. The great thing about social media is that it’s free, but keep in mind that even though there aren’t any out of pocket costs, your time is valuable. You need to know where to spend your time.
Facebook is a given, but only if used correctly. For example, if you faithfully link your new blog posts on your Facebook page, but aren’t generating hits, something’s wrong. Some SEO companies offer blogging or blog marketing as part of a package or an independent resource. If you decide to go this route, check their reviews first.
Too many people use their existing Facebook profile to marry business with pleasure. This can backfire horribly. I cap my personal Facebook page at 100 people, because there’s no way anyone is actually close with more than 100 people. However, a recent study shows that the average Facebook user has 300 “friends.”
If you really have 300 friends, you should be generating at least 50 new readers from your blog shares. If you’re not, it might be time to make a separate, professional Facebook business page and start doing other online marketing outreach. Engage with people who will actually want to read your blog, and who don’t just feel mildly obligated because they know you. Make sure you use witty or engaging posts to introduce your latest blog topic. Don’t forget to use the platform a little too – engage with your fans by asking them questions, posting polls, or sharing other sites or images they would enjoy.
Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are some of the other big social media outlets. There’s a good chance that if you’re successful on Facebook, you’ll get a similar reaction on Twitter. The audiences are similar, but Twitter can be used as a teaser for your blog. Twitter ties in well with a number of other services, so many bloggers find that it is a great place to start.
There are plugins that allow you to automatically share your posts to Twitter – one of them is bundled right into the WordPress JetPack plugin – and other services, like HootSuite or TweetDeck, which allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time. If This, Then That (or IFTTT) is another useful service, which lets you create “recipes” for chain reactions of events. For example, you might use IFTTT to tweet the things that you post on your Facebook group, creating less work for you.
Pinterest, of course, is a must if your blog is image-driven or related to the arts, travel, animals, crafts, interesting products, or food. If you post a compelling enough image, your link can be picked up and shared by a large audience of people interested in the same things you are. When you create boards, be sure to focus on your niche as well as related ones, and pin mostly others’ content, not your own! Find a good balance between promotional pins and “content curation,” the sharing of interesting content, and others will flock to your galleries.
If your blog is not image-driven, don’t necessarily count on others to share or follow your content as readily as you hope. Still, you can try to get into the Pinterest game by ensuring that every post on your blog is headed by an interesting image, or a “header” style image with some text to describe the blog post. Bloggers who create how-to or tutorial style content have had some success with this technique.
Google+ is not the most active social network, but it’s an important player regardless. Spend a little time on your Google+ profile, ensuring you have a professional photo and a link to your blog. Sharing your most recent posts is an easy way to generate a little interest.
An easy way to implement Google+ with your blog is to take advantage of Google Authorship. If you use author boxes on your blog, link your name to your Google+ profile, adding ?rel=author to the link. For example, in my byline, I have linked my name to https://plus.google.com/u/0/109654446375621919755/?rel=author. See the end? Since I have done this, Google now knows I wrote this post, and it is more likely to show my Google+ profile picture beside this post in Google search results.
Google Authorship Video
Make it a habit to share your own content immediately after you post it, unless you have your blog set up to do this automatically. You can also add it to social bookmarking websites like StumbleUpon.
Don’t forget to include sharing buttons on each and every post! You don’t have to do this manually – there are many plugins available for WordPress or other blogging platforms that will do this automatically.
Not all social media outlets are complementary to your specific blog. For example, you might have great success utilizing Pinterest for your hand-stitched organic yoga mat business, but zero interest from Twitter. Think about where your audience is, and tackle online marketing accordingly. Try not to jump into too many new platforms at once – if you do, you may find yourself burnt out from all the upkeep!
A solid try is six months. If you’re not successful after putting in effort for that long, you won’t be (without a massive overhaul). Instead, focus your efforts elsewhere such as revamping your voice or reaching out to more bloggers. Remember that it takes a little time to find your stride.
Adrienne Erin is a blogger and internet marketer at a company that does SEO company reviews. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.