content marketing? If not, you may not be marketing your content effectively!
Unlike business websites, it does not make much sense to promote your blog through paid ads. But what other options are there? SEO and social media marketing of course. And since we have already discussed SEO for blogs in a previous post, today we are going to shed a little light on how to promote your blog on social media.
Try taking a survey among webmasters, marketers or bloggers on what they think it means to promote blogs on social media. The majority would say that it means to share your blog on your profile or page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. But actually, doing this is not even half the battle.
So, if you are among the ambitious and would like to go beyond popular social networking sites in the name of "marketing your blog on social media", suggest you read on for some truly effective tips to make your blog shine across social media.
The following are some ways you can prepare your blog content to be socially shareable, and some unique social platforms (other than the mundane Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) to share your blog posts on.
1. Intriguing/Useful/Shocking Content
This tip is not really related to social media marketing but it is the essential first step that sets up all the other steps listed here today for success.
Your social media audience wants the content they share to make them appear cool and sophisticated. In other words, they won't just share ANY content.
So, the content you produce MUST be intriguing and useful, containing unique information rarely found anywhere else. Even if the content is found in other places on the web, the way you present your content must be intriguing enough for your social media savvy readers.
Apart from your blog post's content, readers will be attracted by intriguing titles and images. Let's take a quick look at these two aspects of content creation.
Say you create a post about 10 Things You Must Ask Your SEO Agency. The title of this particular post seems like it is going to give you useful content. But does it really excite you? Hold on to that thought.
Say you name the same post differently – 10 Things Your SEO Agency Is Not Telling You. Does this title excite you now? It does to an extent, right?
A little change in the tone and style of your posts' titles may get you more exposure. This is because often email or RSS feed subscribers of your blog may have subscribed to other blogs in your niche too. With overcrowded information lists in their feedreader or inboxes, a creative title may save you from getting lost in the crowd.
Take a look at a sample screenshot of a list of blog titles as seen in a feed reader. Incidentally, all of the titles shown are intriguing enough to tempt the reader to open it. Eventually the reader will share it if he/she finds the content interesting.
Social media is all about sexy visuals that are big and colorful. If your blog does not have a unique/recognizable opening image or any image at all, people will be less inclined to share it. Rather than explain any more of this criteria why don't you take a tour of our own blog to see how we use images.
To help, there are free tools for creating blog graphics. Some of these tools are Canva and PicMonkey. You can also share infographics, which are images containing the content. You will find free tools to create infographics in our previous post on the topic.
Shown below is an example of a blog graphic that is worth sharing on social media.
It is intriguing images such as these that will attract the attention of a wider social media audience. As a result, these friends will hopefully re-post and share.
2. Integrate Social Media With Your Blog
By integrating social media into your blog, we mean bridging the gap between popular social media sites and your content. People who visit your blog need an easy way to connect with your blog and share your blog content via social media elements that are integrated into your site.
These integrating elements could be in the form of social media buttons that help your readers engage with your blog (Facebook likes, Twitter follows), share buttons that help readers share your content, social media logins to that help readers comment on your blog, and so on.
Here are some quick tips on adding social media share buttons to your post.
Some blogs go overboard and provide seven or eight social media buttons. Make sure you have a big enough audience on social media sites (other than the conventional Twitter and Facebook) to make a button worthwhile.
Crowding social media share buttons may put your readers off and this will affect the number of social shares. Also, adding unnecessary social media widgets may slow down your page loading speed.
Using buttons is fine, but too many can be overkill.
Unlike the buttons on the Social Media Marketing Knowledge Center blog post the example above shows how too many buttons can look cluttered and diverts attention away from the actual content.
3. Share Your Blog Across Your Social Media Profiles
If readers are not coming to your site, go to them instead. Share your blog posts on as many social media sites as you can. You are probably already doing this, as it's not rocket science. But getting certain things right will help your efforts:
Share posts at a consistent frequency. Do not share them all at once for a week and then be a no-show the following week. To make sure you maintain consistency in sharing your content to social media sites you can use scheduling tools, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial, Dlvr.
Automate On WordPress
If you own a WordPress Blog, you can use the Publicize plugin to automatically send your freshly published posts to your social media pages.
Optimal Time For Posting
If you are posting updates about your blog post on Twitter, check the optimum time to post them using the tool Tweroid. It is one of the very useful free twitter marketing tools on the market. Check the optimum posting times for Facebook using it's own analytics tool – Facebook Insights.
If you want a scheduling tool that also gives optimal user-activity time for Twitter, you could use the buffer-followerwonk duo that were integrated to make social media posting easier and more productive on Twitter.
Visual Appeal Of Post Updates
When you share a blog post, say on Facebook, LinkedIn or a Google+ page, write a message in your own words about the post to motivate users to read it. Always remember to share a photo with the post as most platforms (LinkedIn and Google+ included) automatically display a thumbnail image from the post.
Facebook also automatically displays the post images and lets you choose the title image from among the ones in your post. These images are a lot bigger than just a thumbnail. Also, you have the option to upload an external image that is not in your blog post. Take a look at the sample screenshot below:
These various options help improve the aesthetic appeal of your blog post content shared on social media.
Cross post your blog updates from one social media platform to another.
Say, for example, you share a post on Facebook and the post has a nice graphic, maybe even with a quote. You can share a link to the location of that image on Pinterest (you should definitely have a Pinterest account if your blogs have lots of graphical elements). This will encourage your Facebook followers who also own a Pinterest account to easily pin the image.
Read these tips for ways to create highly shareable Pinterest pictures for your business.
Whole Post Updates
Unlike other social media platforms that allow only a few text characters in updates, some social media platforms like Google+ and Tumblr actually allow you to display the whole blog post. At the end of the post you can give a link to the original blog post URL and this will get you some quality social media traffic.
In fact, the publicize plugin we mentioned earlier can also help you publish your blog post on Tumblr. It will share a teaser, however, and not the whole post.
The advantage of having whole posts copied to your Tumblr profile is that Tumblr users get to read them without being re-directed to your site. In which case, even if you do not acquire traffic from Tumblr you do still benefit a link from a high PR (PR 6) website.
On Google+, however, you have greater advantage of exposure, as this particular social platform is Google's own product. Full Google+ posts are often found on the first page of Google search results, for the right keywords.
Shown below is one such example taken from the post What Does Google Mean For Businesses?
Some of your readers may be in a hurry or may not want to share the whole post. For such readers, you can incorporate a click to Tweet option for various important quotes on your blog post. This will immediately create a link back to your blog from the reader's Twitter profile.
Use hashtags with keywords relevant to your post and add them to your updates on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. These hashtags improve findability for your blog.
Send direct messages (or private messages) about new blog posts to people who have shared your content before or to a new set of fans and followers that might be interested in such content.
You can send direct messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes reaching out personally goes a long way toward increasing the social media reach of your content. A word of caution though, you must not overdo it and thus increase the number of unfollows or unlikes.
4. Create Relationships With Other Bloggers
It is common sense to be aware of other bloggers in your niche, but what can you do with that information to help promote your own blog? Here are a few quick tips to use other blogger's influences on your own blog's social media.
Read and Share
Read and share other bloggers' posts and drop comments on them via Twitter to either appreciate or acknowledge the information shared. Make sure to @mention the blogger's Twitter handle. You can also post comments on the post page, but this method will immediately let the blogger know who is commenting.
If you have your blog's URL on your Twitter bio (there is no reason why you shouldn't have it), the blogger will definitely check out your blog and possibly return the favor in a similar fashion.
List the Experts
Create a 'Top 10 List of Bloggers In (Your Niche)" post and link back to the bloggers. They are definitely going to acknowledge a link back and post about it on their various social media presences.
You could also follow this method for experts in your niche who don't have a blog. A mention may inspire them to share your post on their various social media profiles.
Invite bloggers in your niche to guest write on your blog and return the favor by guest writing for them. This not only gives you links from your niche but also an opportunity for your blog to feature in their social media shares and updates.
Viral Content Buzz
You can join the viral content buzz community and make your content go viral by participating in mutual content distribution via social media channels.
5. Social Bookmark Your Blog Posts
Social bookmark your blog posts on high profile sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Reddit, which have a good audience-base. But remember, this strategy has been overused in the past, so much so that social bookmarking is not as effective as it once used to be.
In order to make your presence on social bookmarking sites felt you will have to invest a little more time to try and bookmark, like, comment or share other blog posts. This will encourage increased activity for your own post bookmarks.
There are many social bookmarking sites available on the web, but it is good to just stick to a handful of them and update on a regular basis.
You will find a list of such sites in this post on 10 Link Building Strategies For Small Businesses.
6. Forum Promotions
Many good forums in almost all niches do not allow sharing a link to your blog unless you have been an active member and have been helping fellow members with their queries. So, you must only apply this social media blog promotion tip if you intend on spending quality time on forums in your niche.
Find forums in your niche with a simple Google search: type "niche + forum" and enter. For example, foodblog + forum. You can also use Boardreader, which is a search engine for forums.
7. Join Social Communities
Join Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups relevant to your niche. These are good platforms to gain recognition for both yourself and your blog. Do not promote your blog aggressively, you could start off slow by joining in conversations and helping those who have questions, just like you would do in a forum. You could eventually share links to posts from your blog.
Another way to mingle in your social community is by having a meetup, either virtual or real. Virtual meetups can be organized using Google Hangouts and Twitter Chat.
Here are some quick tips on how to use Google Hangouts.
A Twitter chat can be a pre-arranged chat or an informal one where you @mention the participants of the conversation.
8. Don't Forget About Your Old Blog Posts
When you share content on social media you must not limit yourself to fresh content alone. Sometimes you could share some of your old blog posts that are still relevant or have become a hot topic.
You may have new followers who have not seen those posts before, which is ideal. To avoid repetition with older followers, you could change the title of your old blog posts in your social media updates. WordPress has plugins to do just this; some of them are Tweetily, Revive Old Post Pro and Evergreen Post Tweeter.
9. Share Parts Of Your Content
Remember the 'clicktotweet' plugin we mentioned earlier? You normally assign clicktotweet quotes from your blog post that seem shareworthy.
Instead of only depending on the clicktotweet plugin, you could share more significant parts of your post as an update on your social media profile. You do not have to accompany such posts with links to your blog. This would be a fresh variation of updates that your fans and followers may enjoy.
These were some quick ways to promote your blog on social media. Social media promotions can be fun, and the results are totally worth it. As a bonus, social media signals also contribute toward your blog's search engine ranking.
What are some social media tips you have gained from your own experience promoting your blog? We would love to hear them in the comments.