Social Marketing: How to Promote your Blog on Social Media
How to Promote your blog with Social Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide
So, maybe you just started a new blog, or maybe you’re an experienced blogger looking to boost your readership. You’re thinking about taking a more proactive approach towards your presence on social media, but you have no idea where to start. If that’s the case, then this is definitely the guide for you.
If you’re looking to market something, there’s literally no reason for you to not be using social media. I don’t care if you’re promoting a blog, a business, a product, or just yourself – at its core, marketing is about connecting with people and in 2015, social media is undoubtedly the best and most accessible method for connecting to a large number of people at a very low cost. Don’t believe me? Here are some of the benefits that you can reap by using social media in an effective and engaging way:
- Driving Traffic – Social media is a great way to drive traffic to whatever it is that you’re offering. In particular, bloggers will find that an effective social media push can essentially be used as a launch pad for a new blog or idea.
- Diversify Traffic – If your blog or business has been relying on the whims of Google to drive traffic to your site, social media is a good way to diversify and protect yourself – if you can generate consistent traffic from social media, a Google algorithm change won’t hurt nearly as much.
- Boost Brand Recognition – The more active you are on the various social media platforms available, the more people will begin to recognize your brand. Even without the budget for a big advertising campaign, you can get your name out there into the zeitgeist and get people to recognize you as a legitimate business/brand.
- Build Relationships – One of the more underrated aspects of social media is that it’s a great place to get in touch with influential people in your industry. If you’re able to build up a rapport with experts/celebrities in your niche, that opens the doors to a whole new set of opportunities for your business or your blog down the line.
- SEO Benefits – This applies specifically to those of you who primarily work online. While it’s unclear whether Google takes social signals into account in their ranking algorithms, what we know for sure is that if you get enough social traction, that can often lead to strong, authoritative organic links (the best kind). It’s not uncommon for major news outlets to source story ideas from social media, and links from these kinds of sites are incredibly powerful in SEO terms.
So, are you convinced yet? Social Media is an incredibly powerful, very cost effective tool when used in the right way. Now you know why you should be using it. Next up, we’ll explain how.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms
One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying use social media for promotion is that they take a one-size-fits-all approach. This is especially prevalent with big corporations. The truth is, different social media platforms serve different audiences, and you don’t need to be on every single platform to be successful. In fact, I would recommend that you focus on just one or two platforms, and go deep on them rather than spreading your effort out among 5 or 6 different ones. Deciding which platform is best for you will depend on who your audience is and what their habits are. Here’s some info to help you decide.
- The most generic social media platform
- Paid ads can be effective if correctly targeted
- Can be used by businesses to have extended communication with customers
- Pretty good for developing a dedicated following
- There are many public groups that you can post content to spread awareness
It’s probably a good idea for most blogs and businesses to set up a Facebook page, but in many cases it shouldn’t be your #1 focus. I’ve heard that Facebook Ads can be extremely effective – we may post about that in the future. In our opinion, FB is a bit too generic to focus in on as a priority unless you already have a large following, but you should definitely have a FB page set up to take advantage of the large number of users.
- Incredibly useful for connecting to industry experts and insiders
- Can be excellent if you’re trying to develop a personal brand
- An effective platform for showing off strong customer service
- A good platform for promoting giveaways and contests
- A great tool to discover what people are talking about in your industry/niche
Twitter is useful for being ‘in the conversation’ – if your niche or industry is news focused, then twitter can be effective both for promotional and educational reasons (Example of niches that are news focused: Finance, Entertainment, Celebrities, and SEO). Twitter can also be useful if you plan to run a lot of promotions, contents, or giveaways. Giving people an incentive to retweet can potentially help you go viral. Last but not least, Twitter is probably the best platform for building relationships with industry influencers – it only takes a single tweet to strike up a conversation, and because of the character limit, it doesn’t feel like a burden to talk to someone you don’t know. As such, even people with a great deal of influence are usually happy to interact with other folks on twitter.
- Entirely image focused – if you can’t use images to market whatever you’re promoting, don’t bother with Pinterest as a platform
- Skews heavily towards female users, and also skews a bit older than most other platforms
- If you’re marketing something that interests woman, Pinterest should probably be your focus
- Traffic from Pinterest tends to be slower and steadier than other networks – it doesn’t spike up and drop off as often.
- Requires the ability to put together visually attractive images (or hire someone who can)
Pinterest is the place for anyone who wants to promote primarily to women. It can be an extremely effective platform for promoting products, particularly products that are in the realm of the visual (clothes, jewelry, tourist destinations, etc). Also, Pinterest users are more indiscriminate in the things that they share (it’s easier to share an image than to endorse an opinion).
- Reddit skews heavily male, and its users are mostly tech savvy
- Generally a protective community that will try to punish spam and cynical marketing efforts
- On the other hand, reddit users tend to reward good content and generally appreciate honest attempts to add value to the sub communities (subreddits)
- Will yield better results when you post to more specific subreddits
- Can cause huge traffic spikes – occasionally reddit has been known to overload the servers or smaller sites
Reddit is essentially the opposite of Pinterest – it skews male, and it has touchy users that will attempt to punish you if your only goal is to promote your product/brand (just ask Woody Harrelson). Generally speaking Reddit rewards active engagement and community building, and it can be a huge traffic driver if you post the right kind of content. On the other hand, it can be a hard nut to crack if you’re not promoting a certain kind of blog/product/brand.
- Shares similarities with Pinterest, but skews younger and more urban
- Allows for videos as well as images
- Largely a personality/brand driven platform – the trick is to build your follower base
- Probably most effective for promoting stores and shops that can be presented well visually – e.g restaurants, clothing stores, etc.
- A good way to show what ‘goes on behind the scenes’ or other kinds of ‘candid’ photos and videos
To be honest, I’m not super familiar with Instagram, but it seems to me like it’s the younger, more chic version of Pinterest. A simple example would be that if I was selling fine jewelry, I’d probably go with Pinterest – if I was selling edgy artisan jewelry, I might go with Instagram instead. In any case, I won’t pretend to be an expert on Instagram, but my guess is, a Pinterest/Instagram combo would be a strong 1-2 punch if you’re marketing to women.
- Business oriented social network
- The best network to market on a B2B level
- Good for making connections if your niche is business related
- The right type content can get decent traffic on the network
- Most people don’t spend a huge amount of time on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a very professional oriented social network, so it’s only useful for promoting a certain kind of blog or product. That being said, my guess is that people will be more engaged in something when clicking through from LinkedIn because it suggests that they might be genuinely trying to learn about a new idea/skill rather than just browsing for fun. LinkedIn can also be a great place to network with people in certain niches, and it is definitely the best platform for marketing on a business to business level.
Social Media Promotion and Platform Hubs
Now that you know which platforms fit your needs best, it’s time to get started. If you don’t already have accounts on the platforms you’ve chosen, you’ll need to create them.
After you’ve done that, the first thing you should focus on is finding the hubs on that. I use the word ‘hub’ here as a generic term – on different platforms, it might mean a different thing. A hub is basically wherever the people gather – it’s the way you can get access to a large number of people with minimal effort.
- On Facebook, hubs are generally groups – it takes time and effort to add people as friends individually, but joining a group and posting there gives you access to a bunch of people who might be interested in your offering without adding them each individually
- On Twitter, the hubs are trending hashtags and users who have a lot of followers. Use hashtags when you see an ongoing conversation that is relevant to your niche – that way, people who look for that hashtag will see your tweets. Follow users who have a lot of followers (generally, when you follow someone, they follow you back) and tweet high quality stuff to them and hope that they’ll RT you.
- The hubs on Pinterest are group boards. Creating your own boards and building up a following takes a long time – if you can get access to a large group board, you can access a large number of people almost instantly.
- On reddit, the hubs are the subreddits. Subreddits are basically communities within reddit that are interested in certain topics. If your posts are high quality and get upvoted enough, it’s possible to stay on the first page of any given subreddit for an extended period of time – this can provide your site with a lot of traffic.
- The hubs on Instagram are personalities (people who are famous) – so your goal is to get big names to follow you. Do this by following them and commenting and liking their photos. Instagram also has hashtags, so you can also dig up some industry/niche relevant hashtags to use in your uploads.
- LinkedIn is useful for B2B marketing, and there is also a group system similar to FB.
Other Tip for Social Marketing
Here’s a collection of other tips that I think are important to remember as you begin your social media marketing efforts.
- It’s better to post frequently than to post in large batches. Even if you’ve got a lot of content to share, you should drip feed it to the platforms you’re using rather than posting everything in one go.
- Don’t approach social media cynically. At best, you’ll receive indifference – at worst, you can turn the people who should be your most loyal followers against you. Remember that you’re dealing with real people and act accordingly.
- Find plugins and tools to make managing your accounts easier – for example, if you use WordPress on your blog or website, there are a huge number of plugins that might be useful. Since we’ve covered so many different networks, it’s hard to recommend a plugin for each platform specifically, but there are tools and plugins available to use for pretty much any social platform you can think of. A few of the more popular social tools include HootSuite and IFTTT.
- Think about time zones. If you’re targeting people in the US, you don’t want to be doing your social marketing at 4am EST. Think about who you’re trying to connect with, and adjust your posting/uploading schedule accordingly. A reddit post that could net you 20k views at 4pm will get you nowhere at 4am.
- Engage the users and communities that you’re dealing with. The biggest marketing advantage you have over a large corporation is the ability to provide a personal touch – people are much more likely to like/share/RT/upvote/repin/follow you if they feel like they’re dealing with a real person rather than some corporate PR department.
- Use social platforms to find out what people want from you. They’re social platforms – the communication shouldn’t just be one way. Social media isn’t just a place where you can tell the world about yourself and your brand – it’s also a place where you can learn more about what people want from you and your business/blog.
So, hopefully you’ve learned a little something about social marketing from this post. Hopefully you liked it – and if you did, feel free to Like/Tweet/Share the article on Social Media.