How to Build Your Blog Traffic with Social Media
This has become the century of social sharing. Nowadays, people seem to spend more time on their social networks than they do reading and following individual blogs. What they are often on social media is looking for social proof – seeing what their contacts and friends are saying, finding out what they are reading, looking for issues and emotions to connect with.
So what better way to build your blog traffic than through social media?
1. Blog and social networks regularly and consistently.
Be visible and active in both venues. This can’t be emphasized enough. Most people will pay more attention to one than the other: They’ll either be pushing content via social media and leaving the same post sitting on their lonely blog for weeks… or they’ll be diligently blogging away… and not paying attention to consistent and regular sharing.
That being said, don’t push your posts on people. Create a presence on social networks and let people become familiar with you. All it takes is any social network contact checking out one great blog post from a social link before she comes to recognize you as an authority on her topic – someone to turn to when she needs information: Someone she can trust.
Only if you create a rich archive of posts (check out this Copyblogger example) on related topics will yours be the blog they’ll turn to and search when they want general information on your area of expertise.
2. Create a Social Media Strategy – and Plan.
Don’t just wing off social network posts to draw people to your blog as the thought strikes you. Make an actual plan. And stick to it.
You don’t need to sit down and meticulously plan every post to every network for a year – but do create a specific strategy for sharing across all networks.
Your plan could look as simple as this:
People who plan:
- Know their goals
- Identify obstacles to reaching it
- Create strategies for overcoming these obstacles
- Pace their efforts
As a result, their payback is larger and more consistent.
3. Active Groups and Hot Discussions
One way of finding out exactly what your social network contacts are passionately interested in: Pay attention to – and engage in – hot discussions. And the place people feel most comfortable doing this is in single-interest Groups.
Any time you see a post with more than seven comments – especially if there is a wide range of opinions or answers flying – you’ve got a hot topic. It’s current, and it’s on peoples’ minds.
Issues that are being discussed are issues the people in that group want to read about.
But make sure the Groups numbers support writing a post about it. (If it’s a group of only four people, it may be worth your while to write, emotionally-speaking – but not from a blog traffic generation perspective.)
4. Participate in social engagement.
Social networking is not just about making posts: It’s about connection. If you want people to know who you are – vital for making them care about your posts – you have to be there, right in the thick of things.
Posting and never engaging is like handing in your homework but never attending class. People might vaguely recognize your face, but you’ll be an outsider if you don’t participate.
Engaging daily allows you to:
- Find out when your best sharing audience is present on the network
- Find out what they love, hate or need more information about
- What can get them talking, non-stop (those are the topics you should blog about!)
- Hook them into sharing emotionally by thanking them, responding to their thoughts and generally making them feel important.
Do that, and you’ll be important to them too.
5. Guarantee they’ll be interested in your post.
When you’ve done all this and you’re sure you know what they’d love to read, don’t just expect to post a link and have them come running. You need to have a strategy for presenting your fascinating content. It has to be wrapped in as pretty a package as possible.
As far as your social post is concerned, you need to carefully craft and optimize:
- Your link URL
- Your blog post Title
- Your “hook” (the phrase or sentence you introduce your URL with)
At this point, keywords in your post take the second seat to emotional and visual appeal. As far as your actual blog post is concerned, once you have your Title, you need:
- A first sentence that hooks the reader in to read more
- A relevant, eye-catching graphic
- Lots of “white space” (to make it easily readable and – more important – eye-scannable)
- Varied visual elements such as bullet points and sub-heads to make it even more eye-scannable
- Great content that includes any combination of what, where, when, why, how
- Content that triggers identification or controversy – and emotion
- A great conclusion – with a call to share back to multiple social media options!
6. Experiment with variable media
Another tactic that can increase blog shares on social media: Embedding posts with videos or podcasts. Infographics are also extremely popular right now too.
Experiment with different lengths of posts too. Right now there’s a large faction that swears long blog posts are doing better than the traditional short posts. But there’s no wrong or right answer: The big deciding factor is what your audience prefers – how do they react to long posts? Too short posts?
Measure the reaction to your variable media posts. If you get an extremely high share rate for a particular type from any of your social networks, cultivate that and analyze it. Was it the topic… or the medium?
7. Create boards in Pinterest to drive pinners to your blog posts.
If you haven’t already joined Pinterest, and your audience is mostly female, go do it right now. Find a Facebook friend that you know is a pinner, and ask for an invitation.
Then create Pinboards and pin images to them. You can pin your own.. and other people’s.
Install “Pin it!” buttons on your blog to let people know you don’t mind them pinning your original images or infographics.
When you do this, your URL is attached automatically to your pin. Most people won’t change that and it can send traffic directly to your blog and your current post.
Include your actual post URL in your pin description too – it can drive traffic right to your specific post. Here’s an example…
You can also pin videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, and Kickstarter and embedded in your blog.
But don’t stop there – use Pinterest’s search engines to target pinners and find out where you fit in. Search with keywords such as “blogs” or “videos”, as well as niche-specific keywords.
If you search Pinterest, you can see what your competition is posting and what is getting them continual shares. This can help you plan your Pinterest blog-driving strategy more accurately.
8. Create social media connections with other bloggers.
These bloggers should be in your niche or industry. Be sure to promote and share those posts, if you genuinely like them. Never post just to gain brownie points – that doesn’t work and especially on business-oriented networks like LinkedIn, where your reputation and integrity is everything, you risk being seen as another pushy marketer.
Be sure to guest blog for your fellow blogger connections: Have them promote your guest post on their blog. This can be an effective backlink and traffic strategy. Then ask them to guest post on yours – and be sure to promote their guest post vigorously.
9. Retweet other’s posts on Twitter – especially to good blog posts.
The mistake people make here: Only retweeting a particular person’s quotes one or two times… then flitting off to the next one.
The advantage of this is.. it is organic. You are retweeting what you like.
But – without being overly deliberate – you should treat this as a strategy. Pick 5-10 experts, peers, and bloggers to “follow”, and make a point of looking up their feed, finding posts you can retweet. Don’t overdo it – that would look silly! Aim for about 4-6 retweets per person, per week.
When you are consistent in helping them share their posts, most people will start reciprocating and tweeting yours.
10. Create Facebook contests and polls using Rafflecopter
This app is one of the simplest around for creating Facebook contests and polls. Just make sure you do two specific things:
- Login to Rafflecopter with your Facebook ID (don’t skip giving Rafflecopter that information, or it won’t be able to find your page).
- Make sure your blog URL is highly visible, with an invitation to visit it, in your “About” section.
Rafflecopter is compatible and allowed on Facebook… but do make sure you read Rafflecopter’s Facebook questions page first – as well as Facebook’s contest guidelines.
Social media should be the other half of the blogging experience – especially now Google Panda and Penguin are doing some weird things with backlinks from traditional blogging methods.
Fit social media into your blogging traffic stratagems – and don’t forget to have fun!