So you’ve started your blog? Great! Welcome to the club. Now what? Don’t you want the world to know about your blog? Ofcourse you do, otherwise you could have written on your Diary instead. But if you are not a popular person already or don’t have fan following, how can you reach to a large audience? There are so many blogs out there, how would you stand apart from the rest? A well-defined Social Media strategy for bloggers like you is the answer.
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How Most Bloggers are Using Social Media
Before sharing with you some Social Media strategies for bloggers, let me tell you the current scenario.
Most bloggers are not utilizing the full potential of Social Media.
Blog is definitely the central hub of any blogger’s Social Media presence but not everything.
Some times back, I went through 500+ Indian Blogs and found incredible bloggers publishing mind blowing contents. But unfortunately their blogs are not getting the exposure they deserve because of not having a Social Media strategy.
How Pro Bloggers are Using Social Media
There are many things that separate the Pro bloggers from the rest. One of the most important parameter being the ‘use of Social Media’.
Check out ShoutMeLoud , one of the most popular tech blogs in India. See how Harsh is integrating Social Media with his blog.
I know what you are thinking – “I am not a tech blogger”. Well then check another Popular Indian blogger Lakshmi Rebecca’s blog. She is not a tech blogger but she is using Social Media wonderfully.
Wish I could tell you what amazing things can be done with a quality blog + proper social media presence.
Which Bloggers Don’t Need a Social Media Strategy?
If you are blogging just to write whatever you want to and don’t have any aim associated with it, then you don’t need a Social Media strategy. This post is not for you then. If that is what you really want, it’s absolutely fine, nothing wrong in it.
If you are a celebrity or a person with existing huge fans / followers, you don’t need a Social Media strategy for your blog. ( Though interestingly celebrity bloggers like Amitabh Bachhan, Paulo Coelho are active on Social Media.)
For the rest …
Why Do You Need a Social Media Strategy for Your Blog?
There are many reasons, let me point out a few quickly:
- For growing your blog audience.
- Increasing traffic to your blog. (Without it you can’t accomplish whatever target you have with your blog)
- Connecting with your blog audience and building a long term relationship.
- Listening to your audience and getting new blog post ideas.
- Getting noticed by Media.
- Building your personal / business brand.
- Finding out what people are saying about your blog online.
- Crowdsource contents.
Social Media Strategy for Bloggers – Setup Stage
These are the strategies that you need to take before publishing a blog post.
1. Upgrade to Self-hosted WordPress
Now this step might not be directly related to Social Media, but without a Self-hosted WordPress site you won’t be able to implement many of the Social Media strategies I am going to suggest. That is why most of the Pro-bloggers and even businesses are using this blogging platform.
Most bloggers hesitate to shift to Self-hosted WordPress for two reasons:
- It’s technical and complicated (they think).
- It’s costly. (They think).
I understand because I had the same misconception. I postponed shifting to this platform for 4 years. Finally I shifted to Self-hosted WordPress in September 2013. It felt difficult at first (just like learning anything new), but once you get used to it, you’ll be amazed to see what you can do with it.
I’ve created a Step-by-step tutorial to Get Started on Self-hosted WordPress. I will be creating more tutorials on this platform. I’ve taken a commitment to make it easy for every new bloggers. So if you decide to shift to this platform and face any problem, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll improve the guide with your feedback.
And regarding the price, good webhosting and domain name will cost around 6,000 INR/year and a premium WordPress theme costs around 3,000-6,000 INR. Trust me, that’s nothing compared to what your blog can give you in return.
2. Add Social Follow Options:
Many times I read a great blog post and I wanted to connect with the blogger personally but I couldn’t find a single Social Media profile link in the blog. Now you might say, “Why couldn’t you leave a comment or drop a mail?”.
- Posting comment and then checking back to see whether got a reply or not, is too time consuming for me (& most of your readers). Same is for dropping Email. Sending a tweet or a Facebook message is much preferable mode of communication.
- What if I want to talk to you about something that is not directly related to your posts? What if I have a constructive criticism about your blog? Do you want that in your comment section?
- Readers like to know the blogger as a real person. Every blogger is like a micro-celebrity to the readers. They want a scoop of what the blogger does when they are not blogging.
“I don’t want anyone to stalk me”
A new blogger friend of mine said this few days back, regarding adding Social Media profiles to her blog. You might have the same concern – your privacy. [Tweet “Avoiding Social Media is not the solution, learning to use it right is.”]
- Learn to separate your Personal and Professional life on Social Media. (Think twice before posting anything too personal online).
- Master Facebook Privacy to control completely who can see your contents and who can contact you.
- You don’t have to add everyone to your friendlist, enable the Follow Button.
- If you are too uncomfortable to give your Facebook Profile link on your blog, have a separate Facebook page for your blog. (Though I feel readers are more interested to know you personally).
- Twitter is the quickest and safest way to connect with your readers.
You can see how I am using Social Media Follow options on my blog (Look at the right sidebar or scroll down if you are reading from mobile)
I’ve used Simple Social Icons plugin to add the Social Media Profile buttons at the top row. There are other options like AddThis and Shareaholic. You don’t need any technical knowledge to use these plugins.
I am particularly fond of Quick Action buttons, as these allow readers to connect with the blogger in 1-click, most of the times without even leaving the page. To add these ‘quick action buttons’ on your blog, you need to copy & paste some HTML codes. You can find the codes from here: Facebook Follow, Facebook Like, G+ Follow, Twitter Follow, YouTube Subscribe, Pinterest Follow, Instagram Follow, LinkedIn Page Follow, Feedly Subscribe.
3. Add Social Share Buttons
So you’ve written a great blog post and your readers loved it. But did you make it easy for your readers to share the post? If you haven’t, then you are missing out great opportunity.
Check this out:
This blog post written by Guest Author Srabasti got good amount of shares on Social Media, specially on Facebook. Her post was awesome, readers felt the urge to share and found 1-click way to do that.
You know when your readers are sharing your blog post, that’s the best form of promotion and it builds your authority in your niche.
4. Replace Default WordPress Comment with Social Comment System
WordPress default comment system allows readers to comment using their Name and Email id. Not a very Social Media friendly option. Shift to some Social Comment system and you’ll be able to know more about your readers and connect with them easily. Not only that, but also readers are more likely to comment if they can do that from a Social Networking account they are already logged into.
There are many options available, like Facebook Comments, Google+ Comments or the followings mashups:
I am currently using this one.
5. Use Image Sharer Plugin
If your blog contains images that your readers would love to share, then use some image sharer plugins.
I am using Slingpic plugin in my blog.
You can also try SumoME Image sharer which looks like below.
Promotional Strategies – After You Publish Your Blogpost
Once you had implemented the Setup strategies, and published (or ready to publish) some blog posts, there are many things you can do to make sure your post reaches maximum number of people.
1. Auto-sharing Blog posts
If you publish blog posts regularly, isn’t it time consuming to share the posts manually to all Social Networks? Indeed it is. Why not automate the process?
There are many tools available to do that. Let me share my favorites.
Hootsuite Atom / RSS Feed
Easiest way to do this, is to add your blog RSS / Atom feed (generally www.yourblog.com/feed ) to Hootsuite. You can auto share your blog posts to Twitter, Facebook profile, Facebook page, Facebook group, Google Plus page, LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Company page.
I will prefer not to post on Facebook Profile using this method. Let’s keep our Facebook profiles a bit more personal.
This plugin supports sharing to many more networks and some advanced features. But the setup is quite complex for general users.
I’ve started using this tool recently. And it helped me to leverage my old blog posts to bring traffic. This plugin keeps posting your old blog posts (the evergreen ones) on Twitter continuously on a rotating basis at times and days you mention.
- Using this plugin makes sense when you have a large follower base on Twitter. The logic being: Everyone following you can’t see every single on your tweets. So by repeatedly sharing your blog posts, you are reaching to maximum number of followers.
- Make sure you tweet other stuffs inbetween. Otherwise you’ll look like a spammer, posting your blog post links only again and again.
2. Scheduling Blog Posts
Along with the auto-sharing steps, I will also recommend you to schedule contents from your latest blog post to be posted on different networks throughout coming week or even coming month.
- Having ‘Auto-sharing’ already setup, your new blog post already got posted on all networks. So now when you are scheduling, don’t forget to tweak the content of the posts. You can pick interesting lines from the blog post and schedule those for consecutive days or weeks along with blog posts link. You can also schedule the images in the blog post with the blog post link. Give your audience, different insights from your blog post that will attract them to read the post.
- If you publish a post right now, it’s okay to schedule it to be posted (with tweaked wordings) on Twitter for 2-3 times within coming 24 hours at 5-10 hours interval. But for Facebook, it’s better to schedule with a bit wider gap, perhaps at few days interval.
3. Engaging With Those Who Are Sharing Your Post
Social Media is all about engaging with people. So why not engage with those who are not only reading your blog posts but also sharing it? Just put your blog post url into the Hootsuite search box and hit enter. You’ll see the tweets sharing your blog post. ReTweet them, thank them, build long term friendship.
On Facebook or Google+, you can search with the title of the blog post to find out who had shared your post.
4. Sharing Right Post at Right Time / Occasion
Pay attention to what people are already talking about online. Some trending hashtags on Twitter or Facebook trending topics can give you that idea. If you have a blog post on that topic, that’s the best time to share it.
See how my blogger friend Anita doing it right now, when #InspiresMe hashtag campaign is running very popular on Twitter.
Another example here – my photographer friend Srivatsan sharing his Holi photograph within Holi week
5. Planning Future Blog Posts Analyzing the Performance of Your Posts
Most of the Social Networks provides Analytics. Take a look at these analytics to get an idea about which blog posts performed best on which networks or overall. (You can get some rough idea looking at the Social Share buttons also).
6. Getting New Blog Post Ideas
Using Social Media properly will give you unlimited ideas to create new blog posts. Pay attention to what people are commenting on your blog posts, or discussing in general on Social Media. If people are searching for some answer, and you think you have that answer, why not write the next blog post about it?
7. Connecting With Pro Bloggers & Influencers in Your Niche
Social Media made it possible for anyone to be able to connect with anyone else in the world. If you want to shorten your learning curve, follow the pro bloggers and experts in your niche who are active on Social Media. Observe and learn how they are using Social Media. Then implement the suitable strategies for your blog.
8. Be Social
Completely no brainer. You are blogging – very good! But that doesn’t give you right to spam timeline with your blog links 24 x 7. Or worse – messaging people with your blog post links or tagging them while sharing your blog posts without relevant context. That is unsocial media. Don’t make that mistake. Read 10 Facebook Mistakes to Avoid to get better idea.
How Being Active on Social Media gives Recognition to a Blogger
Even if you forget about all the above technical aspects, remember that by being active on Social Media you can build meaningful connections. And you have no idea how you can get noticed by right people someday and get the recognition you deserve.
The recognition, accountability and reach he got for being an active blogger on Social Media, is indeed worth sharing. Mentioning a few:
- Internship at Techsu. (2012)
- NASSCOM speaker as a photographer (2012).
- Radio One Interview (2013).
- Featured as a model in Sananda Magazine. (2014)
- Guest speaker (Photography and Social Media) in Schools & Colleges in Kolkata. (2014)
- Photograph officially used by West Bengal tourism. (2014)
- TOI mention on 17th Jan & 7th March, HT Mention on 18th Jan, Telegraph mention on 1st March.
Need any more convincing?
That’s all for now from my end. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what’s your Social Media strategy for your blog? Infact you can write a blog post about it. I am running a Blogging Contest in association with Hootsuite and Kolkata Bloggers. The prize is really attractive. Details and submission: http://j.mp/HootBC . Looking forward to read your post.