When many people hear the term “social media,” they may immediately think of all the people who are addicted to the Internet. They think about the people who are constantly updating their Twitter accounts with what they had for lunch and how bored they are waiting at the dentist’s office. While there are certainly users who are like that, social networking is so much more than that; social media represents a major component of your blog’s potential success!
This is why it is positively integral that you build up as large and prominent a social networking presence as you can. There is a reason why even major corporations like Starbucks and the New York Times are working hard on getting their brands out there in the social media sphere. Many Internet users spend the majority of their time on sites like Facebook and Twitter, so it’s important that you reach out this audience if you want to attract their attention.
Developing an Interactive Community
The old business model of “broadcasting” is not nearly as relevant in today’s world. Especially when it comes to blogging, one of the most important elements is interaction. More and more people aren’t satisfied with simply reading what you have to say; they want to interact with it. That’s why social media can be so important. It offers another channel to reach new readers and build your following.
The most successful Twitter and Facebook campaigns have at least one major characteristic in common: they are interactive. This sounds simple enough, but far too many companies use Twitter and Facebook as broadcast channels and that’s not how they are best utilized. Yes, you can certainly syndicate your content and link to it through your social media profiles, but it is just as important to spark a conversation with your readers too.
Communication is a Two-Way Street
By tapping into the huge communities already available on sites like Facebook and Twitter, you can engage with your readers in new and exciting ways. When they pose a question, you can answer it. When they offer suggestions or feedback, you can thank them and think about making changes to better suit what they want out of your blog. You can even ask your online community questions and solicit responses.
In using Twitter and Facebook, engage in conversations. Engage in discussions. Host contests that encourage your readers to share your blog with their friends. Your brand is a living, dynamic entity and it should be treated as such. It’s not about passive consumption anymore; it’s about active engagement.
Beyond Facebook and Twitter
These two sites remain the two largest and most prominent of the social networking communities on the Internet today. That’s why it is a good idea to set up presences on both pages that are for your blog, rather than for you as a person. This way, you can keep your blog at arm’s reach in case you ever want to sell it. This also helps to establish your blog as its own brand, allowing you to keep your personal life as personal as you would like to keep it.
Even moving beyond Facebook and Twitter, think about some of the other social media channels that are worth exploring. If you use video, YouTube has a great infrastructure in place for encouraging subscribers, allowing comments, and interacting with your readers. The same can be said about Flickr for images. Depending on the niche for your blog, you may also find some unique online communities that fit with your particular audience too.
To get more traffic and to grow your blog, you can’t cast social media off to the side. It is a very important part of your overall marketing strategy and it is something that needs to be updated on a regular basis, just like your blog.