Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn – ideal to market your blog
You’ve written your new blog post and you want the world to read it. How do you let everyone know about your latest blogging masterpiece? The answer’s simple – use social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Spread the word and go viral. Using social media is an excellent way of driving traffic to your website. But what’s the best way to go about using social media to market your blog post and website?
Driving traffic to your website is something that’s a priority for everyone. It is also one of the most frustrating things you need to do on a daily basis. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to publish your website and forget about it. You need to keep it fresh and appealing. A blog is a good way of doing this. Blog posts are excellent hooks to pull people from their social media site to look at your website via a hyperlink on your status update or tweet.
There are many different ways of going about using social media to market your blog. You go with the simple, manual approach or use an automated service or plugin. You could log in to each of your networks in turn, submit your tweet or status update with a link to your blog post then move on to the next one. This is gives you a lot of control but is time-consuming and repetitive. Personally I prefer a more semi-automated approach. The possibilities are endless as to how you can inform people about your prose but here are the two I use: HootSuite and NextScripts Social Networks Auto-Poster (or the mercifully shorter acronym ‘SNAP’). Please note there are many other apps, web apps and plugins available. These two meet my needs at present.
HootSuite – Social Media Management
HootSuite is a platform from which all your social media network streams come together. Just like tabbed browsing with your web browser, you have tabbed streams for each of your networks. You use one interface for your posts simply selecting which network you want to post to – you can post to them all at once if you wish. The great thing about HootSuite is the basic package is free and is ample for most people’s needs. It’s a web app so you don’t need to install it on your PC or Mac and it’s available everywhere. You can also download a somewhat limited app on your iPad or iPhone of the same name.
The first time you log in to a social media management platform such as HootSuite you have to configure it for each of your social media accounts. All your streams are together in one place. You write your entry into the text box at the top, choose which networks to post it to and schedule when you want to publish it. You can schedule a week’s or a month’s worth of posts in one afternoon if you wish.
You are usually limited to the number of characters you can use when writing a tweet or status update. If you add a regular URL link to your post you will quickly find you have used your maximum number of characters. This then impacts on the possibility of a retweet as there are not enough characters to even add the RT. There is a way around this. Use a shortened URL. There are loads of these services available. Google offer it, Tiny, bit.ly and many more. A shortened URL takes up about 14 characters depending on which service you use which is a lot better than a full URL of 80+ characters. HootSuite has its own URL shortener, ow.ly, which is very convenient. I have used this and it does the job nicely. However, I read study post by Daniel Zeevi analysing which of these URL shortening services get the most click-throughs with bit.ly being the most successful by a fantastically impressive amount. Since reading this I have swapped to using bit.ly but have not yet posted enough to see a difference. I’ll update this post once I get a clearer picture of any difference between the two.
You also need to take into account the best times to post for individual social networks. Here’s an infographic which you may find useful. The LinkedIn times make a lot of sense when you think about it.
An alternative or complementary method of notifying your audience of your latest blog post is by having a plugin such as NextScripts SNAP automatically post an update for you along with a shortened URL (wp.me). You configure all the API keys once for the plugin (NextScripts give you excellent instructions how to do this) then forget about it. When you hit ‘Publish’ in the back-end of WordPress to make your new blog post live everything is done at once.
There are pluses and minuses with everything and the SNAP plugin is no different. Personally as I like to schedule my status updates to impact at peak times I don’t use SNAP for the main four social networks. I have it set to notify StumbleUpon and publish to Tumblr which gives me that extra bit of presence on the net.
Market your posts using social media
There are a plethora of ways you can let the world know that your new article is ready for public eyes. Social media is probably the best for marketing. With one third of businesses using social media* and more coming on board every day, now is time get up on your virtual soapbox using social media networks. You could try walking naked through your town centre wearing a sandwich board showing your URL. On second thoughts.., no.
*statistic from ‘Web Designer’ magazine – Issue 211 by Imagine Publishing.