At the dawn of business blogging, all you needed was to craft timely, incisive, and thought-provoking articles, post them online, and attract a grateful and engaged audience.
But today, there are millions of blogs, and it’s no longer a simple case of “if you write it they will come.”
To attracting and maintaining a committed readership, you need to promote your blog. A successful blogger has to get to grips with the main social networks, leveraging them to drive traffic.
Here’s how to master the three biggest social networks and build a big, content-hungry audience.
Twitter is Still #1 for Blog Promotion
Twitter is the top micro-blogging platform in the Western world, although you’d be well advised to watch out for competition from the swiftly growing Chinese microblogs known as Weibos and the Asian “hybrids” such as WeChat.
When using Twitter to promote your blog, you should:
- Synchronize your blog’s branding with your Twitter aesthetics so that the reader understands the connection at a glance.
- Tweet each blog post several times in order to reach your followers in different time zones.
- Longer blog posts should be condensed into bite-sized chunks that fit into 140 characters.
- Use a maximum of three hashtags, kept separate from the main body of your tweet.
- Apply scheduling tools to set the times in advance that your tweets will appear.
- Join and participate in Twitter chats and other activities.
Facebook is the 900-Pound Gorilla in the Social Networking Universe
No matter how many teens Facebook is hemorrhaging, it’s still growing thanks to a steady stream of grandmas and other older people. you can’t argue with any social media tool that has more than one billion users.
To promote your blog, you’ll need to build as large a Facebook following as possible. You should:
- Post pull quotes and subheads to encourage followers to click through to read your business blog.
- Curate a wide variety of content – don’t just post links to your own blog.
- Include a widget on your blog that will allow your readers to Like your Facebook page there and then.
- Check your analytics for the times of day that your readership hits its highest levels and schedule your Facebook posts about half an hour before each day’s peak.
- Comment like crazy on just about everything that’s even remotely related. Comment on people’s comments, their statuses, the content they’ve posted, just about anything at all.
- Use Facebook ads strategically as it’s easy to blow several hundred dollars and get absolutely nothing in return. Some bloggers have an inordinate amount of success with Sponsored Stories but every case is different.
LinkedIn is All About Business, Business, Business
New bloggers sometimes think that Facebook and LinkedIn are similar when nothing could be further from the truth. While Facebook is primarily a horizontal social network which encompasses just about everyone from every walk of life, LinkedIn is laser-focused on business.
Given your very different audience, you have to adjust your social media approach. You should:
- Separate your social media strategy for B2C and B2B avenues. Your B2C content can be used on Facebook, but reserve your B2B content for LinkedIn.
- Realize that the average LinkedIn reader is looking for very different things from your blog than a Facebook one. The business-minded reader will seek networking opportunities to grow both your companies, so provide them with relevant links and content.
- It’s considerably harder to amass huge numbers of followers on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook, but that’s a matter of quality over quantity. Reach out to vendors, suppliers, contractors, consultants, manufacturers, distributors, and every other sort of business that has some relevance to your company. Just a handful of these contacts can result in much more business than a thousand Facebook followers.
- While there is room for humor on LinkedIn, it’s generally a more serious and less gimmicky venue than Facebook. While a hyped-up promotion can garner lots of positive attention on Facebook, it could actually be seen as a negative on LinkedIn. This is not to say that you shouldn’t run contests to promote your business blog, but keep them more focused and to the point.
- Beware of well-entrenched business scammers on LinkedIn. Never send any money to anyone on LinkedIn, unless you have verified they are legitimate. You can use the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and D&B for this.
There are many other valid business social networks including Google+ and Pinterest, but bloggers direct the bulk of their promotional campaigns to the Big Three for very good reasons.
Not only are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn’s combined membership close to two billion people, but these social networks completely lend themselves to promoting a blog.