If you want to build an audience for your blog, there’s no shortage of options. You can optimize for the search engines, reach out to other bloggers in your niche or simply write such killer content that people can’t help but take notice.
One tool that no blogger should be without however is social media marketing. Regardless of what you’re blogging about, your audience can be found on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And there’s therefore no excuse for you not to be.
The first step towards harnessing the power of social media is, of course, to get yourself an audience. Here are ten simple tips for doing just that.
1. Look The Part
First off, there’s the small matter of your blog’s appearance. It matters, a lot. If your blog doesn’t look the part, why would anyone want to hear from you in their Facebook feed for instance? You don’t need a premium theme to attract a social media following, but you do need to look like a professional; and professionals don’t use themes designed for click through rates.
2. Use Separate Social Accounts For Business And Pleasure
Avoid the temptation to market your blog with your own personal accounts. Details of your personal life don’t belong on your blog and they don’t belong on your blog’s social media accounts.
3. Complete Your Profiles!
You’re going to be fighting an uphill battle from day one if you expect people to follow an account with incomplete or outdated information. Aim to make your accounts as attractive as possible to potential subscribers.
4. Don’t Try To Be Everywhere
Contrary to popular belief, effective social media marketing doesn’t necessarily mean signing up for every single social media platform. In my opinion, you’re generally best off starting with the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Don’t underestimate just how much work goes into keeping a social media account active. Three active accounts are worth a lot more than ten which you don’t have time to update.
5. Make It Easy
Aim to make connecting with you on social media as straightforward as possible. When somebody first lands on your blog, your social media icons should be one of the first things that they see. Additionally, when they finish reading one of your posts they should immediately be presented with some social sharing options. The more invitations your readers are given to follow and like you, the more likely they are to do so.
6. Offer A Free Gift
If you’re serious about boosting your social media following a little bit of bribery is well worth considering.
Create a small information product and give it away for free in return for following you or subscribing to your posts. Even a five page e-book can be incredibly effective. [See a good example on the right!]
7. Offer Subscriber Exclusive Content
Another tried and tested form of bribery is subscriber exclusive content. Every now and then mark one of your posts as “private” and only allow those who follow you on social media to access it. A word of warning however, subscriber exclusive content is the very opposite of user friendly design, so use it sparingly.
8. Use A Pop-Up (Sparingly)
Speaking about things that your visitors aren’t going to like, nothing converts blog visitors quite like a well designed pop-up. Provided that you design yours with care, it is possible to collect a nice social media following without driving your visitors crazy in the process. Here are a few rules for this tip:
- No visitor should see your pop-up twice
- It shouldn’t cover the entire screen
- Your pop-up should be easy to close (without following you)
9. Tweet Your Facebook Page
These days, most people and businesses can be found on multiple social media platforms. If somebody is willing to follow you on one platform, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t follow you on another. Cross platform promotion is therefore only logical. Every now and then send out a quick tweet asking your followers to become Facebook fans and vice versa.
10. Social Proof
Finally, once you begin to amass a reasonably healthy selection of followers, don’t be afraid to broadcast the fact. Install attention grabbing counters on your homepage. Displaying your first thousand Twitter followers and/or Facebook Likes will not only greatly increase your blog’s credibility it also will help you get your second thousand significantly faster.
If you have any good tricks of your own, please share in the comments.
[Image: Flickr - Michael Dornbierer, Creative Commons License]