You breathe a sigh of relief.
Your blog post is finished. You go over your blogging checklist one more time and hit PUBLISH.
You share your post on your Facebook page and then decide to go watch a movie.
You might think social media marketing is easy. All you have to do is tweet your post and share it on Facebook and Google+ one or two times, and people will flock to your blog.
Don’t we wish it were that easy? In reality, there’s a lot more to it than just sharing your post on social media.The Blogger's Guide To Building A Winning Social Media Marketing StrategyClick To Tweet
Social media marketing strategy: why you need it
Now is the time to jump on the social media train. According to a study done by Shareaholic, social media traffic makes up 31% of overall traffic.
So, while you may be busting your behind to optimize your keyword density and incorporate long tail keywords in your post, realize that social referrals are just as important and can be an easy way to bring traffic to your blog.
Let’s look at why you need a social media marketing strategy for your blog content.
- Everyone else, including your competition, is on social media. Up to 74% of adults are on social media daily. With smartphones and tablets becoming ever popular, checking your Pinterest feed or Facebook page is much easier to do.
- Social media is where your audience hangs out. Understanding which social media platform your audience hangs out will help you better develop your social media marketing strategy. For example, Adam knows most of his shares come from Twitter. Because of this, he’s included a click to tweet option in his posts to capture even more tweets and RTs.
- Social media is a great marketing tool. Sharing your content on the big social media sites will not only help you with greater visibility, but it will also give you an opportunity to convert more followers, generate more inbound leads and is an overall cost effective marketing strategy.
While you might think you’re more of a blogger than a marketer, having a plan to leverage social media to your advantage can be simple to do, but requires time and consistency.
So, just follow this four step social media marketing plan and you’ll be on your way to getting more traffic and more engagement.
Optimize your blog post for social sharing
Are you making it difficult for people to share and comment on your posts? Blogging blunders happen to all of us, but not all of us know we’re doing it.
In case you aren’t entirely sure your post is optimized for social sharing, here are a few ways to make it easy for people to tweet, Like, comment or share your post.
Add meta data
Each social media platform displays content in different ways. To make sure your content is displayed in the best possible way for each social media channel, make sure your post’s meta data is set up correctly.
KnowEm’s tool will check and see if your post is optimized for social media.
Having the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin makes it easy for you to add your meta data.
Under Social in Yoast, click the add meta data box for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. That’s all it takes to get started.
Add shareable images
Images on your blog post can help in boosting social sharing and engagement. As the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words…and millions of Likes and retweets too.
Why is this?
Images are visual, easy to share and can ignite an emotional feeling.
To optimize your images on your blog post, use a plugin like SumoMe* to put social icons on your images.
When you hover over a picture, you’ll see an option to share the picture on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Make commenting easy
Wondering why you aren’t seeing many comments on your blog posts? One reason might be that it’s too hard to leave a comment.
If you have to register, fill in a captcha and answer a mathematical question just to leave a comment, it’s doubtful many people will do this and in fact it will turn many people off.
One reason many bloggers have readers go through these hoops is to avoid spam comments. Using anti-spamming measures does make sense when you have a big blog and hundreds of comments coming in.
But, for the average blogger, you don’t have to be as vigilant. By manually approving every comment or approving the first comment of a person, you can avoid most spam comments.
You can easily set these parameters in your WordPress settings under Discussion.
If you’re using a commenting system like Disqus, you can turn on the feature to allow guest comments as a way to have people avoid signing in to comment.
You can find this by going to Admin> Settings > scroll to Community Rules.
Start guest posting
All the big bloggers are doing it and you should too.
If you want to reach more people and generate more traffic, then guest posting should be part of your social media strategy.
Guest posting is when you have your best content published on someone else’s blog. You usually have an author byline at the end of your post where you can promote your latest product or link to your blog. Here’s Adam’s author bio on Twelveskip.
By having your blog post on an authoritative blog site, it can generate hundreds or even thousands of shares leading to more followers, subscribers, and loyal readers for your blog.
Guest blogging also helps establish your brand and name. For example, Sue Anne Dunlevie of Successful Blogging often guest posts on many popular sites, generating hundreds of comments and shares.
The easiest way to dip your feet into guest posting is to see if the blogs you regularly frequent accept guest posts.
You can do this by doing a search for, “[the blog you frequent]” + “write for us” or other variations such as “guest post,” “guest post guidelines,” “guest post by,” or “guest contributor.”
Only looking at a blog’s menu might not tell you if they accept guest posts. Many blogs don’t necessarily advertise guest posting opportunities. So, do a quick Google search to find out.
Next, follow the blog owner on social media, comment regularly on their posts and share their content.
What you want to do is get noticed by the blogger. This makes it a bit easier for your guest post to get accepted if the blogger is familiar with you.
And as the last step, read and follow the guest posting guidelines before sending your request to guest post.
Not every blogger has the same guest blogging rules.
Sue from Successful Blogging doesn’t require much, but you need to wow her with your headline to be considered.
Pauline from Twelveskip needs a little more proof that you can write. She requires samples of your writing and more than just one topic idea.
So, make sure you thoroughly read the blog’s guest posting guidelines before you submit your post or pitch idea.
For more tips on how to get better results from your guest blogging efforts, check out Adam’s post on guest blogging strategy.
Invest in blogger outreach
When developing your social media marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to start networking with other bloggers in your industry.
Blogger outreach in the traditional sense helps brands and companies reach a larger targeted audience by using influential bloggers for their campaigns across different digital channels.
According to BlogHer, users trust bloggers and blog posts more than any other source available online.
As a blogger who is trying to grow your own blog, you can use aspects of blogger outreach to your advantage.
How do you do this?
Comment on authoritative blogs in your niche
It’s a good idea to visit influential blogs in your industry. If you are new to blogging, one of the first things you need is a Gravatar.
A Gravatar is an avatar that is placed next to your name when you comment on blogs or forums.
For bloggers, it’s usually their headshot. It not only helps identify who you are, but it also helps build your brand, makes you stand out and can help drive traffic to your site.
Next, you want to start commenting on high authority blogs in your niche. Go to Alexa to get a rough estimate of the blog’s traffic and popularity.
To ensure your comments get noticed follow these tips:
- Try to be the first or close to the first one to comment. Others after you will see your comment and if you do this regularly, will click on your link to visit your site.
- Make your comments meaningful and try to add to the conversation. Just writing, Good tips! I’ll be sure to bookmark this for future use, doesn’t provide anything useful. By telling a story, mentioning what you liked about the post and even offering more tips will help build your credibility in your niche and help get you noticed by the blog owner.
- Comment frequently – and on many blogs – to expand your reach and gain more followers.
Promote influencer’s content
You want influencers to share and link to your posts right?
The best way to approach this is to promote their content selflessly. Do it becuase you just like their post and it makes you feel good.
Make this part of your marketing strategy to read posts from your favorite blogger and promote them on your social media channels.
Start following them on Twitter and Google+, and Like their Facebook page.
Mention influencers in your blog post
Mentioning a popular blogger in your post can help catapult your traffic and email subscriber list quickly.
But, there’s a wrong way and a right way to do it. Simply mentioning their name somewhere in your post won’t get a popular blogger to read your post and share it.
But, if you talk about an influencer as it relates to your post and link to one of their posts, or you quote them as a way to add relevancy and expert knowledge, then your post probably won’t go unnoticed.
And if you’ve been cultivating a relationship with various influencers in your niche, asking them to take a look at your post should be positively received.
Promotion is key
One of the most important steps to your social media marketing strategy is to promote your content.
The effort you put into promoting your content can be a difference of seeing 10 comments or 100 comments on your post.
One thing you need before you start promoting your content is a presence on social media.
Be present on major social media platforms
Do you have a profile on all the big social media sites? It’s probably a good idea to start – and actively maintain – a profile on the sites where your audience typically hangs out.
For example, if you look at the age distribution of various social networks, you’ll see Instagram is a hot spot for young adults while Facebook attracts older individuals.
It’s also important to know how to engage on different social media sites. For example, Facebook is a useful platform for asking questions and encouraging a conversation with your audience.
With Twitter, mentioning a blogger when you share their post is always a good practice to follow. This can open the door to networking with other bloggers in your industry and might even get you a response.
Being present on all the big social media sites can be a challenge for any blogger. That’s why Hootsuite or Buffer, automated social media scheduling applications, can come in handy. But, don’t let these tools take over your social media marketing.
Take the time to be present on social media and engage with your followers.
Using social media to effectively promote your content
The last step in your marketing plan is to promote your content at the right time and on the right platforms.
So, when is the best time to share your content?
You might be surprised that on Google+, posting in the morning yields the greatest engagement.
Or, if most of your audience hangs out on Pinterest, make sure to pin your posts after 8 pm.
And if most of your audience is on Twitter, expect the highest retweets around 5 pm.
You also want to focus your promotional efforts by taking advantage of each platform. You can do this by:
- Providing relevant hashtags on Google+. To find hashtags for your post, go to Explore > Explore a hashtag and type in your keyword. For example, I typed in “#socialmediamarketing.”
- Adding author tags on Facebook to increase followers and expand your reach.
- Tweeting consistently and regularly on Twitter. The more you tweet, the more followers you’ll have. Also, include a photo for more retweets.
You can also include specific community sites and bookmarking sites in your promotional strategy to help with traffic and social shares. These include Triberr, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn groups.
And lastly, send an email or two to your email list telling them about your latest post or guest post, and encourage your subscribers to share it on their social media channels.
Wrapping it up
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. You might think you need to be on every social media channel or continuously update your profiles with your latest blog post, but you only need to be precise in your plan.
So, before you write that next blog post, take a bit of time to plan out how you’re going to market it. Maybe your post would be perfect for a top dog blogger, or you might decide to spend some time growing your traffic by guest posting.
Whatever you decide to choose, doing these four steps can help you get noticed, increase your followers and drive more traffic to your site.
Now it’s your turn – do you have a social media marketing plan in place? If so, which tactic yields the most engagement for your blog?
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