Top 10 Best Ways to Get Social Media Traction For Your Blog

Writing effective blog posts that get you traction often is something that puzzles the small business owner. While it’s not brain science, it does take a little time to get the hang of it. Once you get a system down for writing and editing, then it gets easier with time.

Here are our top 10 best ways for you to get more mileage out of your small business blog:

  1. Write an effective blog title. Your blog’s title is its billboard. It is what piques peoples interest enough to stop and read it. Don’t be vague – blog titles are no place for story lines. If it takes people more than a glance to figure out if it has any relevance to them, then you’ll lose your target audience. Quick.
  2. Write with enough substance but not too long. Ideal blog posts are 350-500 words in length. They can be shorter or longer. If shorter, be sure you’re covering your subject with enough detail. Sometimes posts that include photos or videos can be shorter as far as number of words is concerned. If longer, be sure you’re making enough new points within the article that you won’t lose your reader, or graphically break up the copy with photos, bullet points or numbers as we’ve done here.
  3. Add a call-to-action. We usually prefer that the post is closed in some way, either with contact info to get more information or a next step for your reader. Don’t just leave ’em hanging, as if the post writer was lazy and left an unfinished piece. Your readers are looking for you to sum up your points in some way or lead them to the next step so they don’t have to guess at your intention.
  4. Review your keyword list. All blog owners should be working with a keyword list that includes 5 main key words or phrases that you want to really own in the search engines, along with other keywords that are relevant to your content and what your target audience is searching for. Revising your blog posts to ensure a proper density of your main key words as well as any ancillary key words or phrases is critical to your blog’s success. Tip: If you do not have a keyword / keyphrase list, don’t write another post until you create one! This is critical to your blogging success!
  5. Ping your blog. Be sure to ping your blog each time you post new content. This helps the search engines to know to look for updated content on your blog. Technorati, the search engine designed for searching blogs, is still valuable as is using Weblogs.com.
  6. Blog Communities. Taking the time to list your blog in popular blog directories not only helps you gain new followers by making your content appear elsewhere but increases your search engine rankings because these sites have more SEO power than your site by itself. One of my favorites is NetworkedBlogs, which integrates directly with Facebook. NetworkedBlogs keeps a ranking of the top blogs in each city based on local followers so it is particularly important for local businesses. Other blog directories we feel are a must are BlogCatalog, Blogged and MyBlogLog.
  7. Blog post sharing. It is critical to make it easy not only for your readers to comment on your blog but also for them to share it. Popular sharing services such as ShareThis, which also provides results tracking, and TweetMeme make it very easy for others to share your posts with their audiences.
  8. Outbound links. Can’t tell you how many blog posts we see that utilize zero outbound links. Blog posts aren’t book pages so don’t treat them that way. The whole idea is that your post provides an interactive experience and a way for people to learn more about a company, product or service that you mention in your post. Plus, it’s just common courtesy to refer out because that is exactly what you want others to do for you. But don’t overload — a few resources is all you need.
  9. Write well and often. Ideally, you should be posting two to three times per week on your blog. More often if possible. Google, Yahoo and Bing tend to find your blog easier and more often when there is fresh content posted that includes your blog’s main key words and phrases. Building repetitive use of keywords and phrases over several entries, plus creating a history or backlog of posts (duration length) aids your overall ranking. Always add relevant photos, YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations or other graphics to make your posts more visually appealing.
  10. Tag you’re it. Don’t forget to take the time to include your category and post tags for each and every entry and be consistent with matching the tags to the post itself. This includes the custom title tags, meta description and meta keywords.

Effective blogging can take time but it’s worth doing if you’ve made the commitment to your blog. If you have created guidelines for your blog’s content, including your keyword list, then you can have guest bloggers add content if frequency of writing is a problem for you. If you own a small business, appoint several people to be part of a blogging team so that you as the business owner don’t have to be responsible for creating all the content. Or sometimes you can find a virtual assistant or intern to help write and/or edit and post with the proper tagging sequences.

So What EXACTLY Is a Social Media Marketer & Why Do YOU Need One?

A Social Media Marketer partners with small businesses and individuals to help them grow their customer base, increase their sales, gain better customer and brand visibility and help create and maintain superior online marketing strategies.

Social Media Marketer (noun): An online cheerleader that helps foster brand recognition, creates a customer buzz and builds a positive reputation for you or your company through various social media channels (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, You-Tube, Blogs, etc.).

Back in the days when the Internet first started, people and businesses wondered why they needed a website and online presence at all. After all, only scientists and computer geeks were online and THEY weren’t their target audience. Eventually (actually WAY faster than “eventually”), people realized that having a website that advertsied their products was a good thing and websites quickly became an essential marketing tool.

As the web grew, and more and more people were online, websites needed to provide MORE. They needed to be interactive, they needed to allow a consumer, client or a “fan” (this is now a KEY idea) to get information from or ask for support from the company’s online presence.

Now, let’s move forward about 15 years. Suddenly texting and Twitter and Facebook have entered the online arena, and Web 2.0 development began. Blogs (Weblogs) started popping up everywhere. Although Social Media began with the younger, “hipper”, more social set it has grown exponentially year after year.

To be quite honest, my friend, we are at the beginning of the next Web gold rush. No longer can a static website that requires a person to find YOU do the marketing job of the past. The Yellow Pages are dead. The newspaper print subscriptions are dying. There is SO much going on online that is APART from surfing that JUST having a website simply will NOT do it for you or your company anymore.

At this point MOST people are checking their email, logging onto Facebook, reading their RSS Feed subscriptions and/or following people on Twitter. They are looking at You-Tube for fun or informative videos and sharing their links on Delicious (a social bookmarking site). If Facebook were a country it would be the SECOND largest country in the WORLD. Now that’s a WHOLE LOTTA traffic!

So why does this matter to you?

Because NOW you NEED to create a BUZZ online. You want to keep you and your business on the top of people’s minds. You need to market on a more personal or social level. AND you need to figure out HOW to get yourself set up, you need to MAINTAIN your social sites and you need to keep your sites from becoming static and stale.

A Social Media Marketer can help you figure out WHO your target audience is and WHERE your audience hangs out online. They will also help you figure out WHAT the best way to market to them is, through WHICH social networks and WHEN you should be sending out your updates for maximum impact.

Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing: How Do They Differ?

Perhaps one of the most powerful traffic generating methods among Internet marketing is social media marketing. By definition, social media marketing is the process of promoting one’s brand, web, merchandise or services using social media channels whose purpose is to attract targeted audience and gain enormous amounts of traffic. It is the only low-cost marketing technique that can deliver large numbers of visitors into a particular site. In general, there are two types of social media marketing. One is by using social media networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums. The other is by using content marketing tools such as weblog and other blog sites. So how do these two Internet marketing strategies differ? Let’s find out.

The purpose of social media marketing is not only to gain exposure, but also encourage sharing of thoughts, ideas and interests related to one’s business and indirectly promoting it. Through social media marketing, one can directly market his business without going through the hassles of regular advertising campaigns and – most important of all – one has the ability to inform a large number of people about his business and/or services.

Alternatively, content marketing is an online marketing technique which uses media such as blog posts, press releases and articles, to name a few, that allow creation and distribution of significant and important content so target audience will have a clear understanding of what one is trying to convey. In other words, it is a way of communicating with customers without actually selling. One does not need to pitch his business, but rather deliver information that is consistent and valuable to his audience, thus allowing them to make an intelligent choice.

Now that we know the difference between social media and content marketing, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.

Advantages of Social Media Networking

• Cost effective

• Generates viral results

• Customer feedback and interaction

• Increase the development of the product online

• Ability to educate a large number of people regarding one’s business

• Increase search engine rankings through generated traffic

Disadvantages

• Time Consuming – compared to other online marketing strategies, social media marketing requires a lot of time and effort in order to maintain that hard-earned relationship between the business and its prospects.

• Rigorous Work – constantly updating your website means more time for work and the moment your business gets bigger, you are expected to converse to a larger audience on more varied areas of discussion.

• You have to be responsive at all times and give service to your target audience.

• You need to keep up with new lines of communications and software.

Advantages of Content Marketing

• Retains reader attention

• Cultivates loyalty

• Imposes knowledge to an audience about one’s industry and business

• Conveys a message to your audience easily. A good writer who puts in good content, backed with the right tools to publish it, will definitely capture the attention of many different people from different walks of Disadvantages

• What to write about. This is especially true when you are just starting your business. You struggle about what to write and, worst of all, you struggle on how to write it.

• Writing good content. So you finally manage to write some contents, but the question still arises – are you writing good content?

Now that we have come to understand the difference (and similarities) between these two Internet marketing strategies, it is clear that social media marketing and content marketing should be integrated together to create a successful Internet marketing campaign.