You may be writing a blog to boost your business's brand, but what if no one reads it?
Building an audience from scratch for your blog doesn't always happen overnight. Fortunately, several opportunities are available through social media to help spread the word.
Doing so will require more than creating a profile on popular sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, especially if you want to use social networking to increase awareness of your business and traffic to your business blog.
Here are tips for how to harness the full promotional power of social networking to increase your blog's profile:
Create a relevant profile.
If your primary purpose in joining Facebook or another social network is to promote your business and blog, be sure the profile you create on that site is relevant to your blog's topic. Lead with your strengths and demonstrate through your profile why you're qualified to write about and discuss your blog's topic.
Find people with whom to connect.
Once you join a social networking site, search its users. Some social networks allow you to search using keywords to find people who are discussing topics related to your blog or area of expertise. As you find people who are likely to be interested in your blog and your content, send them connection requests so you can begin conversing over email, direct messaging and more.
You can also search for existing groups that are related to your blog's topic. Join the most relevant and active groups, and participate in the conversations. If you can't find an existing group related to your business blog's niche then create your own.
Be active and publish useful content.
One of the most important aspects of social networking success is being an active participant. Simply creating a profile and never updating it won't help you build awareness of your business or drive traffic to your blog. Start and join conversations by providing content that adds value to the online discussion.
Be sure to follow the classic 80-20 rule of marketing: No more than 20 percent of your overall activities and content should be self-promotional. Feel free to publish links to your blog content, but don't forget the 80-20 rule. The primary goal is to provide value for your audience.
Leverage site-specific features.
Each social networking site offers the ability to create a profile and make connections. Some offer extra features that can be helpful in building an audience for your blog.
For example, you can create a Facebook page for your blog. This allows Facebook users to find your blog and provides you with another outlet for interaction.
You can also answer questions on LinkedIn or give and request recommendations. Some sites even allow you to link your other social media profiles to your social networking profile so people can connect with you across the social web.
Take advantage of automated processes.
A number of social networking sites allow you to automatically feed content from your blog or other social media accounts into your social networking updates. Some also allow you to feed the updates you publish on your social networking profiles to your blog or other social media profiles.
Feeding content from one site to another can be a useful way to appear more active and create new opportunities for people to interact with you or share your valuable content with their own audiences.
This column is an edited excerpt from The Complete Idiot's Guide to WordPress by Susan Gunelius (Alpha/Pearson, 2011).