At the end of 2009 I committed to Project52 – a year long challenge to post new content to your blog every week.
As part of that I asked what you’d like to read about in 2010.
This post is a direct response to one of the suggested topics I received from my online pal and fellow Canadian blogger, Heather whose blog The Unexpected Twists and Turns we worked on together to revamp during ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge.
Heather wanted to learn more about using Facebook and StumbleUpon to increase traffic to her own blog.
My number one rule for using Facebook to promote your blog or business is that you must provide added value.
Merely repeating what readers would find if they visited to your blog or website, and nothing more, is a turn off.
First you have choices to make. Will you be using a Facebook group, fan page or your own profile to promote your blog?
To ensure your blog posts are promoted on Facebook you should look at an application called Networked Blogs which will push new content from your blog to your Facebook profile.
This means your new blog posts will automatically appear in your Facebook stream. Although Networked Blogs is an excellent tool, using it is not. You may have to fiddle around a lot before figuring out it works.
So, let’s assume you’ve done this and your blog posts are being added to your Facebook account. Now what?
Establish your Facebook page as a go-to destination
You must establish yourself (your Facebook account/fan page or group) as a go-to place for information about a specific topic. If, like Heather, you are writing about your local neighbourhood then you should subscribe to other blogs and websites which provide information about where you live and what is happening there.
Then you can decide what it is you wish to publish as status updates on Facebook.
As well as reading the stuff about your local neighbourhood (and replace the word ‘neighbourhood’ with whatever your chosen industry is) you should establish a relationship with those sites. Leave comments, follow those folks on Twitter and Facebook. Create links with them. Build and nuture a relationship.
This works to benefit everyone:
- You help promote and share information created by others
- You demonstrate to the author of those sites and its readers that you have a shared interest
- You begin to build credibility
Eventually some wonderful things will happen.
You will receive new Facebook friend requests from folks that have discovered you because you grew your presence online. These are new eyeballs for your blog.
The authors of those sites begin to see you as a genuine force and will begin to promote you by commenting on your blog or by sharing your posts on their Facebook.
As this network grows, others that you have friended on Facebook will ‘like’ your updates and leave Facebook comments thus drawing attention to you and your blog.
Do you see a common theme emerging here? The one that’s central to all ‘social media’ activity?
Building a following online, anywhere, is about give and take. You cannot expect to launch a blog and for hundreds or thousands of folks to flock to you overnight.
That recognition will only occur once you demonstrate to your peers that you a) exist; b) make yourself known; c) engage with like-minded folks online.
It’s hard work. It takes time.
Providing added value
At the start of this post I talked about ‘added value.’ This means publishing information on Facebook that your readers will not find you publishing elsewhere.
This is how I generally use the National Screen Institute Facebook fan page.
Of course, some information is repeated but I try to include links to cool stuff I’ve read and have not mentioned elsewhere.
Networking with others on Facebook
Connect with other like-minded folks on Facebook.
Find and join groups that cover similar topics to you. Contribute to those group pages by responding to their content and posting links to your own.
Ditto for fan pages.
Are there gurus and popular spokespeople in your industry? Find them on Facebook and establish a relationship.
Organising events, advertising
Heather, who is writing about a location, could use Facebook’s event feature to organise a get together in Montreal and have Facebook manage the RSVPs.
She could also use Facebook’s very targetted advertising feature to spread the word about her blog. You can build your ad on Facebook (thereby saving you the cost of hiring a designer) and set your own budget.
You can pinpoint your target audience down to the minutest detail.
These are just some of the ways Facebook can help create interest in you and your blog.
Now let’s look at StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon is a website that recommends other sites for you to check out based on personal preferences you provide
I discovered Miss Britt through StumbleUpon.
While there are a number of different features on StumbleUpon, I primarily use it to do two things:
1) Click the ‘Stumble!’ button installed in my web browser in the hopes of discovering fabulous new sites to visit (see Miss Britt above).
2) Add my own recommended sites for others to ‘Stumble!’
The second action here has sent lots of traffic to my blog and the National Screen Institute’s website. The traffic comes in short bursts but it’s still significant. By adding my recommendations those sites then show up when others ‘Stumble!’
To do all this you must set up a StumbleUpon account.
Like Networked Blogs I didn’t find StumbleUpon particularly intuitive to use so it may take you a while to figure it all out.
Like most things on the internet, these strategies can take time to show results.
Be patient, sensible and give as well as take and you will soon see the benefits.