Cast a Wide Net: Promote Your Blog With Social Media

All of your friends subscribe to your blog, right? What about your coworkers? Your family members? Your classmates or former…

Image courtesy of Flickr user dewmuffins

Image courtesy of Flickr user dewmuffins

All of your friends subscribe to your blog, right? What about your coworkers? Your family members? Your classmates or former classmates? People who don’t necessarily know you, but work in your field? People who don’t know you at all, but like to mock the same celebrities you do?

Chances are, your social network is larger than you think it is. Luckily, these days, there are more ways than ever to reach people who share your interests, your pet peeves, and your sense of humor. Done well, social networking is the single best way to make friends and influence people on the web.

So, how to make sure you’re making the most out of social media opportunities without overdoing it? First of all, I think it helps to have a solid understanding of the ways in which the various platforms differ, and what each one specifically is for. They aren’t all the same.

For example, this past summer, I attended BlogHer’s 2012 conference, and one of the speakers said that Facebook is for talking to your friends and family about your life, and Twitter is for showing off and approaching strangers. On Twitter, you can ‘at’ President Obama or Margaret Atwood or Taco Bell, and they just might answer you. On Facebook, you can beg your friends to petsit when you go out of town, or complain about your boring week. You can be more banal and more personal on Facebook, not to mention lengthier. On Twitter, you should strive to impress in an economical 140 characters.

Then there’s LinkedIn, which is for professional networking. Your witty Golden Globes jokes don’t belong on LinkedIn (those go on Twitter), nor do your horror stories about your blind date the other night (Facebook for that). Finally, there’s Tumblr. Many bloggers have a Tumblr in addition to their primary blog – either for sharing photos, or for a one-joke “meme” blog.

All of this is to say that it’s likely the people who follow you on each of these different services are interested in you for different reasons. Granted, you undoubtedly have friends and fans who follow you on all of them and subscribe to your blog as well. But you also likely have family members who follow you on Facebook and might check out your blog if you post pictures from holiday get-togethers. Maybe you have coworkers in your LinkedIn network who will check out any posts having to do with your industry, but aren’t so interested in your Twilight fan fic.

You’ll want to let these occasional readers know if you’ve posted something that they’d like. The easiest way to do that is to connect your blog to your social media services using Publicize. Publicize will automatically post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or Tumblr every time you post, so you don’t have to worry about doing it manually. You can also control which services you share with on a per-post basis – for example, if you post an expletive-heavy rant you’d rather your grandmother not read, you can deselect Facebook before publishing it.

Remember, though, that for those true fans who do follow you on every service, seeing your blog updates in each place can be repetitive. Ideally, you should also create original content for each different service, so that all of your social media feeds are fresh, interesting, and entertaining. The funnier you are on Twitter, the more new followers will click those blog links to check out what you have to say at length.

And of course, make sure to use social media widgets on your blog itself, so that your subscribers know where else they can find you, as well as sharing buttons, so your readers can alert all their friends to your brilliant work.

Finally, the same principles we’ve previously discussed regarding blog commenting etiquette also apply to polite social media behavior: follow, like, friend, and message as you would want to be followed, liked, friended, and messaged. Seek out those whose content appeals to you, and make the first move. Don’t be mean (unless that’s your schtick). Don’t let trolls waste your time or clutter up your feed.

The more you extend yourself on social media, the bigger your network will grow, and the more blog readers you’ll gain!

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  1. Great ideas! I have my Facebook drilled down even more. Each of my friends are in 1 of 3 categories, restricted (I place people here like my boss, where you can’t say no to their friend request – so I accept and block them from seeing anything); Acquaintances, and then there is everyone else. Depending on what I blogged about, I customize my Facebook post so it is available to be seen by just those groups of people that I want to see it. Of course, I do try not to write anything that would get me fired in general (those are the blogs I write but never hit the “publish” button!)

    1. Yes, always best to avoid getting fired for your blog posts. ;) Putting your Facebook friends into groups with various levels of restriction is a great idea.

  2. Thanks so much for the explanations about LinkedIn and Tumblr, and how each platform is used. I may have to look into a LinkedIn account, though I’d rather not have to pull myself away from Twitter ;-)

  3. Thanks for the breakdown. Can I just point out that Twitter gives you the opportunity to impress in an economical 140 characters, not words! ;)

    The biggest surprise in blogging for me really was that most of the followers are other bloggers, rather than friends/family, and also what a hugely supportive community it is. Yay for bloggers!

  4. I have had a harder time getting my friends to subscribe. I would love some ideas for that! They lurk and click through Facebook or through the link on the bottom of my email.
    I haven’t tried Tumbler and will give it a whirl. Thanks!

      1. I thought that post was a great idea. I am talking about my real life friends, not that you’re not real…. :)
        Maybe theirs a way to get them to subscribe to my blog through social media that I am unaware of or my subscribe instructions are confusing..

  5. I’ve just taken the plunge with Twitter. I resisted because it’s overwhelming to think about taking on more, but I recognize the usefulness – plus I like just throwing some short missive out there; it’s like palate-cleansing, or a relief to write 2 sentences instead of 2 paragraphs.

  6. I recently subscribed to twitter. I am still finding my way around it, but so far I like how I am able to discover links I probably wouldn’t have found without it.

    1. Totally! I read some article somewhere saying that Twitter will replace RSS feeds. I don’t know that I’d go that far, but it is a great way to find content.

  7. I have resisted Twitter because I do not have a fancy cell phone and even if I did – texting on a small keyboard really doesn’t appeal to me. Can someone do Twitter on their computer the same way they do a WordPress blog or Facebook or LinkedIn? I’d love some feedback on this question.

  8. I’m not a fan of FB for promoting a blog. Their algorithms are weird, and unless you pay money, the posts only appear in a small percentage of feeds. Not to mention that when using the “publicize” feature, FB takes away the ability to share from FB itself. When I had a FB account, I posted manually each day.

    1. I publicize to my facebook page for my blog, and sometime share from that page to my own personal page. I’ve had no problem with sharing from fb.

  9. A nice reminder of the potential of all these tools.
    Twitter is perhaps the handiest I have found so far : plenty of possibilities and variations – Twitter parties, Twitterviews/Twinterviews, character accounts (for cartoonists/novelists, to enable engagement of a sort between their main characters and readers…) on top of the hashtag option, offering info etc.
    Facebook I have joined only recently (and reluctantly) as it has had such a bad press- but it has proved extremely handy for professional purposes; i.e.: private exchanges with publishing teams or writing groups etc.
    Having focussed a lot on Google +, I do think that too has much to offer, in a different way. You can do pretty much on Google+ anything you do on Facebook – just depends how many people are already using one or the other.
    The key thing is, these are tools which we need to be able to control, and not be controlled by…

    1. Interesting. I’ve never really figured out the deal with Google+ (although I do use the hangouts) but I’ve heard other people say it’s got a lot of potential.

  10. Could you post more info on Twitter. I open it up, look at the Tweets and hash tags and then I start to sweat!

    I have no idea what many of these people are saying let alone me have a conversation with #something, #other, #etc. and #soforth

  11. Very informative post, and some great ideas.
    I’m yet to delve into the world of Twitter, though i am sure i’ll get sucked into it eventually

  12. My blog, since I’ve actually began posting a new write-up every day or almost every day has taken off. I am finding that my external views are exponentially increasing and I think it’s due to the following three reasons: I have travelled alot and have made alot of friends around the world; they read it and pass it along. 2. My tag words – I use related tags that will cause my blogs to pop up everywhere on google. 3. I also post information that is useful and practical to people about living a more positive life. I find that people are extremely responsive to a blog that offers them hope, information and other links and resources. Yesterday, only since really blogging steadfastly since January 1st of this year, I hit 40 different countries seeing my blog. At the very least, it motivates me to keep writing!

  13. Oy I am on all of this social networking sites and more! and I barely know how to use half of them…like twitter is a completely new concept, but once I got the hang of the fast pace tweeting it became addictive!! But half my followers are registered through social media and read my story line through the links, so it does work! Now only if I can figure out LinkedIn..

  14. I wish you could publish comments on a post that occur via the twitter, Facebook and Linked In links back on your blog. They just kind of sit in the ether otherwise. Any way to do that?

    1. Hmm, you mean, if your share your post on Facebook, and someone comments on the Facebook post, is there a way for that comment to automatically show on your blog post itself? Not that I know of, although that would be cool.

  15. I liked the description of facebook, twitter and linkedin. Nice article. I think you should have mentioned google+ too.

  16. Dear Elizabeth, I am writing a series on Steve Jobs and some reviews of books which every corporate person must know. I am currently sharing them on LinkedIn…Is it fair ? Or not?? Kindly help me in improving my blog quality.

  17. I have many more “followers” than I do visits to my Blog for each new post. I use Twitter but nothing else. It must mean that people don’t use their Reader have don’t have an automatic way of knowing you’ve posted something new.

  18. If I advertised my blog to friends, family and work colleagues I would be instantly disinherited, cast a social pariah and officially unemployed!

    Everyone in the soapie that is my life is fair fodder for my blog so I certainly won’t be informing them thereof! This is my secret place and if I have no visitors – so be it, as it is the anonymity of being able to bitch and moan that attracts me the most.

  19. Reblogged this on miscellaneouscollection und kommentierte:
    Auf “The Daily Post” habe ich einen interessanten Artikel zum Thema “Verbreitung deines Blogs” gefunden, den ich gerne mit euch teilen möchte. Der Artikel ist zwar in Englisch, aber einfach geschrieben und gut nachvollziehbar.

  20. Personally, I will never ‘get’ Twitter. 140 characters. Come on. There are only so many things you can say without raping the language.

  21. Thanks so much for the post. I applied the publish post on Facebook principle two days ago and the number of visits and views has been much more consistent. I’m struggling with generating a larger number of hits per day. Would love to hear any advice?


  22. It took some time for me to publicise my posts on facebook thinking my “friends” would think “oh not another blogger!”, (really meaning “oh not another show off!” )

    But they’ve taken to it pretty well… Even if is just out of curiousity to see what I’m up to lol!