As part of my consulting business, bloggers often approach me for help because they’re frustrated with the results (or lack thereof) of their social media marketing.
It’s a common problem, and I understand the frustration. You write these fabulous blog posts, you send them out into the world and despite your best efforts, no one is seeing them and sharing them!
You’re not alone. But, you might ask, if it’s happening to everybody, does that mean there’s no way to fix it?
I’m writing this to tell you that there IS a way to fix it. But it’s going to require changing the way you think about social media marketing. Are you ready to do that?
Good. Let’s get started.
Followers Do Not Equal a Following
The first thing most bloggers try to do as part of their social media marketing strategy is get more followers. More followers means more readers for your blog, right?
Wrong. Not if you’re going about getting those followers the wrong way, that is. I wrote an article on the subject recently entitled “Stop Getting Social Media Followers. Do This Instead.”
Among other things, I discussed in that article the dangers of getting caught up in a scramble to grow your numbers quickly on social media platforms.
Why is that a bad thing?
Because like with most things in life, quantity does not equal quality. If most of your new followers are coming from “follow for follow” arrangements, then you’re not getting readers. All you’re getting is numbers.
The Fast Way to Expand Your Social Media Reach
You don’t have to stress if your social media numbers are low. I have relatively few followers on Facebook, for instance, but my website traffic (and blog-related income) are relatively high. Why?
Because my posts aren’t just being seen by MY followers. They’re going out to the followers of people who’ve spent years building a following.
Why are those people sharing my content?
My social media marketing strategy is built upon two pillars:
1) Create high-quality posts (and plenty of them!) and
2) Build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships
How to Build Great Marketing Relationships
When I say “mutually beneficial relationships,” I don’t mean “I share, you share– OR ELSE” types of relationships. Don’t get me wrong, those can be lovely too– Our ShareBank and Sharing Networks are based upon that kind of reciprocity.
They can serve a great place to start, and a great way to make new friends.
But the best kinds of marketing relationships are the kinds you build with your blogging heroes– not necessarily the SUPER famous bloggers (they’re not always very responsive or helpful, although there are a few exceptions) but the people whose audience you want to share.
Three Step Process
It’s easier than you might think to build these relationships. I talk about this more in-depth in my free blog monetization e-course, but I’ll break it down into three simple steps:
- Subscribe to (and comment frequently on) their blog posts.
- Share their content without asking for anything in return.
- Offer to guest post on their blog and give them something great (in their niche, of course) to publish.
The third step is important because in the process of putting together a guest post, you get to know someone more extensively than you will by doing the first two steps. It’s a lot easier to forget about a commenter than it is to forget someone who’s written for you.
But be careful, this can backfire.
There are few things more awkward than being asked to publish a guest post you don’t feel reflects your standards for quality.
So make sure you have the skills to back up your offer– otherwise it might be better to just stick to steps 1 and 2 and forget step 3.
Why You Need These Relationships
None of us can get a good start as bloggers with the tiny following we start out with. We need exponential growth. That’s why network is so important.
Is this guaranteed to work?
No matter how many sharing networks you join or threads you participate in, nobody with any influence is going to share your work unless they feel it’s worth their time and effort.
That’s just human nature.
Even if you’re the nicest blogger in the world, if your content isn’t great, it won’t get shared very much– or at all.
That’s why the first pillar of my marketing strategy is to always be creating content that I would share if I weren’t, well, me. =)
The First Rule of Creating Shareable Content
Think about why you share things.
We share blog posts because of how they make us look to others.
Will the post make you look smart?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, your desire to share the content increases considerably.
Always ask yourself these questions about the posts you’re creating.
Now it’s time for a sad truth.
I know that many of you are food/craft/DIY bloggers. All of these things are going to be harder for you.
The sad truth is that people just don’t share this kind of content as much– UNLESS…
You’re on Pinterest.
All of you DIY bloggers, that needs to be your home. That’s the only place I know where people are looking to share content in your niche.
Your other social media efforts can take a backseat, even if your analytics are telling you that you’re getting a lot of traffic from Facebook.
That’s probably because your family and friends are on Facebook. But they’re not your REAL audience. Right?
If your social media marketing plan needs a makeover, here’s what you should do now.
- Stop wasting time getting followers that won’t actually follow you
- Start spending time developing real relationships with bloggers in your niche
- Start (or keep) creating high-quality, shareable content
If you do those things, you’ll start to see people sharing your stuff. When they do, proceed to bonus step four.
This bonus step has given me FANTASTIC results. I know it can do the same for you.
BONUS STEP 4. When you notice one of your posts being shared by someone in a way you especially want to encourage, thank them and proceed to THEIR blog to share something they wrote right away.
Make sure they know you’re doing that.
This doesn’t happen to bloggers all that often, so they’re bound to notice. And if your content stands to make them look good, they’ll share yours too.
And that, my friends, is how you give your social media marketing strategy a fabulous makeover.
About the Author: Brittany Bullen is the founder of the International Bloggers Association. Her consulting business, NerdyGirlSites.com, is helping bloggers worldwide realize their dreams of turning their blogging hobby into a real career. You can read more of Brittany’s tips and tricks at her personal website, brittanybullen.com.