Blogging for your business can yield results on social media, we have seen this on Mykidstime, where our fan base of over 600k fans has grown from a deliberate and strategic approach. Blogging is very effective to showcase your brand to your followers, and it also helps build brand trust because if people enjoy your blog content and find it useful, then they are more likely to trust your organization. I’m going to share some tips to help business owners looking to grow their social following.
1. Know your target audience
Who is your social media audience? What demographics do they have? Explore your insights and analytics to get a good sense of your audience. This will inform and help you refine your content strategy. If your business is targeting a niche this is easier, you can just concentrate on that niche audience and write targeted content for them. If you have a wider audience, then create profiles for each segment so you can create targeted content for each one. If you have customer/prospect avatars that you can use to define your targets, then these can also inform what content you produce. Think about solving particular pain points for example.
2. Have a content plan
To paraphrase Winston Churchill “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. If you don’t have a content plan in place for your social media then you will be left scrambling around looking for content to share or the blogging will become something you do in a hurry (never a good idea). By putting in place a content blogging plan you can better manage your time as a busy business owner as well as ensuring that managing your social channels becomes a breeze instead of a stress. Otherwise known as a content calendar, this plan will help you map out your content in advance.
3. Decide on how much you can write
The next step is to decide exactly how much you can actually write yourself. Depending on the size of the business and the writing skills of the staff, you may or may not have much capacity to write internally. Fear not, it is achievable to write content regularly you just have to commit to what is feasible and realistic to produce.
Forget quantity. One high quality well researched and well-written blog post a month is better than 4 hastily written poor posts. You want to get to the point with your social channels that your fans are waiting and actively looking to see what you share next. This is more likely to be the case if they know that what you write is excellent, not mediocre.
So decide what your organization can commit to then stick to that commitment.
4. Explore sources of curated content
Curated content can be an effective tactic for small businesses to use. I’m not talking here about directly sharing another person’s blog post on your social channels, and I’m definitely not advocating ever to copy and paste and publish verbatim (this will do your blog no favours). But rather using someone else’s blog post as the starting point for a new blog post that you write. We have done this on Mykidstime.com when we see brilliant ideas elsewhere that we would like to share with parents. We create a blog post that incorporates some content and links to the other posts as we know our audience trust us to give them great content.
So for example,
- You could write an opinion piece about the blog post you have just read. Here you need to make sure you quote rather than present their ideas as your own, and link to the original blog post as well. When you publish it, tag them on your social media channels so they know you included them.
- You could curate a few different ideas into a new piece, a round up. Check the other blog’s policy about image use and linking, most websites are happy for you to use one image and link to their blog provided you are not reproducing all of their content without permission. If they have no policy, then it’s really nice to contact the authors and ask them, in my experience, they are delighted that you are linking to their blog and they are also likely to share the new piece on their own social media channels.
- You could embed a video that you have come across and explain why you are sharing it. We do this with our [WATCH] blog posts because we can also include links to other relevant content on our website that fits with the topic at hand.
5. Pick your title wisely
Remember that your social media followers are on social media to be social, if you want them to click and visit your blog then you are going to need to attract them with a solid enticing title. I’m not talking about clickbait here but spend some time tweaking your working title into a final title. Tools like the TweakYourBiz Title Generator and Coschedule Headline Analyzer are handy to use.
Titles that deliver on their promise are more likely to be shared by your followers to their own network, so make good on what the title says within the blog post.
6. Spend time on the visual
Like the title, the lead visual that you use on your blog post has a large role to play in whether or not people click to read and also share. You want your content to be shared as much as possible because that brings more social followers, so pick impactful images that catch the eye and the attention as people scroll rapidly down their newsfeeds.
Branding your images for social media also gives them a stamp of credibility, this isn’t a random person, this is an organization that has worked on the image. It tells people that it came from an authentic source. It also makes all the content you share on that social channel look consistent. And in our experience, consistency on social media brings more fans. New prospective fans like to look at a business page and feel that the business has taken care over what they share.
7. Have a blogging process in place
It’s not enough to sit down and write e.g. 1,500 words for a blog post, you need a step by step process from idea to distribution. You can write this down on a shared document so that anyone involved in the process in your organization knows what’s involved.
So for example, idea ?keyword research (don’t forget about SEO!) ? working title ? write draft ? pick lead image and other images ? finalize title ? brand lead image ? proof ?publish?social proof (share yourself on your social channels as soon as published) ?put into your social scheduling?review analytics
8. If you see something resonates with your fans reshare
When you share blog content on your social media channels, watch and see what the response is. That’s the beauty of social media you’ll see very quickly if the content is resonating with fans. Are they liking / commenting / sharing / clicking / tagging someone in their network to show them ?
Not all your fans will see it first time round so if it resonates, reshare it a few days later. And continue to reshare it regularly if it continues to engage.
9. Make sure your website encourages shareability
When you do get people to visit your website, make sure your social share plugins are in place to encourage “shareability”. The more people share your content on their social networks, the more fans this brings you potentially. There’s no more powerful form of marketing than word of mouth and a friend recommending something, so make sure your website is optimized to take advantage of that recommendation.
10. Measure and analyze
As will all marketing activity, it’s important to constantly measure and analyse the effects of your blog content on your social channels. Decide on the key metrics that are important to you with regards to your blog content. Do you want to get people to click to your website in order to offer them a free thing in return for their email to grow your mailing list? Do you want to grow your fan base on social media because building a community is important to your business? Do you want to look at how the content resonates in order to feed into future content that you create? Whatever your metrics are set up your measurement processes such as downloading your insights from social media regularly and checking your Google Analytics account. You might have a monthly report that you create for your content and social media where you look at what content got the most reach, engagement, shares, and clicks.
I hope these tips have been useful for you in your business in approaching blogging. Growing your social followers through a consistent targeted content approach is achievable; it just needs you to be deliberate and focused in how you approach your blogging.
What’s your experience of blogging and growing your social media following? I would love to hear your experience.