The success of any blog hinges on its popularity, but how do you build a high-traffic blog? In order to achieve the kind of authority, respect, and earnings most bloggers dream of, you will need to find ways to expose your content to as many potential visitors as possible.
Most importantly, that traffic needs to be the right traffic. If you can pinpoint your target demographic and convert them into loyal fans who visit regularly, your blog will consistently grow.
Of the multiple different promotion tactics available to bloggers, most choose to leverage social media. With the number of social media users across different channels today (Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), there is a wealth of potential traffic waiting to be tapped. Unfortunately, most bloggers absolutely fail to engage potential followers because of a few basic mistakes.
Below are some simple but underutilized social media tips to help promote your blog.
Schedule your social posts at optimal times
I admit that I am guilty of not doing this. After I finish a good blog post, I want to share it with the world. I am often impatient and tweet about it immediately, even when it’s 10pm. However, in order to make the most impact with your posts on social media, you need to publish them at optimum times.
According to QuickSprout’s Neil Patel, you need to publish the posts on the following days and times:
- Facebook – Thursday and Friday at 1 pm (to get the most shares) and 3 pm (most clicks)
- Twitter – Mondays to Friday for B2B, Wednesdays to Sundays for B2C at 12 pm and 6 pm (for most clicks) and 3 pm (for more retweets)
- LinkedIn – Tuesdays to Thursdays at 10-11 am, 7-8 am and 5-6 pm
- Pinterest – Saturdays at 8-11 pm
- Google+ – Mondays to Fridays at 9-11 am
- Instagram – Mondays at 3-4 pm EST
Despite the statistics, this isn’t necessarily indicative of how your audience may behave during these times. For instance, stay-at-home moms are likely early risers because they take their children to school and may look for entertainment online in the early morning and afternoon. Suffice to say, you need to post and test for yourself.
Use the right message for your posts
Treat your social media posts like you would a headline. You will need to craft the appropriate message that captures the attention of your target audience because engagement is part of every social platform’s algorithm, determining the reach of your Tweets and how relevant/important your account is.
For example, UpWorthy and BuzzFeed appealed to the curiosity of their audience with captivating social media messages called “click-bait”. With titles like “Really, Facebook? Really?!” and “I'm pretty sure my heart just melted”, the popularity of their Facebook updates has garnered them millions of fans and visits.
When coming up with your social media posts, refer to these different headline strategies:
- Surprise – do something unexpected
- Questions – initiate action from readers
- Curiosity – encourage readers to find the solution to a question
- Negatives – avoid superlatives (e.g. best, biggest, greatest) and use the more powerful opposite (e.g. worst, smallest)
- How to – appeals to the innate desire of everyone to be better and more knowledgeable
- Numbers – online readers like big lists and appreciate set expectations
- Audience referencing – feels more personal (ex. “Is This The Dream Vacation You’ve Been Waiting For?”)
- Specificity – specific figures require research, thus making your headlines more credible
The best part is that these headline strategies can also be used to develop blog post ideas.
Use hashtag and mention features
To further increase the reach of your social updates, you may choose to use popular hashtags related to your posts or the hashtag for someone’s account name. This way, you can leverage trending topics or get the attention of an influencer who may re-share your update to their larger audience.
According to social media app start-up, Buffer:
- For Twitter, 1-2 hashtags is ideal, resulting in 2x more engagement.
- For Instagram, 11+ hashtags get the most interactions, with 79.5% per 1K followers.
- For Facebook, 1-2 hashtags result in 593 average interactions per post compared to 416 for 3-5 hashtags, 307 for 6-10, and 188 for 10+.
Join groups and communities
To amplify your social media efforts, you can join Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Communities, Triberr, and other niche communities or forums related to your industry. Finding the right social groups can offer you extremely targeted traffic and higher conversion rates.
Keep in mind, however, that you can’t manage being an active member of 50 communities. Pick the top 5 to 10 groups with the largest user base and become a prominent contributor. For instance, help group members solve their problems, discuss industry news, offer to promote great content from other contributors, and only plug yourself when relevant. Most communities work within certain guidelines so be giving, thoughtful, and altruistic before asking for anything in return.
When it’s all said and done, you will have established yourself as a credible expert in the field with relationships to other influential bloggers in your niche, and what better way to grow your blog than to piggyback off other successful bloggers willing to share their audience with you.
Include social sharing buttons prominently, but hide low share counts
Each WordPress social media plugin offers its own pros and cons, but two basic features to always keep in mind is the location of your buttons and whether the plugin offers the option to hide low share counts.
Location is important because you really never know when a visitor is going to stop reading and consider your content sharable. Now, I’m a firm believer in never giving my audience an excuse to not share my content, so I place social buttons at the top, bottom, and side of my posts. I also try to avoid making the decision difficult and confusing, so I only include 3 or 4 different social buttons.
For example, if my blog is targeting business professionals, I include Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and then Facebook. If the blog caters to consumers of both genders and all ages, I incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
Additionally, I prefer to hide low share counts, if the option is available with the plugin. This is because posts that do not have many shares discourage readers from being the first. On the other hand, you should always proudly display posts that have gone viral because each represents social proof that other readers have found your content useful or enjoyable, thereby encouraging new readers to continue sharing your blog.
Track and measure results
This is likely the simplest, yet most overlooked step in any strategy. Given the wealth of information and tools available to bloggers, it is a shame when we don’t take advantage of feedback to improve. After consistently applying the tactics above for a month, bloggers should review their Google Analytics data to find which mediums referred the most traffic and the engagement or value of that traffic in relation to time on site, bounce rate, leads generated, email subscribers added, and ultimately revenue. Using the data, bloggers can refine their performance by focusing more time and energy on the most effective referral sources.
The use of social media in blogging only continues to grow, and serious bloggers can’t afford to forego the exposure and free traffic. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a social media guru to build a following and earn visitors. The basics will jumpstart your strategy and help you learn what works for your target audience.
What simple social media tips and tricks have been the most successful or biggest wastes of time for your blog? Please share in the comments below!
Author Bio: Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com, where he provides a free step-by-step tutorial on starting and growing a blog. Gary enjoys helping others build successful online businesses via content and social marketing.