July 28, 2014

Practical Tips for Targeting Social Media Users AND Satisfying Your Readers

Creating content that is specifically targeted towards social media users is a common approach for growing traffic and exposure for a blog. While this has proven to be effective, satisfying readers and subscribers is ultimately the most important task for any blogger that has aspirations of long-term blogging success. Taking the wrong approach with social media can potentially cost you some of your readers, so there is a delicate balance between targeting social media and providing subscribers with content that they enjoy.

Potential Problems

1. Some of your regular readers and subscribers may not like the same type of content that appeals to social media audiences.

2. Social media users may not be compelled to vote for content that subscribers like the most.

3. Choosing the wrong type of content can lead to lost subscribers or a lack of love from social media users.

4. Finding content that appeals to everyone is difficult (actually impossible).

Here Are Some Tips for Improved Effectiveness

1. If your blog is new and has virtually no subscribers, creating content for social media should not be much of a problem. Any existing readers that you do have will not have been reading for very long, so they will not be accustomed to a particular style of posts from you and you’ll have more freedom to explore different directions. Bloggers that have larger, more established audiences will have developed some type of expectations from their subscribers. Straying from these expectations would be more costly. A new blog, on the other hand, is probably more interested in getting some exposure, and this can certainly be done by creating content geared towards social media.

2. Try different types of social media content. Experiment to see to see what works with social media and what your regular readers like. For example, you could try resources lists, controversial topics, news related articles, etc. Personally, I have had good success with resource lists. They do well with social media, and most regular readers respond well also. What works for one blog may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but pay attention to the results and learn from them.

3. Focus on niche social media sites. While social media users in general will respond to specific types of content, niche social media users will often have similar interests as your subscribers. For example, visit Sphinn, a niche social media site for SEO and internet marketing. The stories you will see on the front page of Sphinn will be very relevant to its primary topics, and the will not usually be the same type of content that would do well at Digg. Niche social media users are much closer to your typical subscriber (assuming the niche site is targeted at the same audience as your blog), and therefore it’s much easier to target these sites and appeal to your subscribers at the same time.

4. Be exceptional, not gimmicky. Gimmicks can work with social media, but rarely will they satisfy your subscribers. Exceptional content, on the other hand, will have a chance to do well in both areas. Spend your time learning about your area of focus and creating the best content that you are capable of, rather than spending time to find backdoors to social media success.

5. Get involved with readers. You will be more capable of knowing what your readers want if you actually know them. Get involved in the comments and email your regular readers. Find out what content they like and what they don’t. Readers that have a connection to you will also be more likely to vote for you on social media sites.

6. Use a mullet linkbait strategy. If you have any idea for something that will target social media users but you don’t think it will appeal to your subscribers, consider using the mullet linkbait strategy. With this strategy you will publish the content as a blog page as opposed to a blog post, so it will not be included in the RSS feed that goes out to your subscribers. This way you can still promote the page with social media, but it will not turn off any of your regular readers.

7. Stay focused. When targeting social media users, it can be tempting to stray off topic to come up with something that you think will be successful. In the long-run, focused content will do much better for satisfying your readers and drawing attention from social media. Visitors that come from social media sites to a blog post that isn’t very relevant to the rest of your blog will be unlikely to come back or to subscribe. Take the time to find ideas that will work with social media and will also focus on your primary subject matter.

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

13 comments

  1. I need to focus on social media more. Writing for the blog instead of for yourself needs constant reminders. The two overlap at many times, but needs focusing.

  2. Hi Tom,
    Writing for social media will definitely help to increase your traffic. Good luck.

  3. Morning,
    Been learning alot about Niche and how it applies to me. More than I gave it credit for I think.

    Had no idea what Sphinn was up and till now, brain overloaded with similar ‘rating’ sites, don’t know what’s what.

    But after reading your little write-up on it am thinking this is maybe right up my alley. So will get signed up soon and check it out, amongst many other things to check out.

    Crumbs, how do people fine the time, being pulled every which way, must be really hard to not allow yourself to become utterly disjointed both mentally, emotionally, and physically. :0)

    I’m just struggling to concentrate on StumbleUpon, let alone anything else.

    ImJustCreative.com

  4. I think the most difficult part of targeting social media is learning how to focus your content for a specific audience and truly knowing which audience you are targeting.

    I hear people complain that their content does not do well on Digg or another site. They tend to blaim Digg users. But, in reality they are not targeting the correct social media site, the correct audience.

    Obtaining balance between content targeting social sites and your subscribers is a fine balance. IMHO to be able to walk that thin line a blogger needs to understand the focus of their blog. And stay true to that focus. Be honest with yourself about why you created an article and be realistic about your expectations.

    Beau Hooks

  5. Great article. It’s a very delicate balance producing content that will satisfy readers and still be successful on social media site. Thanks, Steven.

  6. Graham,
    Niche social media sites our great if your content is well targeted to the audience. I like Sphinn although I’m not the most active user. Definitely check it out.

    Beau,
    You’re right. A lot of us blame social media when it doesn’t produce traffic rather than taking the time to learn more and create better content.

    Matt,
    Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to know where the line is and what subscribers will appreciate.

  7. The mullet peaks its funky little head in there again…that post just keeps appearing again again.

  8. Yeah, it’s a great post that a lot of people could benefit from.

  9. Thanks for the article. Potential problem four caught my attention. You want to appeal to your niche but I see where someone could make mistakes.

    Steve

  10. I see what you are saying about staying focused on your content. I tend to jump around a lot in my blogs. sometimes I feel like just have one blog of many different subjects.

    -Dan

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