There are a number of different approaches that bloggers can use to target social media. If you’ve done much research into social media, I’m sure you’ve noticed that certain types of posts tend to do better than others, and many bloggers use the approach of creating content that is specifically aimed at social media audiences.
If you’re submitting your posts to social media (or someone else is submitting them) and getting no results, it could be due to one of the following reasons:
1 – The content isn’t a good fit for social media.
2 – The content is not targeted at the right social media audience.
3 – It’s not getting enough exposure in order to get votes (possibly related to the profile of the submitter).
4 – It’s not interesting or high-quality content.
As I’ve mentioned here in the past, it’s typically not a good idea to go after social media with every blog post. Some bloggers just write and let social media take its course. If it happens, it happens. This approach is fine, but if social media traffic is something you’re after, you’ll have to give the social media audience some consideration when you’re creating the content.
From my experience with my primary blog, I’ve found that it works best for me to target social media with specific posts. The primary intent with these posts is to create something that social media users will like and will vote up. Of course, I also aim to create something that subscribers will also appreciate.
My current approach is to publish one of these posts per week. They come in a few different forms, but generally it’s content that I believe will be bookmarkable. Some recent examples include 50 Essential Photoshop Text Tutorials, 25 Incredibly Artistic Websites , and Ranking 80 of the Top CSS Galleries.
The Reasons and Details
Visitors and readers aren’t going to vote for your content on social media every day, and they’re not going to vote for every post that you publish. If you have a strategy that takes aim at social media with only a portion of your posts, visitors will be more likely to vote for these specific posts. I’ve found it to be far more productive to concentrate votes on one post per week rather than spreading them out over several different posts. Currently, I target Delicious more than the other social media sites, If I have four posts in a week that draw 50 bookmarks each, that really doesn’t do much for me in terms of traffic or links. On the other hand, if I can get one post per week on the front page of Delicious (it takes about 100 bookmarks in 24 hours) I will see a significant increase in traffic and links for a day or two.
This approach seems to be the best fit for satisfying readers and targeting social media. Most of my readers enjoy these types of posts, but they also want other types of content, like more traditional articles.
The time commitment is reasonable for this approach. Creating these types of posts can take several hours, which is too much to do every day, but reasonable to do once a week.
Also, by targeting social media specifically once a week, I’m not forced to come up with ideas for these types of posts every day. If I were to publish 3 or 4 of these posts per week, I feel that the quality would drop as it would be harder to keep finding good ideas.
Search Engine Traffic
The posts on my blog that draw the most search engine traffic have all been on the Delicious front page. The links that result in a front page appearance consistently have an impact on search engine rankings. Therefore, getting to the front page will typically help to increase overall search engine traffic to the blog as a whole. With this approach I can consistently get a few new posts to the front page of Delicious each month, which should continue to increase search engine traffic each month.
Asking for Help
I get requests from friends just about every day for social media votes, and I also make requests to those friends at times. If you use these opportunities to help your targeted posts it will have more of an impact and you won’t bother your friends several times a week with various requests.
The Basic Idea
In summary, a bunch of votes for one post will produce better results than votes scattered over several different posts. To have maximum success you’ll need to consider the social media audience before you create the content. However, you’ll also not want to push everything that you post or the effects will wear off with time.
My Current Weekly Approach
To give you a better idea of what I do with my blog, I’ll briefly go through the typical process of creating and promoting a specific post with social media. Of course, this approach is relevant to my blog and my niche (web design) so it won’t work for everyone, but hopefully it will give you some ideas for customizing your own approach.
First, I keep an ongoing list of post ideas in a notebook so I’ll always have something I can turn to when I need to create a new post. Most of my posts that target social media require at least a few hours of work to research, develop, and format. Typically, I’ll work on the post over the weekend and it will get published early in the following week. I’ve found Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to be the best days for targeting social media, because traffic in general tends to be higher on those days.
Additionally, when I’m targeting Delicious, I like to be on the front page sometime during the work day in the US, because that’s when traffic seems to be the highest at Delicious. Timing can be a bit difficult because getting to the front page is obviously not a given and so much of the timing will be out of your control. However, I have been fortunate enough to have a good bit of success with the timing.
In order to get to the Delicious front page during the work day, I need to somehow get about 100 – 120 bookmarks by sometime in the morning. To do this, I typically publish the post the previous evening between 8:00 and 11:00. Shortly after I publish the post, I submit it to DZone and Design Float, two niche social media sites that include web design-related topics. Sometimes I’ll also submit the post to CSS Globe, a community site for designers with a growing audience. These sites can provide a quick boost by sending several hundred visitors, and best of all, their audiences are tech-savvy and many are also Delicious users, so this traffic converts into bookmarks very well. Now, if I want to get 100+ bookmarks be the morning, I’ll need to get to the front page of DZone sometime during the night. The timing of publishing the post and submitting to DZone at night tends to allow this timing to work out well.
Getting some exposure from these smaller social media sites is critical to my success with Delicious. If the post doesn’t appeal to these users enough to get to the front page, it has almost no chance of getting to the front page of Delicious. As a result, I’ll take the time to create the best content that I can so it has a good chance with DZone and Design Float.
I don’t submit my own posts to StumbleUpon, but hopefully someone else will. As traffic increases from DZone, Design Float, and Delicious, the posts also tend to get a decent number of thumbs up and some traffic from StumbleUpon. The front page at Delicious also results in a front page appearance at popurls, which can send upwards of 1,000 visitors. At the end of the day, these social media sites typically will send several thousand visitors to the page for a day or two, and inbound links will also follow.
Hopefully that will give you some ideas for implementing your own approach that is customized for your blog.
This post is part of the How To Group Writing Project/Contest at PureBlogging.