I get a lot of emails and questions from bloggers and website owners who want to know what they can do to improve their results with social media right away. When it comes to building traffic with social media, the results can happen quickly, but they can also take a long time to build up. Yes, you may be able to achieve some success here or there by chance, but to reach the point where you get any kind of consistent results you need to have a plan and an understanding of how social media works.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do right away that can have a considerable impact on your level of success with social media. In this post we’ll take a look at ten of them. Pick a few that look appealing to you and put them into action if you’re looking for better and quicker results.
1. Brainstorm for Post Ideas
I’ve written before that idea development is the most important phase of social media marketing. Professional link baiters and social media marketers put a great deal of thought into the content that they’re developing. Most bloggers who are using social media to promote their blog give the post topics a little bit of thought, but for the best results you should make brainstorming and idea development a major part of your blogging process.
If you’re looking for immediate results with social media, you could be just one idea away. Take 30 minutes with a notebook and a pen and do nothing but jot down ideas for potential posts. Make it your goal to come up with so many post ideas that you’ll only be able to ever pursue the very best ones. Once the brainstorming session is done you can get started on creating the content and you could be hours or days away from a great deal of traffic and exposure.
2. Focus on Quality not Quantity
Do you put pressure on yourself to publish a new post everyday or on some other tight schedule? If so, you may be doing more harm than good. Rather than trying to churn out a high quantity of posts, take more time on each post and publish less. If you’re looking for a big hit with social media, why spend so much time writing posts each day that aren’t drawing results? Put your other posts off for a while so you can focus on creating the best content possible that is targeted to a social media audience.
3. Find a Niche Social Media Site
There are so many social media sites now that niche sites exist for just about any topic your blog could cover. Niche sites are great if you are looking for a place to have an immediate impact. Most of them will only require a small number of votes to get your content featured, something that is much more attainable than reaching the front page of Digg.
In addition to being easier, niche sites provide a more targeted audience for your content, and the audience will be more receptive to types of content that won’t do well at major social media sites.
4. Stop Wasting Time on Too Many Social Media Sites
Are you using a number of different social media sites consistently? It’s important to be able to build a presence or a profile at social media sites in order to help your chances of success, and this is impossible to do at too many sites. Rather than spreading yourself thin by voting and submitting at a lot of social media sites, pick a few that are well-suited towards you blog on focus on them.
5. Focus on Post Formatting and Readability
Your posts will have a much better chance with social media if they’re easy to read/scan and pleasing to the eyes. Although most blog readers tend to scan instead of reading word-for-word, social media visitors are even much less likely to read an entire post. In order to cater to them, your posts should be created with this in mind. Use short paragraphs, sub headers, whitespace, bold text, lists, etc.
In addition to these text formatting issues, it also helps to include pictures and images in your posts to make them more interesting for readers. That’s something I rarely do here, but I do it at my other blogs all the time and it does help.
Before publishing your next post, take a few minutes to preview it and format it as well as possible.
6. Add Voting Buttons to Your Blog
I used to be opposed to voting buttons/widgets/links on blogs, but before too long I came to realize that they can work in the right situation. The wrong way to use buttons is to include tons of them for every social media site you think might be used by your visitors. This approach leads to a cluttered blog and the buttons have little impact because they drown each other out and because visitors don’t know which ones you really want them to use.
Rather than including too many buttons, choose the sites that matter most to you, and hopefully those that are used by your visitors, and put them somewhere on your posts. On my primary blog I have a Design Float button at the bottom of every post, along with a link that counts the number of Delicious bookmarks and allows readers to add to their own bookmarks. Both draw good results because they are well-targeted to my audience.
Add a button or two to your posts and you may see a quick boost in votes and traffic.
7. Vote for Others
Many bloggers that are trying to promote their content with social media are not very active at voting for the content of others. In order to be a part of the community, start voting for more content from others. If you’re not voting for others, it’s possible that people will notice that and it will reflect poorly on your intentions. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do since social media is all about the community and not about the individual. Start voting more for others and you’re likely to see it come back to you.
8. Take Advantage of Available Resources
Blogging and social media can take up a lot of time. In order to be successful and not spend your entire life in front of the computer, efficiency and time management are critical. There are a number of existing tools and resources that can help to improve your productivity. For starters, see the lists of Firefox add-ons for social media users and for bloggers.
Make an effort to streamline your process and you should see the immediate results of having more time to spend on your work, and you’ll probably be more effective as well.
9. Join or Start a Group for Voting
This may not be something you hear from a lot of bloggers, but the truth is that most social media marketers are a part of some type of group that votes for each other. It can be either a formally managed group or just informal emails or IMs from one friend to another. If you’re aware of an existing group, see if you can join. If you’re not aware of any groups, consider reaching out to a few fellow bloggers in your niche to see if they would be interested in being part of an informal group.
Whichever path you choose here, always be careful of what you are voting for. Regardless of whether you’re in a group or not, what you vote for can and will have an impact on your profile and reputation at social media sites. If something isn’t up to par, don’t vote for it just because you’re part of a group.
If you’re looking for quick results this is one of your best options.
10. Follow Some Experts on Twitter
Twitter is becoming more and more important for connecting with other bloggers and for promoting your own work. The best way to learn about Twitter and understand how it can be used is to follow some leading bloggers and marketers. Many bloggers are now posting links to their Twitter profiles on their blogs (mine is here), so it should be pretty easy to find some leaders in your niche. Twitter is capable of creating quick buzz about one of your posts.