Remember that old saying that went something like, “Get new followers, but keep the old”? Okay, I may be stretching the truth a bit here, but one thing’s for sure: it’s always a joy to get new readers. Part of blogging is putting yourself out there to build relationships with those who come back to your site again and again.
As much as you love your current readership, it’s important to consistently draw in new visitors. Fortunately, social networking sites give us a plethora of tools from which we can choose to achieve this. Here are a few tips, for the total beginner to the seasoned pro, to help you make your social networking accounts work for you:
- Publicize: WordPress.com’s built-in Publicize feature automatically shares your posts to any of the following services: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Yahoo! Updates. (Instructions for setting up Publicize are available here.) You can choose which services you share to, and can also turn the feature on and off on individual posts.
Once Publicize is activated on your account, your site stats can give you a true reach of how many followers you have by including those on your connected accounts. For example, if you have 100 people who follow your updates on Facebook, they will also be counted among your blog followers on your site stats page.
- Streamline your sharing: While you can manually share your posts to other services that may not yet be included in Publicize, there are also excellent tools cropping up that can help you manage your social networking profiles from a single hub, such as HootSuite.
Other sites can help make the sharing process automatic. IFTTT, which stands for “If this, then that,” allows you to create custom sharing tools between your different online accounts, or what they call “recipes.” For example, you can create a custom “recipe” that says, “If I share a status update on Facebook, then publish it to my WordPress.com blog as well.”
- Share more than your posts: Beyond sharing your posts, develop your online presence to connect with potential new readers. If your entire Facebook or Twitter feed is comprised of links to each of your new blog posts, that doesn’t make for an enticing read. Instead, shake things up with your own thoughts, photos on the go, or links to other blog posts that you’ve found interesting.
For the Pinterest users among us, you can create a board that is specific to your blog posts. This allows visitors who are brought in by your various other pins to see a quick and easy overview of your blog’s archive.
Above all, remember that your blog comes first. You don’t need to be present on every single social networking site out there, but you do need to have content to share. As you build your readership and expand your presence to other social outlets, try what works best for you one by one and enjoy the new relationships that come from it.