Today I wanted to talk about something that is often overlooked as a business tool: social media.
Social media is something that is absolutely everywhere these days, with the ever-growing popularity of sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For most people, they are simply ways of passing the time, nosying around their friends' lives (or keeping an eye on their ex-boyfriends...), or procrastinating when there's work to be done, which we're all guilty of, especially me. However, sites like these hold a lot of power in their format due to their ability to easily reach a huge number of people very quickly, at the click of a button. Look how quickly things spread around Facebook and eventually go viral: that's the power that these sites have, and if they can make something as daft as a cat playing the keyboard fly around the world's computer screens within days, imagine what they could potentially do for a business.
This could be confusing you at this point, because you're thinking "how does this relate to blogging?" Well, for many people who have found success with their blogs, their blog is in fact a business, and a high-earning one at that, with the blogging industry growing faster than ever and more and more people reaping the financial benefits of having a blog. Just like a shop on a high street, more people visiting usually means more money, and with a blog it's exactly the same. The more hits the blog gets, the more money it's worth, so the main goal of most bloggers is to get people to visit their page in the first place, and that's where Social Networking comes in.
What are the chances of some random person knowing your exact url and typing it into their browser? It's really not very high, as you can imagine, thus other ways of directing people are needed. Think about when you visit new blogs, how do you access them? A lot of the time it will be through external links on other Social Media sites, through search engines like Google, or because someone on a conversation thread has linked other people to a blog. If it works on you, chances are, it's going to work on other people. This is why cross-referencing yourself on as many social media accounts as possible is important, because it means that if someone reaches you through just one of these accounts, which at some point someone inevitably will, they automatically are connected to your whole online business persona, and have immediate access to all of your social media accounts and very importantly, your blog.
There are so many options when it comes to social networking that it can be hard to find your feet at first, but it's about making smart decisions and choosing which platforms suit your business best.
Facebook is a good all-rounder. Their huge database of users means reaching a lot of people, and it's a suitable place for smaller sites and companies as much as it is huge corporate industries and very well-known, high-traffic sites. Twitter is also good for reaching many people but it's a little more personal as you're posting small snippets of your own dialogue, which can be handy in the blogging community as it can feel more personal when communicating with followers, which tends to be something desirable when blogging. Instagram and Flickr are both good for more visual bloggers such as artists or people who review products and need to post pictures of them, as they allow for very easy access to a large amount of images. Google Plus is a good networking tool for bloggers in particular, as it is linked to Blogger so it's easy to find other fellow bloggers and people interested in blogging through it, who may become strong contacts and gain you more traffic as you help each other and collaborate. There are also very new, creative networking sites such as Ello, which is a new, ad-free creative social network made especially for people interested in visual media. There are also sites such as Bloglovin' which are made especially for bloggers, by bloggers.
This list has barely touched on the many possibilities of social networking available, but it goes to show that there's something for everyone, you just have to find what works for you. In my experience, most of my followers gained on my blogs have been through linking to my other social media accounts, as people tend to click on the links they see on there more than searching for your blog directly. Blogger is very handy in identifying where your traffic is coming from as it actually shows you stats like that in your account info, alongside things like where abouts in the world your blog gets the most views.
Do you have a blog? If so, how do you gain traffic? Do you find that social networking helps?