Work That Social Network
At SEED Academy, we've given you some great tutorials for creating good content and pointing others to it. So, as you start to write articles for SEED and experience success, it makes sense you'll want to spread the word as your articles get published.
As Robin's SEO myth article states in myth #10: "Once I hit publish, I'm done." If you don't care to promote your article, then you are done. But if you are invested in drawing attention to it, then it's only the beginning.
Read on for a quick overview of social media and social networking, and how you can make it work for you.
You're Already A Social NetworkerIf you wrote your first article for your local newspaper, I bet you'd buy a small stack of papers and hand them out to all of your friends – your real-world social network. You'd also probably email or call your friends to share the news, right?
Online networking operates on the same principle. You're engaging in community and conversation -- you're simply doing it online. And here's what makes it so much better than passing around that stack of newspapers: You can reach a massive audience more efficiently, and you can do it for free. (If your local newspaper is $1 a pop, you can quickly add up that cost savings.)
You Can Be Social Media SavvySince you're writing for SEED, I'm going to bet that you're plugged into social media in some way. At the very least, you probably have a Facebook account for maintaining connections with family and friends. But, don't be embarrassed if that's the extent of your social media knowledge.
I'm here to break down social media in plain terms, so you realize it's a fairly simple set-up -- simple enough that with a bit of explanation, you can easily become social-media savvy. Everything in this realm essentially falls into three buckets:
- Social networks – Online communities like I've described above. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the heavy hitters in this category.
- Media sharing sites – Sites where you can upload and share photos and video. Flickr and YouTube are the winners in this space.
- Social bookmarking – These sites provide a place for users to share, organize, search, and manage the bookmarks of popular websites and articles. There is usually a voting component involved, where users can express their interest in bookmarks that are submitted. The more votes, the higher the website or article rises in ranking, increasing its visibility, popularity and traffic. Digg and StumbleUpon are two great examples of social bookmarking sites.
SIDEBAR: In the interest of not assuming anything, I'm going to speak to those of you who may be so new to online writing, that you might be afraid to admit that you haven't delved into the social media world yet.
Not to fear. Here's what I'd like you to do: head over to Facebook and set up your account. It's easy and it's free; no tech geek wizardry needed. Take some time to set up your profile and find at least five friends. Then, for one week, make it a habit to visit your Facebook page daily, start posting status updates and engage your friends in conversation.
You Can Start Today, and Consistency is KeyNow that you've got a basic understanding of social media -- and you're a member of a social media site or two -- let's lay out a plan to help you start promoting your articles. Are you ready?
- First, get writing! Whether you're maintaining a daily blog or writing articles for SEED (or both), the point is to create the content – the raw material – that you want to share.
- Share on your social media site. Once your article goes live, take the URL for your specific article, head over to Facebook or Twitter, and post it in a Facebook status or as a Twitter 'tweet.' Ask your friends to take a look. Extra points for searching for folks who are talking about the topic your article is about, and engage by asking them what their thoughts are on the subject. If you're on Twitter, don't forget to follow them as well. When in doubt, be nice, ask questions and don't spam. You may start this slowly, but start today!
Here's how I see it: If you're drawn to online writing, then you have a basic belief that your voice counts and that you have something to say. You need only embrace that same confidence in order to effectively share it with the online world. However, like anything else worth pursuing, consistency and persistence are key.
If you only make half-hearted, sporadic attempts to promote your articles, the (sporadic) results will reflect that. But if you make a habit of letting people know about your articles in your Facebook updates and on Twitter in a clever and engaging way, you will see increased traffic back to your article. Try it for one week and see what happens.
Social Media Rules of the Road
- Figure out what's unique about you add your voice.
- Include a friendly photo of yourself, and use the same one on all social media sites you join for consistency.
- Visit your social networking sites often to see how they work and flow.
- Listen as much as you speak; find out what people are talking about, then chime in when you have something to add.
- Remember the Golden Rule and treat or write about others as you'd want them to write about you. There is such a thing as social 'netiquette,' and it all boils down to common courtesy.
- Try to make posting and sharing on your social media sites a habit. Consistency is key in building an online presence and personality.
- Forward or share items when you see something interesting.
- Finally, have fun!
Take It to the Next LevelIf you consider yourself a more advanced social networker, consider integrating the following three tips into your content promotion:
- Use a URL shortener
There are a bunch of URL shortening services out there that allow you to conserve tweet / status space when promoting your latest tome. When you sign up with that service (usually free), you can also check to see how many visits you sent to that URL from your promotion. Su.PR is a great one to use because it also encourages people to Stumble your article (see below), and ShareTool, which also has built-in sharing for twitter, digg, reddit, stumble and many other social news sites.
- Utilize StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon is the key to long-term traffic. And the key to using it, like all other sites, is diversity in your submissions and your "links". It's a two-step process: first, someone "discovers" an article. This means you're the first to submit it to the Stumble Network. Write an accurate description that's quick and to the point, and then use appropriate keywords. Have the SU browser extension installed so you can easily discover and approve all sorts of stories, creating that diversity you want.
- Digg It
If you already participate in Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, or another fave social bookmarking site, why not submit your new article there as well? Ask folks you follow to comment, vote up/down, or add their two cents. Be sure to mind the intended audience specifically and do your homework first – these sites often don't like simple retelling of news stories – they want stuff that has a unique editorial POV and brings something new to the conversation.
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