Blogging is an excellent form of self-expression. The writer is able to impart his thoughts, opinions and knowledge, using a media form that is accessible to millions of potential readers. This scenario, however, is limited by the fact that a blogger’s reach, only goes as far as the number of people who wittingly or unwittingly discover the blog. A well-written article can be lost into the Internet oblivion, if nobody knows that it exists.
Do not fear however, this is where social media comes in. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ complement blogging, by serving as indispensable platforms for article distribution and advertisement. Bloggers need to play the social game if they wish to be heard. The more they interact with readers, the bigger the probability of getting more hits and page views.
Here are some tips on how a blog can become more social and visible:
Buttons for Social Sharing
Satisfied readers or online guests, who stumble across an interesting read often wish to share their discovery to their friends and contacts. They would want to let someone who could benefit from the article or someone who has experienced a similar situation read what has been written. They will not however in the majority of cases, spend the time copying or typing a page URL in order to send it through email or SMS, which involves too much time and effort for most. Social Sharing Buttons are a great solution to this predicament as within a few simple clicks, your page will potentially be shared to an exponential amount of new viewers.
Shareaholic is one such social sharing service. It has over 1.5 million users and is a familiar tool found in a lot of active websites. Aside from the more popular social networking sites, you will have the option to select from over 100 other sites and services. The icons can be customised to become animated and do not take up a lot of space so they load relatively fast. There is also an option to show the number of shares on each network. One of the best features of this service is the fact that they provide analytics, users will get an idea as to which pages content is socially the most popular. They will also know which channels are used for sharing and distribution.
Twitter is a great way of letting people know about your blog and your new articles. Once you gain a substantial following, it can then just be a case of regularly posting updates to reach out to your readers. Many bloggers are not aware that Twitter has an “Embedded Tweet” feature that allows them to incorporate and display any tweet into a blog entry.
Here are the steps on how to properly embed tweets:
- At the bottom the Tweet permalink page, click on “Embed this Tweet.”
- Once the pop-up box comes up, simply choose between HTML, Link or Shortcode.
- Copy and paste the code into your blog.
Once the embedded tweet is displayed, viewers can see your message, follow you, reply to your tweet, or even retweet the entire post. Once again, this service makes it so much easier for readers to share a post that they find really interesting or informational.
The “Tweet This” feature is yet another function that will capitalise on reader engagement.
This feature literally grabs a visitor’s attention and pushes them to take action, it works best when you give your readers encouragement, for instance “ready to tweet”. The actual pre-defined tweet text needs to be something that a user would want to post on their feed, something that they think will take people’s interest. They simply need to click on the “Tweet This” link, and their followers will have access to the tweet, which conveniently has a link to your blog post. The Click to Tweet site is a free service that you can use to create a Tweet This link.
Social commenting is also a great way of interacting with your readers. This gives readers an opportunity to potentially make praise of blog posts, or provide constructive feedback on things that you can improve on. Readers will be able to share their own opinions on the topic and bloggers even use the comment section to get inspiration for future articles or publications. Commenting services such as Facebook Comments Box and Disqus have even made it possible not to limit commenting and interactions within the blog.
Facebook has released the Comments Box, a plugin that allows users to comment on your site using their own Facebook accounts. The great thing about this service is the fact that users have the option to “Post to Facebook.” This means that your link will be posted to their timeline and will appear on their friends’ News Feeds. Their friends in turn can like your page, and even participate in the discussion by adding their own comments to the box.
Disqus, on the other hand, is another commenting platform that allows users to share any discussion thread or comment to their own social networking sites. Users are also given the option to use @mentions or social tagging, which effectively brings in other users to the discussion. To make things more interesting, Disqus also provides a voting system that highlights the best content and votes down the bad ones.
To summarise, a blog post is only as great as the number of readers that it can potentially reach. Customising your site to include social media tools is an excellent way to allow your readers to share what they like and to gain more readership and following. All bloggers need great content and an exceptional social media strategy in order to succeed.