Promote Your Business Blog with Social Networking Sites

Steve Bowman over at Coastal Uruguay asked me a great question yesterday about increasing blog traffic.

He said he’d been actively building relationships with other bloggers in his niche and seeing some good results from that approach. But now he is ready to step up the pace a bit.

What is a good next step?

My first suggestion was for him to start getting actively involved with some of the social networking sites out there.

The general idea behind social networking sites is that they make it easier for folks to find quality stuff on the web. The different sites go about it in different ways and use different criteria for their own definition of quality. But that gives you the gist of what most of them are trying to accomplish.

Social networking sites can be a great source of traffic for your business blog because so many people congregate at those sites. For example, people have been known to overload their servers by making the front page of Digg or Slashdot because of all the traffic that heads their way.

The way I see it that is a very good problem to have.

Probably the biggest trick is finding a social networking site that is at least somewhat oriented towards your niche. For example very little of what I write here would be at all applicable for Slashdot because that site is all tech all the time. SuccessCREEations isn’t a tech blog.

Over the next few days I’ll take a look at some of these sites in more detail. I’ll describe the pros and cons of the sites and explore some reasons why they might work for promoting your business blog.

Here are some sites that we’ll explore:

If there are any others that you’d like to explore, let me know and I’ll look at them more closely in this series.

In the mean time here are a couple of great resources to help get your creative juices flowing when it comes to promoting your business blog.

52 of the Best Ways to Promote Your Blog and Your Business by Mark White of Better Business Blogging.

23 Ideas for Finding New Readers for Your Blog by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net.

Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Hi Chris

    Not that I’m a specific squidoo fan (do have two lenses myself, but since I don’t do anything with them they’ve dropped down to the bottom) but I would be interested to see if you can find any pro’s in it?
    one of my lenses is:
    http://www.thekissbusiness.co.uk/2007/04/to_boldly_go_le.html
    (a result of the 1%-er patch since squidoo is only able to moneytize (is that English??) from amazon.com which not always has UK published book links I want to show in the lens.

  2. Chris-

    Your suggestion makes sense. If you’re trying to build traffic, you have to go to the mass media sites. This is a lot of pick and shovel work……but if it works?

    Here’s how I see using social sites. Uruguay, and the Coast of Uruguay is too narrow a topic. Here’s what I suspect might work. Travel could work, but our site might be too business oriented to attract loyal readers. I’ll try: International business, business opportunities, international real estate, entrepreneurship, expat whatever and combinations of all of these a see what happens. There have got to be some business people buried in the social networking masses.

    Steven Bowman
    http://www.coastaluruguay.com

  3. Steve, (and Chris of course)

    Are forums ‘social’ networks? If so (and I do think so – so thank you Steve for reminding me of this idea) than it is definitely worth to ‘spend’ time on forums (dropping in your website address now and again when you’re not allowed to use it in your sig). It certainly does for us (wooden flooring company giving FREE advice on DIY-forums – up till now already 10 customers from it, plus lots of hits and higher page-ranking for websites)
    http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=16
    for example

  4. Karin, I haven’t paid much attention to Squidoo since they first started up. Back then there wasn’t much in the way of social interaction built into it. But it may have changed some since then. I’ll take a look.

    Steve, I think you are spot on with your pick & shovel observation. It is a lot like mining for something precious. You’ve got to remove a lot of junk before you find the nuggets of gold that will fit any specific niche.

    The bottom line is that it is about promoting your blog with the most appropriate array of tools. At the same time there is work involved in finding the right groups of folks to network with using those tools.

    I’ve never been one for forums myself. But obviously if it is working, Karin, I’d keep at it. Don’t mess with success!

  5. Good advice, Chris. One challenge I haven’t yet got an answer to is that some social networking sites have a facility for anyone to send anyone else a request to be a friend. I find a lot of the people who use this have no profile information on the site and no way of my telling whether I want to be linked to them or not. This is not how I make friends in the offline world. I have dropped out of at least one social networking site because of this problem. Any thoughts on that?

  6. Chris
    The timing of this post is spot on for me. I have previously signed up with some of these sites, but have not received any benefits. I will definitely be following this topic. Thanks for the links to the posts by Mark White and Darren Rowse. :)

  7. Hi Chris

    Although it can take up lots of time (sometimes) it does work. It even works that well that some of our customers (who came to us through the forums) are promoting our website (and FAQ-blog) on other forums! Talk about ‘social’ networking

  8. Des, I’ve generally seen two schools of thought on that.

    Some folks I know are very selective about who they friend on those sites and keep their friends list to folks whom they find friend worthy.

    Another approach is to friend everyone with the idea that “more friends are better”.

    Personally I lean towards the first one and tend to ignore connections I perceive as spammish. It’s not a hard and fast rule, mind you.

    I agree with you. I tend to make friends online pretty much the same way I do off line. If I can’t tell anything about you from your initial contact I am not all that likely to respond. The email notifications for the connections I don’t want generally get deleted.

  9. Peter, I think the benefits come from being an active participant in the various networks. It does take a little effort sometimes.

    The other side of the coin is finding the networks that best fit your niche (and your personal style). Just like off line there are probably business groups that don’t match your business, the same is true online.

  10. Karin, you bring up a good point. The bottom line challenge in our businesses is getting our product or service in front of those who truly need it. We have to go where they are.

    If they are already hanging out at specific forums, than that’s where we should probably go to start building relationships.

  11. Isn’t the proof in pudding? ;-)

    If so, customer just walked in the door after I’d answered a question on a (for us new) forum (yesterday).
    We were made aware of this new (GreenBuild Forum) by one of the other regular members (trade-person also) from another DIY forum (Ebuild)

    That’s part of building relationships online, keeping a ‘network’ eye out for each other ;-)

  12. And that’s a perfect illustration of one of my favorite points about business blogging, Karin.

    Relating to people online doesn’t have to be a big mystery. We will do well to treat our online relationships as just an extension of our in person ones.

    Ultimately the same “rules” apply to networking online as off. Rude is rude no matter where you are. Most people appreciate helpful folks. When you add value to the conversation people are more likely to listen to what you have to say. Etc, etc, etc.

  13. Digg is the mother-load, but it’s definitely targeted at a male, tech related audience. Looking forward to your review of Reddit, they’re my biggest referral so far out of the social bookmarking sites.

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