No amount of effort with social media sites and tools like digg, StumbleUpon, MyBlogLog, Propeller, etc. can make up for a bad blog. A lack of focus, poor writing, over-advertising and a lousy design will sink your blog each and every time, regardless of how much effort you put into social networking and social media promotion.
The flip side is also true, in that you could have a focused niche, write well, limited advertising and a beautiful design, but still find it hard to build an audience. So you shouldn’t be ignoring the opportunities that social networking and social media provide.
In a recent post I wrote about linkbaiting and guest writing on other blogs, James Chartrand left a comment that got me thinking:
What about when you don’t have the time to surf all the social networking sites? It seems ridiculous. Just after I tell someone we have a LinkedIn page, they ask me if the business has a MySpace page. Then a Yahoo page. Then a Facebook page, a Digg page, and so on.
Not only am I expected to have a page on every social networking or media site or blog possible, I’m expected to surf and browse all these sites, comment, keep in touch and be active.
It goes on. I still have to visit relevant blogs to my subject area and target audience, reading, commenting, etc. Plus there is my own blog, of course, and I do have to work for a living as well…
Stop the madness is a phrase that comes to mind. What’s your solutions to this “be active everywhere at once” problem?
This is an extremely common problem. And it’s getting worse. James didn’t mention Twitter or any of the people search engines like Xing and Spock that have emerged recently.
Can You Keep Up With All the Options?
Honestly, you can’t. Not in a way that allows you to focus effectively on each site and service, assess the value you’re getting and maximize that value.
Two quick suggestions:
- Be a late adopter. It’s OK if you don’t jump on the bandwagon of every new social media and social networking site. Give it some time, read some intelligent reviews from people you trust (who are early adopters) and then make your move. Being a late adopter allows you gather more information on the value of joining the “latest greatest” service out there.
A good example is BlogRush. I haven’t added it to my sidebar. For starters, I was skeptical, but even if I was gung-ho I’d probably wait awhile to see how well it’s working for others.
- Focus, focus, focus. Once you realize you can’t be everywhere all the time, try focusing on a few social networks and social media sites at a time. Build up a reputation in those (which can take considerable time and energy) and then move on from there.
The alternative is to be everywhere at once but only dip your toe into each place. That’s not a terrible strategy but it can be distracting. If you have taken this approach, you can still decide to focus by putting more energy into just a few of the social networking and media sites, building up your profile in those, and then moving onward.
Even coming in late, after assessing the results others have experienced, and trying to focus, you’re bound to be overwhelmed with options.
The challenge at that point becomes managing and growing your profile and reputation in each social media and social networking site as easily as possible.
The 10-Minute Daily Guide to Building Your Social Media Profile
- Twitter: Check Twitter once or twice daily. You’ll miss some stuff, but that’s the nature of Twitter anyway. Scanning tweets is easy, so go through them quickly, and respond to anything appropriate. Robert Scoble does a great job of listing the 10 rules of Twitter. Of course, he breaks them all, but the guidelines are helpful. And Chris Brogan has some ideas on becoming a valued Twitter user that are helpful.
- MyBlogLog: Check your community page once daily. Visit each new community member’s profile page and leave them a thank you message. If your community is growing slowly, you might decide to do this weekly. Each thank you should be as personalized as possible, but you don’t have to go crazy.
The beauty of MyBlogLog is seeing who continues to visit your site. If you see people in the widget that are there regularly, visit their profiles, consider adding them as contacts and leave thank you messages.
- RSS Reader / Blogs: I try and scan my RSS Reader no more than 3 or 4 times a day. It will depend on how many feeds you’re watching, and how you’ve got them categorized. But you should be able to get a clear picture of what’s important to you very quickly.
Lately, I haven’t commented as much as I’d like. Commenting on blogs is definitely worthwhile, the challenge is leaving meaningful comments and not spending hours a day doing it.
Keep cognizant of those blogs that you really enjoy where you haven’t commented in awhile. Take an extra few minutes and re-connect with those blogs via comments. Even if it’s a “great post!” type comment it will help re-establish the relationship with the blog author.
Bonus Tip: Avoid a growing reading list that becomes unmanageable. If you see something interesting in your RSS Reader, check it out as quickly as possible (even if you’re scanning it) and comment if appropriate. But once you start saving a ton of bookmarks to be read at a later date it’s unlikely you’ll ever find the time.
- Technorati & Linkbacks: Once a day, check Technorati (and other means) for tracking links back to your blog. Visit each of the sites that link to you. If they’re running MyBlogLog, they’ll see that you took the time, and that builds goodwill. A simple “thank you” comment is OK too.
- StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is by far and away the best social media site out there. For this reason I’ve separated it out from the group below. Staying active on StumbleUpon is as easy as voting on stories you like. But in order to really build out your profile you need to spend more time. Lots of people have written about how to get the most out of StumbleUpon.
But the 10-minute daily approach is even simpler. Track who stumbles stories on your blog, befriend them, and then send them a message through StumbleUpon. The last step, sending a message, is one that I’ve just started, in the hopes that I can make a more personal connection with stumblers interested in my subject matter.
- Social Media & Bookmarking Sites: I have to lump the group of them together, because there are too many to list. These include: digg, Sphinn, Shoutwire, Propeller, reddit and many, many others. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to focus on more than 2 or 3 at any given time. The 10-minute daily guide to building your profiles on these sites is simple:
- Vote daily on a handful of posts.
- Submit weekly; at least 1 post, or preferably 5-10.
You might want to start with less-trafficked, niche sites to start. Sphinn is a great example.
Note: I didn’t include Facebook in the list because it’s impossible to do anything on Facebook in less than 10 minutes. It’s one of the ultimate time-sucks. Having said that, there’s a lot of value in Facebook, which I’ll probably discuss in the future.
The key to succeeding with this 10-minute guide is organization. You need to be organized, practical and focused on moving efficiently. Schedule the times you use the social media, network and bookmarking sites just like you should schedule when you check your email.
The Goals of Building Your Social Media Profile
The goals are simple:
- Develop meaningful relationships
- Build targeted traffic
If you choose to spend more time building your social media profile, you’ll likely get better results. But that doesn’t mean you need to or should spend hours per day. And always keep top-of-mind what you’re trying to accomplish, because it’s easy to get carried away and build up your profile for the sake of doing so.
What tips do you have for maintaining and raising your social media profile as efficiently and effectively as possible?