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What Social Networking Sites Do You Use? How Do they Benefit Your Blog?

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I’ve noticed over the last month that the numbers of requests to connect (or become friends) on social networking sites has dramatically increased. Every morning when I go through my inbox I find I’m approving more and more of these requests from Facebook and LinkedIn and even when I head over to MySpace I’m finding more and more friend requests (those links are to my profile pages if you’d like to connect).

What interests me is that while Facebook is on an overall growth surge at the moment that LinkedIn is sending me just as many connection requests this month – if not more.

I’m interested to hear what social networking sites people use, how they use them and if they’ve seen any tangible benefits of doing so – particularly for their blogging.

I’ve had a few low level benefits of being involved but am yet to see many tangible results.

One technique that I’ve seen a few friends using on LinkedIn is asking their connections questions through the ‘answers’ feature. While most of the questions I see asked are fairly basic, I wonder if there is some scope there to draw people together in some way that might benefit the blog. I’m still thinking that one through.

Keen to hear the experiences of others.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. jared says:

    I hear ya. I’m trying to figure out the benefits of the social networks as well. I’m not sure if it’s an age thing as I’m 38 or what. The Facebooks and My Spaces don’t really interest me much. I do use LinkedIn for keeping in contact with colleagues and for future job opportunities.

  2. Karthik says:

    hmm, i have been using facebook for a while now.. never really tried out LinkedIn,.. and yeah myspace isn’t meant for me..

  3. Brad says:

    I only belong to Facebook. I have my website address on my profile, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve gotten a single hit on my blog from my Facebook profile. My privacy settings are pretty high.

    I don’t use Facebook as a way of advertising my blog or anything else. I mainly use it to keep in touch with my friends – many of whom I don’t see very often, especially during the summer months.

    My blog and Facebook activities are actually kept pretty separate. I didn’t do this intentionally, it just sort of happened.

  4. John Dilbeck says:

    Darren,

    I’m happy that you’ve asked this question.

    I’ve been using MySpace and Ryze for some time and I’ve made some good contacts there and a few friends, too.

    Lately, I’ve been running across sites like Bumpzee.com, Peopleized.com, and others and I’ve been wondering how much time and effort I’d want to invest in seeing what kind of results I can get from them.

    Although not a social networking site, I’ve been getting good results from Squidoo and I wonder if spending time on these other sites may pull me away from productive time on my other sites and blogs.

    I hope to read some good comments, both pro and con, on this subject.

    Act on your dream!

    JD

  5. almostgotit says:

    Most useful in bringing blog traffic have been digg, technorati and del.icio.us, in that order. I don’t use del.icio.us enough to generate the connections I could, I realize, and I don’t use facebook or the like at all. I would be interested in knowing how these other sites directly impact upon (e.g., generate traffic for ) *blogging*. I also wonder if any such impact would be more likely apply to certain kinds of blogs (heavy on video, celebrity news, etc.) rather than business or professional blogs (?) I use a lot of technology, but am very aware that I use it differently, and for different reasons, than people who are a decade or two younger than I…

  6. Danilo says:

    Currently I’ve had many positive experiences with LinkedIn but mainly for professional reasons, not blogging.

    For blogging I’ve found it to be useful to find some contacts as well but nothing that draws more traffic then site such as technorati and digg.

  7. redwall_hp says:

    Digg, Reddit, and occasionally Stumbleupon. Digg drives a bit of traffic over to my blog (webmaster-source.com).

  8. alamster says:

    I still prefer stumbleupon, I feel like having del.icio.us with messaging capability with each member. I know stumbleupon because they can send traffic (after read some blog posting around it) but after use it for long. I realized that plenty of unique and useful submission by its member. When I can’t sleep easily I let my finger browse other friend pages :-)

  9. Angela says:

    I’ve been a member of the Women In Networking network on Ryze for a couple of years now. Many of the women on WIN have blogs for both personal and business purposes. I can’t tell you just how many of us follow each others blogs, but I can tell you that I follow some of them and include them on my blogroll. A close community has developed there just as I see here among the ProBlogger community where everybody is supportive and helpful to each other. That’s the key IMO.

    I, as well as many other WIN members, have developed some solid business and personal relationships. Some of those relationships have branched out from us on WIN and brought in more members. A lot of the ladies’ businesses have benefited from these relationships. I’m sure blogs played a role in some of those relationships, too, as there are some very informative blogs authored by a lot these ladies.

    I also have a MySpace page, but I haven’t developed what I would consider to be real relationships there. Most of what I get is requests to be friends after which a comment will be posted on my MySpace page. It’s ok with me, though, if it helps somebody get even just a little bit of exposure. I kind of see MySpace as more of a billboard for everybody because of that.

    I am learning since recently joining MyBlogLog.com and BlogCatalog.com in addition to WIN on Ryze that it is crucial for me to schedule online networking time and network when it will be beneficial to someone. It’s a lot of work to make it work right for your online connections and yourself.

  10. I’m active to varying degrees on LJ, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Last.fm, LinkedIn, and PhotographyVoter.

    It helps keep my name out there, but the only real traffic I see comes from StumbleUpon and PhotographyVoter. SU is my #1 referrer with PV close behind.

    Facebooks started driving traffic to my site because an upcoming event (the Vancouver ZombieWalk) linked to an article and video about it on my blog. I was interviewed on CBC for the Z-walk last year.

    A lot of my friends read my site via their LJ friends page, I mirror my posts on my lj for this specific purpose. That’s a group of readers that I’d otherwise lose out on some of.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I use StumbleUpon sometimes, but mostly find myself out of them because I have so many regular sites that I read. I should cut back and do more random social reading though.

  12. Mjuboy says:

    I get a good amount of hits from Facebook and Orkut but those are just one-time visitors.

  13. Ryan says:

    I use Stumbleupon and Digg, mostly. I also used del.icio.us a bit, but after you use Stumbleupon, you get a bit spoiled for it =).

  14. D. Lambert says:

    I’ve noticed a big uptick on LinkedIn lately. It’s very noticeable. For me, the business networking there is a lot more relevant than the “lighter” topics on the other networks.

    I’d love to see LinkedIn give Facebook a run for its money. We’ll see if the rumored open LinkedIn API comes to pass, and if that has an impact for them.

  15. Bowrag says:

    MyBlogLog seems to be the first place I found when I started my blog. Most of my readers have come from it.

    I have tried stumbleupon but I may not be using it correctly. I find myself having a hard time finding other people’s blogs on there. Seems like most people are just surfing/.lurking. The blogs that pop up when I “stumble” seem to be photo blogs for the most part.

    I am going to try digg next.

    Due to the fact that my blog is the thoughts and questions of a high school assistant principal dealing with inner city at-risk kids, most of the people on MySpace are high school kids. So there is an obvious conflict there.

    I have used myspace at work to link to some of the students when we have a large drug bust. It is amazing who will link to each other and post pictures of their gang affiliations and clients for the drug dealing businesses.

  16. Meg says:

    I’ve only just joined Facebook, but I was updating my “about” page the other day, and was quite surprised to see how many “social” sites I belong too. Keeping track of them all is becoming a job in itself!

    Of all the social networking sites, StumbleUpon, Bumpzee, MyBlogLog and Technorati (in that order) have provided the most traffic to my blog.

  17. I’m actually finding that social networking sites don’t work very well with my site, because I’m a bit off the mainstream. I don’t even fall under the ‘spiritualist’ category, which seems to have its own blanket group of social networking sites, though these spiritual social network sites are not nearly as robust as the mainstream ones. I approach my topics from too many different angles, which tends to bring out long posts and drive away the drive-by social net-crawlers.

    Perhaps I haven’t found the right social networking site… But, the time I spend on searching for the right one would probably be better spent on generating good content for those who enjoy what I write.

  18. Larry says:

    I’ve joined facebook recently and I found it useful in boosting my traffics. Here’s what I do:

    1) Put my blog address in my profile (I can tell that many of my long lost friends click on it at least once)

    2) Whenever I post a new entry, I also post a link on FaceBook using its “post item” feature, everyone in my network will get notify

    3) You can also try “Market Place” if you are looking for someone to review your posts, or try to promote your “payperpost” campaign

    It works well so far =)

  19. crosby says:

    Adam – you might want to try Zaadz.com –

    I write a blog about Fashion PR and have had a certain level of success with myspace – probably due to the demographic – I’ve been able to get in touch with people through myspace that I have gone on to profile in my blog, and I have gotten permission to repost content from other Fashion PR agencies myspace blogs, which is great.

    As part of my day job, I work with Ekaweeka.com, a niche social networking site and shopping marketplace for artists and creative businesses. Ekaweeka’s ability to attract like-minded indviduals as well as its close-knit community would make it a smart promotional tool for bloggers in those categories. However, niche doesn’t always work – I recently joined myragan.com – a social networking site for PR’s – and that place is doesn’t resonate with me or my readers at all.

  20. Right now I am really focused in on the MyBlogLog and BlogCatalogue. I belong to the other ones as well but those are the ones in which I find are easy to use. You can see visually who your readers are and take the time to check in for a visit and do some reading on their sites.

    I am like you still figuring out how to use them to gain that added exposure for my blog. I do think it’s time to connect with the Linkin program again and I might even try facebook.

    Is anyone else concerned with how they might waste too much time on some of the programs though like Facebook?

    What is a good amount of time? Both a promo tool or a social one, Both?

  21. With my tennis oriented website I get most traffic from Stumbleupon.

    I must say that I am dissapointed with Digg(-ers) since they have no idea what a good tennis article is. ;(

    Oh, and if we include Youtube and other video sites as social bookmarking sites, then they send some nice traffic too since I post tennis instruction videos and tips here and there.

  22. I use Facebook and I am testing the new ojeez community as well.

    I think that in order to promote your site and get actual visitors, you should post links and notes at Facebooks. All your friends will be able to see them and if they are notes / links about your site you might get a few people interested.

    … but to only put a link to your site in your profile, well I don´t think that this helps that much when it comes to traffic (but that´s just my experience).

  23. chris says:

    I’ve been using Digg and Reddit, but I’ve seen a bit of my traffic (16%) coming from Pro Blogger. Thanks Darren for having such a great blog that brings the best readers!

    http://www.40hourstogo.com

  24. Maybe I’m too old (or an unsociable old fart!), but I’ve never really got into the social networking sites. From what I’ve seen you could lose vast amounts of time to them, with questionable benefits, and this is incompatible with having limited computer time, and needing to use that time productively. Also I’m not totally comfortable with the concept of forming connections with strangers around the world at the expense of friends in my own suburb who I don’t spend enough time with.

    But then I’m not a pro blogger, just a hobbyist learning to blog better, and my blog is just part of a bigger website which brings in most of my traffic. If not spending countless hours “socially networking” online means a few less readers, that’s a trade-off I’m happy to live with.

  25. Markus Jung says:

    It’s interesting: The post was about social networks, but a lot of the answers are about social bookmarking. Perhaps in the future both will be combined?

    I use XING because here in Germany almost everybody can be found there:
    https://www.xing.com/profile/Markus_Jung14

    It helps me to keep all my contacts organized in an easy way.

  26. I have accounts on several social networking sites. Linkedin is by far the best; I’ve only received one or two “junk” requests, and get many requests from current and past colleagues and friends. When checking out potential clients, I’ve used the Linkedin network to get in contact with current and former employees.

    MySpace is plagued by lots of junk requests to be friends. I use it only because my friends in the music and entertainment fields rely on it. And I’m reluctant to put much of my own information up because spammers seem to harvest email addresses and other identity info there.

  27. There is one social networking site called orkut.com It is very popular in India. There are many bloggers communities in it, where blog owners can discuss their articles, review each-other blogs, vote etc. Taking part in such communities can always bring good traffic for any blog.

  28. ChristinaG says:

    I’ve recently signed up for MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and XING and haven’t really noticed any increase in my blog traffic from them.

    MyBlogLog has given me by far the most new (and loyal) readers from all the social networking/bookmarking sites. I probably went from about 100 unique visitors a day to about 140 within a month of joining (and not only do the MyBlogLog users stop by, they leave comments!).

  29. Rhys says:

    I get a slow, but steady stream of visitors from facebook. That’s because it allows me to import my RSS feed into the “Posts” section, so I get visitors that way.

  30. Kev Price says:

    I use facebook to syndicate my site’s RSS feed into the notes application.
    Everyone who has me on their friends list sees this come up in their news feed as well as anyone who views my profile.

  31. At the moment I use:

    Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, My Mashable, Virb, MyBlogLog, Technorati, Digg, and probably more that I’ve forgotten…

    I tend to see a steady stream from MyBlogLog, Technorati etc.

    Digg provides short term boosts.

    LinkedIn seems to provide a reasonable amount of traffic, and more when I’ve written in the Answers section…

  32. Michael says:

    I use MyBlogLog every day. Not so much for comments on the MyBlogLog site, but to network with others and read/post comments on their blogs.

    Michael

  33. Mike Goad says:

    I don’t have much time for social networking between my at home responsibilities and what I am trying to build on line. I do use stumbleupon and do get some visits from there.

  34. Jill Warner says:

    I adore STUMBLEUPON! There are so many functions that will keep you interested in this site for months and longer! It is easy to send a quick link to a friend – and keep track of websites you have “Stumbled” before. Also there are greasemonkeys and whatnot to keep track of stumbles while using google as well. Stumbleupon is a GREAT website!

    I have also been into the Woman’s Social Network – TeamSugar lately (http://teamsugar.com/).
    NBC and Ivillage just merged with Sugar Publishing – but in general – it is a cute site for women to blog, bookmark and play on the net!

  35. Yaron says:

    I want to share with you something interesting in this field that is happening in my country, Israel. I was using only Orkut after my travel to Brazil (Orkut is an impressive phenomenon there btw, over 70% of Orkut users are Brazilians) when I heard that a local economical newspaper, called TheMarker, opened a social networking website, called Cafe TheMarker, which aims at business users in Israel. The principle is about the same as MySpace and it has a great success here. I opened there a hebrew mirror site to my english blog, and it has driven many users to my blog. In addition, I made many connections through this site. Israel is a small place and Social Networking is very strong here. I attribute this mainly to the intensive hi-tech arena in Israel.

  36. There are so many benefits, and one thing I notice that I should have done when I first started blogging was NETWORK on networking websites. When I started to share my thoughts, views, comments, and links with people, I began to draw a lot more traffic to my blog, TrewLife.com.

  37. Chris Lodge says:

    StumbleUpon is far and away the best, both in terms of receiving cool things to read when Stumbling and receiving large amounts of good quality traffic when Stumbled.

    Blogcatalog seems to be up and coming with their recent improvements, and the discussion forums are getting very active, while MyBlogLog by comparison is just stagnating badly.

    I think we’re going to see some fall by the wayside this year, as we’re reaching saturation point, and I’m getting to the stage of not wanting to sign up to anymore….

  38. I use MySpace as a link back to my blog because of MySpace’s high ranking. I haven’t heard anyone talk about Ning. I hope I’m not letting the cat out of the bag, but Ning has done great things for my business. I am just starting my own social network on Ning at NewMediaMarketingSpace.com. Come on over and start your own page!

  39. Mosley says:

    Chris,

    I agree! I have never need that much traffic come from site like myspace and facebook. And I too think that alot of the other networking sites will go away very soon!

    Also mybloglog and geting stagnat

  40. Mosley says:

    Chris,

    I agree! I have never need that much traffic come from site like myspace and facebook. And I too think that alot of the other networking sites will go away very soon!

    Also mybloglog is geting stagnat

  41. Michele Obi says:

    Myspace has proved to be very fruitful in terms of generating hits back to my blog. It was well worth the time I invested initially and I use it more as a promotional tool. Facebook on the other hand isnt as successful although I know I’m not using it to its full potential…I have yet to set up groups etc….

  42. I have not been able to figure out a way to leverage FaceBook or MySpace membership for my particular site so I have not spent any time trying to build relationships on either site.

    I use LinkedIn for professional contacts related to my day job and have gotten a couple hits from folks who check out the webpage listed in my profile. Of the 3 mentioned, it offers the most potential for a new blog in my niche –(focused on women planning a business and women business owners).

  43. jjprojects says:

    I have a facebook account and do use it. You can pull in blog post, twitter messages, and flickr photos now which is great. (I’m under John Johnston in the Australia network if want to find me). Facebook groups seem like they might be turning into something useful for business and other purposes as well.

    I use Twitter quite a bit. It’s amazing the info you can pick up from people once you have a few contacts and use it regularly. It also has the potential to drive traffic to other content, including new blog posts.

    I use Linkedin and have found it to be increasingly useful. I have actually been contacted about work through it multiple times, including for the job I’m doing now.

    I use delicious for social bookmarking as well, so my bookmarks aren’t tied to any one browser, and they can be tagged which is useful. I don’t use it so much for networking so far.

    I’ve found that all these sites have the potential to drive traffic to a blog, and they are all another way for people to find me.

  44. Justyn says:

    A few notes regarding LinkedIn:

    - More than 11 million business professionals currently belong to LinkedIn.
    - More than 100,000 new business professionals join weekly.
    - The average LinkedIn user is 39 years old and earns $139,000/year.
    - The average experience level of LinkedIn users is 15 years.
    - Members spend an average of 20 minutes on LinkedIn per week.
    - 498 of the Fortune 500 are represented at the executive level.
    - The average Harvard Business School graduate has 58 LinkedIn connections. The average Google employee has 47 LinkedIn connections.
    - Membership includes 89,000 CEO’s and another 500,000 C Level Executives”

    While I have a little blog traffic from my LinkedIn profile, the primary benefits are indirect. Creating a “mobile” business network, consulting/job opportunities and showcasing testimonials are the primary benefits at this point, none of which directly impact bloggers who aren’t seeking out speaking and consulting work.

    The introduction engine is cumbersome and a little intrusive. The LinkedIn Answers forum is too openly moderated to allow for any type of traffic flurries. I could see it being used to test content ideas, especially for some bloggers who focus on business and technology content.

    I’ve met a few other Authors through the site which has been fruitful. I also see the Service Provider function of LinkedIn exploding and becoming it’s own entity (think eLance for all professions) in the near future.

    Cheers!

  45. Erin Fogarty says:

    I am on Facebook, Myspace, MyBlogLog, LinkedIn, and Digg. I don’t see that any of them really get me new readers, except maybe MyBlogLog (I get a lot of visits there). I don’t really like the format of Facebook so I don’t use it much. I do get contact requests on all of these sites, but I think the purpose of these social networking sites is not necessarily to drive traffic to your site, but instead, give your readers an additional way to connect with you and get to know you. If people visit your site often, then they obviously are interested in what you have to say, and in you as a person. The internet is a fantastic place to meet new people and make new connections, so any opportunity is worth pursuing.

  46. At Home Mom says:

    Interesting to see the answers on this one! Good question, Darren.

    I just got started on Facebook a couple of days ago. For some reason, I´ve had difficulties figuring out how to use these social networks . . . getting too old, I guess! But now that I am up and running, I´m noticing that I do get hits from it. So far, I don´t have a lot of friends and most of them are from way back, youth group days, but they are visiting my blogs!

  47. Amber says:

    I signed up for Facebook a few weeks ago, and so far am pretty impressed with it. While it doesn’t drive a huge amount of traffic to my blogs, it has really helped me find out who’s reading them. I started a dedicated Facebook group for my fashion blog, promoted it in a post, and was quite surprised by how many people signed up – all of whom said they were regular readers. For some reason, people seem more willing to interact on Facebook than they do in the blog’s comment section, and they’ll make suggestions for posts, tell me what they’d like to read about, etc.

    Facebook has also helped me find out who reads my personal blog – again, I’ve had numerous friend requests from people who tell me they read the blog, but who have never commented on it. I’ve also had a couple of people approach me with writing commissions through Facebook, so I think it’s been worth the (admittedly small) amount of time I’ve put into it.

    I’m not a member of Stumble Upon, but it does send me a fair bit of traffic, so it’s next on the list to join up.

  48. Ahmad Uzair says:

    i use Myspace and Friendster only. And Friendster bring me a good visitors recently. Comparing the two social sites, i’m prefer friendster than Myspace. And now the next list will be facebook.

  49. Paul says:

    I use facebook, although haven’t started using it with my blog. I guess I should start. I don’t use MySpace, and have no intention to. I’ll look into LinkedIn and some of the other social networks, to see what they have to offer.

  50. Stumble Upon is awesome, in a lot of ways. I’ve enjoyed the things I’ve found y surfing, and I’ve gotten a few loyal readers. I’ve also found a few loyal readers on the Myspace page I have affiliated with my site. Both have been less useful for producing tons of hits, but great for finding a few readers who read and click regularly.

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