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Explore a Social Media Site

Social-Media

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project (this is the 2nd last day) is to explore a social media site (whether it be a networking site or a bookmarking one) that you might not have seen or explored previously. I’m not going to tell you which one to choose to explore (because you’ll all have had different experiences of different ones) but will leave that choice up to you (I’ve got a suggested list below of some you might like to choose from).

Social media sites are increasingly popular types of sites and are full of wonderful potential for bloggers wanting to improve their blogs.

Why Should Bloggers Take Notice of Social Media Sites?

Traffic – The most obvious attraction to many of these social sites is the massive number of people that many of these sites have and the potential for them to drive deluges of traffic in your blog’s direction.

However, while I’ve written numerous times on getting and leveraging traffic from social media sites (I’ll include some links at the end of this post) I have increasingly begun to see numerous other benefits of being an active participant in these spaces.

Let me briefly explore a few:

Branding – I wrote a post a month ago on Building Your Personal Brand One ‘Straw’ at a Time which highlighted the power of being involved in a variety of different activities online. In that post I shared an email from a reader telling me how he’d stumbled across me in six different ways before subscribing to my blog – two of these instances were social sites (Facebook and Digg). I’m amazed how many people have told me similar things having come across some of my different pages on social sites.

Reinforcing Relationships – A lot has been written about the nature of ‘friends’ in sites like MySpace where you can rack up thousands of ‘friends’ in a day or two yet ‘know’ none of them. While ‘friendships’ and relationships in these types of sites is usually of a different kind to what happens in ‘real life’ (although there are exceptions) I’ve still found that the interactions that I have on social media sites can reinforce the relationships that I have with readers on my blog. There are a number of readers that I interact with regularly on sites like StumbleUpon and LinkedIn that have led to closer interactions on my blog also.

Learning – I learn a lot about building successful blogs when I participate in social media sites. Spend half an hour stumbling through sites on StumbleUpon and you will learn a lot about how to design sites that immediately capture attention in just second or two (which is all you really have to make an impression on SU), analyze the popular posts at a site like delicious and you’ll see the importance of good headlines (and pick up some tips on how to write them), take some time to go surfing on MySpace and Bebo and you’ll see and learn about all kinds of subcultures that you might not have known much about previously, explore a site like Twitter and you’ll learn the power of conensing a message down into just a handful of words….

How to Use Social Media Sites?

I’m sure that many of you will share other things that a blogger will benefit from as a result of social media sites – but lets take a few moments to share a few tips on HOW to interact on social media sites. The following tips will be fairly general as each site is different – but there are a few principles that remain the same:

Don’t Spam – the temptation with many of these sites is to rush in and plaster links back to your blog all over these sites. However this could lead to you damaging your blog more than it’ll benefit from it. There is a time and place to submit your own blog to many of these sites – however do it as a genuine participant rather than just someone in it for self promotion.

Be an Active Observer – each social bookmarking and networking site that you’ll discover will have it’s own rhythms, language and etiquette. The culture at one site will be quite different to another – so it’s important to take your time in getting to know it and to spend time familiarizing yourself with it. Watch how it operates, analyze what type of people use it, get a feel for how people interact with one another and the content, see what people respond to and make note of how other people are using the site in productive ways. Out of these observations you’ll be in a much better position to see opportunities to participate in fruitful ways.

Be a Genuine and Generous Participant - once you’ve got a feel for the site create a profile and begin to participate. Building on my tip ‘don’t spam’ – I’d encourage you to spend as much time as possible using the site in a completely non self serving way. If it’s a bookmarking site – bookmark other sites (ones you have a genuine interest in), if it’s a networking site – interact with people in a real and friendly manner. While you should find ways to build your own profile, brand and authority – these things generally come in time as you naturally participate rather than by always pushing the boundaries and manipulating the system.

Look for Tour Guides – every social media site has it’s key and central participants who can help you to understand and know how to use these sites most effectively. Look for these ‘tour guides’, watch how they operate, emulate them, befriend them, help them achieve their goals and in time build a relationship with them. In doing so you’ll learn a lot, begin to understand the language and culture of the site and will grow in your own influence in it.

If you have more tips on how to use these sites best – feel free to give tips below.

Social Media Sites to Explore:

There are hundreds and hundreds of these types of sites popping up and I can’t possibly mention them all. Let me suggest a few (with links to my own profile where I use them more actively so we can become ‘friends’):

Of course there are literally hundreds of others – many now appearing on specific smaller niches. Feel free to suggest the ones that you’re experimenting with in comments below.

Further on Social Media Sites from our Archives

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. Some like Mybloglog have integrated themselves wonderfully into blogs while others like Facebook in my opinion are harder to integrate. Facebook is concerned more about privacy and requires invitations to join as a friend, and thus not as open to wide social networking. This probably applies to Myspace as well. I doubt neither can generate much blog traffic. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just haven’t seen it happen yet. :)

    -Raymond (MONEY BLUE BOOK)

  2. Josh says:

    I have integrated Flickr into my site and also use Myspace for my driving blog traffic. It works great. But to be honest your advice of commenting on various related blogs has helped out the best. But I still get traffic from both Flickr and Myspace.

  3. Hottogs.com says:

    Nice post. Done quite a bit with social media sites of late. Specifically StyleHive at the moment. Not only does it give you traffic, it helps you expand your own knowledge which you can later use to construct posts, your own forums etc.

    David
    http://www.hottogs.com

  4. BeachBum says:

    I don’t get much traffic from social networks, but I have met some other bloggers that I stay in contact with.

    BeachBum

  5. Jason says:

    I rely on social media sites for a majority of my traffic and inbound links. Once you study a specific site’s audience, you will learn what they like to see, then adjust your post to appeal to them. That my be the SEO in me, but it has been successful multiple times in the past.

  6. Sonia Simone says:

    I’m really enjoying StumbleUpon (and they make it very easy to Stumble lots of other sites, not just your own). And if you have the right topic and presentation, they can provide a great boost in traffic. Darren, you’re inspiring me to go ahead & add to my profile there. I’ll just put that on my 1,734-item Next Action list.

    Digg is great, but touchy about self-promotion. Delicious is just plain useful–it’s a great place to store all the interesting pages one runs across that would be good to blog about at some point (especially those chewy reference sites).

  7. Starfeeder says:

    I’ve signed up on a few Social Media sites and posted links back to my blog, because they are different communities that I wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.

    My favs: technorati, stumble, virb, twitter, pownce, facebook, digg, flikr, youtube and vimeo

    My hates: myspace (but I have to make one, seeing as my a lot of my audience is in that age group)

  8. Sharon says:

    I just discovered another networking site “Reverb Nation.” It is a rival to Myspace. I think the functionality is much better than Myspace, but Reverb Nation doesn’t have enough members yet.

  9. One thing that’s great about Facebook is that it’s fairly automatic that you can have your blog’s feed show up in your profile page. Indeed, some people are beginning to suggest that Facebook can be used in lieu of regular blogging software and that it is “killing” blogging. I don’t believe that it is, but rather it’s allowing for some forms of interaction that are different and not well-suited to blogs.

    I’ve also found Pownce to be a nice microblogging/social tool to use, as well, but I’d like to see it become widgetizable like Twitter.

  10. Kristen says:

    I have found that Stumble Upon is one of the very best. The traffic that comes from that site is, some days, phenomenal. I have recently found Stumble Upon exchange. It works similarly but on a point system. Do you know anything about it?

  11. Deborah says:

    I am a big fan of MyBlogLog, started to use BlogCatalog I don’t like that they put the last visited day count under each person face.

    I am on a mission now to delve into Stumble and delicious.

  12. One subset of these social media sites is how they can be used for microblogging and tumblelogging. A replacement for blogging, instead of using them to promote your blog.

    * Microblogging refers to publishing very short status messages or updates of two to three sentences (etymology).
    * Tumblelogging refers to publishing short-form, mixed media posts that can incorporate photos and videos.

    I wrote a post for Lorelle@WordPress analysing four services from the point of view of microblogging/tumblelogging

  13. Darren,

    Usually all I try is StumbleUpon and MyBlogLog. I know it’s important to use social networking and media sites, and a variety of them, on a regular basis. But now after reading this post and the very helpful list, I’m going to work hard on it. Thank you! :)

  14. StumbleUpon and Technorati have proven to be the most helpful for my blog. *=)

  15. Truden says:

    I have few invitations for Pownce if anyone is interested.

  16. Dan Schawbel says:

    I think it’s important to realize how important social communities are in tying in your Personal Brand. The more talking points you have the better, but I recommend that you concentrate your efforts on social media networks that have a high installed base.

  17. I want to thank you for this post. I know that I am a ‘little fish’ in a big pond. However, just because I don’t swim with the big fishes…doesn’t mean that I should be ignored. Which is what many ‘big fish’ have been doing lately when they have written about ‘social networking’ and I have left a question about it in the comments. Not one person has taken the time to answer…not even in the comments section. So thank you. For answering all the questions that I have had regarding this wide topic of social media and networking. It has been deeply appreciated and has given me a starting point. I would also like to state that although I am a ‘little’ fish, I have experienced an increase in my blog traffic by implementing only a few of your ‘building a better blog tips’. Although I am not setting out to be a whale, I do want to bring my blog up to it’s maximum potential. Thank you for helping me do this.

  18. Chad says:

    YouTube is turning into a bigger and bigger social network. Matter of fact, they pretty much look like they’re knocking off Myspace, but it’s such a visual medium that once you get started with it, it’s hard to stop.

    Imagine complimenting your blog with a weekly “behind the scenes” video or something.

    The possibilities with the right “synergy” (to sound cliché) between all of them is really quite daunting actually!

  19. Mike Panic says:

    I wrote about one of my favorite sites a while ago, Popurls will give you more than enough to read about… great news aggrogator.

  20. Sean says:

    My favorite is StumbleUpon because I do get most of my traffic from it and it has helped increased my blog alexa ranking.

    I only been blogging for 3 weeks and my Alexa rank isn’t too bad :-)

  21. Bill McRea says:

    There seems to be never ending announcements of launches of social networking sites, and this is a good trend. Newer sites are serving more narrow niche and providing their clients a valuable service.

    Like Blogging, social networking and social media is a very positive trend.

  22. Chris says:

    I’ve never been able to get very far with promoting any of my websites. I just started a new blog to investigate that very problem. Looks like I’ll jump on here and follow this program.

  23. jen says:

    Bumpzee is another one I came across fairly recently. It’s got a good Australian blogs community which has been great for meeting fellow Aussie bloggers.

    I didn’t realise StumbleUpon had groups. I’m still grappling with how it all works and how involved I want to be.

  24. vargas says:

    I’ve found StumbleUpon to be really fun and interesting. I’ve found a lot of unique, imaginative stuff that would’ve been harder to find on my own.

    I have a pownce account that I’m just now using regularly and having a bit of fun with as well. I’m hoping that Pownce will become as popular as Twitter. The only problem is that it can be really hard keeping up with all of these accounts.

  25. Life Strikes says:

    My blog is targeted for International students who are planning/currently studying in U.S. I use orkut as primary source for marketting. I’m still exploring other possible options where International students hang out. I’m new to this blogging and its been fun time learning new tips and techniques from various probloggers.

    1) Orkut
    2) Yahoo Groups

    Majority of my users are from India. I know there are equal num,ber of Chinese student too come to U.S. to study. Next, I have to find out a tipping source for students from China, Japan, ..

    I love your posts. for beginning bloggers like me, it really helps.

  26. Especially if you have a blog related to local issues (restaurants, politics, etc.), Yelp may be a good one to check out. It furthers your status as an expert and allows you to drive traffic from people who are obviously interested in your topic.

  27. robb broun says:

    Great media idea and article series. Hard to find this many relevant anchored in one spot. nice job of it!

  28. Hafiz says:

    I love using Facebook to advertise my blog! I got so many messages from people curious how to make money online and/or with their blog. It’s great!

  29. gout says:

    don’t forget to add diigo.com and wink.com, very good result social media

  30. dm2 says:

    social media is good source for free traffic…..there are many good social media hundred till thousand…..try delicious, digg, diigo, wink and reddit…..

  31. panca says:

    very useful explanation, social media as free source with many benefits….relationship…network….traffic, etc.thanks for nice sharing

  32. farouk says:

    mainly i get my traffic from search engines, even though i have lots of friends on facebook, it rarely contributes to my site’s traffic

  33. social media…still good place for making free traffic and money online…….place to build networking, thanks for list