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How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest

This guest post is by Krizia of CreateProfitableVideos.com.

So you’ve started using Pinterest to promote your blog. Congratulations!

When I started using Pinterest to promote my business, at first I was just happy uploading cool-looking photos. But after a few days, I realized that unless I established a clear strategy for my Pinterest activities, I’d be wasting a lot of time and I wouldn’t be able to delegate this social media activity to my assistant.

The reality is that Pinterest is a phenomenal tool for retailers, but if you’re a blogger or content marketer who uses words more than pictures, generating buzz using Pinterest may not be as easy.

From my experience, Pinterest can be a colossal waste of time. I mean it takes time to source all these photos on the Internet, and you also need to write descriptions for each of the photos you upload, and you also need to make sure you optimize everything you do to ensure the traffic comes back to your site.

But once I realized I could promote my YouTube videos on Pinterest, everything changed!

I’ve spent a lot of time, effort and energy building my YouTube channels and I’ve made sure each video we upload is optimized and takes viewers to a page where they can sign up to be added to my blog’s mailing list. Pinterest lets me capitalize on all that work, through a different medium. It’s become one of my favourite social media platforms to share videos from all four of my YouTube channels.

Adding your YouTube videos to Pinterest is quite easy, but if you’ve never done it before, I’ll share a few key points that will take the guess work out of the equation for you! Here are ten quick steps to getting your YouTube videos onto Pinterest.

1. Make sure you have an active YouTube channel

Pinterest is already set up to easily and quickly fetch videos from YouTube, but to use the functionality, you’ll need to have your own YouTube channel to make this work.

2. Make sure your videos are branded

Pinterest users don’t need to leave Pinterest to view YouTube videos. Once you click on any video link, it automatically opens inside the Pinterest platform. This is why branding your videos is so important.

By “branding” I mean that you should always have a branded intro and outro to your videos, and you should also make sure that you add an image watermark or a URL to make it easy for people to work out where the video comes from, and to click through to your blog.

3. Create a Pinterest board specifically for your YouTube channel

When you’re naming your board, make sure you take search engine optimization into consideration. Pinterest can bring you traffic from both inside its own community and from Google. That said, you’ll need to take the time to do a bit of research to find out which are the most appropriate keywords you should use.

4. Grab your YouTube embedded link

To crop your video into Pinterest, you’ll need to fetch your embedded link from YouTube. Right below your YouTube video, you’ll find a Share button. Click on that, and you’ll automatically see a dropdown box that contains a link.

A word of caution: there are two types of YouTube embedded links. There’s a shorter one (which is the first one you see), and a long link (which is hidden). Pinterest will reject the short link because the system sees it as spam. You’ll need to fetch the longer link.

The Share link

5. Upload a new pin

In order to add a new video to Pinterest, you’ll first need to add a new pin, then copy your YouTube embedded link into the Add a pin box, like so:

Uploading a new pin 1

Uploading a new pin 2

6. Select the appropriate board

Remember in point #3 I suggested you create a board specifically for your YouTube videos? Well, once you’ve uploaded your video, you need to select the board you want your video featured on.

7. Add a description

You have 500 characters with which to describe your video. Make sure the copy is inviting, and that it includes a number of keywords related to your blog.

Adding a description

8. Add a link to your blog or squeeze page

You should also add the complete URL for your blog or squeeze page to the description box. This won’t just give your blog a backlink from a trusted source, it’s also a great way to make it easy for people to easily get to your blog or squeeze page.

By making all links active from the description box, Pinterest makes it easy for you to build a strong community of loyal followers!

9. Automatic sharing on Facebook

If you sign into your Pinterest account (the same holds true if you sign in using your Twitter account), all of your updates will automatically be added to your Facebook personal profile. Pinterest has systemized sharing content from their platform to other social media platforms, which, again, makes our lives easier!

10. Rinse and repeat

Now that you’ve added your first YouTube video to Pinterest, make sure you keep up a consistent flow. My assistant ads one new video each week to my Pinterest account.

Here, we’ve talked about uploading YouTube videos to Pinterest, but you can also upload videos from Vimeo and pretty much any other video directory.

There are a few undeniable advantages to adding video to your Pinterest account:

  1. Your YouTube videos get a backlink from a trusted source, which helps increase the ranking of your entire channel.
  2. Your video appears in three different locations on Pinterest: on your board, on the Pinterest homepage where all your followers can immediately see it, and also on the Videos page on Pinterest.
  3. If you log into your Pinterest account via your Facebook or Twitter account, your new uploads are automatically shared on your personal Facebook account or your Twitter account!

Of course the best advantage of them all is the fact that you get to expose your content to new followers easily and simply!

Pinterest is just like any other social media platform: you need to go in with clear objectives, and you need to make sure your messages target the audience you want to attract.

That’s exactly why I love Pinterest’s automatic integration with YouTube—my videos act as a screening process for my business. Allowing potential clients to qualify themselves is a brilliant time-saver for me.

Pinterest users who land on your videos will know very quickly if your message resonates with them and from your YouTube channel they can make their way to your blog, site, or squeeze page.

Are you using video on Pinterest? How’s it working out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Krizia (aka Miss K), is an Entrepreneur, Video Marketing Strategist, Video Show Host, Video Blogger, Speaker and International Author! Krizia launched http://www.CreateProfitableVideos.com to help entrepreneurs create AMAZING and IMPACTFUL video messages and discover How to Use video to Attract MORE Clients, Sales and Profits!

Traffic Technique 5: Social Media

We all agree that social media networks offer a number of benefits to bloggers. We can build a following on these sites, make new friends and connections, and share, collaborate, and interact in real time.

Social media: a tug of war

Image courtesy stock.xchng tam_oliver

This is great—and there’s no doubting that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and SoundCloud offer us a real opportunity to connect.

Yet in terms of traffic, many of us struggle.

Getting traffic through social media might seem like it’s about getting users to share your content. But that challenge in itself raises all kinds of issues:

  • titles, images, calls to action, and presentation
  • targeting
  • how you respond to social network visitors
  • what social search could, to should, mean to you
  • your involvement and presence on these networks.
    • We’ve discussed many of these issues in detail on the blog, so today I’m interested in going a bit deeper with the discussion and looking at social media at a more fundamental level.

      Where will you share?

      We all know about shiny object syndrome, and have felt the temptation to join the latest social network simply because everyone else seems to be getting on board. This is definitely a case of reactionary blogging—simply doing something because we don’t want to be left behind the mainstream. It’s usually not the best way to go.

      Thinking about your audiences—that is, your current audience and your desired audience—and where they hang out online is the best way to choose the social networks where you’ll have a presence. But that’s not the only thing to look at.

      We also need to consider where we can best dedicate our time and how much we can take on. It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed, but I know that the more I focus my efforts, the better off I am.

      So before you launch yourself onto the nest social media platform, consider whether you’ll reach your target audiences in that space. If not, it might be best to hold off until you feel it’s worth your while.

      What will you share?

      This seems like a fairly basic question. What will you share? Well, your content, right?

      That might be fine in most cases, but if you find your audience on a particular network represents a particular subsegment of your desires readership, perhaps you’ll shape your updates—and the content you share—specifically to them.

      The idea of a social network being a mass communication medium through which we update our followers on everything we blog may change as the shape of social networking changes from mass networks to niche networks.

      So perhaps we should be prepared—by experimenting and trialling this for ourselves, starting now—to shape the information you share specifically to your following on a given network.

      This will likely affect the traffic our social media updates generate in and of themselves, as well as the traffic they generate through resharing.

      How will you share it?

      There’s good old, tried and tested, low-budget organic social sharing: creating an update (text, images, and/or video) and sharing it through the social networks of your choice.

      But now we’re seeing a bounty of other sharing options flood onto the market:

      These tactics can of course be used individually, but if you have a strong following and presence on a particular network, you might look at using them together, in a sort of campaign-style approach to gaining traffic.

      In any case, it’s safe to say that you no longer have to slog it out updating your status with lonely links: there are plenty of tools that can help you get more bang for your buck when it comes to sharing—and gain more traffic and, ultimately, build your audience as a result.

      That said, since they began, social networks have been important points of connection—so sharing all the time, rather than balancing those efforts with other forms of engagement (like responding to the work of others, curating broader information for your followers, making genuine connections and helping others out, and so on), is a fast track to failure.

      In this way, social media really does mirror real life. While social networks are great places to share, if your sharing is to be effective, it must be tempered by true engagement and a genuine interest in others.

      How will you manage the traffic?

      So, let’s say your social media efforts have been successful and your latest update is sending masses of traffic to your site. This is great news! If, that is, you’re prepared.

      Momekh recently pointed out the benefits that can be gained by building targeted landing pages for your social network visitors. He did this through the his network bio, but if you target your content—and share it—to certain specific networks (rather than blanketing all networks with the same update), you can take his advice a step further.

      This can be a great way to build upon the engagement you’ve established through your persona on a given network, and use that to make people feel at home on your blog. Why not create an article targeted right at your Pinterest followers—something that speaks to them directly, and includes a call to action for them to join or subscribe to your site? Then, share it on that network, with a targeted, specifically Pinterest-y update, and see what happens.

      The results of this kind of targeted communication might just surprise you.

      Of course, there are other techniques you can try. As you may have seen, sometimes I’ll include hashtags in posts and their titles, to encourage and frame a discussion about them on Twitter. I’ve found this a really great way to help readers to connect off the site, in a different forum.

      If those posts are shared, they can also help people who are new to ProBlogger get a feel for our community in a forum with which they’re familiar and comfortable. And once they start to feel an affinity with my brand, they’re probably more likely to at least follow the ProBlogger Twitter account, if not bookmark the blog or subscribe to the RSS feed.

      Do you track the results of your social media efforts? I’m intrigued to hear how you’re handling the task of generating traffic through social media—and what you do with it once it gets to your blog. Share your expertise with us below.

Turn Twitter Followers into Blog Subscribers in 2 Steps

This guest post is by Momekh of LifeETC.

Too many interesting people out their are not using Twitter effectively. They may be using it to make solid connections, which is great, but they are not using it to directly build their own communities.

I propose a little experiment. It won’t take much of your time, as you’ll see. The benefits, on the other hand, can be significant.

Here are the assumptions:

  • You have your own blog (home base, as Michael Hyatt calls it) and a Twitter account. In all probabilities, your Twitter bio includes the web address of your site.
  • You understand that the purpose of both your blog and your Twitter account is to add to your platform and community. You are “community minded.”

Now for this experiment to work, I suggest that you make the following quick changes as you read them. The steps—two in total—are easy to do. And if you have any difficulties, you can always ask in the comments section.

Ready?

First, a reminder

Following people on Twitter is like voting. It’s almost a nudge, to tell the person that you find him or her interesting and relevant.

So take this idea a step further. Start following people who are following your person of interest.

Find someone interesting in your niche? Start following that person’s followers. These people are your prospects. They are the perfect candidates for your community.

Although there is plenty of great advice available on how to use Twitter, this post will help you convert the traffic coming from Twitter into subscribers for your community.

Now, it is time to make those quick changes we talked about.

Step 1: Update your Twitter bio

You are what you say you are. This is especially true if your bio is the first—and in many cases, the only—thing your prospects see before they come to your blog.

You want your Twitter bio to do two things, in this order:

  1. Make it truthful and relevant: You do not want to make it sound “cool” if what you include is untrue. Being honest has more benefits than the obvious ones. The prospect should be able to tell from your bio exactly what you do.

    Note that there is usually a difference between what you tweet about and what you do. The bio should be about what you do, so the prospect can see what your community and blog are all about. This helps them decide if you are relevant to them.

  2. Now, incorporate a call to action: Rephrase your message. Work on it. Test it out. It will be awesome if you can use it to introduce your website address. For example, see my Twitter bio—I ask users a question in the end, and then give them the website address as the answer to that question.

Step 2: Create a Twitter landing page

So far, your prospect has read your bio and your message resonates with her. The bio is clear, relevant, and even invites her to check out your site.

The prospect clicks … and sees your blog’s front page in all its glory.

That’s just wrong! I tested this out. I first changed just my bio, and sent interested Twitter followers to my blog’s homepage.

I saw an increase in traffic coming from Twitter. But there was no noticeable increase in my blog community (in terms of subscriber figures). I thought, “Well, people come and check out the blog, and don’t find it relevant, so they don’t subscribe.” And I’m cool with that—I don’t want people joining the community for the wrong reasons.

But then I thought that maybe I was looking at it the wrong way. The front page of my blog is, well, like a front page of a blog! It’s generic by design.

But someone coming from Twitter is already in a certain state of mind, a step into the “funnel” we could say. This means I can present the message of my blog to the prospect in a more meaningful way. Landing pages anyone!?

While writing your Twitter landing page, keep the following things in mind:

  • You are addressing your Twitter followers, so be as specific and personal as you can be. I start my page with “Heyya to my Twitter friends.” We already know the frame of reference for the people coming to that page, so use that information to better communicate with them.
  • As you present the central theme of your blog, make a call to action. I invite the prospect to further check out the blog content and to subscribe. There is ample research to show that a clear call to action works, so use it to your advantage.

There are tons of articles out there on how to write a landing page. That’s not necessarily a good thing. I knew I could easily fall prey to information overload, so I quickly wrote a new page, just keeping the two basic ideas above in mind, and deliberately forgetting everything else.

Writing a new page in WordPress is easier than stealing candy from a kid (not that I’d know). I gave it a page slug of “t”, and changed my blog address on my Twitter bio to reflect the change. My new Twitter landing page was live.

Now, that’s not a very elegant technical solution, as the coders amongst us would use a redirect to direct visitors from that link to the landing page. But I am no coder, nor elegant. So I just slapped the page together, put it on my Twitter bio and sat back.

I immediately started seeing an increase in signups.

Do you use any specific mechanisms to convert your Twitter followers into community members? Have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Momekh is a “professional adventurer” and wants to help you attain financial freedom. He writes about creative self employment and wholesome living at his blog LifeETC. You can also follow @momekh on Twitter.

The 10 Rules of Social Media Engagement

This guest post is by Matthew Turner of Turndog Millionaire.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a set of universal social media rules?

The internet is full of social media wisdom, but what if we had 10 rules of engagement?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a writer of some kind. Whether you’re a blogger or author, social media has become a large part of our lives. The options are vast, but how do you stand out from the ever-growing crowd?

The 10 rules of social media engagement

The following tips are adapted from my ebook, How To Build An Author House.

Reading this post won’t turn you into a superhero, nor will you wake up tomorrow with 100,000 new Twitter followers. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not one of those guys.

What this post does offer is some tips to help you become a social media rock star.

1. Engage first, sell second

The clue is in the name … social media. Your first instinct might be to tweet about your book, but what good does this do?

When did you last buy a product because someone Tweeted about it?

These days, we buy from those we trust. This takes time to develop, so engage first and sell second.

2. Be consistent

If you’re a celebrity this doesn’t apply to you. You’ll be able to share a Facebook message about that muffin you just ate and receive 2,043 likes. The rest of us need to keep it relevant.

People like consistency. If they know you as that girl who shares great financial advice, keep giving them what they want. You can mix it up from time to time, but make sure you’re being consistent overall.

3. Be regular

We’re all guilty of it: we start with vigour before getting lazy.

This is social media suicide.

If you open a Youtube account, comment on 30 videos a day, and upload daily, people will begin to take notice. If, after a month you stop, guess what? People will forget who you are.

Once again, it comes down to consistency. Be regular and be consistent.

4. Look beyond your own nose

It’s not always about you. If someone follows you on Google+ they want to know what you’re doing. By all means share your stories and spread the love. Don’t, however, think you’re the centre of the universe.

Have you ever been to a networking event where someone only talks about himself? Do you want to be that guy?

5. Reply to everything

If you have 100,000 Linkedin connections, this is bad advice. Assuming you aren’t Darren Rowse, though, you should try to reply to everything you can.

If it’s spam, by all means press Delete. If it has value, make sure you reply and keep the conversation going. We’re forever sewing seeds.

6. Search, don’t wait to be found

Again, if you’re a celebrity, this doesn’t really apply. You can sit back as a million people follow you. Most of us, however, need to search, but don’t worry, it’s quite fun.

Search for conversations that interest you. These are the people you want to meet. Go find them and make some new friends!

7. Be patient

Instant social media success is hard to find. You might upload amazing images to Instagram, but don’t be surprised if it takes a few months before people take notice.

The truth is, most people are wary. They see people like you all the time disappear after a few months. Be patient and earn your stripes. It will be worth it.

8. Spend time on it

One thing I discuss often is finding the right platform for yourself. Social media is a demanding mistress. If you think you can get a way with a mere fling, think again.

Join every platform at your own peril. To get the most out of social media you need to put in the hours. Picking the right channels is key. You want time to blog, too, after all.

9. Be your brand

Chances are you’ve built a platform. This means you have a brand. This means you have responsibilities to upkeep. Represent your brand as often as you can.

Again, consistency is important. Provide a message that spreads across platforms and you’ll do just fine.

10. Remember to sell

We began this journey with the warning of selling too soon. However, don’t forget to ask the darn question. Whether it’s a book you’re selling or a blog you need people to visit, make sure you plug yourself from time to time.

It’s about finding a balance between sharing your own world, and sharing other people’s. Being social is the first step, but we all have bills to pay.

Like I say, these rules of engagement won’t guarantee you an instant hit, but they will point you down the right path. Social media can help, but only if you use it properly.

Do you follow these rules of social media engagement? Has social media propelled you in front of new readers? Share your own stories below.

Matthew Turner (aka Turndog Millionaire) is an Author of both Fiction & Non-Fiction. Part of his life includes helping fellow Writers Build an Author Platform & Brand Story. You can find out more about him by visiting his Website or downloading his Free Ebook How To Build An Author Houses.

Use Social Currency Systems to Grow Your Blog

This guest post is by Nathan Kash of Electric Blogging.

Whether you’re new to online business or you consider yourself a seasoned professional, you recognize the fact that a good promotion strategy can go a long way in generating income for your business. Companies across the world spend millions, sometimes billions (in the case of companies like Heineken) on marketing, which shows just how important it is.

Now, in the days of social media, more and more companies are adopting social promotion strategies to reach a wider audience. Some have even gone as far as to launch their businesses wholly through social means, as did Dollar Shave Club, whose YouTube video became a viral sensation and put them on the map.

More recently, social currency systems have been developed that can add to your overall social marketing strategy. These tools have the potential to drive millions of customers to your site in a relatively short period of time.

What are social currency systems?

Social currency systems are online systems that allow readers to pay for products and services (usually ebooks, reports, and digital courses) using the value of their social network.

In other words, these products cost users the price of a social share.

Social currency in action

There are a few social currency systems available. Here are two of the most commonly used.

Pay With a Tweet

Pay With a Tweet is one of the first services to implement social currency, and it was built by Innovative Thunder.

As the name suggests, this system lets you “pay” for a product with a tweet.

For a customer to get access to a product, they click a button that takes them to a Twitter page. There they tweet the required message to their followers. Next, they’re automatically taken to a download page where they can claim the product in question. Pay With a Tweet has added functionality for Facebook, too.

Here’s how the call to action appears:
Pay With a Tweet

Popshop

Popshop is a new service by SYZYGY that claims to be “Pay With a Tweet on steroids.” Rather than just using Twitter as a sharing medium, it has functionality for other social networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+.

It’s a free, one-page, customizable WordPress popup shop theme that also features Facebook page integration. Here’s how it looks:

Popshop

If you don’t share the deal before you click the Get This Offer button, you see this message:

Popshop message

This ensures that the content gets shared before the users get access to the product.

Why social currency works

Social currency systems are being used more widely by bloggers and site owners, since they work so well. But why?

They appeal to our inner cheapskate

The majority of people have an inner cheapskate. Whenever you choose to buy something, you always have the urge to go for the cheaper option. That’s just how our brains work.

Social currency systems have the same effect. The desire for a product is further increased by mentioning the price that the product should cost and explaining that, instead, you’re offering it for a far lower price—just a share! It’s a common but effective marketing tactic.

They provide a sense of value

This works hand-in-hand with my first point. People are not as drawn to things that are completely free as they are drawn to things that are “practically” free.

When you give your offer a price, no matter how small, it creates a sense of value. Something completely free seems less attractive because most of the time, it’s perceived as being of low quality.

Excellent promotion benefits

Social currency systems can be used by businesses to successfully promote launches and events.

A good strategy for ebook authors, for example, would be to release a “free” report or mini-ebook as a teaser for their final product. In return, they get shares and are able to create a buzz amongst millions of potential customers.

This tactic can also be used by bloggers to make blog posts and videos go viral, and this also drives traffic to their respective sites.

Other ways to use social currency systems

  • Authors can use them to sell excerpts to promote books.
  • Freelancers and job hunters can use them to sell work samples and access to portfolios or resumes.
  • Internet marketers can use them to sell free reports to create a buzz for upcoming webinars.
  • Speakers can use them to sell mini-courses for the promotion of workshops.
  • Consumer brands can use them to sell commercials to make them go viral.
  • Service providers and use them to sell basic versions of services, as a way to promote premium packages.
  • Musicians can use them to sell music demos and singles for upcoming albums.

All in all, social currency systems are underused but have enormous potential not only for promotion, but also for traffic and income generation.

Is social currency for you?

Social currency is gaining momentum. Have you used it already, perhaps to buy something, if not to sell it? Have you tried other social currency systems? Do you think you could use social currency to build buzz around your blog?

Tell us in the comments. We all love to learn.

Nathan Kash (@electricblogger) is a professional blogger who runs Electric Blogging where you can discover methods of traffic generation, writing excellent content, social media utilization and how to blog effectively. He also gives blogging tips to newbie bloggers and seasoned professionals.

When Building a Significant Social Media Following May Not Work

This guest post is by J. Steve Miller of Sell More Books!.

I studied the right books and attended the right seminars. I gave my strategy time. Yet, few followed my blog and I could trace scant book sales (my main reason for blogging) to my social media efforts. Could it be—dare I suggest—that building a social media following simply wasn’t the best use of my time, given my unique passions, strengths, subject matter, and goals?

Failing at social media

Image used with permission

Gathering a following works marvelously for some. But is there proof that it can work for everyone in every industry?

I think I’ve identified twelve such scenarios. Consider these three.

1. When time is limited

Like most debut authors, Danny Kofke has a day job and a family. To market his book, he wakes up early to use these precious minutes emailing media to suggest interviews. He links them to his one-page, static (no regular posts) blog, which functions as a press page, highlighting his past interviews, including USA Today and CNN. Readers and viewers can spread the word through their own social networks.

It works for Danny, given his personality, his topic (personal finance for school teachers) and his limitations. For Danny, pursuing a following would consume too much time.

J.R.R. Tolkien taught full-time and wrote after putting his children to bed. Had social media existed in his time, and if he spent that time on Facebook and Twitter, could he have written Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?

2. When another marketing approach may work better

I know a restaurant owner who outsells all his fellow franchises. His secret? He spends hours away from the restaurant each day, building relationships with local businesses to promote his catering services. 

Imagine that his marketing time is limited to two hours. Could we tell him with any degree of certainty that he’d be better off spending those hours trying to build a following on social media? If so, based upon what evidence?

3. When your social media following will not likely be your customers

An agent urges her debut mystery writer to build a social media following with a blog. Her topic? Something to do with writing. Her competition? Thousands of writers competing for the same audience. Her challenges?

  • Who wants to follow a writer who’s not already successful?
  • Would her followers more likely be mystery readers (her target), or mystery writers?

So perhaps your dismal results don’t mean you’re a social media moron. Maybe people in your industry simply don’t want regular insights, or your target audience doesn’t tend to follow social media, or you don’t relish the research required to become a true thought leader.

Alternative social media approaches

If building a following isn’t working for you, consider a few of the principles that guide my personal book marketing strategy.

Consider quality over quantity

Sometimes I wonder if “the next big thing” just might be, well, “small.” Some gurus are cutting back, using Twitter and Facebook to connect with only their most valuable contacts—those they truly enjoy and learn from. In your case, could 150 significant Facebook friends trump 1,000 Facebook contacts who blabber incessantly about meaningless trivialities?

Let others praise you, rather than praise yourself

A Gallup study of over 17,000 social media users found that people don’t typically buy our products when we’re doing the selling. Instead, they trust independent experts and customer reviews. I find niche forums and offer free books for review, so that my Amazon pages are persuasive and the resulting fans can spread the word through their social networks.  

Go where people already gather, rather than gather a crowd around yourself

Shiv Singh, social media guru for PepsiCo, considers the holy grail of social influence marketing to be identifying and harnessing the influencers in your field. For my personal finance book, I found the top 200 personal finance blogs and offered a free book for review and another for a giveaway. My sales increased 300%, and the tactic was both cost- and time-effective.

Consider your strengths and passions, rather than assuming you can replicate any marketing scheme

A Gallup study of over two million people in the workplace suggested that we’re typically miscast in our roles. Instead, we should identify and concentrate on our strengths. If your strengths and passions incline you to blogging, Facebook and Twitter, you may do well building followings there. But if it’s a chore that you endure solely to sell your products, don’t be surprised if you make little impact. Choose methods that fit your unique passions and strengths.

Ideas? Objections? Experiences? Please interact with me below!

This is a guest post by J. Steve Miller, author of Sell More Books! and Social Media Frenzy:Consider These Alternative Social Media Strategies. He is president of Legacy Educational Resources, offering character and life skills resources to teachers and schools.

Set Up Social Media to Give You Great Post Ideas

This guest post is by Douglas Lim of The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People.

Finding articles and ideas for blog posts is an important skill for bloggers to master—and one that can now be leveraged through the power of social media.

High-quality content is tweeted, liked, bookmarked, and shared around. That’s why social media is fantastic for sourcing great content: we know even before we look at it that it’s probably of high quality, since people are sharing it with their friends and followers.

Spend just five minutes setting up your networks of choice to send you great content, and you’ll have no trouble translating and leveraging that inspiration to create your own blog post ideas.

Twitter

One of the nice features of Twitter is that it gives us the ability to create Lists of Twitter accounts.

For example, you can create a List, call it whatever you want, and then add to it all the Twitter accounts that tweet about a particular topic. It could be thought leaders in your field, or it may list brands that regularly write about your topic.

When you load that List in Twitter, you’ll only see tweets from thosepeople—it’s a perfectly curated suite of informationon your topic. Even better, Twitter allows you to subscribe to other people’s Lists. So you can get the benefits of someone else’s work—look especially to the Lists of thought leaders in your field, who know other people who provide great information.

Twitter lists

To create a List, simply go to your Twitter homepage and click on the head-shot icon as in the image below. To complete your List, follow the prompts as directed.


Facebook

Facebook is another fantastic social network for sourcing great content. Similar to Twitter, you can create an Interest list and include Fan pages in it. Then, you can view that list and only see page updates from Fan pages you’ve included.

Many brands are now on Facebook, so you can source some great information. To create an Interest list, go to your Facebook home page, and on the bottom-left side click on Add interests, as in the screenshot below.

Add interests on Facebook

Next, click on Create List and follow the steps to create your curated list.

Facebook list

Google+

Google+ also allows you to curate social content through its Circles. On Google+ you can create a Circle (of friends, colleagues, thought leaders, etc.), adding Google+ profiles and brand pages to that circle. Then, when you need inspiration for a post, go to the Google+ home screen, and choose only to view a certain Circle by selecting that Circle’s tab.

Google+ circles

LinkedIn

This is one of my favourite places to hang out and access great content. If you navigate to your LinkedIn home page, you can click on “See all Top Headlines for You” as in the screen shot below.

LinkedIn headlines

Here, you can customize your news according to what you want to read. You can follow industries such as Accounting or Entertainment, or sources such as CNN. LinkedIn will also send you email containing content from these various sources.

The great thing about these top news stories is that they are also tailored to you on the basis of what your connections, industry peers, and the wider professional audience are reading and sharing on LinkedIn. I have found that, with LinkedIn, you get a different spin on the content that’s shared, because most of your connections on LinkedIn will be professionals. This means you can find some real gems that you would not normally have found through Twitter and Facebook, which tend to have broader market appeal. I highly recommend LinkedIn.

Pinterest

At the time of writing, Pinterest doesn’t offer filtering of boards. But what you can do is set up a separate account, search for your blog’s topic, and subscribe to their boards through that account. Then you can view all their pins in a focused way.

Paper.li

This is a really fun way of tying all of the networks we’ve just talked about together. Paper.li is great for pulling in content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well as YouTube and your RSS feeds. Paper.li displays all your selected content in a newspaper-style format; you can also find other people’s papers and subscribe to them.

Curating inspiration

There’s lots of great content that’s constantly being shared on each of the different social media channels. This information will hopefully assist you with sourcing and organising this information so you can curate and share the most relevant content with your followers—and get great inspiration for posts on your blog. Best of all, it’ll only take you a few minutes to set up!

If you have any suggestions or other great curating tips and ideas, do share them below in the comments section.

Douglas Lim is a social media marketing and search engine optimization evangelist. He is also passionate about business and owns his own web design company servicing thousands of clients. Douglas regularly writes about these topics on his blog at The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing People. Alternatively you can find him living on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook.

How I’m Using Google+ to Create Content and Collaborative Opportunities on my Blogs

Google Plus has been a medium I’ve had a fascination with since Day 1, but it’s taken me a while to work out how to actually use it effectively in my blogging.

I’ve tried a variety of things, including using it as a blog of sorts (making longer posts), for status updates (what I’m doing), as a pseudo-RSS feed (sharing links to posts I’ve written on my blog), looking for great content that others are sharing to reshare, and much more.

But to be honest, I’ve still not found it to “click” with me… All of this work has been good and benefited what I do, but I’ve not felt I’m really using it as effectively as I could be. That was until last week, when I began to realize that sitting right in front of me was an opportunity that I’d not seen before.

The opportunity was not to drive traffic to content on my blog: it was an opportunity to actually help create content for my blog.

Each day as I sit down to G+ I see the most amazing conversations happening. Each day I see ideas, images, and information being shared by remarkable people. G+ is being used by innovative people who are pushing the boundaries.

As an example of this, recently I was marvelling at the beautiful photography of +Elena Kalis on G+. I was completely sucked into her beautiful images and it struck me that I had an opportunity to connect with her and to even shoot her a message. I did, and cheekily asked if she’d be open to being interviewed by me for +Digital Photography School. She agreed and we published that interview a couple of weeks back.

Then, the other day, I was watching a hangout run by +Trey Ratcliff. It was one of his weekly variety hours, and he had his usual array of guests—people who were clever, funny, and creative. Some of them were reasonably well-known, while others were not (but should have been). All were active on G+.

As I sat there watching the conversation, it occurred to me that I was watching a group of five or six potential guest posters for my photography blog. They were people who knew what they were talking about, who could communicate, and who were obviously trying to get their names out there.

I immediately decided to use G+ to send a message to one of them (+Todd Sisson) asking if he’d consider writing a guest post for me. An hour or so later he’d agreed and we’d decided upon a topic. We published that post soon after.

I also shot another message to two other panelists in that hangout that day. One didn’t reply, but I’m now talking about topics for a guest post with the other.

Over the last two weeks I’ve reached out to around ten people on G+, and five are working with me to create content for dPS as guest posters or interviewees. Another just submitted his second post and is keen to contribute regularly. Yet another is talking to us about a potential ebook collaboration.

All of this activity has taken place in private messages on G+. While this could probably be achieved on Twitter or Facebook, the freedom to write more than 140 characters—or to not have to be “friends” to message someone—is certainly a big plus on G+.

While there are many benefits of using G+ to drive traffic, deepen reader interaction, build your profile, and so on, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the last few weeks by how wonderful a place it has been to build collaborative opportunities and generate content.

How are you using G+, other than to drive traffic to your blog? I’d love to hear about your strategies in the comments.

8 Killer Tactics to Grow Your Blog with LinkedIn

This guest post is by Josh Turner of LinkedSelling.

Is your blog a business, or do you hope that it someday will be?

If you answered yes, then you should consider refocusing some of your social media activities toward the world’s largest social network for business.

That’s right, LinkedIn isn’t just for big companies or finding a job. There are a ton of practical tactics and strategies that you can engage in to build your blog on LinkedIn. Here are eight of my absolute favorites.

1. Join groups where other bloggers hang out

It’s surprising how few bloggers take advantage of the free communities available on LinkedIn. While paid membership sites flourish, completely free membership groups exist within LinkedIn that offer many of the same benefits.

LinkedIn groups

Consider getting involved with groups such as Professional Bloggers or Small Biz Forum.

These types of groups are full of people just like you: they’re eager to build relationships with other bloggers, looking for guest posting opportunities, and engaged in daily conversations about being a small business owner.

2. Use the LinkedIn Share button to promote content

ou likely have Twitter, Facebook, and maybe a couple other social sharing buttons on your blog. If you don’t have a LinkedIn share button, you may be really missing out.

The Share buttonY

Using the LinkedIn share button, you can quickly post and promote your content in every group that you are a member of.

If your content is relevant to your target audience, and the LinkedIn groups that you belong to are relevant, you’ll see an immediate and sustainable spike in traffic by consistently utilizing the LinkedIn share button. The key to growing that audience, as with almost anything, is that you provide great value through the network, and deliver it consistently.

3. Use premium features to discover new influencers

Would you be interested to find out any time somebody added “Community Manager” or “Blogger” to their LinkedIn profile?

With a premium LinkedIn account (about $30 per month) you can save searches such as these, and receive a weekly digest including every person in the world that recently added these words to their profile.

The LinkedIn people search

As somebody who is looking to build a real business with your blog, connecting with these people could be HUGE for your business. Consider that people new to the game are eager to build relationships, for one.

But the real power play here is the ability to identify new managers of larger sites. By approaching them when they are new to the position, you’re going to be one of the first. Tons of value here.

4. Find Strategic Groups to Explore Partnerships

If you’re like most people, you might not have much of a plan for how you’re going to leverage LinkedIn to build your business/blog. This presents a great opportunity for you if you’re willing to utilize LinkedIn to its potential.

One thing you can do to advance your business is to build strategic relationships on LinkedIn. Here’s how you could do this:

  1. Identify 10-20 sites or blogs that could really help to position your blog in the spotlight.
  2. Research who the players are, find them on LinkedIn, and join the groups that they are active in.
  3. Stay on top of their activity within groups.
  4. Engage with them in their conversations.
  5. Build a relationship.
  6. Take it to the next level.

Darren Rowse is probably not reachable through this method, but the people that run his operation likely are. You have to do your homework, but spending some time on the front end could really open some doors for you.

Darren on LinkedIn

5. Demonstrate your expertise to land gigs

There are a number of ways you can demonstrate your expertise on LinkedIn to generate real, paying gigs.

For most of us, it is consulting income or our “real job” that feeds the family.

The wrong way

Consistently sharing your content and engaging people within groups are two of the best ways to do this. Don’t forget, I said consistently. Dabbling won’t get the results you’re after.

Be sure, if this is the type of work you’re after, that your profile clearly states that you are “for hire.”

From there, demonstrate your professionalism and skills, over and over. Be a good person. Build quality relationships. The rest will take care of itself.

6. Use LinkedIn Ads to promote your products or list

If you sell products on your blog, or you have a budget to work with for building your list, consider exploring LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn advertising

LinkedIn’s advertising platform can be accessed with as little as a $10 per day budget. The beauty of the system is that you can target your ads to an exact type of person. Want to position your ad in front of managers, at Los Angeles businesses, with between 10-100 people, and over 35 years old? LinkedIn can take care of that for you.

Whether your offerings have a broad appeal or are more niche oriented, the LinkedIn ad platform could be a great way to get the word out.

7. Use LinkedIn Signal for competitive analysis

LinkedIn Signal is essentially LinkedIn’s search function for the entire network. Enter a phrase that you’re interested in, and you will see every related bit of activity from within every nook and cranny on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Signal

The power of Signal is that it exposes you to people outside of your first-degree connections. You can see status updates for every person on LinkedIn, and group posts for every group on LinkedIn. Powerful stuff.

Signal is a great way to stay up to date on competing blogs, to research new content ideas, and to find new people who are worth following and connecting to.

8. Follow companies that are in your space

If you’re operating within a specific industry, there are certainly hundreds, if not thousands of companies represented on LinkedIn. There are nearly 2.5 million businesses with registered company pages on LinkedIn. Clearly the actual number of business owners with a presence on LinkedIn is much higher.

Consider following the companies that matter to you. This gives you the ability to receive updates from them, stay current with their news, and it creates visibility for you within the company’s network.

Following a company

You should also consider researching their employees listed on LinkedIn. This can be a great way to get in with the people that matter, providing a channel for interview requests, and positioning your site as a leader in the space.

Are you building a business?

If the answer is yes, you need to be on LinkedIn.

Whether you are writing about dog bones, margaritas or minor league badminton, there are some serious tactics at your disposal within LinkedIn. If you’re interested in building relationships, building your list and building your income, LinkedIn should be a major part of your business strategy.

So how about you? Are you using LinkedIn to build your blog?

Josh Turner is the founder of LinkedSelling, a LinkedIn marketing firm that offers training and outsourced LinkedIn campaigns. Get his free 10-part video training series, How to Convert Your LinkedIn Profile Into a Lead Generation Tool.