January 9, 2010

Essential social media connections for your blog

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This is day 6 of the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media. Today we’ll start digging in laying down the social media cable in your blog.

John HaydonThe main goal with your blog is to be a platform for connection: your readers connecting with you, connecting with each other, and connecting with your social media outposts.

In terms of your social media sites, you want to keep two things in mind:

  • Let folks connect with you on their terms. There’s no way to tell if your visitor is a YouTube fanatic, a Twitter fanatic or a Facebook fanatic. Let them self-identify by giving them all choices.
  • Take away as many barriers as possible. Give them many choices in multiple places and make those choices actionable with one click. Don’t make them search for your org on Facebook if they were just on your site.

Essential social media connections from your blog

The sidebar

Listing social media sites in the sidebar is a common practice. Most blog themes make it easy to include those links with images. You can also create linked images with HTML.


The navigation bar

Another option is to create subpages within your navigation bar (similar to what I’ve created). Simply modify those navigation links so that they forward to your social media sites.

Above the header

This an option that makes sense because it follows the “F” pattern people use when they view Web pages.


The footer

I’ve found that having social media links located below the fold in my footer saves space in the sidebar for other content. Because I have profiles on many social media sites, I put my top three social media sites (based on my strategy and where I get most of my referral traffic from) in my sidebar, and additional sites in my footer.


Within pages and posts

Whenever you mention a social media site within a blog post, link to your profile. You should also be doing this in your About Page and other pages where people might expect to connect with you.

Don’t include links to social media on pages that have a specific call to action, like a subscription page, ecommerce page or donation page. When people visit these pages, you don’t want them bouncing off to YouTube to watch your videos.

Essential social media connections to your blog

It goes without saying that you want to link back to your blog from your various social media sites. But with a little creativity, you can increase the likelihood of people sticking around once they click through to your blog.

Custom landing pages

Make sure you display content relevant to visitors by creating custom landing pages from your social media sites. In my case, when people click on the link in my Twitter profile, they are taken to a Twitter Resource Superlist. While I may know nothing about a visitor from Twitter, I do know one thing: They use Twitter. My bounce rate on this page is very low because the first thing they see relates to Twitter.

Non-profits can create Twitter Lists of relevant users, information on a regular hashtag chats or helpful Twitter tips.

Using a Feedburner widget

If you’ve got a blog, you have a feed. And if you have a feed, you probably use Feedburner. Here’s a simple trick that can increase click-though rates to your blog:

Feedburner gives you the ability to create a Headline Animator, which displays your latest post in ticker-tape style. Copy this code into any social media site that will allow custom HTML in the profile (Facebook Pages, Flickr, Stumbleupon and Posterous, for example). You may not get RSS subscribers directly from Flickr or StumbleUpon, but you will get people visiting your blog, especially if they see a relevant post.


Optimize link text

If you’re able to edit the link text for your blog on a social media site, optimize it with SEO keywords. For example, on LinkedIn, the link to my blog says: “Non-profit web marketing.”

Homework: Make sure you have an easy way for people on your blog to find your outposts, and for people on your outposts to stay longer once they visit your blog.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media, please sign up.

Cross-posted from JohnHaydon.comJohn Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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