According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner, the top reason companies said they were using social media was to increase exposure for their business. What stumps many business owners, though, is this question:
What should I say?
When you post useful and relevant content (links to blog posts), you’re starting a conversation, one that hopefully grows as people respond to you and mention you in their own messages.
When people are talking about you and sharing your content with their own networks, this is “earned media,” the social proof that people are listening to you and value what you say.
Blogging is one form of what’s known as “owned media”: content you create and share to educate and inspire your audience, while teaching them who you are, what you do and what you know.
(Paid media is the third media type, and it’s just what it sounds like. For a more in-depth discussion about owned, earned and paid media, see this blog post at Branded3.)
Blog posts are the most important form of currency in social media, whether they’re yours or someone else’s. In social media, you trade blog posts for attention, visibility, credibility and connections. This is what turns social networking into business networking.
You are what you post
Sharing content on social media gives you exposure, and you want to be noticed for the right reasons. What topics do you want to be known for? Ideally, these will be the same topics you address in your business.
Remember that anything you put online is instantly public, and it is a permanent reflection of your business. Sharing something indicates endorsement or agreement, so before you like, comment or share, be sure to read the content through to the end. Always aim to add value to the people you’re connected to in your network.
To add value with the blog posts you share on social media, think about expanding – expanding your mind, expanding your network and expanding your influence.
Expand your mind
To be an effective curator of valuable content, and to keep creating interesting blog posts yourself, you need to constantly seek out fresh ideas related to your topic. Each social network has unique tools to help you do this, which we’ll be exploring in an upcoming series of blog posts.
You can also use your social media activity to generate blog topic ideas, by getting into a blogging mindset. Notice the conversations – especially the questions – that are happening in your groups, communities, chats and lists. What are some of the themes other people seem to be posting about? Find the intersection between these topics and what you do in your business; this can be your route to a goldmine of blog posts.
Expand your relationships
As you come across information, you’ll also be discovering people. Each network has ways to search for and follow these fascinating new friends. It’s also crucial to organize them so that you can continue to benefit from their expertise and build your relationships. In future posts we’ll look at how to accomplish this effectively on each social network.
Sharing posts from the people in your network is a nice way to grow your relationships, encourage reciprocity in terms of sharing content, and stay active so that your business continues to get noticed.
Expand your influence
The ultimate way to expand your influence on social media is to produce your own content in your own voice (otherwise known as blog posts!).
When you post a new article on your site, notify your network. Promote each blog post with several different “teasers” to invoke curiosity. Clearly state the benefit of clicking the link to read your post – are you offering solutions, information, inspiration, entertainment or something else?
Creating and sharing your own content on social media reminds your network of what you do. More importantly, it reminds people of what you know.
Here’s a summary of how blogging adds value on social media, whether you’re sharing your own posts or someone else’s:
- Blog posts give you something to say and a way to participate, particularly if you’re new to social media.
- Liking, commenting on or sharing blog posts from your network grows your relationships, gets your business noticed and connects you with new people.
- Posting your own original content demonstrates your expertise and reminds people of what you know.
Watch for more articles in this series about how social media and blogging work together. We’ll explore each of the top social networks, starting with LinkedIn.
Links to all posts in the series:
- How to Be More Valuable to Your LinkedIn Network
- Is Google+ the New Frontier for Business Blogging? A Chat With Paul Biedermann of re:DESIGN
- Getting Your Business Noticed on Facebook – Tips From Rebekah Radice
- What Twitter Can Do For Your Business Blog – Before You Even Tweet – featured on Social Media Today
- YouTube Gives You Face Time With Prospective Customers
- Using YouTube to Curate and Share Relevant Content For Your Niche
- Bloggers: We Are the Media – Interview With Jeff Korhan