Not the kind of post title that you were expecting this week right? I know I said in week three that this week I'd lay out my strategy for wow posts, but I had a little change of heart during the week.
This is partly thanks to some training I heard over at AuthorityHacker, and partly down to a realization I had over the weekend while I was in Hong Kong.
Sometimes being in a different setting helps you think differently, and while I nursed my hangover over some Fish & Chips, I came to the conclusion that I had missed a step with my case study.
Yeah I went to Hong Kong and had Fish & Chips. You might think that's a waste, but I don't. I can get Cantonese food whenever I want in Taiwan, but Fish & Chips is much harder to come by. I had to seize the opportunity!
What Was My Little Insight?
When a lot of people start their sites, they share their content on social networks to get some traffic while Google is doing its thing and ignoring them. This works better for some than others.
It seems to me though that what most of us do is a little bit wrong, and I've been learning a few techniques that I think will work better, and am happy to share them with you today.
I also think that it's still a good idea to utilize social if you do it correctly. It can get the ball rolling a little bit in terms of outreach, engagement and link building, which means my eventual wow posts (they're coming!) will be even more successful.
Since I already have a site built out and some content on it, I might as well spend a week starting the social wagon rolling.
We are now basically a month into this niche site case study, and so far I've not done anything tangible in terms of boosting traffic. I HAVE added new articles to the sites and scheduled some more, but I haven't done anything else.
This week I'm going to do things that will directly result in visitors to the site, and almost immediately in some cases. I bet you'd like to learn some of the things I experience!
This is also something that you all can do right away. Although I recommend you wait until next week to see the results of my actions first.
Doing Social Right
What I've noticed is that unless you already have an audience, social marketing can be pretty ineffective. Of course, it's hard to get that audience when you're first starting.
A lot of people like the idea of just going into the big platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+) and following as many people in their niche as possible, in the hopes of getting some return follows.
This will work as far as getting you (some) return follows, but will that result in traffic, and will that traffic result in your site's growth?
What can you do to jump start the social engagement, and build an audience then?
With Twitter, you can keep it very simple, and use hashtags. It's what they're for.
Whenever I use hashtags (and I don't have a lot of followers), I get more favorites, retweets, and clicks. Not a lot, but the hashtags help.
You just need two or three per tweet. If you visit somewhere like Hashtags.org, you can find out which ones are more popular.
With Facebook, you can just leave it alone. Seriously, unless you've gained a lot of likes to a Facebook page from your audience (not people you've begged to “like”), there's no point sharing your stuff with your friends or random people.
Come back to Facebook later.
With Google Plus, now that authorship is dead and buried, there's not much use for it initially. We'll approach this more later, but for now, don't worry about G+.
While authorship is dead, there are some who say that Author Rank is still important. The verdict is still out on this one, so I'm going to get these sites to rank WITHOUT any author rank, and we'll see if it really is essential.
Pinterest is an interesting prospect. I'd want to say that it is quite similar to the others, best used sparingly until you've grown an audience organically.
There is one thing that makes Pinterest worth paying a bit of attention to though.
Pinterest Community boards.
If you can set up a Pinterest account, and get the ability to share your posts on a community board, you can often have your “pins” go viral and get lots of re-pins and shares quite easily.
Essentially a community board is one where you and potentially hundreds of other people can all pin to the same board. If you're not familiar with Pinterest, you'll see in next week's post exactly what I did and how you can do it too.
This is actually a lot more effective than trying to do similar things with Google Plus and Facebook, because Pinterest is more visual and built around re-pins.
The whole point of community boards is to share stuff.
So while I feel that initially spending time on Facebook, and Google Plus is going to be pretty ineffective for my two sites, I think that Twitter with good hashtag use and Pinterest with some community board access is going to be decent.
Places to find group boards:
Other Social Methods
I'm not going to waste my time with StumbleUpon or Reddit though.
Yeah Reddit can get you visits, but they aren't good for anything other than confidence or ego boosts. They won't become your new inner circle audience.
Setting It All Up
This week I've set up the following:
Pinterest accounts for both sites.
Twitter accounts for both sites.
I also populated the Pinterest boards with some posts from my site and a few others, to get some content on there and not look brand new.
When I try to get invited to post on some community boards (more info next week on how that goes), I'll have more success this way.
When you create a new account, Pinterest and Twitter both ask you to follow some people. I did the minimum that I had to.
As I said earlier, I really don't see much point in following people for the sake of a follow-back. Apart from maybe some “social proof”, there's no real benefit.
Remember, I'm aware that these initial strategies aren't going to be super effective, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on them right away. As my audience grows and I figure out who hangs out where, I'll come back and re-visit social posting.
I want to finish off this post by talking about Infographics.
These are often mentioned as being a great way of getting traffic and links. I agree somewhat.
Yes, they can go viral, can make your brand stand out, and can get you a lot of links.
They're also time consuming and/or expensive to produce.
What if you could just embed other people's infographics into some of your posts? There are sites that let you do this if you give credit to the original source.
This means that you can get a lot of infographics on your site with minimum work. You're NOT going to be able to get many links or much brand growth from this, but you ARE going to be able to post them to Pinterest, with a link back to your article.
If you choose infographics that are popular, that's going to result in a lot of re-shares, and some good traffic.
That's one way of benefiting from infographics until you have enough time/budget to invest in producing your own.
That's going to be my main strategy for this week. Adding a few good infographics to my site posts, sharing them on Pinterest and Twitter, and making notes for you on how much success I had.
Places to find Infographics:
Make sure that any infographics you use allow you to do so.
Wait For The Results
If any of this is confusing for you, it's because I haven't got the actual results to show you what I did and how well it worked. Next week I'll have them for you, and you'll be able to see exactly what I'm talking about.
If you DID get it, then great! You might well be able to go off and play about with it on your own. I recommend that you still visit next week to compare notes with me though. That'd be great.
A Note On Changing Heart
A couple of times in this case study I've changed direction or decided to do something sooner (or later) than originally planned. You'll find this might happen a lot to you as well.
While it can sometimes be life changing to learn something new and change course midway through, it can also hinder your progress. I must read new ideas or strategies at least twice a week, and if I acted on all of them, I'd be going around in circles.
One thing you'll need to get good at is learning when to change course, when to do something in a different order, and when to ignore the seductions of a new method and keep soldiering on!