When I was starting up my blog I read all the advice I could get on blogging. This way I ran into long-time professional bloggers who stated that ‘your blog is your home base’.
Social media should be treated as ‘outposts’. The one thing I didn’t read was how that was supposed to work. You share your blog posts on different social media – and then what? People show up? Depending on the social platform you’re using that may happen at some point. Or not.
The assumption made by professional bloggers – and which you need to take into account when you read their advice – is that:
- You’re trying to make money blogging. That means the following things:
- You want to give your subscribers extra, high quality content that will get them another step closer to buying your product or service. In order to distinguish between ‘starting-level’ readers and potential customers,
- You need email subscriptions so you have a ‘mailbox presence’ with more-than-casual readers. For this reason,
- Social media connections, followers, and friends are less valuable than email subscriptions. You do need social media to facilitate your readers, but not spend too much time on the ‘outposts’.
What to do if you don’t intend to sell stuff through your blog? Connecting on social media could give you valuable extras on top of the the usual options for comments on your blog. Indulging in ‘small talk’ isn’t really an option on a blog that’s mainly about business topics. But your reader may not be ready to go onto the personal medium that is email. Or you may not be prepared for that kind of thing yourself. (Do you need more emails?) Social media might just fill the gap nicely.
From blogging to connecting on social media
Start by mentioning your (favorite) social media accounts on your blog. Adding them to your ‘About’ page allows you to state which account you use for what purpose.
You’ll get the best value from any interactive media if you’re already a user. Because you know how it works and you already have some friends, fans, followers, or connections who may share at least part of your (professional) interests.
LinkedIn for B2B connections
For business to business contacts LinkedIn is at present a good option. It moves at a more leisurely pace than Twitter, which means you don’t need to send the same message over and over just to get over the noise. It does mean you need to share a bit about yourself on your profile.
Some marketing professionals consider that you should connect with anyone who asks to be connected with you. People outside the realm of marketing tend to keep LinkedIn for people they know professionally. This is not a 100% absolute rule though! The keyword here, like anywhere else, is trust.
Connecting with other bloggers starts on their blog
Why would you want to connect on LinkedIn if you’ve never even commented on someone’s blog? If you want to approach people on a two-way social platform like LinkedIn make sure these are people who have:
- consistently liked your posts (not single-topic likers).
- liked your About page.
- commented in a way that shows a mindset, or values, that are not unlike your own. After all there may be a reason why they like your ‘family’ posts but not the posts that feature, say, hunting scenes (are they vegetarian cat-lovers? Who knows).
Taking the jump onto LinkedIn: state your business
When you ask a fellow blogger to connect with you, state your business. Why? Because you can (from your desk top). If you visit someone’s profile and invite them to connect:
- alter the standard message to make it clear why you’re interested.
- Your blog name may not match the name on your profile, so mention your About page and make sure that page points back to your LinkedIn profile.
When can you connect on LinkedIn if a fellow blogger doesn’t know you?
First let me repeat my earlier question: why would you want to, if you’ve never commented on their blog? But let’s say you don’t like commenting.
I’d say you should at least share a group and, more importantly, a discussion on LinkedIn. How do you make that happen?
- What you can do is start by joining a group the other person is a member of. The only good reason to do this is if you’re genuinely interested in the topic of the group. Take part in conversations. If the other person is actively posting in the group you can comment on their discussions.
- There has to be a basis for a connection. That basis may be tiny if you’re a thousand miles apart and unlikely to impact each other dramatically. But it still needs to be there. A discussion may help bridge the gap.
- Your fellow blogger may check your LinkedIn profile, so it needs to look professional. This isn’t your Facebook profile and your summary doesn’t need to look like it. It also doesn’t need to look like a blog post. LinkedIn holds your professional curriculum – no more, no less.
If you have a personal blog Facebook would probably make a better addition – and if you’re already very active there with (future) business connections it would also be a sensible place to start.
What’s your favorite way to connect with other bloggers? Add your thoughts about blogging buds, social media, LinkedIn groups and connections in a comment!