Continuing our series on Building a Successful Blog, I want to once again visit the concept of building your community. This is a key part of having a successful blog launch and a blog which continues to be a successful component of your overall marketing plan.
Building Your Community with Social Media
In Part 3 we discussed using different community tools to enhance your presence while you are out commenting on other blogs. Commenting of course is extremely important to not only being part of the blogging community and conversations, it is important to grow your own blog.
To continue along this same theme of building your community, we have available to us tools which were for the most part not available to me 4 years ago. I started my first blog almost 4 years ago. I would imagine if these tools would have been available, or more important, if I had paid attention to them, building my blogs foundation might have been easier and quicker.
Chris Brogan calls this “using outposts in your media strategy. Problogger had a post recently about how he uses social media in his own blogging. I like the concept of relating your “home base” to your “outposts” and the other way around too. Also, you need to think about blogging and your blog as your business and the tools we are going to discuss in this post as the tools you use to build your business.
For me, here is how my home base and outposts look currently. However, keep in mind, I am always adding to this in an effort to expand my own community and influence on the web. And we will discuss further the idea of a home base and outpost when we discuss those activities you need to do once your blog is launched.
Social Media Tools
Below are some of the social media or social networking tools I am using as much as I can to continue to build my blogging continue. You should start using them now, even if you do not have an active blog and are only thinking about blogging.
Twitter in my humble opinion is one of those social media tools that everyone should be using. Twitter is easy to set up and just as easy to use. To set up your account to Twitter and click on “Get Started–Join!” Once you are on the create a free twitter account, you will need to create a username. I would encourage you to use your actual name as your main account. If you also want to and you should, protect a brand name, then create a twitter account for that too. I have multiple accounts.
I have one for @GrantGriffiths and one for @BlogForProfit. While I set up the Blog For Profit twitter account to protect the name and brand, I also have some future plans for this account. The accounts are free, set up at least two. And make sure you put your photo in your profile so you start right off with an avatar. In addition, even if you don’t have a blog or Web site to include in your profile, put your Facebook or LinkedIn profile URL on your twitter profile. We will discuss both of these social media tools below.
Also, I would highly recommend that you customize the background in your twitter profile page. On my own twitter profile page, we have added my other blogs and social media/networking locations. Give people as many ways to connect with you as possible. If I could, I would make the links in my background image clickable. However, for now we are not able to do that.
In addition to what we are discussing here, I have already done a number of blog post here about twitter. Some of those post are:
- 10 Must have twitter Tools for the Blogger
- What is Social Media?
- Twitter as your Newsreader?
- Twitter — using it as one of my RSS feeds
- How I use twitter — Let me count the ways
- Twitter — Rules of Engagment
I also did a series of post called How to Use Twitter as a Lawyer, which really apply to anyone using twitter.
Facebook is the next social media I use in building and interacting with my community. Facebook has come a long way since it was first started on a college campus just a few short years ago. “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” However, for a business or professional service firm, Facebook can be a major networking tool for you to use.
Setup your profile and make sure you put a photo of yourself in that profile. Start to build you brand now on Facebook and network with people you know and get to know those you don’t. Facebook has tools to find people you know who are on Facebook. It will actually search your email address book to see if any of your contacts are on. And once you start following people on twitter, you will soon discover some of them are on Facebook too. Connect with your community on as many social networking tools as you can.
The best way to learn how to use Facebook is to just use it. Surf around the site once you set up your profile and see what all you can use to enhance your experience. There are also some very good blogging tools you can use on Facebook. I am certainly no expert of Facebook and all the ways one can use it. But there are some of them out there and Mari Smith is one of them. Visit her site and read everything she has there. It will be worth your time.
There are those however who feel Facebook is not the place for a professional or business owner to try to network. I am not one who feels that way. But, the next social networking tool is what I like to call the Facebook for professionals.
LInkedIn is being used by “over 30 million professionals to exchange information, ideas and opportunities. LinkedIn is one of the tools you have to use to build your online community.
When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Your profile helps you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you.
Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.
Through you LinkedIn network you can:
Building your online community is a key to building your blogs community. It is also a key to building a solid foundation for your blog even before you launch it. And I encourage you to continue to use the three social media tools mentioned above once your blog is launched.