Help! How Do I Get My Blog + Brand Noticed Online?
Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to getting people to perk up and take notice of you online?
Do you wonder, “How do I get more people to like my social media posts or even visit my website? It seems like I’m trying everything and no one is listening!”
At my office hours last week, I had A LOT of people come to me with this problem.
They all wanted to know how they could present their online marketing so that it was attractive. Appealing. Effective.
I decided to tweak and expand my advice to them in today’s post, because I feel it’s a good foundation to start building a stronger digital strategy.
In the weeks to come I’ll be covering the different social media networks in more depth so you’ll understand exactly how to stand out and look your best on each one.
(There may even be videos! Eeee!)
But to begin, we need to start at the beginning:
LET GO OF THE IMPERSONAL BUSINESS-AS-USUAL MENTALITY
One of the biggest things preventing people from growing their business effectively online is treating social media as a sterile, personality-free soapbox or sales kiosk.
Think for a moment about what makes you click “like” — or even go as far as to leave a comment! — when you get on your own personal social media accounts.
Do you like to see dry status updates about grants or acquisitions or donors?
Do you like hearing (again…and again…) about the latest and greatest sales or giveaways or contests?
Do you like only reading about a business’s hours, class times, daily specials, ______?
You may interact with that kind of post once, but if you see them over and over, what happens? Of course: you scroll on!
That’s because there’s nothing there to involve you, intrigue you, inspire you, teach you, or help you.
99% of the time you’re being talked at, not being talked to.
So when it comes to your own business-oriented social media presence, alwaysalwaysalways think first about the real people behind the screens.
How you can relate to them on a HUMAN level?
If you’re not receiving much feedback on your posts, I want you to take a good hard look at what you post on a regular basis.
My guess is that you’ve probably made it a pattern to only share info directly about your business: your latest blog post, your big sale, your lesson times, your e-course, your book, your shoots…
Go on. Look for yourself. (Seriously!)
Done? Okay. If I was right, I give you permission right now to break away from that.
It’s not working for you!
“Well Erika, what do you suggest I do instead?! If I’m not outright promoting my business, what DO I do?”
I’m so glad you asked, because I was just itching to float some ideas by you. 😉
(Note: I’ve indicated those platforms which are best suited to each thought with the abbreviations inside the brackets.)
FB = Facebook
T = Twitter
I = Instagram
P = Pinterest
LI = LinkedIn
1. Show off more casual, impromptu photos of you and/or your employees [FB/T/I]
2. Snap a shot of your desk/office/window view/bookcase/equipment/… [FB/T/I/P]
3. Ask your fans a friendly question [FB/T/I/LI]
4. Give glimpses of your in-progress projects and creations [FB/T/I/P]
5. Post some graphics of your favorite quotes (they should align with your brand) [FB/T/I/P/LI]
6. Give an opinion on a popular story currently happening in your industry [FB/T/LI]
7. Ask your followers to help you make your business decisions on: product development, blog post topics, e-course subjects, website graphics, etc. [FB/T/I/maybe LI]
8. Let people see what you’re eating/drinking at work or during your “off hours” [FB/T/I]
9. Share the sights around your town or on your travels [FB/T/I]
10. Draw attention to others’ pages by sharing their content, expressing gratitude, or giving them praise [FB/T/I/P/LI]
11. Draw inspiration from the popular Humans of New York route and show off snapshots + interesting quotes of the people you’re working with (you could do this with your clients & customers, your colleagues, and/or your employees) [FB/I]
At worst you try one of these posts and it flops. But I promise you: that’s OKAY.
Learning what your audience likes online is a lot like conducting a science experiment. It usually takes a ridiculous number of failures to finally discover a winning strategy.
The key? Always aim to show people a genuine human face.
In the end that’s the only way you’ll be able to reach and delight people long-term.
SUPPLY ORIGINAL CONTENT THAT’S INCREDIBLY USEFUL
This next point deals with getting people to your website.
This is your BIG goal with online marketing, friends, as it’s there where people can fully immerse themselves in your content, study your services/products, and eventually do business with you.
So, how do you get people to visit it, notice it, LOVE it?
Two golden words: valuable content.
Many businesses are starting to try their hand in this by way of a blog, which is super smart.
But the problem is that if the content isn’t useful to the point where others are:
A) learning something they really want to know, and B) wanting to pass it around to more people who may be your ideal clients
…you’re not helping yourself get noticed, help more people, and make a profit.
(And let’s be clear: those things are WHY we’re online to begin with, right? If they’re not, we’re expending a scary amount of effort, time, and money on something that could be better spent elsewhere.)
So how do you make your content valuable so people sit up and take notice? It’s not hard, but it does take thought. Let’s start here:
1. What do your customers care about?
2. What problems do they need solved that YOU can help them with?
As an example, if you’re trying to attract interest in your handmade clothing or jewelry, what kind of information might be relevant to the kind of person who buys your products?
Would they appreciate style and fashion tips? Or maybe they are rugged outdoor enthusiasts – in which would they love to know how to clean their jewelry after they take a spill into a muddy trail puddle? Or how best to clean their handmade clothes when they’re on an extended fishing trip?
If you’re a photographer, would your people want tips on how to keep the kids happy and engaged during photo shoots, what clothing looks best on what body types, how to apply makeup so they’ll look good on camera, or when is the best time in a woman’s pregnancy to take maternity photos?
Or if you’re a residential real estate agent, what practical guidance do people who are buying or selling a house want to know? Maybe it’s advice on choosing a realtor, tricks to getting homes sold faster or for full price, or whether there are dangers to buying a foreclosed home.
The last part of this equation is that the information you put out there MUST be geared toward making it easily read and easily shared.
Because if it’s great advice but it’s difficult to read (ie: never ending paragraphs, lack of clear direction), devoid of good graphics, and there’s no sharing buttons…guess what?
Yep, it won’t get passed on. And that’s sad. (Truly.)
So after you write your epic blog posts, go back and break up paragraphs, do some thoughtful editing, find one interesting (legal) photo or make one good graphic, and be sure you’ve installed a sharing plugin.
I think you’ll be wowed at the difference just those minor things can make in helping you get noticed online.
(Tip: If you need help with DYI’ing slick graphics, I highly recommend using Canva and scouring the free photo sites I listed on this post about avoiding copyright infringement with your website images.)
GET INVOLVED IN ONLINE COMMUNITIES AND BUILD REAL RELATIONSHIPS
This last point is the most important one of them all.
I see a lot of well-meaning people who think that if they just post links on Twitter and keep a blog, they’ll be the next Marie Forleo.
While I’ll be the first to say it’s a grand dream, I also need to say this: it’s not a realistic one, girlfriend.
Very, very few people can start something and create buzz without making a sincere, ongoing effort to collaborate and gather with others. (Nope, not even Marie.)
Personal contact is what you need to create business magic. (Tweet it!)
It’s how you start getting people’s attention.
If you’re struggling with reaching people online, the best thing you can do right now to advance your business is get out there and start mingling with others.
(As always, I’m here to help with ideas! But I’d love to hear YOURS in the comments.)
1. Join a few Facebook/Google+/LinkedIn groups (with both people related to your industry and people who are your ideal customers)
These are where the conversations get more intimate and relevant. If you don’t know which groups to join, find out where your current connections and mentors are congregating and go from there. To get started, check out this list of Facebook Groups for women bloggers, creatives, and small business owners.
2. Participate in free challenges going on in the blogosphere (like my popular Brand Impressions Detox!) whenever you can find them
Just be sure you can take the time to be fully involved or you won’t get much out of it.
3. Comment, comment, comment on other blogs and their corresponding social media accounts
Many people make the mistake of only associating with blogs that focus on the same things as they do. There’s nothing inherently bad about that, but it’s a much more competitive + crowded space. Find your own ocean by expanding your presence to complementary blogs that have an audience of people who you want to reach.
4. Participate in Twitter chats
They’re ridiculously fun, you’ll learn a ton along the way, and you’ll gain business colleagues, fans, and followers nearly every time. One that I really like (but frequently miss - darn it!) is Mack Collier’s #blogchat on Sunday evenings. This Twitter chat list curated by Kayla Hollatz is also insanely helpful if you’re a creative.
5. Be active on a forum where your clients are located
For instance, if you’re a midwife, doula, or childbirth educator, seek out forums that specifically involve people from your area (such as the local boards on Mothering.com or WhatToExpect.com) and offer your assistance when appropriate.
AND NEVER, EVER…
Now, before we wrap up, I want to give you a quick heads-up to 5 things that are deadly to your engagement. Do the above, avoid these, and you’ll be on pretty solid ground:
Too much sharing gets obnoxious, fast. People will either tune you out, mute you, or unfollow you. (What defines ‘overposting’ on each social platform varies, but generally don’t post more than 2-3x/day on Facebook and don’t automagically tweet something every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day on Twitter.)
If you’re only posting something once every two weeks on your primary social media account, you can’t keep people’s interest. It’s hard to interact with someone who is never actually around.
3. Complain & Whine
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you use your business accounts to make whiny, self-righteous, irate, and/or Debbie Downer statements, your followers and current clients will want nothing to do with you. Depending on the remark, it could also single-handedly destroy your business.
4. Slam Your Competition
You know how people get sick and tired of negative political ads? The same principle applies to business. It’s distasteful to attack, belittle, and discredit another just to make a buck. If you do it, expect to turn a lot of people off. Permanently.
5. Put On A Show
Just like the cleaning product salesman who knocks on doors and then proceeds to go through a rehearsed song and dance demonstration, putting on a plastic persona and giving out things like “free webinars” only right before you want to sell something makes most people grow cynical and detached. :p Dehumanize yourself like that and don’t be surprised when people cease being interested.
Do you have anything to add to this post to make it more helpful to others? If so, we’d love to hear your great ideas below!
And, as always, a huge THANK YOU to you all for reading. If you think it would help someone else, please go ahead and share it!
Main blog image (c) Africa Studio (fotolia)
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