Social networks such as Facebook and Google Plus are the go to places in the modern day internet to find a crowd of people that share your own opinions, likes, dislikes and interests.
They are also an extremely effective marketing tool for your website, if used correctly.
I am going to outline some of the core social networks and ways in which you can leverage them to promote your site, as well as touch upon the different tools and plugins you can use to make your life easier.
Of course I won’t be talking about every network out there, as there are a lot of them, just the core ones.
With any social network, it isn’t about sending out your links and hoping, it is about actively becoming part of the community or sub-community on their and relating with people.
Not the oldest social media site out there, but certainly the biggest numbering over a billion (1,000,000,000) registered users though exactly how many are active is anyone’s guess.
Most people want to market their site on Facebook, but in some ways it isn’t the easiest place to start, as usually you would be sharing your posts with friends and family rather than a specific target audience.
Making use of Facebook pages, and Facebook advertisements (the adverts do cost money) is essential to reaching a broader network and not just spamming your Gran with posts from your site.
A micro blogging platform, Twitter has grown huge thanks to its unique short messages. Not a place to post long stories, but brilliant for passing out links and getting them shared.
Using Twitter to market means you need to have a clear game plan with what you are trying to do. Although there are hashtags that allow you to tag your message to give it some focus, without a game plan to schedule tweets, your messages can easily become lost in the fast flowing river of tweets that are sent out every second (on average around 9000 tweets per second – source).
Gaining a following of people interested in your subject matter and being consistent with your tweets is one of the ways to success with Twitter.
One of the newcomers to the social media networks, Google Plus has rapidly expanded to become the second most used platform after Facebook, and with really good reason.
Its structured in such a way that you can easily have multiple social networks (circles) and both listen to them and talk to them without them ever crossing over (unless you want that of course).
Now with Pages, it is very easy to set up a website account there, though often it is more advisable to be a person there, rather than a faceless organisation, it will help you connect more with that particular community.
In regards to communities, Google Plus has lots of them, pretty much whatever your subject is there will be a community for it, and if not you can create one! Just be aware that most of the communities have strict rules over posting content especially in regards to affiliate links and promoting less than quality content, so be aware, you don’t want to ruin your reputation!
Google Plus also uses hashtags, similar to Twitter with which you mark your content to be found.
If your website is in a visual niche such as food, art & design or anything really that makes use of bold and interesting images, consider Pinterest as your social network of choice.
As the main way of browsing the site is via images (called pins), so it is paramount that you use good and relevant images to link to your articles. I find the more memorable the image the more it will get shared.
Consider your audience as well; Pinterest is made up of roughly a 70% female user base, so your motorcycle engine photos % articles might be better suited elsewhere.
Tutorial, DIY and recipe “pins” tend to have a much higher click through rate than any other type.
The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet”, Reddit is a peer vetted social news network. If your content is well received it is voted up and appears higher up in the content.
Reddit has a weird set up in that there is a strong sense of community but there is a philosophy that almost anything (within some reason) goes. However, as always if your content is quality and interesting then it will do well here.
More of a business networking site than social networking, it still tends to get thrown into the same pot as Facebook et al.
LinkedIn also isn’t the easiest of sites to navigate and find companies and individuals and because of features like this, using the network to drive traffic to your site is not as intuitive or as easy as Google Plus.
One of the best ways is to join or create groups, and market directly there, but as always spam and poor quality will quickly ruin your reputation.
Whether you are posting to one social network or several, it is always worthwhile to try and automate the process as much as possible.
Using the following tools can help with that:
Originally used for receiving tweets, Hootsuite can also be used to schedule tweets, with the pro version you can schedule hundreds at a time, allowing you to space the content out or to target an audience that isn’t in your time zone without staying up until the early hours.
Hootsuite also allows you to use other social networks such as Facebook and Google Plus in its software, so even if you can’t automate, you still have the ability to post to several networks with ease.
IFTTT allows you to do all sorts of crazy things automatically. As WordPress puts all the posts in an RSS feed, it makes it really easily to take that data and post it to places like Facebook.
Google Plus is an exception, it’s really hard to automate content there.
An alternative to IFTTT is Zapier.
Whichever network you choose, whatever software you select to help you, you cannot be ignoring social media networks, and the reach they have. Still, I wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in one basket, I would recommend only using social media as part of the way you drive traffic to your site.