How Does Your Blog Survive the Social Networking Craze?

The social networking websites are very popular these days. Business people as well as the general public are spending more and more time on them. Each person has limited time, and yet they are choosing to spend their time at websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Why? Because they are fun. You can interact in real time, voice your opinion, leave comments, vote on others’ comments,  help others get connected, share photos, get answers to your questions, answer questions, give and receive recommendations, and well… network!

Now let’s talk about your blog. How fun is it? Not meant to be fun because you are a serious business person? Well, look at what you have for competition. Imagine that a prospect in your target audience spends “fun” time at one of the social networking websites, and then decides to buckle down and “find that widget/business person” they’ve been meaning to purchase/connect with. Assume they do a Google search and one by one they click on the links presented to them on the first page. In any given category, they will probably search until they find 3 – 5 contenders.

What if your blog, instead of being just like all the others in your field, included components familiar to your prospect at the social networking websites? You would not only set yourself apart from the competition, but, also engage the prospect by simulating the “fun” aspect of the social networking websites – even if your topic is very serious. So now you’ve got the content of the blog to distinguish yourself as well as the participatory aspects of your blog.  The message you send by including social networking components in your blog is that you care about your clients/customers – and – that you know what is going on in the world; you are with it!

So how do you get there? Here’s some ideas for helping your blog thrive during the social networking craze.  

  1. Encourage communication
    • End your posts with a question soliciting input from your audience
    • Allow comments on your posts
    • Add a comment notifier like Subscribe to Comments by Mark Jaquith
        
  2. Encourage people to voice their opinions
    • Add a plugin/widget that allows you to create Polls. Search the WordPress Plugins for “polls” and “vote”.
    • Add a plugin/widget that allows readers to vote Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down on each post. Search the WordPress Plugins
    • Add plugins/widgets at the bottom of each post for your readers to be able to add the post to digg, del.icio.us, stubleupon, reddit
        
  3. Build Customer Loyalty
    • Add a Feedburner Chicklet  for “Subscribe” to my blog, and a Feedburner link for “Receive updates by E-mail”
    • Add a comment notifier like Subscribe to Comments by Mark Jaquith
    • Add plugins/widgets at the bottom of each post for your readers to be able to add the RSS feed to a reader so that their reader is automatically updated each time you post

Remember your goal is to remind visitors of the pleasant experiences they’ve had at the social networking websites. You do not want to junk up your blog nor add so many widgets that your message (posts) can’t be found. Choose the components that will engage your audience in a manner that is comfortable and managable for you.

Which plugins and widgets do you recommend in order to engage a target audience and build loyalty?

2 Responses to “How Does Your Blog Survive the Social Networking Craze?”

  1. Meg Guiseppi says:

    Some great information here on improving reader engagement on a blog.

    I frequently find that when I write about some fun off-topics on my blog, such as humor, cooking, gardening — things that I’m passionate about — people respond. They’re reminded of happy things. They like getting to know a little about my interests. Sometimes, these people become clients.

    Thanks for the advice on including social networking components on our blogs. Looks like I need to add some plugins/widgets at the end of my blog posts 😉

    -Meg

  2. Karen Callahan says:

    Meg –

    Thanks for another great idea for engaging your audience.

    And, oh yeah, don’t look at my blog…I’m waiting for a couple things to fall in place… then I’ll update the version and add the widgets. Until then, I’m at my clients’ beck and call!