I’m sure the topic of this post is confusing to many ShoutMeLoud readers, as we so frequently write about the benefits of social media marketing for bloggers. But today we are going to take a different approach and talk about bloggers who spend most of their time on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + or any other, not with a focus on marketing, but in ways that are a complete waste of time. And since time = money in business, this is a very poor practice which many people need to work hard to stop, or their success as bloggers or internet marketers will be doomed.
Social networking is an essential element for any blogger. It allows us to find like-minded people who are pursuing the same interests we are in other parts of the world. The benefits to this type of networking are endless.
But have you ever thought about the disadvantages of these social networking sites? Have you ever considered the amount of time you spend on Facebook.com in a single day, for instance? How much time do you spend reading people’s updates, commenting on them, liking and sharing them? Look seriously at these questions and ask them to yourself.
While I’m not implying that there is anything particularly “wrong” with using Facebook for your entertainment purposes, the amount of time people can waste doing this, and the number of far more important things (and people!) being ignored while your focus is on Facebook updates, deserves some serious consideration.
If you were to invest the same amount of time into the growth and development of your blog by making improvements, adding valuable content, improving usability, conducting research in your niche, etc., your time would be far better spent and your blog would benefit tremendously toward your ultimate success.
Have you ever considered treating your own blog like a social networking site — more like a social networking blog? Have you considered treating every post as a separate profile with people commenting there as friends who are interacting?
People sharing your content can be considered “Likes”, and people commenting on your posts can be considered similar to the comments we get on social networking sites. After all, blogging itself is a form of social networking.
Treat your blog like a social networking blog:
You might be blogging in an effort to make money, but the real fun is found when you actually engage people by offering them a community where they can share their views with people who share their interests. This is very easy to do when you are hosting a niche blog.
Facebook’s “Like” box, Twitter’s follows and any other blog’s subscription options, are ways to keep the community close and to leverage the power of popular social media sites.
At the end of the day, your goal is to offer an ultimate social networking experience to your readers.
I’m not suggesting that you completely give up enjoy your social networking sites for your entertainment purposes, but I am suggesting that you work hard to find a reasonable balance between your personal and professional use of social networking sites.
If you are using social networking sites for networking and blog promotion, you need to do it right. Making untargeted updates and commenting here and there is not going to help to establish you as a leader in your niche. Instead, you need to choose targeted social networking sites for your blog, and you need to post targeted content bringing conversation and networking to your blog.
Let’s have a look at how we might create a “social networking blog” within our blog:
Social networking can exist on your blog
Social networking is all about making new friends, sharing your views and discussing topics of similar interest. When you have a blog, you are connecting to readers with similar interests, and these readers can turn into friends. They may be people from different parts of the globe waiting for your next blog post. One day Samantha from Australia, Lee from China, Andrew from the US and James from the UK are reading your post and commenting on your blog simultaneously! Is this not meaningful social networking? I believe it is.
Commenting is one of the powerful aspects of a blog, and is one way in which a blog separates itself from a static website. As bloggers, we should try to reply to all meaningful comments either by welcoming the commenter to your community or by answering a question posed. I can’t overstate the importance of this idea. Ask yourself how you feel when you write a comment on a blog, and you get a reply from the author.
Share views and updates
Have a look at your Facebook timeline, and notice which types of status updates are creating the most buzz and conversation.
Now transfer this idea to your blog. Instead of asking a question like “Why do you blog?”, how about if you create a post on the most common reasons why people blog, and then ask questions when you post the link.
This will not only give new insight to your readers, but will also bring about interaction in the form of comments.
Additional source of income
As we have discussed many times, blogging can be an additional source of income for some bloggers. You can post ads and earn money from them, or use affiliate marketing to promote various products, something you cannot do well on social networking sites. So if James, your reader from the U.S. gets a great deal on Ebay while he’s in the process of reading and commenting on your blog, he saves a few bucks, and you earn a few bucks. This is a win-win situation for both of you, yes?
Every day is day to learn
Sit for an entire day in front of your social networking sites, and then sit for a day in front of WordPress or BlogSpot blogs and compare what you gained as an individual during those days. Typically, you learn new information from blogs and you also experience the perspectives of others. Rather than simply hitting the “Like” button, you may engage in meaningful communication, education and networking on a blog.
Everyone is listening
In social networking you lose access to updates unless you are online 24*7. Have you ever visited your friend’s profile/timeline to see what he said three days ago?
On the other hand, blogging is timeless. And if you are doing it right, and your content is evergreen, you will be getting endless traffic from search engines for the long haul. Also, unlike social updates, you can edit your old blog posts and update them with current information.
Versatile medium of communication
You can communicate with your fellow bloggers and with your readers via writing, audio clip or video blogging. In these ways you add variation to your content, and target users who like to consume their content via images, video or simple text.
Experimenting every day with looks
Many users become frustrated when their favorite social sites change their appearance or user features. In blogging, you can listen to your readers and make changes accordingly.
Privacy with democracy
In blogging the reader is able to enhance his experience by writing valuable comments in response to the writer’s post, which not only adds to the writer’s post but also drives traffic to the commenter’s website. At the same time, anyone can comment anonymously on a post ensuring his own privacy. The comment, of course, is under the moderation of the blogger. But as long as a comment adds value and is appropriate, it is likely to be accepted and published. This allows for the privacy of the person posting the comment.
From this perspective, the ability to voice thoughts and opinions freely is more prominent in blogging as compared to social networking. On social sites anyone can see your basic details as well as those of your friends, including profile picture, address, details of the profile, etc. Freedom of speech can also have a downside on public sites, of course, and this is one of the foremost reasons why people are more frequently adopting the Facebook commenting system and Disqus on their blogs.
Option to write for Others
Finally, guest blogging is a wonderful feature of blogging which is not found on social networking sites. One can have his own blog or website but also be a guest blogger on other sites. One cannot, on the other hand, update the status of a friend’s Facebook page or tweet from a friend’s profile. This is a major and obvious difference between blogs and social networking sites.
Indeed, I am able to write for this site without comprising the individuality of my own site.
Do you also believe that bloggers should not waste time on social networking sites and instead invest their more productively by focusing on blogging and making their sites the best they can be?