How bloggers should use Facebook to increase readersby BlogSkinny Staff on 12/06/10
Social media is still a mystery to many
So the big question you may be thinking is: How should I be using social media in my blogging. With Facebook again getting huge play on 60 Minutes last night, this is a great time to revisit the role social media has in your blog. And to be clear, there is one.
Great blogging requires an honest presence
I've talked many times about the importance of your personal involvement in your blog. Bloggers who try to remain anonymous have a very very difficult time gaining traction. Why? We know the answers to this. The Internet is already massively anonymous. The natural human condition is not to trust things that are unknown. So as you interact with an anonymous blog you will just not feel as connected to it as you would a blog that has a strong personal presence. Think about it and watch you own behavior:
Ever wonder why so many websites have pictures of people on them?
The pictures are no coincidence. People are trying very hard to help you identify and, ultimately, trust them. Trust breeds engagement and this means a visitor will stay on their website, identify better with what the blogger is saying and potentially return. Back on point, what is the role social media can play in your blogging? For starters, it goes a long way toward making your blog less anonymous and more highly trusted. Social media networks, as their name implies, allow people to affiliate and trust online. I will resist going deeply into the psychology of it all. Just walk away with this:
Facebook = Trust
So.. Let's put the pieces together. As a blogger, one of your biggest challenges is trust and affiliation with your visitors. You know your blog readers are looking for something and you certainly have something to say. Facebook (and other social media outlets) represent groups of trusted affiliations. These are almost stamps of approval. Poof! You can see why social media, when used correctly, can be a huge aid to bloggers. This is why you see most of the successful bloggers with strong ties to their facebook profiles prominently displayed. I have chosen not to do that for one very specific reason. I like to keep Facebook as a personal friend space and my blog is a business. But others view it differently, and that's fine. Additionally, there are other ways to use Facebook while keeping your profile independent. Facebook pages are one way to do this.
Conclusions and a caution
So the practical steps are that you should have a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account. As much as you are comfortable with, they should cross-reference each other. As people float between your blog, Facebook and Twitter, they will see consistency in your online presence. This creates trust and affiliation, two things you very much want. But one word of caution: As great as these social media outlets are for forming relationships, you must be VERY mindful not to be overly commercial. The backlash against overly commercial activity in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube seems to be much stronger than on the Internet in general. I believe this is appropriate for the very reasons I've been discussing. These spaces have emerged as trusted, which carries with it an implicit social contract for use. Violate that unspoken social contract at your own risk.