If you run a blog, either for business or personal reasons, you may have tried all kinds of tactics to attract a larger readership. Perhaps you engaged in ad-sharing, listed with directories, or even set out to learn and engage in search engine optimization. You may have also tried advertising, commenting and guest posting on other blogs, keyword manipulation, giveaways, cross-promotions, and any number of strategies meant to spread your name and encourage readers to visit your blog. But if you haven’t yet tried using social networking as a way to bring in more traffic, you could be missing out on a major opportunity for potentially increasing your readership.
The real beauty of social media is that so many people utilize it. Just for example, Facebook alone is nearing the 1 billion user mark. And when you consider how many other outlets there are for social networking (from popular communication sites like Google+ and Twitter, to photo-blogging sites like Pinterest and Instagram, to location-based mapping sites for businesses like Foursquare) you can see how the scope of social media could provide you with nearly limitless opportunities to reach a vast audience. But for your purposes, the greater boon is that it is easy to connect to these people as a “friend”.
In fact, this is currently deemed to be one of the most important ways to spread a brand and attract new followers. Many mistakenly believe that the best way to reach potential readers is to hook up with social media users that have the most connections. But in fact, the prevailing thought these days is that you’re better off reaching out to users that tend to stick to a small, insular, and overall trusted group of people that they actually consider to be personal friends. The idea is that people who will friend anyone probably have little sway in the lives (and decisions) of their followers, whereas smaller groups tend to trust each other’s recommendations more. So if you can endear yourself to one such user, you may be able to attract the whole group based on the referral of a trusted source.
If your ultimate goal is to Get Shared via social networking and you don’t really care who does the sharing or who sees it, then receiving the approval of a user with tons and tons of friends may seem like the right choice. But this tactic will likely backfire and result in either a slew of visitors that quickly dries up as people realize they’re not actually interested in your subject matter (in other words, you won’t experience an influx of targeted traffic), or you’ll get no visitors at all in response to your efforts.
Although navigating the waters of social media effectively can be a time-consuming process that comes with a decided learning curve, the possible benefits inherent in the medium are undeniable and well worth pursuing for the blogger looking to increase traffic (for whatever reason). So take the time to learn the ins and outs of social media, keep up with your accounts, and stay up-to-date on hot new outlets. It could make the difference between your blog sinking and swimming.