I saw the most potential in Google+ so that is why I decided to spend the month of July talking about it on my blog. I wanted you to get to know Google+ and learn a little about how to use it. I followed up with a Google+ Blog Hop so that we could share our G+ pages with each other and help them grow.
I have to tell you, I was nervous and uncertain of how successful that blog hop would be. It was new and different than the other types of blog hops that had been previously seen around blogland. But, you surprised me. I was hoping for maybe 20 or 30 linkups to the blog hop....you gave me over 130! My fellow hosts and I are humbled and very grateful.
I have decided to continue to host a G+ blog hop on my blog, once a month. My plan is to have the hop occur on the first Saturday of every month. Due to the Labor Day holiday beginning in the first weekend of September, I have scheduled the September G+ blog hop to occur on Saturday, September 8th. There were a few problems reported with linking up to the August blog hop so I will address those (with soultions) before the Sept. 8th blog hop. I hope all of you will join me for this again.
Social media is a BIG part of the success of blogging. Knowing how to use it to grow your blog is what I want to talk about next. This applies to all social media sites, not just Google+. There are three things that you MUST do to successfully utilize social media.
In order to properly use social media to your advantage, you must know how to use it. Don't just stop at opening an account and setting up a profile. Research how to use it. What are "the rules" of the site? How do you post your blog's content on the site? What are some tips and tricks that you can use?
One of the best sources of this information can be found in the social media site's help section. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ have incredibly good help sections. Just about every question that you can have is answered there. If you have a specific question about how to do something, use the search box. All help pages have them. The answer to your questions are easy to find. YOU have to take time to read it.
Setting up your social media account is just the first step. Now you have to use it. And I don't mean just adding your blog's current post to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. You have to do more than that to engage your audience. Don't just sit back and wait for readers to come to you, you have to make them want to read your posts. You have to engage in conversation with others, ask questions and spark discussion. Don't just make it all about your blog! If readers find you interesting, they're more likely to find your blog interesting. For example, on Facebook, you could post a picture of something that you like (room decor, food, paint color, etc.) and ask others what they think of it. On Twitter, just ask a question....coke or pepsi? It's simple.
Another way is to comment on someone else's post. Try to make your social media presence known every day, even if it's only to say "hello" or to "like/+1" another person's post.
Build Your Influence
When it comes to "growing your blog", this is the most important aspect of social media. It's all about how you use social media. The more someone engages in some form of communication with you, the more influential you will appear on that social platform. With Google+, it's not how many people that you have in your circles, but how many people have you in their circles. On Twitter and Facebook, it's about how many followers you have, not how many people that you follow.
Have you heard the buzz about Klout yet? Don't know what Klout is? Not many people do but it is something to pay attention to if you want to grow your blog. Rumor has it (from the BlogHer conf.) that Klout is what "big brands" look at when considering a person or a blog for advertising.
Klout measures your online influence from social networks. This is a quote directly from the Klout website.
"Klout measures influence online using data from your social networks. Anywhere you have an online presence, you have the opportunity to influence people by creating or sharing content that inspires actions such as likes, retweets, comments and more. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Klout uses this information to provide you a Klout Score that measures your overall influence"
I'm still learning about Klout but I wanted to bring it to your attention. It's important...especially if you are a small business owner. It further emphasizes my point that you have to use social media in order to benefit from it. Your social media influence will not be increased if you only post your blog's information (i.e. posts, linky parties, giveaways, etc.). Start conversing and build relationships with other bloggers. Do something on all of your social networks every day. Remember this quote?: "If you build it, they will come". Sometimes you have to start a conversation to be a part of one.