The social web is a powerful place. It’s where people connect together, share interesting content, and trust each other.
If you’re promoting your creative work, building a brand, or establishing a profile, this is the best place for you to accomplish your goals. Unlike traditional one-way media, such as television and radio, the social web is a busy superhighway where people can decide where they want to go for their information.
Building your social following requires two things:
- Create social profiles in various places, such as networking and bookmarking communities, and interact with the community.
- Promote your social profiles.
Now it’s time to get creative and decide where you want to promote your social profiles.
Promote Your Social Profiles Strategically
While your social followings can be powerful assets to you in reaching your goals, and your first instinct might be to promote your social profiles prominently on your blog, you have to consider whether or not driving visitors away from your actual blog is worth it.
One one hand, you’re informing your visitors what else they can do to further connect with you, yet on the other, you’re cutting down their time on your blog considerably, which visitors need in order to be properly impressed.
For example, if a visitor were to swing by your blog and notice you’re on Facebook within the first few moments, you may decrease the chance of the visitor from subscribing to your newsletter or daily email updates.
I think the trick is to distribute your social links strategically.
Social Links In The Header
One of the most popular trends I’ve noticed involves promoting social profeils in the header of the blog. As one of the most visible area of a blog, the header is a sure-fire way to promote something … but I can’t help but wonder how this might actually be harmful on some level.
Sure, it may not sound harmful–after all, you’re building your social following,–but I can’t help but imagine that the crowd clicking to connect with you socially within the first few seconds being on your blog is more likely to lose interest and break their connection with you, whereas a visitor that actually read a post or two and checked out your about page will be connecting with you based on their well-informed decision to do so.
In essence, it’s “I might be interested in this blog” compared to “I’m really interested in this blog!”
One way you may be able to take advantage of the visibility of the header is to concentrate on building your social following in one area. For example, create a banner promoting the page on Facebook.
As of this writing, I’ve decided that the header of CreativeBlogger should be reserved for the logo alone. The starkness of the header helps brand the blog, and enables me to keep it simple and focus on the content.
Are you promoting your social profiles in your header?
The Sidebar Is More Than A Sidekick
Though the sidebar is often picked on for being cluttered with unnecessary widgets, shiny bells, loud whistles, and other stuff bloggers found in their junk drawer, it’s one of the most powerful tools in the blogger’s arsenal.
Like the header, the sidebar is visible on every page (depending on your layout and theme), which makes it one of the most visible areas on your blog. However, unlike the header, readers are less likely to skim over it as they would a header.
As you can see here, I’ve included only a couple things I’d like to promote.
The first thing I want to promote is the ability to subscribe via email, because email connection enables the blogger the most direct contact with the reader. Next, I’ve opted to include a modified version of a social widget created by Tentblogger, featuring snapshots of two social profiles I’m promoting along side the CreativeBlogger RSS feed.
Spotlight Your Social Profiles in the Content
Promoting social profiles within your content is another popular way to grow your following, however, you do have to decide where in the content is best for your blog. There are several parts to the content area to consider–here the three that come to mind:
- Post header
- Within the content
- Post footer
One method I’ve yet to try is to actually dedicate an entire post to the social profile you’re attempting to grow.
If you’re more reserved about promoting your social profiles on your blog, this might be one of the best options due to it’s concentration and limitation. Consider drawing up a post all about the benefits of following your social profile on Twitter, publishing it, and then letting your blog readers decide whether or not they’d like to further connect with you.
While this simplified version of social profile promotion may seem polite to your readers and easy on you, it’s most likely one of the least effective ways to grow your social profile following.
That said, if you’re planning on getting creative and trying something new, you may want to consider highlighting in addition to your daily social linking strategy.
Where Are Your Social Links?
Every blog is a little different. I’d love to learn where you’re promoting your social profiles, and furthermore, how things are going.
Is your social following growing?
cc image credit [Miguel - Reordenando esto un poco...]