Aug 3, 2012

Focus on your blog, don't promote the social media services

A few weeks ago we posted an article entitled "Forget Facebook; keep your fans to yourself!". The gist of the article is that by focusing too much on growing your Facebook fan presence at the expense of focusing on your own website and blog, that you're inserting an intermediary into your communications with your customers, fans, and supporters while doing so believing that you're in fact extending your outreach. This is becoming more of an issue as Facebook starts charging you to show your content to those same fans.

Our advice: grow your blog and website instead with the same content that you'd be posting to Facebook and connect with those same customers, fans and supporters directly through your site.

It's time to take a look at your Blog

Now take a quick look at your own blog; how much of the screen is dedicated to social media sharing buttons, links to others, become-a-fan boxes, toolbars, advertisements, etc.? Is more screen real estate dedicated to these buttons than to your own content? In trying to get more visibility, are you actually pushing your visitors away? Are you diluting your own brand by featuring the brands of so many others? Are you confusing your users, overwhelming your users, or even annoying your users with all of the widgets and social media connectors that you've installed in your website?

(read "Sweep the Sleaze" for a great opinion piece on the subject)

It's understandable, you want to get as much dissemination of your content as possible, and you're hoping that one person's "like" will inspire their friends to visit your page and share it, that a "pin" will get re-shared, that a "digg" will get voted to the top... let alone that everyone should follow you in all of those places and more.

But what is that doing for you, your brand, and the place where you actually generate content and perhaps earn advertising revenue? It's pushing them away.

Think about how you want your fans to connect

In creating our site and designing the layout, we thought long and hard about what we wanted in our site and what we felt deserved screen real estate. We also looked at the social sharing buttons that come with Blogger and decided we didn't need to add any.

We decided on Google+ (integrated plus good way to disseminate content within the Google-sphere, our biggest target via searches), RSS feeds, and email (using Google's FeedBurner). We also limited the social sharing buttons to only display on the individual post pages as a way of reducing them within the site (using "if" statements). Sure, people are going to share your content, but they'll do so from the post's page, or the smart ones will even go a step further and manually post your URL to those sites.

Why will they share it? Not because you've thrown every social media sharing functionality at them, but because you've converted them into real fans.