Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Why you need to nurture your social presence

Last month I talked a bit about complementing your blog with a Facebook page, and some of the basics of setting one up.

I'm reluctant to talk about 'promoting your blog via social media' because I think that is a somewhat limiting mindset. Social media isn't 'just another marketing channel' as we hear so often. 

It's better to think of your social presence as being a part of your 'brand', whether that brand is your blog, your business or you yourself. Social tools enable us to expand our networks of contacts, listen to and learn from others, communicate one-to-one with people and allow people to get to know what your brand stands for. And yes, build our profile and audience.

What people (and organisations) don't always understand is that this happens if, and only if, you have something to offer that people find interesting, useful or entertaining, so much so that they share it with others in their networks. By approaching social as a promotional tool, it's tempting to post nothing but promotional, one-way messages and hope that they will magically get passed around the internet. Short term promotions and offers have their place, but they are just that - short term and unlikely to build you a rich, sustainable social presence.

Vita Sackville-West knew a thing or two about gardening. This is part of
her garden at Sissingshurst Castle in Kent. Photo by kevt747.
The benefits of building an online social presence are mainly long term and slow to accumulate. It's like planting and nurturing a garden. Anyone can go buy a bunch of bedding plants in flower, plant them in any patch of ground and have a lovely display for as long as the flowers last. But a gardener would take into consideration the soil type, orientation of the land, drainage, climate, shape and size of plants, flowering period, positioning and a hundred other things. A gardener would know (or learn) about watering, weeding, pruning, pest control and so on.

Your aim is to build a sustainable social presence and become a trusted member of your social networks. Once you're in this position you will worry a lot less about short-term attention grabbing and attach less importance to stats such as likes, followers and visits. Trust me!

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