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Traffic Driving Tip #3

Social NetworksSocial networks have exploded in the past few years to the point they are vital to most online successes. You’ve emailed your current clients and begun a commenting campaign on blogs in your niche, now it’s time to take your blog to the world for some real publicity. Before you get started, however, there are some things you should know.

Social networks are finicky outlets for building awareness of your blog. They can at times make your blog, and at others make you wonder why you bother at all. Understanding how and why social networks work is important, as is knowing the difference of each and how they can help your blog. Ultimately, you will get what you put into your social networking efforts. Simply submitting all your posts to every social network is likely going to work against you, but by encouraging your readers to support your efforts and writing quality content that is likely to satisfy the needs of your audience, your social networking efforts will bring some surprising traffic.

Why You Should Use Social Networks To Drive Traffic

Social networks are the current darling of the Internet, and from the traction sites like MySpace and Facebook have gained, they just may be around awhile. Either way, if you have a blog in 2007, you should definitely be putting their viral and networking properties to good use.

Sites like Digg, MySpace, Reddit, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, Sphinn and a multitude of others have shown time and time again their ability to explode a blog’s traffic and introduce them to a massive audience they weren’t previously privy to. Popular articles submitted to one of these sites can have profound effects on a blog, up to the point of actually crashing it and causing it to be inaccessible for hours at a time. Now that’s what I call traffic. So how do you go about getting some of that traffic yourself?

First thing you need to do is create a profile at each of the social networks you have an interest in. Once you have completed this, you are free to submit any article you choose, including your own though it’s not exactly best practices to do so. For starters though, submitting your own articles is fine. If your article gets acceptance in the social networking community, not only can you expect some great new traffic, but you can also expect your name to gain some valuable recognition. These twin benefits of free advertising and branding are very compelling reasons to start and maintain a social networking campaign for your small business blog.

Why You Need To Understand How Each Social Network Works

Every social network has its own style and topic preferences. For instance, Digg is a hugely popular site, but it’s far more geared towards technology, sports and politics than say relationships, small business or local issues. On the contrary, Reddit is far more likely to enjoy your article about marriage counseling or community building, and Sphinn, a newer entry to this category, is all about Internet marketing and SEO. If you are going to submit your own articles, remember where your post is most likely to gain popularity.

Networks like MySpace and Facebook are completely different from the others, and yet, completely different from each other. These two giants aren’t article submission sites, or social media, like the others. They are far more than that. They are an opportunity for you to build a community around your blog and have instant access to your user list at any time. Depending on your efforts, this can be of far more value. You can read about using MySpace to market your blog in an article I wrote for another of my blogs. As for Facebook, it definitely requires a little more work than the others, but the community there is of higher quality in most marketers minds, and can even give you access to new prospects, business partners and joint venture opportunities if used correctly.

Speaking of business networking, LinkedIn is an invaluable source for finding others interested in building up their business Rolodex. Even if you don’t have time to build up your social networking profiles, I’d highly suggest you give this one a serious look. You never know, but it’s quite possible you find the partner, associates and employees you’ve always been looking for here. Use your imagination and search for distributors, manufacturers and marketers among others, who would love for you to reach out to them.

Why You Need To Build Up Your Social Network Profiles

One major drawback of using social networks to market your blog or business is the sheer amount of time it takes to do it properly. As I’ve said, it’s fine for you to submit a few of your own articles, but eventually people in those communities are going to want to see what else you have offer other than spamming them with your own marketing. This can be done in two major ways.

First off, you should use these networks during all of your online endeavors. That means every time you see an article that interests you, you should “Stumble” it or add it to your del.icio.us bookmarks or in some way, share it with your new online networks. By building up your body of quality submitted content, you will build your reputation for being a valuable member of that network. That will translate into attention power, as others begin to listen to what you say on these sites. Of course getting to this point and talking about it are two different things, but by always considering your social networks when you run into some great content, you will slowly earn your way.

The other way is to build solid traffic numbers to your blog and then leveraging these visitors to support your writing. If your blog is worth a damn in your niche, chances are you will begin to gain some very protective and admiring readers. These readers, with or without coaxing on your part, are eager to help your blog and your articles gain attention. They are using your content to build their social network profile and why not? Each of these tactics will take some time to build up, but once you have established even a small presence on these sites, you will begin to notice their immediate effects once an article of yours is submitted.

Take your time and find the networks that will do the most good for your needs. If you are a clothing store in Anytown, USA, you probably won’t have a need for building up your profile on Digg unless it’s for fun. If you have a parenting blog like myself, a social media site like Babblz is more fitting. In my position as marketing director, I have to try and stay on top of each of them so I can help my clients take best advantage of the most relevant ones, otherwise, I’d probably only take the time to build up my Babblz and StumbleUpon profiles. Use your time wisely and understand which will work best for you and when.