05 February 2009

Blogging Tips : Use Niche Social Networking Sites to Gain Readers

Many bloggers attempt to use social networking sites to gain new readers for their blog. In this post Kevin Palmer of Social Media Answers shares some tips on how to do it.

One of the most undervalued places to find readers is a niche social networking site. Right now there are niche sites for just about every subject imaginable. Would you like to share your love of old cars? Not a problem. Want to connect to other mothers? There are tons of sites. Do you want to reach out to other people that pose as vampires? Believe it or not there is a site for you.

Here are some of the benefits of joining a niche social network:

You know other members share the same interests.

Instead of having to hunt through groups on larger sites or looking for people through keywords in their “about me” section you know right off the bat you share the same interests. Just by participating on the social network you are going to be connecting with people that may be interested in reading your blog. It is a targeted and focused environment for you.

Tip: Try spending 10-15 minutes a day just adding friends and interacting. Not only will people find your blog but also you will discover loads of others.

Smaller community but a larger voice.

Sure the pool is smaller compared to larger sites but you can be a big fish in a small pond quickly. You can quickly obtain an authoritative voice in a niche social network by listening, participating, and sharing.

Tip: Participate in forums or large groups to establish your voice and become a go to source of information. Sharing your knowledge and helping others out has lasting benefits.

Most of these sites link to your blog, pass on page rank, and bring a flow of traffic just from filling out your profile.

I have registered on over 700 social networking sites in the past few months and I was shocked to see the sheer number that pass on page rank when I link to my blog within my profile. Additionally by just setting up profiles and including my blog information I was getting a steady flow of traffic to my site even though I hadn’t “officially” launched yet.

Tip: Take time to actually fill out your profile. Have a document that already has your about me, favorites, and other typical topics you find on social networking sites ready to go so you can cut and paste your info from it.

Additional features like social news voting and forums are a great way to gain readers.

I found multiple sites ranging from sports to art that had their own social news section that was active. In testing a few of these out for a client I realized that the conversion from visitor to subscriber was high. Compared to traditional social news sites where it is very low.

Tip: The traffic from here can also lead to voting on traditional social news sites as well. Use these features to drive people to posts you really want to push on Digg, Reddit, or other sites. Make sure you embed buttons on the post to give them a cue.

Now don’t just run out there and register for every niche that might apply to your blog. There are a couple of things to watch out for:

  • Is the network active? Make sure you check out the forums or any place that shares content from other users that has a date. Check to see if there is a constant and recent flow, it is a good measuring stick to show you how active the site is.
  • What is the target country for the site? - If your site has a regional appeal you may want to check to see where the site is based out of and where the users are from.

I highly recommend picking out a site or two and experiment with it. Investing a little amount of time per day or even week can go a long way on these sites. On my blog I have a pretty comprehensive list of niche social networking sites, which is always evolving and growing, hope this helps as a starting out point.

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