Last weekend, I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Chicago, hosted by the SITS girls. It was a great one day conference packed with lots of info to get you going and remind you of what you should be doing. I have notes from several sessions I attended, and I’m happy to share them with you. They aren’t edited, as this is essentially live blogged, just … not posted right away!
Francesca Balducci (@SITSgirls) hosted the discussion on how to use Twitter, Facebook and SEO to build your audience.
How do you jump into a conversation? You just dive in. It’s like when you meet someone in a grocery store, saying hello and starting a conversation. It’s not always about you. It could be asking people how they’re doing, what’s going on with their blog. If you remember that about social media, you will grow your network quickly, much more so than if you get on and say you’re bored or talk about your bad day. People like upbeat and funny they like to be entertained. Give people a reason to talk to you. Make them interested in who they are, but give them an outlet too, a way to share what’s going on.
How often do you engage?
She does not get on every day, but she can’t. If you’re there daily or weekly, that’s fine. You can get on at midnight and talk to anybody. Make your social media work for you. You can get on every two days or once a week. If a day goes by and you aren’t online, that’s ok. They’ll be there when you get back.
Follow me and I’ll follow you
That’s one way to get people interested in you. Ensure your twitter stream is active . Give them a good bio. The avatars are important. If it matches who you are in real life, it gives them a personal connection. It it’s a logo or something that connects to your blog, that’s fine. If you change your personal avatar a lot that’s confusing to people and they may not tweet you back immediately.
If every other tweet is a link, no one is clicking over. 9:1 – for every link you put out there in the space, have 9 conversations. If you have an ad or a branded tweet, make sure there’s plenty of other conversation outside that. If you are doing a giveaway, that’s fine to promote it, but you don’t want to annoy people. If you are reading blogs and finding things you like, it’s perfectly ok to provide your recommendation with a link – the personal recommendation with your approval is different from simply tweeting link after link. It’s far less irritating. (Personally, don’t get me started on the Triberr issue and how I’ve started unfollowing people who tweet too many other links.)
If you’re going to follow someone, check to see how many followers they have. If they have 30,000 they’re following and they follow 10, there’s probably a reason. Don’t be the person who follows them because you’ll regret it most likely.
Twitcleaner – manageflitter tells you the inactive users who haven’t tweeted in awhile, it tells you people who are verified or have a lot of followers so you can not unfollow them. Both programs are free. They’re reports that you run on your account, and it sends a DM to you when it’s ready, and you can manage it then.
You want to keep a good ratio of how many you follow versus how many follow you. You don’t want to follow thousands and thousands of people and have two hundred followers. She subscribes to the philosophy of not one for one. If you’re a brand or somewhat spammy, you may not get a follow, but they’ll see how the conversation goes, maybe 70% of the people she follows who follow them. Don’t get too obsessed with them.
Management tools – you can always get on the web and use twitter.com. It’s easy enough but it is difficult to watch hashtags and see your DMs and everything in one neat screen. hoot suite, tweet deck, Seismic, echo fan, etc – are all tools used to make it easier to follow various streams and lists on twitter. You can look at anyone who is @ing you in one column, the #bbcchi in another column, your DMs in a column, etc and watch them all at the same time.
In 2010 there were 106 million users on Twitter and 500 million users on Facebook. Be a listener and a reader first, then start to build your following.
You can tag someone’s Facebook page: @XYZ which works great for a giveaway. SITS is doing an Epiphanie giveaway right now…
Share someone’s blog post on your Facebook page. Promote guest posts. Tell your readers about a company or product that you’ve discovered. Ask your readers for advice.
Comment as your Facebook fan page. It’s an option on your right hand side of your screen. Your personal profile won’t show up on Facebook so you comment as a brand that you’re building. On popular type posts on Facebook, this is another way to get your face out there.
Once you have multiple tabs, you can edit them and then drag the apps higher or lower so that they are organized how you want. Install the Static HTML: iframe tabs which will let you then create designs and elements in your settings. You can then have them navigate to a different default landing page.
If you want to do a reveal page, you can use other code for the non fan part so they see a different page, and once they click like, it will automatically go to the fan page so they feel like they received something, just for the fact that they liked you. Even a changing screen is an acknowledgement and thanks that they appreciate you.
Think about what makes you special and why they should like you. Find something that they can use and give it to them, whether it’s you being funny or a quick ebook or something else entirely. And then tell them in your welcome page.
SEO stands for Search engine optimization. This works well if you are able to create a niche. IT will work on a general blog if you spend the time to really work on a post about how make butternut squash soup that is written well and has images, it can rank well.
The practice of making essentially anything on the web search engine friendly and well-ranked by search engines. It’s a writing mat hod, just like newspapers, magazines, and books utilize different writing styles, so does the web.
SITS has a post about how to make a DIY bathroom mirror that is one of their top three search hits.
Once you perform well in search engines, you can grow your traffic, gain readers, grow, monetize.
If you have a domain name that is xxx.blogspot.com you don’t own it. Blogger does. You can drive SEO around certain posts. Creating your own domain name is a more professional appearance, makes your URL easier to remember, helps with your branding, no one can steal your hard work or ideas because it’s your domain. As you grow your site, you can grow your domain with you. If people search for Las Vegas and you own lasvegas.thesitsgirls.com, you can forward them to the SITS site. Once they have the Las Vegas, they will create sub pages. You can do the same thing for recipes or something parent related that isn’t searched TOO often but is a good term, you will rank highly (e.g., biracial parenting – attendee example) and do the same thing.
Look at your blog categories to manage SEO. When you tag your posts, have something searchable – strange things won’t be searched and found. When you focus on key words, google finds you more easily. When you use the key words in your title, in the first paragraph (up to several times), in the categories and the tags, you’ll rank well. Find something internet friendly for your categories.
When you are building SEO on your site, look for 10 to 12 key words that define your brand and who you are in this space. Look for things that you write on frequently – if you write one or four posts on something in a year, don’t try to rank in this because you won’t.
Length matters in post titles. If you can say it in five words, don’t say it in fifteen. It’s good for Google and your readers. People know what to expect. Also, google doesn’t have a sense of humor, so go for the straightforward titles and not cutesy ones. You can be creative in your posts.
Use keywords from google to help your SEO. Don’t do it for every post, but the ones that you feel are SEO worthy. adwords.google.com – you want to find terms that have been searched 100,000 to 500,000 times locally. You can enter words or phrases and google will show you how competitive the term is in the space (if it’s mentioned 10 times or 10,000,000 times – really hard to compete with the ones where you’re competing amongst so many). You want the green box to be hardly filled or less than half filled because it’s something that’s manageable and you can show up organically where people aren’t necessarily buying front page from google – or less likely. Then look at the local monthly searches and find where you want to use. Different people have different statistics, but this works for SITS. Don’t look for terms that aren’t being searched at all – if they’re under 1,000, it may not be worth your time.
You want this in your first paragraph, so long as it fits organically. You also use this in your tags of images. Every picture you include in the post should have this keyword. The alt term for the images can be some of the other keywords from the search. You also want to put them in your categories and tags. Your title is another good place if it fits.
yoast is a great plug in where it lives in your site to spit back suggestions for you on your keywords rather than going to adwords each time. It’s a good way to consolidate what you’re doing in one plug in. You don’t have to flip between screens, and it will count the number of times the term is appearing in the post, as well. Maybe you can then rework the post so the term appears more often – organically though, don’t keyword stuff.
Don’t be afraid to get more technical over time. Optimize URLs to reflect your key words. Claim your blog – get access to information google has on your site. Add your site to google web masters at http://google.com/webmasters – there are also tools for Yahoo and Bing to do the same thing. Meta descriptions – adding a brief and unique description to the code of each page on your blog will help search engines navigate your site. Name each pictures to add keywords to your images instead of the long numbers title that your camera assigns.
What other tips do you have to build your audience?
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