March 5, 2009
One of the most effective ways of increasing visibility online is via social media websites yet it is a tricky venture to say the least. There are hundreds of social media sites out there, each with a particular type of audience. Rather than joining every single social media site and submitting content as a freshly new member, consider lurking for a while, joining in discussions, and adding value to the community.
Would you jump into the middle of a group of people and start promoting your business in real life? Probably not and it’s the same way in social media yet newbies seem to think that it’s okay to do that. First search for social media sites that you think are a good fit. Become a member and start interacting with others. Comment and vote on other stories and study what type of stories tend to be popular on each site you visit. Try to be an active member of a social media community for at least a few months before attempting to submit your own content and making it viral.
Some great ways to approach developing social media-friendly content include writing compelling stories, interviewing an industry expert, sparking a debate, or sharing your own knowledge to help others. Then there are the numbered lists, which are pretty much popular in any social media crowd.
When it comes to writing about stories, consider personal experiences that are very telling or powerful in some other way. After all, who doesn’t love a story teller in real life? The same principle applies online. Storytelling is a powerful tool in writing for social media sites and beyond because it allows you to make comparisons, build imagery, and capture the attention of your readers.
If you are new, it may be hard to interview an expert in your industry but start with who you know. Go through your friends lists on networking sites or go through friend’s contacts to see who could provide an interesting an angle for an interview. You’d be surprised at how many people you are acquainted with that could provide great fodder for an interview.
If you yourself are an expert in your field, one of the best ways to promote yourself is by providing free information online. You can write informative blog posts or offer free reports that are very helpful to people in your niche. You’d be surprised at the number of prospects you could turn into customers and the leads you could generate by providing free, helpful information. Plus, this helps you establish yourself as an authority in your market and build a strong reputation.
If you love controversy and don’t mind getting some comments challenging you, consider sparking a debate with your content. Articles that counter popular opinions are very popular on social media sites. In fact, you could even counter the argument of an expert. The idea is not only to get attention but to get some interesting discussions going on within the social media community. These discussions tend to attract new users and help to build a stronger network and community. Best of all, the discussions are archived so people can go back to them at any time.
Additionally, make sure to write catchy headlines and that your stories deliver. You don’t want to have a great headline and then write a story that doesn’t meet your readers’ expectations. Remember to include great images to go along with your article as well and make references or quote external sources to give your article more credibility.
In sum, make sure to get to know the social media community where you plan on submitting an article and become an active member first. That way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t work in that particular community. With the right amount of observation and persistence, you’ll have wildly popular content on social media sites in no time.
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