Last Updated June 11th, 2018

Which Social Media Sites Should You Be Marketing On?

Which Social Media Sites Should You Be Marketing On?

There are a lot of social media websites out there. You could spend hours each day on marketing on them, but which social media sites will give you the best results?

That depends on you and your target market.

Social media websites will rarely do you any good at all if you don’t put some effort into it. If you just sign up and drop your link in, you probably aren’t going to see much benefit from any of them. Occasionally,  a business will have some success on a social media site they weren’t even trying for because visitors keep sharing them, but that’s an exception, not the rule.

Which Social Media Sites Have The Right Demographics?

Every social media site attracts a somewhat different demographic, and this is what you need to look at as you figure out which social media sites to use. I’ve pulled some demographic information from Pew Research Center to get you started, but you may decide to look deeper.

To make the most of this information, of course, you need to know what your target market is. How old are they? What gender? What are their interests?

social media sites

YouTube

YouTube is huge. You may think of it as a video sharing site, but it has its social media side too. 73% of American adults use YouTube. 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds use it, making it a great option if you’re seeking a younger audience.

In other words, video is huge. If you can add video to your marketing mix, you have the chance to reach a lot of people.

Facebook

Facebook is the other big one. 68% of American adults use Facebook. It’s widely used by most demographics, although people are frustrated with Facebook’s privacy issues.

Snapchat

If you’re looking at a younger audience, 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat. That’s a lot. Snapchat offers ways for businesses to advertise on their platform. Snapchat can be extremely effective for advertisers, offering twice the visual attention of Facebook, beating out Instagram and YouTube as well.

You can use Snapchat to build your business free as well, of course. You have to understand the limitations of the platform and tell interesting stories to attract followers.

Twitter

Twitter attracts only 24% of American adults but jumps up to 45% of 18- to 24-year-olds. They increased the maximum tweet length to 280 characters a while ago, which is a huge help to marketers.

Pinterest

Many bloggers love Pinterest. The visual style is highly appealing, and for the right business, the demographics are great. It only gets 29% of American adults overall, but 41% of women. Pinterest is particularly popular for crafting and recipe websites, but many other niches do well there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great choice if you’re targeting college graduates in a professional capacity. 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, but only 9% with a high school diploma or less. LinkedIn is very much focused on professional networking, so it’s probably not a good choice if your business doesn’t relate to that. B2B can do well on LinkedIn.

Instagram

Instagram presents special challenges to marketers, as you cannot put live links in your updates. You can have one in your profile, but that’s it. Still, Instagram attracts 35% of American adults and 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds. Some marketers do very well with Instagram.

You can view more details of the demographics from the Pew report through this link.

Where’s Your Target Market?

Demographic information is only helpful if you know enough about your target demographics. They aren’t always what you think they are.

If you know your competition, you can take a bit of a shortcut and see which social media sites they’re having success with. Take a look at their social media buttons. Many sites show how many shares they’ve received on individual posts and pages as a form of social proof.  This can help you decide where you want to focus your efforts as well.

Visit their social media pages as well, especially for social media sites such as Instagram, where you can’t otherwise see how well they’re doing.

Using this data from your competition is not the only thing you should do, of course. It’s just a starting place. You can experiment with other social media. You might find a place to focus where your competition is not.

Seek out references to your best keywords on the different social media sites. Don’t do this by just typing your keywords into a search box. Learn how to use hashtags to search them and see how often your keywords are used that way. Take a look at the content you find this way and the accounts it’s attached to. This can give you both inspiration and people to follow on those sites.

How Do You Use Social Media?

How you use a particular social media site depends on which one you’re using. What works well for one may not be the best way to build a network on another.

How often you should post on which social media sites varies tremendously. Some do poorly if you post more than once or twice a day, while others need frequent posts if you’re to do well at all. I’ve pulled data from this Coschedule post on how often to share on social media. I also looked at when social media users are most active through SproutSocial. The best times may vary somewhat by niche as well as by social media site. Don’t forget to consider the time zones of your target market when posting.

dream big

On any social media site, being overly promotional is not a good idea. People aren’t there to have things sold to them. They’re networking because they enjoy it, to build their own business, to get good information, that kind of thing. If you do nothing but say “buy, buy, buy,” they’ll unfriend you as fast as they can.

Instead, give quality information to bring people to you. If you sound like an expert and they need what you have to offer, they’ll decide to do business with you.

One thing that is valued by most social media sites is consistency. Don’t keep changing your post frequency. Your fans and followers will come to expect a certain number of posts per day from you, even if it’s more than the usual for that platform.

Most social media platforms love hashtags. They help people find your content. Even Pinterest likes hashtags now.

While you can learn some things just by reading online about the social networks you prefer, you will probably get faster results if you take an in-depth course. Sign up for one only if you have the time to put what you learn into practice. There is absolutely no point in paying for something and then never using it. A good course will help you avoid making too many mistakes with your social media.

These are, of course, affiliate links to the courses, but they are ones I consider to be good choices and have good reviews.

YouTube

The key to YouTube starts with making great videos, but that’s not where it ends. Your videos must be discovered by viewers, or it all means nothing. You need to learn how the YouTube search algorithm works and which techniques will bring your videos to the first page of YouTube so that they’re seen by potential viewers.

Course recommended: A Million Subs In A Year: YouTube Marketing and YouTube SEO

Facebook

You have so many options to market your business on Facebook. Starting a Facebook Page for your business is a must, but many businesses find starting a Facebook Group is even more powerful.

Most people suggest posting on your Facebook business page no more than twice a day, with once a day being ideal. This is especially true for promotional posts. If you’re being social and fun, you can probably get away with more, but be extremely careful that you do not post excessively or your reach will decrease and your fans will view your posts as spammy.

Businesses on Facebook often complain about how algorithm changes make it hard to reach their fans without paying for ads. It’s a legitimate problem. Facebook changes their algorithm often, and that can be a real headache. Paying for ads can be well worth it, however, once you know what you’re doing.

In general, you want to post on Facebook on weekdays from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Wednesdays and Thursdays performing best. Saturdays, evenings and early mornings have the least engagement.

Course recommended: Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing MASTERY

Snapchat

I have not used Snapchat myself, and know very little about it. Hubspot recommends posting a Story only once or twice per week on Snapchat. Then spread your Snaps out through the day. You should also consider that not everyone has the sound turned on when they use Snapchat, so including text in your Stories is very helpful.

Course recommended: The Complete Snapchat Marketing Course

Twitter

Twitter is one of those places you can post a lot. 15 times a day is recommended, with several retweets of someone else’s content. Some recommend up to 50 or more tweets a day. Tweets disappear quickly as new tweets appear, giving each tweet a short lifespan if no one retweets it.

Don’t batch all your tweets into a short time frame, of course. Spread them out. Twitter does best on weekdays, with Fridays being the best around 9-10 a.m. Mornings are better than the afternoon in general, and weekends don’t do as well, with some exceptions.

Twitter has recently become more picky about the reuse of content. It used to be that you could use a scheduler to post the same tweet over and over again for as long as you liked. These days, Twitter views that as spam.

They prefer that you either rewrite the tweet in a new way each time you share a link to the same site or retweet your original tweet. Twitter is looking for more original content. This makes using schedulers such as HootSuite more difficult but not impossible. You just have to put a little more time into your individual tweets.

Course recommended: Twitter Marketing: 2 Minutes A Day To 10k Twitter Followers

Pinterest

Pinterest marketing can be a lot of fun, so long as you don’t fall for the time sink. Give it half a chance and you’ll probably find an interesting recipe or something to catch your eye.

There are a few key things you must do on Pinterest. The first is to create some keyword rich boards for the content you’ll pin from your own site. Make sure you add them to an appropriate category and give them a good description. You will want to follow relevant pinners and build up your own following.

Make sure your create your account as a business account to make the most of Pinterest. This will give you access to analytics and the ability to make your pins into rich pins.

Joining group boards on Pinterest is an excellent way to get your pins out to a wider audience, but be picky. Niche boards are usually far more powerful than “pin anything” boards, even if the “pin anything” board has a larger following. Pinterest prefers to see your pins categorized properly.

Pin a lot. Recommendations run from about 15-30 a day according to the Coschedule post, but I’ve seen many pinners swear by a higher number.

Recently, Pinterest has stated a preference for a variety of descriptions on pins. This makes scheduling more difficult, as tools such as Tailwind allow you to quickly schedule a bunch of identical pins. You have to do extra work to vary things. Make sure you create multiple pinnable images for each post. You never know which will take off best until you test them. Vertical images with a 2:3 ratio do best.

Pinterest currently gives priority to the first five pins you do each day, starting at midnight UTC. Pinterest activity peaks at about 9 p.m.

If you want to know when your best time to pin is, use Tailwind. Tailwind’s SmartSchedule will post pins at the time that is best for your industry, and by when it sees that you get the most engagement.

Course recommended: Pinterest Marketing: Using Pinterest for Business Growth

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is another of those sites that does not tolerate a lot of posting from businesses. Posting once a day is plenty.

If you want to do more, join LinkedIn groups and interact with people there. Be careful how promotional you get. You need to be seen as a quality resource. Be the trusted professional you want to be seen as, not the person who’s only interested in the next sale.

LinkedIn engagement is better Tuesday-Thursday, with Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. being the best.

Course recommended: Linkedin Marketing: B2B Sales & Lead Generation From Scratch

Instagram

Even with its disadvantages, I know a lot of marketers love what they can do with Instagram. You should only post once or twice a day on Instagram, although a few people report doing well with more, even 10 times a day. Be careful about how often you post, and see what works for your audience.

Being heavily promotional is not likely to work on Instagram. As always, provide value. You can use Instagram to give a little behind the scenes look at your business as well as to promote.

Weekdays do better than weekends on Instagram, and you should post first thing in the morning. Later posts can do well going into the afternoon.

Course recommended: Instagram Marketing 2018: A Step-By-Step to 10,000 Followers

How Many to Use?

You can’t do a good job of using all social media websites, not even if you only stick to the big ones. There’s too much to do.

You’ll be better off if you can pick a couple to focus on. Get good at marketing on them.

Dividing your efforts dilutes them. There’s a balance between being available on a variety of networks and being unable to keep up.

As with any other sort of marketing you haven’t tried before, start by using just one social media site. Figure out what you’re doing. Get some fans, friends, followers, whatever they’re called. Get comfortable.

Even though each site takes a slightly different approach, you can take some of what you learn from each site and apply it to the next one while continuing with the sites you’re already on. You’re learning how to bring in business with a possibly more personal touch than other forms of marketing may have been for you.

Social media marketing isn’t something that comes naturally for everyone, but it’s a big help for bringing in traffic and business if you use it right. Give yourself some time and really pay attention to the learning process. You might find it a lot of fun as well as profitable.

Should You Automate?

Within reason, automation of your social media efforts is a great idea. It’s too hard to keep up otherwise.

I use HootSuite to automate many of my posts. It works with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Its Pinterest tools are not as powerful as what Tailwind has to offer, so you may want a subscription to that as well.

What you cannot automate is the social side of social media. You need to interact with people appropriately, retweeting interesting tweets, for example, or replying to comments. Spending a few minutes on social media is a great way to handle those parts of your day when you know you have limited time to get something done.

You also need to be aware of current events when you automate. If a big event happens, make sure you don’t have any inappropriate posts going out at that time. A reference that is perfectly innocent at other times may be taken as offensive if something has gone wrong.

Do not try to automate your following of other users. Take some time to find them.

I also do not recommend using software to follow and then unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you back. I know many bloggers worry about their following/followers ratio, but it’s really not that big of a deal in most ways. Follow people because you want to see what they post. Many social media sites now see a high rate of following and quick unfollowing as a sign of spam.

How Long Does It Take To Know Which Social Media Sites Work?

We all want fast results with social media. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But that’s often not the way things go.

Social media results take time, just like anything else. Don’t compare yourself to the people who have tens of thousands of followers. Most of those have been at it for years.

Work on improving what you’re doing instead. You can get ideas for what works by watching the people who are successful at social media, but in the end, it’s up to you to stand out. If you’re nothing but a copycat, you’ll never stand out.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 18th, 2018

How To Use Pinterest To Market Your Blog Or Business

How To Use Pinterest To Market Your Blog Or Business

How hard have you tried to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog or business? It seems like a lot of people are having amazing success with it, but maybe it isn’t going that well for you. It’s incredibly frustrating. You’d love to use Pinterest to market your blog or business. What does it take?

The first thing I will warn you against is an excessive focus on going viral. If your content is good, and your pins are attractive, viral pins will come in their own time, so long as you’re also working on your Pinterest marketing.

Besides, the traffic from viral pins can peak suddenly, then disappear. You want consistency. You want to build regular traffic. Viral pins can help with that, but they aren’t everything.

Start With The Basics

Whether you’re just starting out with Pinterest or have been pinning for some time, there are some basic things you need to take care of before you do anything else.

If you haven’t created your Pinterest business account, do so now. This will give you access to analytics, which is a huge help in discovering how your pins are doing. It’s free. You can convert your personal account or start a new one to use entirely for business purposes.

Make sure you verify your website with Pinterest. Pinterest will give you a code for this.

A business account can also pay for sponsored pins, which can be a help in bringing attention to your pins. You don’t have to do this, but it’s worth considering.

Next, apply for rich pins. You will need some code on your site. If you’re using WordPress and have the Yoast SEO plugin, this is super easy. If you’re using WordPress and don’t use Yoast, I strongly recommend adding it. It’s helpful in many ways.

In the Yoast SEO section of your WordPress admin, you will see a social section. Select the Facebook tab and enable the Open Graph metadata setting. This will give Pinterest the information it needs as well.

turn on open graph

Once this is done, you need to validate one of your URLs with Pinterest. Choose any blog post and put it into Pinterest’s Rich Pins Validator. If everything comes up fine, you can tell Pinterest that you used HTML tags, then click “Apply Now.” If everything has gone right, your pins will now show up as Rich Pins.

Rich pins show more information from your site. They can pull recipe information if you share recipes, or article titles and a bit of text from articles.

Figure Out Your Best Pinterest Keywords

In many ways, Pinterest is more a search engine than a social website. This makes the right keywords in your profile, boards, and pins vital to your success. Take some time early on to figure out your basic Pinterest keywords.

Start out with your best keyword for your business. Put it into the search box on Pinterest and see what comes up. It should look something like this:

find keywords pinterest

See those colored boxes with words in them? Those are words other Pinterest users include in their searches for that term. You want to use these words in your profile, board descriptions, and pins whenever they’re relevant.

Do this often. You may find it worthwhile to check Pinterest keywords for most of your posts, especially when coming up with a description as you pin them.

Make The Most Of Your Profile

How does your Pinterest profile look? Is it clear to people who visit it what your business has to offer?

Take advantage of the space Pinterest offers to create an appealing description of what followers can expect from your Pinterest profile. If you do this well, it may also attract people to visit your website.

Use some of the keywords you discovered in the section above for your profile, but keep it interesting as well.

Pinterest now has a feature where an image of your pins goes diagonally across your profile page. Take advantage of this.

pinterest header

If you don’t have a board that has just pins from your website, create one now. You’re going to use this board to display your pins on your profile.

Click the little edit button on the image of your pins that go across the top of your profile. This will allow you to select which board is used for this image. Select the one that has only your pins. Save your changes.

change pinterest header

That’s all it takes. Now you don’t have to worry about which pins show up there. You’ve chosen to make it all yours.

Optimize Your Pinterest Boards

It may not be immediately obvious when you create a board that you can give it a category and description. You can, and it’s helpful to do so. This will give visitors to that board an idea as to what you pin there.

Go to your board and click the edit board button. This will give you a little popup to change the settings.

You can give the board a description. Make sure that you use some of the keywords you researched. This may help it appear in board searches.

You can also give it a category and a board cover. The board cover is a pin that will show as a larger image on the page that shows all of your boards.

If you want a consistent look to your profile page, you need to create board covers for all of your boards. Many bloggers like to create board covers that are consistent with their branding elsewhere. This is not something I have done so far personally, but many recommend it.

You can upload a custom board cover as a pin and link it to a relevant section of your website. You can create one that is at least 600×600 pixels. Board covers are square, but you can use a rectangular image if you want. Just consider which section will show up.

The idea behind branded board covers is that it gives your profile a more cohesive feel.

Finally, decide what you’re going to do with boards that aren’t relevant to your brand. You can delete them or make them into secret boards if you like. If not, at least make sure that they are beneath your business boards. You can drag and drop your boards on your profile to arrange them the way you would like them. Think about what will work best for your visitors.

Optimize Your Pins

Applying for Rich Pins is only the first step to optimizing your pins. There are a few other things you should do.

Start out by knowing the currently preferred image sizes. These change occasionally. As of this writing, Pinterest recommends pin images be no more than 600 pixels wide and will cut off pins longer than 2.1 times the width, which is to say longer than 1260 pixels long. Their preferred size is 600×900, but there are plenty of times when a longer image makes sense.

Longer pins will still show the full length when clicked. Many bloggers find that they perform better than other pins.

Create great descriptions for your pins. These will help them be found in searches. Remember to research your Pinterest keywords when creating your descriptions, and keep them accurate to the post they’re linked to. Don’t mislead your visitors – people hate that.

You can even have your preferred description show up when visitors to your site pin that image. In your blog post, use the Text editor tab rather than the Visual tab.

In this tab, the code for your image will be something along the lines of:

<img class=”aligncenter” src=”yourimageurl” alt=”alt tags for your image” width=”500″ height=”765″ />

You want to add a Pinterest description. This is done by adding data-pin-description=”your description here” so that it looks like

<img class=”aligncenter” src=”yourimageurl” alt=”alt tags for your image” width=”500″ height=”765″ data-pin-description=”Your pin description here.” />

Once you’ve done this, the description you put in the data-pin-description section will show up if someone clicks the image to pin it.

This won’t guarantee that your description will be used by everyone, as visitors can change the text as they like, but many will leave it as is.

You can go further by using data-pin-url=”URL you want the pin to lead to. Usually the URL of your post” data-pin-media=”URL of a different image you want pinned rather than the visible one. Very useful if you want smaller images in your post” and data-pin-id=”ID number of the post on Pinterest after you have pinned it.” These give you still more control over your pins. You can also control which images in your posts can be pinned to Pinterest.

Should You Brand Your Pins?

Many people strongly recommend keeping your images similar, so that they are all clearly a part of your brand. This makes it easier for people to recognize one of your pins when they come across them.

This can be as simple as using the same colors or fonts on all of your pins. Some people use very similar images on all of their pins as well.

The problem is that this gets very repetitive. Your pins are easily identified, but are they easy to tell apart?

This is where it becomes a good idea to make multiple pins for each post. You can have your strongly branded pins and have your pins that stand out.

It’s also easier to test pin styles when you have multiple pins for each post. You can compare and see which performs the best. If you find a new style performs better, you might even decide to change your branding to be closer to that style.

Pin And Pin And Pin Some More

If you aren’t pinning a lot, and pinning regularly, your pins aren’t likely to be discovered.

This also means you should pin content from other sites. You will see all kinds of advice – people telling you that the best results come from pinning 80% your own content and 20% of others, 50/50 yours vs others, or even 20% yours and 80% others. You’ll also hear that you should post 20 pins a day, 30-50 a day, or even over 100 pins a day. The advice varies widely.

I’ve never stressed about numbers. I pin a lot of my own, but also share pins from the various group boards I belong to. Most group boards require that you repin at least one other pin when you pin something of yours to the board. That ensures that I have a mix.

Group boards are a huge help in getting your pins out there. Request to join as many relevant ones as you can find, so long as they have a good number of followers. You won’t get much exposure if the board only has 100 followers, after all.

As much as possible, pin to relevant boards. Your pins will rank better if they are regularly pinned to relevant boards, rather than to general boards.

You will find a number of group boards that accept all niches. Some of these have excellent followings. You may find it worthwhile to try a few general boards, but don’t pin to many of them. Keep that focus so that Pinterest knows what your pins are about.

Manual Pins Or Scheduled Pins?

I’ve seen a lot of debate over whether manual pinning or scheduled pinning works better. There are some great tools out there. Tailwind is the most popular, I think, followed by Board Booster. Their features are slightly different, but each one allows you to schedule your pins, which can be a huge time saver.

Many people say they have seen huge traffic boosts from using these tools. At the very least, they make it much easier to be consistent with your pinning.

However, some people think you get more traffic if you pin manually. This is the method I currently use. It is often difficult to be consistent, but I keep working at it.

I track my pins using a spreadsheet. My boards are grouped by category, one sheet per category of board. This allows me to date when I do each pin. I mark when I’m using more than one image per blog post, as I don’t want to pin the same post on a board too close together, even if the images are different.

pinterest spreadsheet

I indicate group boards by putting their names in bold. This way I know which require repinning, and how many. Most only require a single repin, but some expect two or three for each pin placed on their boards. I always do at least a single repin – the more active the board is, the more attention pins on it will get.

Take a Pinterest Marketing Course

You may want to learn a lot more about pinning than I’ve shared here. A Pinterest marketing course can help you learn more than the basics. They’ll all start with the basics, to make sure that you aren’t missing obvious things, but go into more advanced techniques from there.

I recommend this Pinterest marketing course on Udemy. It’s well rated and has been updated recently. Read the reviews to see if it’s the course for you. You will learn a lot more about how to use Pinterest to market your blog if you take a good course.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated October 5th, 2016

16 Vital Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing on Track

16 Vital Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing on Track

A solid social media presence is a big help to an online home business. It helps you connect with your audience and drives traffic to your website. While mastering social media takes a lot of work, there are some basics that will help you get started.

1. Get Started

This is the big one if you haven’t done so already. Pick at least one social media site you think will go well with your target audience, and make an account for your business. Start sharing. Follow others. If you don’t start, you’ll never figure out how it works.

2. Keep Trying

Most people quickly become frustrated with social media because it takes so long to get results. Viral doesn’t come easy. Neither do followers. You’ll see others who make it look easy and wonder why it isn’t so simple for you. Don’t focus on them, other than to see if you can get ideas to build off of.

3. Interact

The key word in social media is “social.” If you want things to go well, be social. Ask questions. Reply to people. Be helpful.

4. Follow Others

With many forms of social media, one of the best ways to build your following is to follow others. Find the big names in your industry and follow them. Find interesting people and follow them. Find people who might be interested in your business and follow them. Many will follow you in return – if not, you may still have a chance to interact with them by replying to things they’ve posted.

5. Self Promote

Promote your business in your social media accounts. That’s why you’re there, isn’t it? So long as you don’t overdo it, people won’t be offended.

I use Revive Old Post to keep a stream of my old posts going on Facebook and Twitter. You can also choose to share old posts on LinkedIn, Xing or Tumblr. The pro version gives a lot more control for scheduling purposes and other features. You can exclude categories, tags and even individual posts, which is handy when some things you post are only relevant to when you posted them, and not later.

6. Promote Useful Information From Others

Do not only post about your stuff. Share things that might interest your followers from other sources. This will make your account far more interesting to people than if you just post about your business.

7. Pick Your Social Media Channels

You do not have to use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vine, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Tumblr,… you get the idea. Use the ones that make sense for your business. Trying to use everything will only make it harder to do well at any of them.

8. Be Personal

Another part of being social is being a real person. You don’t have to post every bad moment you have, pictures of meals or anything like that. Be you. An appropriately professional you, but still you. You can joke around if that’s a part of who you are in your professional online presence; just keep in mind who you want people to see as the person behind your business.

9. Be Open to Dialogue

You may have to deal with criticism or questions at times on social media. Hopefully most of it will be easily dealt with, but sometimes you may have to deal with problems you wish could have been kept off social media. Whatever it is you have to discuss on social media, do your best to keep it professional and respectful.

10. Give It Time

It takes time for most people to build a social media following. The people who get a huge following quickly most often have fans from somewhere else or have something go viral. The rest of us have to build a following over time by posting quality information on our social media accounts and hoping for shares.

11. Don’t Stress About Going Viral

Having a post go viral is a goal for many businesses. It can drive a lot of traffic. It’s a nice goal.

It’s not something you should stress over, however. It is very hard to predict what will go viral. Create interesting content for your audience and keep your real goals in mind. It’s not traffic. Sales, subscribers and anything to do with income are much better goals than mere traffic. Viral posts aren’t necessarily good at that part.

12. Don’t Get Addicted

Social media can be a lot of fun. That means many people use it too heavily, to the detriment of their business. Social media should be a tool for your business, not a focus. If it’s taking up too much of your work day, you need to reassess how you’re using social media.

13. Pick Your Controversies

It can be good to get involved in controversies. People love a good argument. But when you’re representing your business, pick which controversies you get involved in. There’s no point in offending potential customers unnecessarily.

14. Use Scheduling Tools

There are a lot of tools available to make scheduling your social media posts easier. I use Hootsuite. You could also consider Buffer, Everypost, SocialOomph, Sprout Social or other tools. New ones come out regularly.

Pick the tool based on the social networks you use and the features the tool has. With most you’ll need a paid account, but the time you save will be worth the money. The convenience is well worth the money, and most give you a free trial, so you can test it out before spending anything.

Don’t overdo the scheduling thing. You still need to be personal, and sometimes you will need to post in real time. Sometimes you will want to rethink things you had previously scheduled due to events in the real world.

15. Link to Your Social Media Accounts on Your Website

You want people to find your social media accounts and follow them. Make it easy by prominently linking to them on your website.

People who visit your website and then follow you on social media are more likely to come back. Your presence and your posts on social media will remind them about your website and what you offer.

On this site, I have links to my social media accounts on the right sidebar. They’re highly visible, yet not in the way.

16. Make It Easy for People to Share Your Content

Have links near your content that simplify social sharing of your content. Visitors may do some of you marketing work for you by sharing content they found interesting. There are plenty of WordPress plugins, such as Shareaholic, which will do this for you automatically. I have mine at the bottom of my posts, but others prefer the top or side of their content.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated January 3rd, 2013

What Changes Am I Making for the New Year?

What Changes Am I Making for the New Year?

I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of person, but I do think over what I’m doing at this time of year, as well as at other times. Mostly it’s that December is a slow month for this site usually, as people are doing more shopping and less time looking for ways to earn money from home and so I spend more time reviewing things. By January I have a pretty good idea of changes I’d like to make.

Mostly, I had some notions already. I’m making a real effort to put more images into posts, so things are more Pinterest-friendly. I have a post in mind about how to do that as well.

I’m also working on posting more frequently and remembering to use social bookmarks more, here and elsewhere.

In other words, a lot of time consuming stuff, but very worthwhile. Takes a lot of planning to get enough done each day with three kids in the house – thank goodness they’re pretty good at playing together without me! That’s the secret, for those who keep asking me how I find the time to work with kids in the house. Once they can play without your immediate supervision, your available work at home time can go way, way up. Barring massive arguments, injuries, etc.

I’m also considering a weekend discussion post, which would be intended to discuss topics on parenting, working at home, and so forth. I need to generate some ideas for that one yet, so that I have a variety ready to go, as there won’t always be hot topics just begging for discussion in any particular week.

As with the past few years, I’m trying to talk myself into doing more with podcasting and/or video marketing. That’s a tough one, as I’m really camera shy, awkward about anything remotely resembling public speaking (and podcasting is close enough to that for me!), and kids playing together still mean too much background noise much of the time. It’s one of those things I really think I ought to try out, but can always come up with excuses not to. One of these days, I’ll break through that.

And as always, I look at how my marketing is going. It’s always tough figuring out what I should be focusing on. Social media is a help, but it’s not the only thing. I’m figuring that I should work more on getting some good guest posts out there – it’s just a matter of deciding where, and what sort of post would do best.

That’s how it is when you run a business, of course. There are always a million and one things you should be doing. The trick is picking what you can get done, what you should get done, and knowing when to leave the rest alone.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 20th, 2012

Does Promoting Products Make You Feel Like a Scammer?

For many website owners who provide information more than they promote products, it can feel awkward to keep mentioning products your website visitors can buy. Some even feel as though they’re being somehow dishonest by mentioning products available for purchase. Why is it some website owners feel as though they’re scammers when they recommend products that they’ll get a commission for selling?

You’re Unsure of Yourself

One reason why people feel dishonest when recommending a product is a lack of confidence in themselves. Perhaps you feel that in some way you lack the authority to suggest a product, even if you’ve found it useful personally.

There can also be a guilt for recommending a product for sale when you offer a lot for free. It’s hard to go from offering free information to saying “buy this.”

The key is to remember that when you offer quality for free, people trust you. If you think something is worth paying for, say so. Many of your readers will appreciate it.

You Aren’t Reviewing Products Carefully Before Recommending Them

If you promote just about any product you hear about without really reviewing it, it’s natural to feel awkward about it. Some products are better than others, and you can’t know which ones are good if you haven’t checked them out thoroughly.

This isn’t just an online marketing product thing, although it’s a huge issue for internet marketers. If you subscribe to a lot of internet marketing newsletters, you’ve probably encountered many list owners who promote just about any product that comes out, just using the sales text recommended by the product creator, and little apparent care for quality.

It can happen in other niches too. You can look really bad if you promote any product, whether digital or physical, that turns out to be poor quality. While it’s hard to tell if a new product is going to be as good as the company says it is, a careful look and some consideration before you promote anything.

You don’t have to personally review every product you mention on your site, but do be careful about how you do actual reviews and keep within FTC guidelines.

Someone Has Given You a Hard Time About Promoting Products

I’ve gotten this one myself. Back in the fairly early days of my newsletter for this site, I promoted a product in it. I got a furious email back from one subscriber, demanding to know if I was turning into that kind of newsletter that did nothing but promote products all the time, because if so, she was unsubscribing immediately.

Being rather new to it all, I was apologetic to her, and reassured her that it would be an occasional thing, not a regular thing. I was frankly taken aback by how very offended she was that I dared promote something, anything to my list, and I spent a lot of time wondering if I had gone about it the wrong way.

These days, I wouldn’t be so apologetic. I’d still be polite, but I wouldn’t consider it something I needed to apologize for. It’s my list, I don’t overdo the promotions or promote just any product, and if I want to mention something I find worthwhile, it’s my subscribers’ choice whether they stick with me or unsubscribe, and whether they buy or not. So long as I promote good quality products, there’s really little for them to be offended about.

It took me a while to get to that point, however. It’s easy to take that kind of criticism too much to heart. If you want a healthy business, however, you need people to buy products from you. If you can’t say what you’ve found worthwhile, you’re making it much harder on yourself and your readers will lose out because they aren’t hearing about things they might find useful too.

Most of all, remember that honestly recommending useful products never makes you a scammer. How often you promote products doesn’t matter as much as making sure you promote quality, relevant products rather than junk. Do that while keeping up with the expectations your list has for you, and you should be fine.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.