If you’re wondering what this Case Study is all about, please read the introductory post from Week One.
Last week we discussed how Suzy is building some inbound links to her travel blog, which in turn will increase the number of people who can find her site by following those links.
Some of those links will also boost her ranking with search engines, allowing more people to find her travel blog when the search for words related to her niche.
This week it’s all about Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and so forth. Suzy is doing a great job communicating with others via these social networks and broadening her reach to get more site traffic.
There are a great many social networking sites out there, and more being created all the time. For the sake of maximizing results while still making effective use of her time, Suzy focuses on the Big Four (Facebook , Twitter , Stumbleupon , and YouTube ). Although LinkedIn is also a good site to connect with other writers, editors, and publishers, it is really best for finding freelance travel writing opportunities but doesn’t generally result in any significant increase in site traffic.
If you’re online then you’re more than likely already aware of – and using – Social Networks, so in this blog post we’ll give a very brief overview for those unfamiliar with these tools, as well as a few tips for the best use of each. In future posts we’ll go much more in-depth on each of the big four social networks individually and give you some more advanced tips.
Right now what’s important to know is that if you’re not using the social networks, you need to be. There is no cost to set up accounts, so don’t delay – jump right in!
Originally started as a way for students and alumnae to connect and communicate, Facebook has been commandeered by businesses large and small, as well as groups, associations, and organizations looking to spread their message to a wide audience.
- To get the most bang for your buck, focus on posting:
- Photos featuring other people – tag everyone in the photo who also has a Facebook account, which automatically puts those photos on their Wall for their friends to see;
- Content designed to elicit comments – ask for comments if necessary as comments also automatically post to the Wall of the commentor and the Walls of their friends;
- Keep your personal Facebook Profile separate from your professional profile, or set up a Fan Page and direct people to become a Fan;
- Monitor any content or comments posted to your Wall for appropriateness – remember that Editors and Publishers may see your Wall;
Twitter began life as a tool for people to broadcast messages to friends, typically about their social plans and whereabouts, but like Facebook it’s been appropriated – and is now dominated – by businesses and organizations.
- There’s a difference between ‘personal’ and ‘personality’ – your personality should come through your tweets, but it isn’t necessary – or appropriate – to tweet about personal stuff;
- Along those lines, unless your niche and target audience is concerned with religion or politics, avoid tweeting about either – I quickly Unfollow anyone spouting overly-controversial personal beliefs or crudeness;
- Do pass on information that you think would be of value or interest to those following you;
- If you include links to information – and you should – be clear about where that link goes. Almost no one likes, or will click on, blind links;
- Do interact with those you follow and those who follow you – Twitter works best when it’s not just a one-way broadcast tool. People with whom you interact will be more likely to pass on (retweet) your messages, and recommend you to their followers;
For more Twitter and Facebook tips, see our post “Social Media Do’s and Don’ts ”
Stumbleupon allows users to rate, review, and share websites and pages with each other. If you regularly share sites and pages that others find valuable, you’ll gain a good reputation and more subscribers, which leads to more people visiting your site, and in turn rating, review, and sharing your site with their subscribers.
- Use http://su.pr/  to Stumble your own pages since Stumbleupon frowns upon that;
- If you like a page you’ve found, don’t just click on “I LIke It”, take a moment to write a brief review telling others why you like it. The goal is to provide value, which will get you more subscribers;
- Personalize your Stumbleupon user account so that others can get to know you a bit and help them find your website. Include a photo and a link to your travel blog;
More than just a Video Sharing site, YouTube is a mechanism to draw more people to your website. Since you’re a travel writer, you should be making videos about your trips or your local area (if you’re a destination-based travel writer), embedding the YouTube video in your posts, and encouraging others to view, rate, and comment on those videos. Also encourage them to embed the video on their sites as well! The more comments and ratings your video gets, the more exposure it gets with YouTube, bringing you more site traffic.
- Everytime you post a video to YouTube, cross post it to your Facebook account, and send out a Tweet to let your followers know about it;
- Take the time to personize your YouTube Channel (another word for your account) to create your “brand”, and be sure to ask people to rate and comment on your videos;
- Although humor may not always be appropriate for every video you do, when you can do a funny one, your chance at it going ‘viral’ increases dramatically – people love to share funny stuff!
For more video tips see our post “Top 5 Audio & Video Tips for Travel Bloggers “.
If you make the time to use these social networks, you’ll quickly see a signification return on investment in terms of more site traffic!
Stay tuned! Next week we’ll cover how Suzy is using Article Marketing to establish herself as an expert in her travel niche, boost her credibility, and also increase the traffic to her travel blog. And remember, in forthcoming posts we’ll go into more advanced techniques for using the social networks to your best advantage.
What other ways do you attract visitors to your travel blog? Share your tips!