I’ve been blogging personally for quite some time, whether it’s a random thought or an opinion on a timely topic. As an eCommerce professional, I also blog professionally on that topic.
In 2009, social media improved my blogging in many areas: content, search engine optimization, and readership. How, specifically?
Twitter Lists Have Organized My Life
Twitter lists are genius. I’ve always said I think of Twitter lists as cable TV: specialized channels. Or, if you are more audio than visual, thinking of Twitter lists like a playlist will help illustrate how they work.
Since I follow hundreds of people, creating lists on Twitter has made following the stream much more efficient. Aside from organization, one of the top reasons I’ve found myself using Twitter lists is for research. I have my lists organized by the users’ profession or area of specialty, such as website design, social media, eCommerce store owner, national brand, etc. When I have difficulty coming up with an idea for a blog post, I will view its corresponding Twitter stream to see what people in that realm are talking about.
- Paying Attention Is Key to Fresh Content
To write well, you must read often. I firmly believe in this philosophy. I read industry blogs and other blogs that spark my interest to keep up with the industry, learn what is already being said, as well as things people try with their blogs that don’t work. The best content covers things that have not already been said, so by reading often, I can find gaps and fill them.
- Trend-Spotting Is Not Done at the Mall
Social media, namely Twitter, has allowed me to keep up with trends in real time. The popular topics on Twitter allow me to see what the masses are talking about, and oftentimes, it’s something that pertains to technology or the Internet. When that happens, I dive in and see if it’s something I should consider blogging about. I also have saved searches for hashtags that pertain to what I often write about, like #ecommerce, #socialmedia, and others. This allows me to click on that saved search a few times a day to see what people are talking about.
Sharing Is Caring
I mentioned how I like to fill gaps by putting my own spin on topics that are already out there, but sometimes something is just so well said that it’s best to share it in its original form. People do this often by sharing links on Twitter, and then others will retweet those links. Social bookmarking sites like Digg also allow us to share content. When it comes to blogging, I often will write a blog post inspired by a great article I read, explaining why I liked it and why my readers should find it useful, and then link to the item.
By “sharing,” I also mean that you can use social media to share your blog posts. Tweet them. Facebook them. Digg them. Sharing can also be tracked. Using tools like bit.ly’s URL shortener, I can see how many times links are clicked and shared by others. You can’t always quantify social media and how it brings traffic to your blog or website or impacts conversions, but this is one way to help.
- My iPhone Is My Savior
Inspiration is everywhere. A smartphone keeps social media tools at your fingertips. If something happens in the industry, I can get it out to my followers in no time through the iPhone apps for Twitter (I use Tweetie) and Facebook. When it comes to blogging, I have the WordPress app in case I really want to blog on-the-go. However, I usually use my iPhone to stay connected and take pictures and notes for future use when I get back to the office.
There are many more reasons social media has helped my blogging and vice versa. Who knows? I may retweet one of your blog posts some day. Happy blogging, happy tweeting, and happy New Year!