There aren’t enough hours in your day to spend time growing your social connections as you know you should.
There are many more effective ways of growing your social presence than spending hours on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
Bloggers are short of time, and need to make every minute count, so you need to use tools to leverage the time you do have. This article will show you some free and low-cost tools that will help you to grow your blog through social activity.
Defining Success for Your Blog
Firstly, you define success. It must be measurable, rather than just a fuzzy idea in the land of Far Far Away.
Return on Investment (ROI) is something that bloggers are often vague about, usually because their understanding of ROI is limited.
What is ROI?
Profit = positive ROI.
Running a blog is not free; you need to make some money to at least offset your domain and hosting costs.
You also need to count your time. How much is your time worth? $10 an hour? $20 an hour? $100 an hour?
If you spend 4 hours a day and value your time at a low $10 per hour you need to make $40 per day and $280 per week, just to break even.
Most bloggers do not count the price of their time because the results are frightening.
Of course, you might be building your blog out of some philanthropic desire to spread your knowledge. Good luck to you, but you still need to eat.
Putting ads on your site is an option, but to make payout each month you need a large group of readers who have the ability to pay for your advertisers’ products.
Adsense – You can start by joining Google’s Adsense for Publishers program. This puts contextual ads on the pages you choose. There are disadvantages though; you are giving away your visitors for a few cents a time and some people find the ads intrusive and annoying.
Trendemon is a better free advertising program for publishers. You have seen the ads at the bottom of articles you have read on other blogs: Usually an image and a clickworthy headline. Well, pays you every time someone clicks on those ads, so that could be another income source.
One advantage Trendemon has over Adsense is that the ads appear at the end of your article, when the reader is about to click away. If they click on your Trendemon ads then you make money from visitors leaving who would have left anyway.
Amazon PIP – Amazon Product in a Post makes it simple to add Amazon products to your post.
The Amazon PIP plugin is free and allows you to put Amazon affiliate ads either at the start or end of any blog post. It is simple to set up and takes prices automatically from Amazon.
Amazon affiliate commissions rates are very low, but commissions can be substantial for high-ticket items such as ride-on mowers, generators and greenhouses.
Growing Your Reputation
In the long-term your income and ROI growth depends on selling products and services that your readers need. These may be affiliate products or your own, but there is one problem that is common to both – People will only click your links if they trust you.
Developing trust is the key to growing your ROI. Your reputation will affect the people who will link to and promote your products.
Helping people in any way you can will enhance your reputation. The people you help join your network and act as your disciples, spreading the word about what a good guy you are. People need to ask you for help, but you should be building your subscriber list.
MyBlogU is a free service you might not be using. It allows you to interact with other users, offer help and get credit for that help.
MyBlogU gives you 4 ways to grow your rep and to talk to others in your niche:
- Brainstorms where you respond to questions
- Interviews where your question responses are highly structured and links back to your site are automatic
- Forum where you can chat on a social level or help people informally
- Twitter chats where you talk live with an amazing range of people
TWchat is a free Twitter app that makes it extremely easy to run Twitter chats.
Twitter chats that can build your reputation, TWchat is the tool that makes them simple. Chats build your reputation because you are seen with niche influencers who you invite to your chats. You answer questions, just as they do, showcasing and spreading your knowledge.
Growing Your Influence
Your reputation and influence are linked and as you become more active and talked-about on social media you need a simple way to manage your social media activity.
You do need to talk to people on Twitter and other social platforms as part of growing your influence, but you need to be in control. Having Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest tabs open all through your working day is an invitation to procrastinate. You need an easier way to handle social media posts.
Oktopost lets you manage all your social media profiles from one dashboard.
Oktopost has one big advantage over other social media dashboards – It is B2B focused. If you are spending precious time on social media activities there needs to be a measurable return on that investment. Oktopost allows you to track leads that come from social media campaigns.
Once you learn which channels generate the highest ROI then you can concentrate your efforts there rather than spreading yourself too thinly across all channels.
Empire Avenue is a free online site that combines a stock exchange-type game with growing your social media influence.
Be warned, Empire Avenue is addictive. You grow your social media influence by acquiring new followers through the game that carry over into real life. You gain points by doing “missions” such as reading and tweeting posts, voting in contests and searching for particular phrases. All missions are really simple and quick. When you have enough points you can launch your own missions.
You can make your blog profitable, but you have to know what everything costs and to know where every dollar of income is coming from. It is NOT enough to know that your blog makes $100 a month.
“Relationship building” and “brand awareness” are important for the long-term, but the RoI on every hour you spend on these activities is minimal in the short-term. Relationships and brand awareness will not pay your rent or put food on your table.
The return you get on an investment of one hour of your time will vary and you need to know what it is for each activity. If you know where your income is coming from then you can invest more effort in that area and increase your income.
Over to You
Do you factor your time into your costs? What are you planning to do to make your blog more profitable? Please use the comments box below to share your thoughts.