Monday, March 09, 2009

Social Networking

Today, we start a week-long series on Social Networking.

When you use the words “social networking,” people think Twitter or FaceBook or YouTube. The first thing you should be thinking is your own blog.

If you want people to visit your blog, you have to do more than just create a blog and post every once in a while. That’s like opening a store in your house without putting out a sign or any notices about it, then wondering why you have no business. The blog-o-sphere is not an If You Build It They Will Come world.

Pages and pages and entire blogs are written about blogging. But, today, let’s just look at the social networking aspect.

The focus of Straight From Hel is books, writing, and publishing. So, since you’re reading this, you’re most like a writer. Why would a writer start a blog? To get readers, to give advice on writing, to promote a book or books, to brand him or herself - just a few ideas.

To be effective at all of that and more, you have to have people coming to read what you have to say (and jumping over to your website, your FaceBook page, etc.). And to make that happen, you’re going to have to network with other bloggers.

If you’re new to blogging (therefore, no one knows about your blog), you’re going to have to search around and find blogs you think are interesting. Start reading them, every day, for a week or so, leave comments, and if you decide you like them enough to recommend them to others, add them to your sidebar blog roll.

Now, you may say, why would I do that? I want people to come to my blog, not zip off to someone else’s. If they found that other blog through your blog, then they did come to you first. And, if you put someone in your blog roll, that blogger is more likely to add you to their blog roll. Remember the word “networking” in Social Networking? It’s a give and take.

Tomorrow, Part 2 in Social Networking

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  1. You called it, Helen! Blogging IS social networking.
    I'd posted on my blog for several years, but until last fall, did not treat it as I did my other social sites - and thus only had a couple followers.

    Looking forward to this week!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. Stop by again Diane. I'll be giving advice, but also looking for tips from others. And I know you have a lot to say on this!

  3. Helen!
    The whole of last week I could not leave comments at your blog. I think it was an evil conspiracy. :)

    I love your advice. I am so trying to pull people to my blog too. I tried Twitter but couldn't figure out how it worked and then forgot how I signed up. I think your advice is excellent. I get most of my readers from people I've met elsewhere on the internet.

    BTW Diane and Helen both- we had a lovely discussion about your blog last week at my blog on Friday. It seems some fiction folk find marketing before you write, the antithesis to creativity. It was a fun debate. Thanks for the starting point!

  4. Well I wrote this long comment but apparently it didn't post. Dangit.

    Good article and advice. I'll look forward to the week-long series.

    Social networking and blog traffic building takes time and concerted effort to get off the ground but once it starts snowballing you have new people showing up and a readership growing with just a minimal daily maintenance amount of networking. And for authors, that's what you want - a blog that is well trafficed and actively commented on. Eventually that translated into more book sales.

    A parting golden Rule for building up a blog's readership-

    "Visit and comment unto others' blogs as you would have them visit and comment unto yours."

    Also, when you notice a new commenter, click on their name and see if they have a blog and/or a list of interesting blogs they follow. Visit and comment if you like what you read. What goes around comes around and you make lots of friends and build an audience at the same time.

  5. Good stuff here, Hel. I've loved every moment of blogging since I began mine in September. (I'll be giving you some linky love to this post on my Writing Wednesday thoughts this week...if you don't mind.) :)

  6. Hi Lauri,

    I'm wondering if last week's problem had something to do with Blogger. I had problems commenting on other blogs, as well. And Blogger did recently make some changes. It bugs me when Blogger does that. You open your blog and it looks different.

    I'm going to zip over to your blog & check it out!

  7. Marvin, that's the way I look at it - making online friends. With some online friends, such as you, it's easy to forget we've never met in person.

    Sorry about the problem with posting a comment. I don't even have that squiggly letter test!

  8. Don't know that I've ever had linky love, Angie! I'm looking forward to it. ;-)

  9. I've been blogging for about ten months and it has been a tremendous boost to my book sales. It is amazing to me how many bloggers think they can just post and expect people to come flooding in--it is a very "scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type of universe. I have to admit, it did take me a while to figure that one out, myself.

  10. We have a testimonial!

    On a serious note, your post today, Heidi, about waking up the first full day of the daylight savings time change was seriously funny. Did we just go ON daylight savings time or go OFF it? I never know.

  11. Hmmm, seems I'm having trouble with comments, too.

    Touche, Helen, and I greatly resemble this remark! I've been guilty of neglecting my blog in order to "go off" to do social networking. Thanks for bringin' it home!

  12. Lisa, I keep going to your blog, but stop at the content warning. This time I ventured on in. Glad I did. Your post on the day in the life of an editor was so funny. If anyone else wants to be brave and venture in, here's a link to the post:

  13. Good points all, Helen. Might I add that another benefit of visiting other bloggers is learning A LOT about writing--at least that's been my experience. The blogs I've found often have provided a wide range of experience and knowledge--and fun--yours included.

    All for simply visiting and reading.

  14. Social networking is so important and I'm glad you're running a series this week. I look forward to your comments on my blogs and am disappointed that Mysterious People isn't on your blog roll.


  15. I read this blog regularly, but have not commented until now -- although I love comments on my own blog and want more people to comment. Well, duh, sometimes I am slow.

    I'm also active on Twitter and Facebook, and find they are invaluable in directing people to my blog. I coordinate my blog posts with my tweets.

    Thanks for writing this blog, it's one of my favorites. And I promise to comment more often.

  16. This is great advice for anyone looking into social networking. When I meet up with someone I want to connect with further on twitter, the first thing I look for is their blog. If they don't have one, it feels strange. You always have such fascinating things to blog about, Helen, and that's why I keep coming back to read what you have to say. Kudos on another great post!

    Jenny Bean

  17. Very good point, Conda. There are so many great blogs out there. It makes surfing the blogs fun and educational.

  18. Well, dangarooni, Jean. I just set up the blog roll last night. Sorry about that. Here I was patting myself on the back for figuring out how to make the post titles appear.

    In case anyone's wondering what "dangarooni" means ... it's equivalent to "piddlesquat."

  19. Yay, Kim! Thanks for commenting, and especially thanks for taking the time to stop by. I thought I'd seen you lurking. ;-)

  20. Thank you Jenny. I like the Inner Bean, as well. And I love the pictures you posted yesterday on your redecoration.


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