Vocation: Traffic Building: Using the Latest Social Tools

Liveblog

Speakers

Neysa King, keyingredient.com/blog, MODERATOR
Jeanette Chen, jeanetteshealthyliving.com
Kalyn Denny, kalynskitchen.com + slowcookerfromscratch.com
Stephanie Stiavetti, theculinarylife.com

Neysa: Panelists introduce yourselves.

Stephanie: I'm a social media consultant. In terms of traffic, Pinterest has really helped my blog, Facebook is good, and Stumbleupon is also giving me strong traffic.

Jeanette: I was recently named #1 in circle of moms. My biggest source of traffic is Pinterest, I'm getting twice as much in Stumbleupon as Facebook.

Kalyn: Pinterest gives me the highest amount of traffic, 25x more than Facebook, 150x more than stumble upon, 1000x more than Twitter.

Neysa: Open up question to the audience: Which media platform is driving largest traffic? Facebook ~15%, twitter (not very many hands), Pinterest (a lot!), stumble upon is also high traffic.

Neysa: I'm a product manager at Key Ingredient which is a social recipe site. I wrote a blog called dissertationindirt. Driving traffic to a blog using social media is a big part of my job at Key Ingredient. I personally helped a site grow from social media (thru Facebook).

Neysa: This panel will focus on strategy, and concrete tips to develop the strategy and improving it, no one size fits all; you have to personalize it to your blog.

Neysa: The ability to have others share your content is a powerful force, how do you equip your blog to make it easier for others to share (w/ buttons, etc).

Kalyn: 1. There's no magic bullet in success in social media; two types: follow me and share my work, both should be visible and the first thing you see, highly noticeable, the following buttons should be subscribe to feed, twitter, liking on Facebook, or by email.

Kalyn: Agonized about the "share me" buttons at the top of the post, and even though I don't like how they look, they are more effective at the top. Show on the permalink page if you care about how it looks.

Kalyn: Buttons that are too subtle might not be quite as effective

Kalyn: Can have buttons at bottom and top (different or same)

Kalyn: 2. make careful choices about kinds of buttons you use, visit other blogs and see what types of buttons they have and use ones that appeal to you, think about audience when choosing buttons (high tech for young whippersnappers, or easy to use for older audiences).

Kalyn: 3. No question, the buttons that show how many people follow/pinned it really work.

Kalyn: 4. Facebook: lots of options for buttons; the button for "share" with comment instead of like button is more effective.

Kalyn: 5. Pinterest: people like being allowed to choose the picture that they pin, and when it's combined with a counter it's even more effective. Go to www.Pinterest.com/source/_BLOGURL_ and see all the pictures that have been pinned from your blog. You can link this on your site for people to easily follow those pictures.

Question: Is there a way to tell what the most pinned recipe of the week is?

Kalyn: Not that I know of unless you find it from referring sites, like Google analytics.

Jeanette: There's a site called pinerly.com; create a campaign thru that it will track the click-throughs.

Kalyn: For sharing on Twitter, allow people to immediately click through to the app. A new thing is flowing buttons, Kevin from closetcooking.com has a bar that floats down as the page goes down. Make sure you test every aspect of how your buttons function, test all the buttons to see how they react in all the browsers, test the buttons all yourself that they do what you want them to do.

Question: Why are counters are more effective?

Kalyn: Human nature; people see that others like a post or a picture, which makes me want to share it too.

Stephanie: There's a caveat, that if you don't have high numbers people won't click on the "like" or "share" button.

Neysa: Pinterest is such a big topic right now; strategies for maximizing traffic.

Jeanette: 6 ways to maximize pins: 1. pin posts that have high quality content and photography. 2. pin seasonal, trending and relevant (i.e., holidays) posts. 3. add short text on top of photos (this has given me 2-4x more pins and click thrus) 4. pin tutorials, how-to videos, info graphics. 5. boards that have more followers have more repins. 6. pin when more people are on Pinterest, play around.

Jeanette: 10 tips to maximize followers: 1. include a general description for profile so people get what you're doing, include name or blog URL. 2. create a portfolio of boards for closely related items, break down by item instead of one big board (like: a brownies board or a breakfast board). 3. give boards catchy but easily understandable titles. 4. make sure you have assigned a category to the board(s): food/drink, photography, etc. 5. make boards stand out visually, edit board cover, choose flashiest and prettiest pic. 6. make sure boards are filled up, put ones with one or two pins towards bottom. 7. reorder the boards, top 2 rows highlight best or seasonal content, rotate out as needed/appropriate. 8. create collaborate boards w/ others. 9. get social on Pinterest; promote other peoples' posts/pictures. 10. use hashtags and include blog URL in pin caption.

Question: Do people mind being added to collaborative boards?

Jeanette: People have option to join (or not join) boards, and you have the right to turn them down if you want.

Question: How much time do you spend on Pinterest?

Jeanette: I could spend all day doing it; but I suggest only do it when you can.

Question: Categorization of different boards: Would you recommend breaking out my blog categories and how do i distinguish them from my personal interests?

Jeanette: I have a board that are tried and true recipes that are just from my blog.

Kalyn: I went on and created boards that were "kayln's kitchen: suchandsuch recipes" and keeping them straight and others' pictures/posts are on a board called "blogging friend's deliciousness."

Question: Is it a bad idea to delete a whole board if I'm re-hauling my Pinterest account?

Stephanie: From an SEO standpoint, it's a bad idea; every board is a "follow link" that is counted towards Google stats, if you remove it people will notice, it's not a positive effect on your boards.

Question: What do you think about pinning the same recipe to more than one board?

Stephanie: Absolutely; the more eyeballs on the pin, the better.

Question: My Pinterest account is hooked to the blog, should we create a new account?

Jeanette: Can you create a shared board?

GENERAL CONSENSUS: Don't know how to deal with that

Question: If you have all your pins in one board, then break them out into specific titles, will that change your SEO/links? Do you duplicate and leave that board somewhere else?

Kalyn: Make a new page and put them on there too, that's why I like the button that lets you choose the picture that you're pinning (you can use a different one to add variety).

Stephanie: also, there's a chance that Pinterest might change it's links to "no follow" in the future, so take advantage of it right now.

Question: I am not on Pinterest, but I do video.

Jeanette: videos are good; they can be pinned and are hot on Pinterest and Twitter.

Neysa: Let's talk about strategies on other social platforms: Twitter can devolve into a big chatroom and can be difficult at getting click-throughs

Stephanie: Question to the audience: Who was told that Twitter is the next big traffic agent? It's more of a social network but links aren't being clicked on nearly the same as other social medias:

Stephanie: People may see the link and click but they might just talk to you instead. Focus your attention elsewhere for traffic. People are more likely to click on link in the middle of a post, not the end (ex: "Here's a yummy salad LINK isn't it great?") People will click in morning during commute or at lunchtime, NOT in evening when they come home and often turn off computers. Good thing to know is where readers lie geographically (pay attention to time differences) Use twitter post tools (like Hoot Suite) to schedule tweets so that it doesn't run your life, but make them authentic and true to voice & don't pass around brand names if you're sponsored. Use curiosity to your advantage in your post to get click-thrus, it gives followers a reason to click. Use "bit.ly" to shorten links and track them and see which posts are most effective. They are increasing their features and including analytics. Google URL shortener works as well, and links into your Google analytics account.

Question: What's cool about bit.ly is that you can customize your link, does Google do that?

Kalyn: No.

Question: Do you use buffer?

Stephanie: No.

Question: Do you find that bit.ly customized links get more clicks?

Stephanie: that's hard to say; it's like a domain -- it might get you more traffic and make it more interesting.

Question: What about having a customized bit.ly prefix?

Stephanie: that's fine, but the key to using bit.ly is getting tracked for traffic. The branding cements your name in the brain of your readers.

Neysa: Talk about Facebook strategy.

Kalyn: 1. Are you going to let anyone be a friend on the blog Facebook or allow your personal friends? 2. Think about online personality and how you want Facebook to work for you; have it be similar on your blog and on Facebook. 3. How much do you want to engage with your readers on Facebook? she put a note on timeline "for recipe questions, post on blog not here."
4. Think about audience and why they use Facebook -- maybe they don't want a lot of social interaction from you on it, maybe not (information blogger or personality blogger?) 5. If your blog is all about being useful, be useful on Facebook. 6. Consistent style for sharing info on Facebook (use brackets saying "new recipe") 7. Always add something personal to posts on Facebook, with very little other comment. 8. Use timeline to highlight new or exciting/seasonal posts. 9. You can promote things on Facebook, and if you have the budget for it, it's a great idea, down at the bottom of everything you post, there's a figure for "reach", and you can "promote", and more people see your post. 10. When you share other people's things on Facebook, "share" instead of "like" and say something nice about it. 11. Don't share things for other people if it doesn't fit your personal brand. 12. Monitor your results on Facebook with the email you get.

Question: I've heard that Facebook's algorithm prefers pictures over links. Should I share a picture and use comment field instead of just a link?

Kalyn: I don't know, but I do things the old fashioned way, and share the link.

Jeanette: I have tried uploading the photo and people like to see what you're doing in the moment, people seem to respond to the larger photos.

Neysa: It's good practice, people don't read as much as they like photos.

Stephanie: Facebook algorithms change so often, but Facebook weights attention more heavily, so if more people "like" the picture, it will get more traffic.

Question: Insights into what causes reach to change? what influence it?

Stephanie: It could be an awesome trending topic, if someone w/ high influence posts your link to their wall, then it goes viral, you'll notice a natural spike, but some of it is random and chance; their analytics don't make it easy to track why or how, so dig thru yourself, via Google and see what you posted recently and if someone else reposted it.

Question: When you're getting started, you may have more friends as yourself instead of likes on your page; when I post blog content on personal page, I get more traffic. What do you think about reposting? Should you spread those posts out?

Stephanie: If you post something to your personal wall and then to your page, it's within reason because they are independent of each other and people may follow one or the other.

Kalyn: Facebook will stack them up in the timeline, so people won't think you're spamming them or posting too much.

Question: What do you think about resyndicating content: people are on at different times a day, frequency posts and posting same content more than once?

Jeanette: I don't think it's a good idea (people will think you're spamming them).

Kalyn: My least favorite words are "Just in case you missed it."

Stephanie: You don't want someone to unfollow you as a result

Question: re: posting on Facebook fan and personal pages? I got good responses: most people who follow me on fan page are not personal friends, so I do post it in both places, but an idea is to post it on a different day with a little different photo.

Question: More people have told me I have to spend time on Google+. Can you give me perspective on it?

Stephanie: very good reason why you should post to Google+. Google is the godfather and Google+ is their social network, it gets the highest priority in Google searching and weighting. Every time you post on your blog, Google will notice it as soon as there's one Google+1 **Check out Irvin Lynn: eatthelove.com (search for post on google+) for an informative post.

Question: Facebook will sometimes change my pictures when i try posting it; why?

Stephanie: it might be a bug in Facebook, but it might be an oddity in your code.

Question: When you like something on Facebook and there's also a drop down that says show in my feed, if someone clicks like but not show, will it not show?

Stephanie: That's popping up because of your privacy settings, some people get it and some people don't; it may confuse readers to tell them to click on "show."

Question: Have you had success increasing traffic thru partnership w/ brands? If so, what were more successful?

Stephanie: I think that's a different sort of panel, if the brand you're working with has a high social media presence then it will be highly effective.

Neysa: Tracking tools -- which ones do you find most useful, much haves, what's Klout?

Stephanie: I get the most traffic from Pinterest and StumbleUpon, which recently got rid of groups, so now it's more difficult to get referred traffic. Klaut is cool but also kreepy (with a K), it is a really interesting way to gauge overall influence, it's like a credit score (you have no control over it); it's a good number to keep in mind but don't let it make you crazy.

Jeanette: I use Google analytics, you can see what pins drive traffic to your site; Pinerly.com is also really effective.

Kalyn: I use StatCounter and Google analytics.

Stephanie: Also worth mentioning is getclicky.com (a paid option), you get support and it's prettier and more flexible than Google analytics.

Question: Is it better to have a personal or business account on google+?

Stephanie: They will pull the business account if they notice it

Kalyn: John Lennon said: "the love you take is equal to the love you make," and that goes for social media practices too. My 5 golden rules for social media are: 1. promote other people generously, both actively (by tweeting blog url or site name) and passively (by sharing link and retweeting their links) 2. reciprocate other people's content by thanking them on social media, link to their site. 3. reciprocating when other people share encourages them to do it again. 4. use social media to give compliments, to build a community within the blogosphere. 5. when people mention you on social media, try to respond, don't ignore them.

Neysa: I want to reiterate that; sharing other people's content is more important than sharing your own.

Question: StumbleUpon traffic is not qualified, there's no engagement, there's a lot of bouncing, is it still useful?

Neysa: you can get a ton of hits but they immediately leave, there's not a lot of room for communication on it, but that kind of exposure is pretty powerful. You can get really big hikes, and you decrease, but it's always a bit more than you had before.

Jeanette: I recently tried StumbleThru button, bounce rate is higher, but traffic is higher with stumble thru.

Stephanie: Stumble channel is something you apply for, pictures are the worst thing for people to stumble upon, it makes them bounce off your site.

Question: I have a transient readership, is it a no-no to ask readers why they aren't commenting on blog or if i could change things to get them to read more? Is it ok to ask for this directly from readers?

Kalyn: I think it's great to ask for feedback, people feel more ownership on the site.

Jeanette: Do a mini survey on Facebook with 3 answers.

Stephanie: People like being able to give feedback, and if do a few of those in a few weeks, you will bump up your Facebook visibility.

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