3 Tips to Grow Your Social Networks and Improve SEO

TwitterBirdI know you love your Twitter friends and followers, but let’s talk about this Follow Friday (#FF) stuff, shall we? Do you wish those #FF tweets had some context around them? Why should I follow these 10 people? Does it make you a little crazy or do you love #FF? Do you find #FF, fantastic and fun or phenomenally frustrating?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to stop using the #FF hashtag or to stop recommending great people, I’d just like to offer you an interesting alternative that would (1) drive traffic to your blog, (2) provide you with weekly content, (3) allow you to continue to recommend great people and organizations to follow and (4) potentially increase your search engine optimization (SEO).

How Does it Work? 

Twitter’s limited to 140 characters, that’s what makes it so simple. It also makes it a challenge to include context around every #FF and if you did, you’d spend a good chunk of your day trying to tweet out your favorite follows and bogging down your Twitter stream. Instead, think about who you want to recommend and limit your list to 5 or 10 suggestions. Then, turn that list into a blog post that explains why your community should follow your recommendations. You can include links directly to their Twitter profiles and even screenshots, if you’re feeling really ambitious.

A Never-Ending Supply of Content and Reference Material

If you’ve ever been stumped for content, that shouldn’t be an issue for Fridays any more. Provided you follow people you’ll want to recommend, the beauty of this approach is that you’ll have a #FF blog post once a week. Tag and categorize your #FF posts and you’ve got great reference material that you can refer back to and a resource that others can use as well.

Follow Friday, Twitter and Beyond

Now let’s think about how we can extend the life of your suggestions and your blog posts. Once you’ve created your Follow Friday post, tweet it (or use a service like dlvr.it) and be sure to share it with the people you’ve suggested. This will give them an opportunity to reference it, as well as share your post from their website, blogs and social networks, not to mention Twitter, improving traffic to your site.

But don’t stop there, create a Twitter list, add an appropriate description that includes a link to your blog series and add each week’s new Follow Friday suggestions. As your suggestions grow, so will your Twitter list. You can even break these into lists by categories or themes like music lovers, web developers, etc. You get the idea. Keep the fun going by creating a public circle (or circles) on G+ for your Follow Friday recommendations so that others can connect and follow along, too. It’s a great way to grow your social networks while helping others do the same.

Listen, I get that it’s easier to just tweet #FF and add a bunch of twitter handles, but it’s all about context, creating good content and improving the quality of your social networks, right? Right! Then why not give this a try, and let me know how it works for you. Until next time, stay social!

If you love tips and ideas on how to improve your social media strategy, increase brand awareness and grow your social networks, then this site might be right up your alley. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to receive more like this. Tweet us with your thoughts or add them in the comments below!

[I originally wrote this article March 2011, for the Radian6 corporate website]

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Comments

  1. says

    I really need to get my Twitter lists updated! Thanks for the reminder. I’ve pinned this post to my Blogging Tips board on Pinterest so I make sure to get it done!

    Nice meeting you during the SITS chat from your fellow NC blogger :) The Dose Girls and Good Girl Gone Redneck are from NC too!

  2. says

    I love the concept of this. I do tweet my favorite content but I love this idea as well. Twitter moves so fast and this not only gives people a reason to come to your blog but it also gives you a chance to recognize your favorite content throughout the week as well. I have one post that I wrote about my favorite funny bloggers quite a while back that shows up in search results and I get quite a few hits from it every single day. The blogs I mentioned also get hits from it every day as well, because I see all the outbound clicks going out to them. One has even mentioned to me how many hits they get through my site. So glad you mentioned your post on SITS Sharefest this morning! Just subscribed to your blog. Have a great weekend!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…#AskAwayFriday with Mrs. Tee Love Life & LaughterMy Profile

    • says

      So glad you stopped in, Michelle! I’m subscribed to your site as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this post. I think everyone has to do what works for them and I love hearing what other people think.

    • says

      Erinn, thanks for swinging by and adding your comment. I just love lists. When I lived in FL, I had a list of everyone local who was on twitter. It was a tremendous resource. Now I’m working to do the same for my new home state of NC! That’s just one example of how I use Twitter lists but as I mentioned in the article, it’s also a great way to share your favorite people with others.

  3. says

    I’ve fallen off the #FF bandwagon and was looking for alternate ways to share my favorite blogs. Thanks for all of these wonderful suggestions!

  4. says

    These are great tips! I haven’t made a Twitter list in a long time, but I’m going to try to do one for #FF. It’s easy to see how this type of tweet will have value.

    I’m visiting from the SITS Comment Love Party. Have a great week!

  5. says

    I love this! I just started a new blog where we have social media linkies every day, and I try to give information about those social medias. Well, I am no expert on social media so I am learning all the time. Twitter is one that I still am just not connecting with. I just started Triberr–so that’s helping. I’m saving this and going to link to it in on of my Twitter parties. I’m coming by from #SITSBlogging. (My new blog is http://theultimatelinky.com)
    Tammy @ creativekkids.com recently posted…Printable Valentine Cards with Crayon Hearts #valentinesMy Profile

  6. says

    Trish! This is brilliant. I never really got into the #FF and never seem to pick up that many followers that way. I am not even all that interested in having throngs of followers if they aren’t going to engage with me. Twitter has boiled down to just one more way to engage with my community but it isn’t the only way. For those who I really want to network or establish rapport with I am following in other ways as well. I also try to share content in multiple ways and not just on twitter. When I look at the analytics, Pinterest and Facebook blow twitter away. At least in my very small area of the web :-)
    Tara Newman recently posted…15 of My Favorite FatsMy Profile

  7. says

    I LOVE this idea. I honestly just skip over those #FF tweets with a long list of handles. I haven’t participated in a while, but I used to pick a few people every week and give individual shout-outs, which I think was much more effective. But I like your idea even better because it can crossover into other social media platforms as well. This is now on my to-do list :)

  8. says

    Now this is an interesting take on #FF. To tell you the truth, I just figured out what that hastag is, so I’m sort of a newbie when it comes to Follow Fridays, but this is incredibly smart. I think in the long run, the payout will be worth the time it takes to actually write up the #FF posts as opposed to just tweeting the list.

    I also agree that you would never run out of content. Even if you have a small amount of twitter follower, you should be actively working to increase those numbers, which in turn would give you more people to showcase on your blog. Besides, it’s Friday. I know on Friday’s I’m typically ready to start the weekend and don’t want to be boggled down by a difficult post. I want something quick and easy, and this sounds like both.

    Thanks for sharing these tips. This is a great way to keep a steady stream of content flowing on your blog while also driving traffic straight to your blog.
    Theresa recently posted…Two Years LaterMy Profile

  9. says

    I have been trying to grow my readership, and I love your tips! I haven’t gotten a Twitter yet (please don’t shoot me), but I think I might be missing out on an opportunity.

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