This is a guest post by my girl Tia over at Biz Chick Blogs. Promotion is essential if you want to build a web presence for your business. Tia covers 3 great ways to help you widen your circle beyond the most obvious social platforms.
The world wide web is big: use it!
So the big news is in: you’ve finally launched your business and put up a website. You’ve also put up profiles on the usual suspects: Facebook and Twitter. And maybe, you’ve done a little article marketing on EzineArticles.com, or set up an email marketing account somewhere. If there’s only one thing you’ve convinced yourself, it’s that building your business using the web is the right way to go. You are ready to roll.
And then… nothing happens.
That’s okay, you tell yourself. You put up a few more posts on your blog, and then get smart and do some blog commenting, and maybe even publish a guest post or two. Your partners and friends tell you that you are a marketing machine! Awesome.
And still… nothing happens.
Maybe, just maybe…your circle of influence is too small.
Benefits of Spreading Your Wings
Consider this: the Internet is massive. There are billions upon billions of web pages containing topics of all sorts, and while you are contributing at an impressive rate, it’s likely that your message is just not reaching enough people for you to see a difference.
Ultimately, to grow your business – whether online or offline – you need to be seen as an authority in your subject so that people will think of you when it comes time to fill their need. If all you’ve got is a blog and a Facebook page, it’s going to be a long, lonely uphill climb. Some business owners have had blogs and websites for years and years, and have hundreds of articles and posts and tweets to back up their claims.
Your skinny blog or the handful of articles you’ve put out, while a great way to kick things off, just isn’t enough; there are not enough eyeballs seeing and digesting your content. You need a bigger circle of influence and more content to bring to the table.
Now for the good news! There are a few solutions. First, you will have to picture your circle of influence and determine its size, and then make a commitment to growing it. You might be able to grow your circle by continuously visiting the same blogs and leaving comments, or putting out article after article, but then you’ll be dependent on those sites effectively growing their circles of influence.
Who is taking care of yours?
By continuing to do the same things, you are assuring yourself the same results. To see change, you’ve got to change something.
Three Great Sites that Can Grow Your Circle of Influence & Create Authority Status
HubPages.com has been around for just 4 years, and in that time, has attracted thousands of people who write pages and pages of information, commentary, reviews, rants, and advice. When you publish a page on HubPages – about anything you like, really – it gets put into the circle of new hubs and floated through the ever growing pool of “hubbers.”
As an entrepreneur, your hubs could revolve around topics that are of interest to your prospective clients, or, you could just write about things you like in order to develop a following. Your profile page can contain links back to your website as well as information about you and your business (keep it human and personable).
HubPages provides incentives to hubbers for participation, so there’s no shortage of it. On a personal note, I was seeing comments and followers come in within a day. The key to success in that community is to be yourself, and then you will be accepted.
Things to Note:
Hubbers are notorious for taking a strong stand against anything too “salesy” and because they are vulnerable to SPAM, they are always a bit cautious of brand new hubbers. Your best bet is to try and mix it up when choosing hub topics. Like a great happy hour, you might want to break the ice with something other than, “Hi, this is what I do for a living.”
Your first hub shouldn’t be about your business. Try writing about something else that’s of interest to you, or making a hub that contains photos of your last vacation (that’s how I started). The key is to just be yourself. Once you show your human side, you will be in. And then you can start adding hubs that are more topical and relevant to your business.
Examiner.com is an online news and culture journal, and because it’s separated into cities and towns, it’s particularly helpful for local business owners and entrepreneurs. Experts from all over the world can own a topic in their area, and it becomes their personal column.
The good news is that there is only one column in each city/town per topic, so once you own it, you are literally seen as the authority on that topic. Are you an expert? You bet you are! You just have to figure out which categories fit you best. The major benefit of becoming an Examiner is that you can tailor your articles to your home town, thus attracting people who are local.
Things to Note:
You have to be approved for your desired column, and the application process, while short, is a little unnerving. They want to see that you know a little bit about your desired topic (business, social media, marketing, gadgets, pets, computers, etc.)
Your best bet is to have a look at the application first, and then put together your materials (list of your best work, why you want to become an Examiner, etc.) before you start filling it out. Currently, there is no expiration date on how long you can own your column, and you can own more than one, so have at it.
Similar to HubPages, Squidoo.com is a website where people go to set up “lenses” about various topics. When you create a lens, you are known as a lensmaster. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s yet another place where you can shine and let your expertise show.
You can create lenses on just about any topic (there are some topics that are off limits; you’ll have to read their guidelines). On Squidoo, your best bet is to check out the community first and see which lenses generate the most traffic. Those are the things people care about there.
Then, you can find a way to write lenses that show off your expertise, while still attracting readers. For example, if you own a pet grooming business, you probably know a lot about pets. For whatever reason, pets seem to be really interesting to the Squidoo community. Maybe you could create a series of lenses featuring different breeds, grooming techniques, or something similar.
Things to Note:
Squidoo is massively popular, and because of that, there are so many lenses going up each day that you will really have to break out of your comfort zone in order to see some action on yours. One of the factors that increases the chances of your lens getting featured is popularity, and for that, you need eyeballs. Try cross-promoting your lenses across multiple channels, like Twitter, Facebook, and your blogroll.
Quality Writing Still Wins
Each of these sites is very different and will yield different results for you. One thing remains the same for all of them, though: the quality of your writing will make or break your success. This is not to say that you need to be worried or stressed out about it; quite the opposite.
Be relaxed. Be yourself.
Pretentious, boastful, or even overly-nervous people don’t fare any better online than they do in face-to-face gatherings! So, don’t think that talking incessantly about yourself in any of these circles is going to work, because it won’t. Provide something of value. Visit other people’s pages and leave interesting comments. Become the change you want to see. Rinse and repeat.