There are a number of platforms and tools you need to utilize to help grow your blog or online business. In fact, I give you over 200 of them in my free resource library!
But, all of these tools and resources can seem a little overwhelming if taken all at once.
In this post I’m going to give you the two most important platforms for you to dig into for 2017 and two tools you need to embrace along the way.
Two Key Platforms to Grow Your Blog in 2017
New platforms rise to the forefront all the time. As a blogger and participant in the online community, you know exactly what I mean. Each time one of these pops up you feel like you have to immediately refocus your attention and start to build it out so it serves your blogging goals.
Too often you go down dead ends though and before you know it the platform has withered and died. Instead of wasting your time on these emerging or niche platforms this year why not refocus your attention on that old stalwart of the online social experience, Facebook.
Facebook continues to grow bigger each day and you won’t find a bigger platform for audience engagement. The numbers are staggering. 1 billion active users PER DAY!
Given a large number of users and the amount of time they spend on the platform, you have to include Facebook as your KEY component for your blog marketing plan for 2017. Forget about Twitter. It’s a wasteland of trolls and a dumping ground for links. Engagement and true social interaction
Forget about Twitter. It’s a wasteland of trolls and a dumping ground for links. Engagement and true social interaction are too few and far between. And don’t even get me started on the futility of Google+. Does it still exist?
After your blog itself, Facebook has to be your second most important priority throughout the year.
The Best Way to Use Facebook for Your Blog
In the past, your Facebook brand page was crucial to your success and your blog. But with limited reach in today’s environment (I mean, it sucks!), most pages have lost their appeal and are pretty much worthless. Most of the magic on Facebook these days happens in Facebook Groups.
Look around and explore groups to find those in your particular niche. Join the groups and engage as an active and valuable member of the community. Don’t just dump links to your articles and leave. Over time, you’ll be amazed at the quality of interaction and the value that comes your way.
An easy way to find which groups to join is to look at your existing friends and see which groups they are a member of. If there is a market leader in your niche that you follow look at their group memberships and see if there is something there you could join as well.
If Facebook is Your Wingman, Who Else Should Join Your Clique?
Beyond Facebook, you should really start taking a serious look at Instagram. This visual platform has grown quite a bit and with Facebook’s backing, it is surely going to continue to rise in the coming years.
In fact, over the last six months of 2016 Instagram is growing at 50% more users per month than it had been over the previous two years! Growth is accelerating.
If you don’t have a presence on Instagram, 2017 should be the year you do. Every blogger should use it as a platform to gain followers and expand their reach. Post content on Instagram that aligns with your brand and allows you to engage with your audience on a different level.
The benefit of Instagram for the busy blogger over other visual platforms like Snapchat is it’s much easier to use. If you feel overwhelmed with Snapchat, try focusing on Instagram and mastering it before moving heavily into Snapchat.
When you do post on Instagram remember to use relevant hashtags to grow your following and get people to view your profile. When they check out your bio, make sure you have the link to your website and soon you’ll be driving traffic from Instagram toward your blog.
One word of advice with hashtags on Instagram, use them as a comment on your post after you put the image up. Don’t put the hashtags in the initial posting as it will clutter your image and look spammy when viewing via a mobile device. Since most people use Instagram on their phone, this is a big deal.
In the image below you can see how I included my hashtags after the initial post.
And feel free to load up on the hashtags (within limits) and see how your following grows. If you don’t use the hashtags, people simply won’t find you.
Blog tools you need to really get serious about in 2017
The first tool is not a particular vendor solution but rather a tool category. Video.
Video is a huge differentiator for your brand and something that is growing like crazy. Facebook and Instagram both have video options where you can provide even more value to your audience from a more personal perspective. Look at hosting Facebook Live sessions from time to time and exploring Instagram Stories to further grow your audience.
You should also look to include video in your blog posts. Stand up a YouTube channel for your brand and then use the embed code for your blog posts to add video and enhance the power of your message on your website.
Your blog visitor’s experience is much better with video than it would be if they simply viewed long-form textual content. Don’t be afraid to start broadcasting your day and providing nuggets of information using alternate medium.
The need for video and more visual content brings me to the second tool busy bloggers should use in 2017, Canva. This tool provides quick online editing for your blog and social media graphics and allows the busy blogger to create right-sized images with little effort or time spent. Winning!
There’s no doubt that visual content is trending and the key to gaining traction with your blog and online business. Facebook and Instagram provide a number of options for you to market your content visually and using tools such as video and Canva will help you elevate your message above your competition.
2017 is the year you need to up your graphics game and start to really blow up your brand!