Since we are on a business trip this week, Jim and I decided to hand the laptop back and forth and discuss the difference between engagement on blog posts vs. promotion and shares of blog posts via social media. For a change of pace, the five questions listed below will be very similar to the topics for our #shehechat tonight at 8 p.m. CST on Twitter.
1. Blogging is social media so how do you compare the vale of a page view to that of say a Twitter retweet?
Jim: Over the last year or so, I’ve changed my position on this topic. Like many of us I was overly enamored with social media a few years ago. I still see the value of social media, but in a different light. I’d much rather have a page view on my blog or company site than a re-tweet of something silly I’ve said. I guess the way I view it now is that a page view has a better likelihood of resulting in a conversion. Some conversions just move the sales cycle along while others result in direct sales that keep our companies rolling along. Thinking in traditional media terms, a re-tweet is just another copy of my billboard on the side of the road. That billboard will appeal to some but until they visit one of our sites it’s going to be difficult to convert that interest into a business relationship.
Shelby: Unlike Jim, I’m still pretty enamored by social media. After all, it did serve as the catalyst for the beginning of my entrepreneurship, which later led to the launch of SheHe Media. The engagement that I have experienced in social media over the last few years far outweighs the comments I have received on blog posts during that same time period. Now, to be fair, I discuss blog posts in social media where I promote them more than in the comments section of the actual posts … but I’m jumping ahead. Oh, and also unlike Jim, I’m not obsessed with checking my blog site stats every other hour. Who cares how many people have viewed a blog post when I can’t even tell who they are? At least in social media, I know who’s talking to me about my posts and can carry on a conversation with them.
2. How do you promote your blog posts through social media?
Shelby: I almost always promote my blog posts through Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes I share them on LinkedIn and, less often, on Google+. As I mentioned in the topic above, most of the discussions about my posts is carried on in social media channels. I try not to over share though. On Facebook, I usually only promote a post once. On Twitter, I keep it to once or twice within a 24-hour period. I never schedule these shares and I thank others who re-share my posts. I do believe social media is a great tool for getting the word out about your new posts on your website. Of course, that only works if you have an established audience though.
Jim: In this regard, Shelby and I take a similar approach. On Twitter, however, I do schedule four tweets to promote each blog post. I create two versions of the Tweet and share them at six hour intervals over a 24-hour period. As I browsed through my Twitter followers, I realized a good chunk of them are based outside the U.S. and to not promote over a 24-hour period is to ignore them. I feel like I’ve increased international readership since starting this practice several months ago, and web stats are supporting that conclusion.
3. If people comment on a blog post on Facebook instead of your blog’s comments section, does that affect how you respond?
Jim: Honestly, this used to really bother me. I’d think to myself, “Come on. You took the time to click over and read the post but you can’t leave the comment there where it means more to me?” As time has gone on, I’ve changed my position on this as well. Comment where you will and where you are most comfortable. If I choose to share the blog post on that social media channel, then it is incumbent on me to monitor and respond to comments there.
Shelby: I think some people comment on blog posts more in social media because that’s where they are able to share it with their followers and friends. It’s difficult for me to knock that. Either way, I don’t think it affects my response except I might be a bit wordier in the comments section than I would be on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll agree with Jim on this one. Any comments or shares are appreciated and I’ll be monitoring and responding wherever they occur.
4. Which is more valuable: comments via your social media channels or those in the comments section of your blog?
Shelby: While I will always respond to mentions via social media, I do sometimes wish people would comment on the blog posts themselves. The reason is simple: When you comment on a post, it stays with that post until it is no longer live on the site. When I read a blog post in which I am really interested, I love reading the discussion in the comments section and getting different views about the topic. When those conversations take place in social media, they are invariably lost forever in connection with that post at some point. If I have something important to say about someone else’s post, I will leave it in the comments section on the actual blog.
Jim: In many ways blogs and the conversations that occurred on those blogs marked the beginning of the social media revolution. As Shelby pointed out, comments left with a blog turn into a conversation thread which stays intact for years. It’s always interesting when a post that I wrote years ago generates a new comment, and I go back to re-read the conversation thread. So while in the short term I think that comments left on the blog or in social media have equal value, over time those left as comments on the blog retain their value.
5. Is a click the same as a social media share?
Jim: In the sense that both are an acknowledgment that you exist, yes. Beyond that, the answer is absolutely not. A social media share of your blog post is an acknowledgment that not only did the individual like the post enough to read it, but also to share it with their community. As I mentioned in my answer to #1, a click is valuable from a business sense, but lacks sense of validation of your work that a social media share represents.
Shelby: I guess this is where I contradict myself. I started out this conversation by saying that I think social media engagement is more important to me. But the little kid in me did get excited recently when one of my blog posts received the most hits in a 24-hour period since we launched this site. But are those hits more important? And would I have received those hits if I didn’t promote the post through social media? For me, it really does go hand-in-hand. When someone comments on a blog post, they can choose to share it via LiveFyre to social media channels. When someone re-shares a post in social media, they can elicit more blog post hits. Asking me what’s more important is like answering the chicken and egg question.