Which social networks have helped you build the strongest community around your blog so far?
In November 2014, I wrote a long guide to help both SMM managers and bloggers make the most out of the most popular social platforms.
However, there are more social networks and communities out there, some pretty unusual and little-heard among bloggers, but definitely powerful if you play your cards well.
Which cards, you may ask? Here's a list:
- Your niche or industry
- Your target audience
- Your specific approach and the angle around which you built your core message.
The 7 unusual but powerful social networks introduced in this post will work best for you if you have those three pointers (really your USP, Unique Selling Proposition) already clear in your mind.
Whatever your blogging niche, Kingged comes handy to promote your blog posts across the community.
Kingged is a content-based network, which means you can write directly on the platform like you do on Medium or LinkedIn Pulse, as well as comment, share, discuss, and vote on other bloggers’ content.
As David Leonhardt from THGM Ghostwriter Services puts it:
What makes it powerful is that, despite its size and niche concentration, it drives traffic and more engagement than any other network.
What makes it unusual is the level of direct involvement the moderators take in the community. Honestly, I wonder when they will burn out!
There is no question that on a per-member basis, Kingged is the most effective social media for bloggers.
When one of my blog posts n0tSEO (now rebranded into IAWSEO) got syndicated on Kingged in 2015, I saw a spike in traffic to the post and several wonderful comments being posted, which immediately made Kingged the number one platform for my blogging projects.
While you can no longer syndicate your posts since 2017, you can still use Kingged to share 100% unique high quality content that promotes your blog and services, and rely on a great community to drive the engagement you need, like I did here.
I have used DeviantART to promote my content several times over the years, either to my community of Watchers (followers) through Journal entries and polls, or via Deviations (submissions).
Aside from blog posts, I also promoted a short story on DeviantART by posting an excerpt and then linking to the page on my website where readers could read the entire story and leave a critique. Traffic and comments on my story (and my blog posts) was substantial, especially up to 7 days after I submitted my Deviation.
Like Kingged, InfoBarrel is a community that encourages its users to post helpful content and helps them boost traffic and earn a passive income.
The range of topics you can write about is wide, but the most interesting networking tool on this community is the possibility to vote, share and discuss content other users posted, thus creating new opportunities to grow your network of blogger contacts.
Philip Turner of Time Money Problem shares his experience with InfoBarrel—
I used to use InfoBarrel.com (the forum) as a networking tool, and felt the same [as MBU – Author's note] about the people there. I also found great paying jobs there as well.
4. GNU Social
GNU Social is an open source kind of “federated” Twitter-like social network, in the sense that you can either self-host your own instance (for example, social.yourdomain.com) or join an existing community, but you maintain your login identity across all federated networks. For example, you can use the same login from social.yourdomain.com on community.frienddomain.net.
Here is a list of networks currently running GNU Social as a platform. My favorite is Quitter.no — more similar to Twitter in terms of UX, I found a pleasant and loyal audience for my marketing ethics and robotics related posts.
How does GNU Social help your blogging efforts? Once you run an account on the federated network of choice and you start promoting your blog posts, they will be visible to the entire community across the many other federated networks.
Scoop.it was created as a content curation and generation platform, but it can be much more than that. As Deborah Anderson of Social Web Cafe puts it—
I believe people think of it as a content generator (idea generator) or a content curation tool, rather than a social network.
However, if you think of it as a way to share your blog posts (content marketing) and look for places to suggest it to the curators, it is actually a great opportunity to network. Think of it in the same way as Pinterest boards that are set up for groups.
The only thing is, there is one curator that scoops and you are suggesting your posts to them. This is an under-utilized opportunity to network with others and share (and consume) each other's content. It also gives an opportunity to extend that sharing and curating to other networks. Now, I just need to go practice what I preach and network on Scoop.it
Similar to Kingged, BizSugar is optimized for business bloggers who want to build traffic to their posts, videos and other types of content, as well as connect and network with other bloggers in the same niche or industry.
If you run a very niche-specific blog, BizSugar will work much better for you as a networking tool than other, more generalist types of social networks.
Like HARO, MyBlogU helps bloggers connect to each other through shared projects that involve interviews, brainstorming, media and forums.
Not as unusual as some of the above-mentioned, but since MyBlogU's community is still small compared to other social gatherings for bloggers (including forums) it earned a place in this post.
Jeevan Jacob John from Daring Blogger shares his enthusiasm about his experience on MyBlogU:
Ann and her team [have] managed to attract some awesome bloggers to this community – which makes it even more awesome!
I have participated in other communities, but most of them are kind of similar these days (just submitting content, upvoting and so forth). And people aren't always active on those sites, besides promoting their content.
Here, it's different. We are not trying to, directly at least, promote our business or blog. Instead, we share our ideas, ask for opinions (which helps to polish our ideas, and avoid mistakes) and communicate.
Plus, there are these friendly competitions to encourage us to participate more (and there's always a prize. Sure, we might not win the cash prize, but ultimately we are all winners because of the ideas shared!).
Philip Turner has also a very positive view of the platform:
MyBlogU is my blogger network. We help each other, chat and would all be good buddies in the real world. I have had many paying jobs through my contacts here, so if finances = success MyBlogU wins every time.
What about the most ‘regular' social network?
Christopher Jan Benitez recommends Google+
Many consider Google+ as a social graveyard.
However, when used correctly, Google+ is a great social networking site to make professional connections and tap into a new community for your site or blog. First, the Google Communities feature some of the most vibrant online communities. It depends on your niche, but each community generally is active and creates lots of discussion about your site topic.
Also, Google Hangouts is another great way to take your relationships with users [to] a whole new level. Conducting lessons, interviews, and webinars is a breeze using this.
— Christopher Jan Benitez (christopherjanb.com)
Dr. Elaine Nicholls recommends Pinterest
As a blogger, I actually find Pinterest is the best network I use in terms of connecting with other bloggers. It helps me to connect with people who have interests in line with my blog. MyBlogU has helped me connect with other bloggers in a way which provides me support in my blogging.
In my hobby blog (achelois.co) I find the best social network is not really a social network! It is challenge blogs. There are various card making, paper craft and mixed media challenges you can join in. By joining in with these you connect with other bloggers with the same hobby.
— Dr. Elaine Nicholls (virtuallytutoring.co.uk/blog)
… And then we have bloggers' forums, of course!
Forums – the oldest form of social network.
Forum marketing is still alive and kicking in 2017. And, it's simple: Engage with the forum members, and consequently earn a massive stream of targeted visitors. Here's what you can do to get started:
- Find the right forums
- Create a Compelling Profile
- Provide value to the forum
- Edit your signature
I once heard: “When it comes to forum marketing, your signature is your salesman.”
And it’s true. People will see your signature under any of your posts, and therefore, it’s exactly where your link is going to be. Eventually, keep posting in the forum at least twice a week and enjoy your new traffic source.
— Sariel Mazuz (onlinetactico.com)
Here is a list of good ones for bloggers that can help you build a community around your blog.