Getting your online footprint right by KG Chagunda
I recently had the pleasure of tracking down nominees for the Zim blog awards and I’ve gathered some insights from the experience.
Firstly, I am not affiliated in any way with the organisation behind the Zim Blog Awards and the search was conducted completely on my own steam based on links provided to blogs on the voting website. All of the difficulty I experienced in finding and connecting with the bloggers on twitter is not completely down to the factors I will discuss herein. Finally, my preferred communication platform is twitter and my goal was to find all the nominees on Twitter.
The online world is supposed to be beautifully connected however it is easy to end up with a product that is not connected. Attention spans are ridiculously short as is the patience of people in a world where they can receive answers to questions of the ages in seconds by typing them into Google. Point is, people who are looking for you would prefer to find you quickly, conveniently with as little friction as possible. I hope my observations and hints can help bloggers create more cohesive online footprints.
Lack of connection
While the links to the blogs worked for the most part for many of the blogs finding their twitter accounts was not an easy task. Aside from the ones I knew on twitter already, few had a link to their twitter account or had their twitter feed on display. The rest were cases of About pages that contained nothing but an email form.
Create a dynamic contact page that contains your social media links and a contact form. You don’t really get to choose which platform people want to communicate with you on. If you have a platform, give me the option to choose it. In the same breath all your platforms should point to all your other platforms.
Lack of consistency
Many blogs were not easy to connect to the twitter accounts associated with them outside of a link. In a handful of cases searching for the blog name provided the desired result. Of course, it’s not always possible to match username to the blog name, sometimes it’s not desirable. However, you should make it easy for people to find you via search.
Including your blog name in your bio or impressum goes a long way towards making it easy to find you via search.
Lack of presence
In very few cases but enough for me to be annoyed by some bloggers were not present on twitter. This is a very awkward state of affairs. You may dislike a platform or feel it’s not what you want to do for your blog, that is fine. But in building a brand you must understand the value of social media is listening not broadcasting.
At the very least be available on all platforms. People may want to share your blog to twitter or another platform but without the ability, to tag or credit you can lose out on traction. This applies to all relevant platforms. Be available at least in a listening capacity that if someone should ever want to reach out to you lets say via Snapchat they can. Worst case scenario an autoresponder that informs people which platform to contact you on.
In some cases, you come across different identities on different platforms for the same blog(ger). This creates a scattered footprint where seeing you on the different platforms serves to confuse the audience. Confusion chases away audiences.
Not only should you have a single cohesive vision but also consider having a centre. You can do this via having a page on your blog that is about you or using a service like about.me. You can see mine on www.about.me/kgchangunda
Lastly, there were cases where blogs had links or social media handles which were outdated as they had since changed. This was even more frustrating because just when you think you’ve found someone, Jack’s (Dorsey) platform tells you user doesn’t exist.
The best way of dealing with this is to keep a list of all your social platforms somewhere safe (where you can retrieve it in future) and when updating one platform make sure you go through all the others like a checklist. If you change your twitter username make sure you change all places where it appears. Same for your Facebook or Instagram. Keep them all up to date.
Building and maintaining a footprint is important to your blogging exploits. Anything you do online. It all ties into your branding and messaging on a whole. These tips should be of help to some and perhaps there are a few more tips that practising bloggers can recommend. Comments are appreciated and welcome.
Guest Article by KUDZAI GODFREY CHANGUNDA