Linkbait – an easy way to get inbound links rolling in, right? But wait, you followed my How to Write Great Linkbait in 5 Easy Steps guide to the letter, and you haven’t seen your inbound links increasing yet. What’s gone wrong?
You’ve been waiting for visitors to come to you, that’s what. If you want your linkbait to be a success you need to get out and promote it, and here’s my 3 step Social Media plan of how to do it:
1. Encourage Social Bookmarking
Start off by adding bookmarking buttons to your pages, making it easy for visitors to bookmark your linkbait. Here are a few examples I’m sure you’ve seen before:
These are simple buttons that encourage readers to share your linkbait through their social network of choice. By adding bookmarking buttons, not only are you making it easy for your visitors to share your content with everyone they know, but you’re also reminding them that they should.
There are a number of different services around that offering bookmarking buttons. You can get buttons just for Twitter and Digg, or a more generic share button, like addtoany. A service called AddThis offers a highly customisable share button that works across many different CMS, blogging platforms, email providers and even collects analytics data on how often your page is shared.
Whatever button you go for, remember it needs to be visible, alongside or just below the headline is often a good place for a bookmarking button.
2. Use Social Bookmarking
At the same time, create a few bookmarks of your own using sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon. These sites are easy to use and normally let you install a toolbar so that when you’re on a page you like (e.g. your lovely linkbait) you can just click and save.
NB: Always add tags and a review, some users subscribe to these and will be sent your page without any extra work from you.
Don’t forget that it’s called social bookmarking for a reason. If you’re going to be really successful and get loads of link love coming in you need to really engage with these sites.
Build your profile by subscribing to relevant tags and connecting with other users who share your interests. Gain credibility by engaging with the voting systems (but don’t only vote for your pages!) and link to pages other than your own. Add links from related sites (and if you’re really clever, from other pages linking to your website) and you’ll build trust with other users.
Each of these sites work slightly differently – for example on Digg it’s frowned upon to link to your own pages, where on Delicious that isn’t an issue – so the best thing to do is get online and start using them.
3. Use Social Networks
Do you tell all of your friends on Twitter / Facebook / Google Buzz that you’ve got some exciting new highly link-worthy content on your website? You should be – if you’ve built up a following on a social network then you’ve got an audience for your content ready and waiting. And if they really love it, they may just tell all their friends about it too.
If you’ve been neglecting your social networking profiles now’s the time to think about getting it up to scratch. Make sure it’s up to date and start connecting to people with shared interests. Once again the rules of engagement will depend on the network you’re using, but the key is to get involved and start conversations.
So hopefully that’s given you a taster for how to promote your linkbait, and remember my two final pearls of wisdom:
- Remember you are using social networks – don’t do a hard sell or people will switch off
- You’ll only get out of this what you’re willing to put in. Not every campaign will go viral instantly, but if you keep working at it, testing new ideas and making those all-important connections in time you’ll see your volume of inbound links increasing.