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Majority of business professionals feel social media engagement increases blog reach

These days, it seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry has a personal blog, and all kinds of businesses are getting in on the action too. Blogs are a great way to attract new customers, share the latest business trends and develop a voice for your business. Once you decide to take the plunge and create a company blog, the next step is figuring out how to increase its reach and make sure it's getting the page clicks it deserves. There are many ways to go about this, but in a recent ProOpinion poll, most business professionals surveyed - 36 percent - thought that being active in social media groups was most important in attracting customers to a blog.

Social media is an extremely useful tool when it comes to expanding your company blog's reach. Here's how you can make sure your social media profiles are engaging customers and steering them toward your blog.

Know which social media sites to use
Depending on the nature of your business, you likely have a target market with specific characteristics and interests when it comes to social media. Do your market research to figure out which types of social media your customers are most likely using. For example, a business-to-business company may want to frequent professional sites like LinkedIn or Google+, while a company focused on a specific type of consumer, like young adults, may want to use a platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you're posting links to your blog on social media sites that your customers aren't as likely to use, you're missing the mark.

xFiguring out which social media outlets your customers use is crucial to your blog's success.

Add social media buttons to your website
According to LinkedIn, one of the best ways to drive customers to your social media sites and blog is by embedding your website with social media links. Your website is probably where many of your customer interactions take place, so it makes sense to grab their attention there first. If a person finds a good piece of content on your site, social media buttons will allow him or her to share the information with friends, which could net you more business. It also encourages customers to interact with your other social media pages that they might not have known about.

"Visual content is often the most engaging, since it attracts people's attention at first glance."

Use various types of content
If you're posting the same types of content on your blog, you might run into trouble when you're trying to promote it on your social media channels, since after the first couple of posts, the novelty may have worn off. Stir up interest by including all different types of content in your blog, from videos to infographics, articles, news stories, photos, links, polls and questions. Track the amount of engagement you get for each type of content, then keep using the most popular forms to keep your customers engaged and excited about what your company has to offer. According to LinkedIn, visual content is often the most engaging, since it attracts people's attention at first glance when they're scrolling through pages or news feeds. If your blog is simply a bunch of text, they won't be as likely to check it out.

Be active
Every time you have a new post on your blog, you should link to it on your social media sites and draw as much attention to it as you can. Develop a regular schedule so your customers have a good idea of when they can expect another industry news update or tidbit of information about your company. Aim to post during the times when your customers are most likely to be on social media, like during lunch breaks or after work. Encourage engagement by asking plenty of questions and answering any questions posed to your business.

Add customer service to your social media
American Express noted that designating someone to manage customer service across your social media channels is a good strategy to keep engagement high and positive. Not only will you be able to address concerns and issues that customers bring up on your blog or social media pages, but you can respond to positive feedback and thank customers for getting in touch. If readers see that you're striving to address every single comment no matter what it pertains to, they'll likely be impressed with your dedication.

Introduce contests
There's nothing like a contest to get people excited about your product and drive traffic to your blog. Come up with a good incentive, then post about it on social media. You may want to include instructions to enter that get your followers to share your blog, such as using a certain hashtag or sharing your post. You may be surprised at how many new clicks your blog gets after you use it to explain the details of the contest.

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