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With a staggering number of blogs out there right now (and with that number growing each day), readers have millions of options available. Therefore, attracting an audience can be a challenge. A blogger’s first step is to try to make his site stand out. But all the creativity, maverick management skills and IT-know-how in the world won’t ensure a loyal following. Therefore, a savvy blogger must use all available resources to generate interest.

One great way to get the word out is to engage in social media. The beauty of the internet is that sometimes very little promotional effort can have tremendous results. Take Facebook, for example. Once you set up a Facebook page, and after a few of your target readers “like” something you post, sometimes there is a viral effect. Friends of friends get the message, and before you know it, you might have swarms of readers eager to check out your latest blog entries. The following tips will help you take advantage of various social networking sites in order to promote your blog.

The big names in social media (think Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn) are obvious go-to sites to generate interest in your blog. While those sites have a great deal of mass appeal, other smaller social networking sites cater to a more specific audience. For example, the site Last.fm allows users to discuss and share information and ideas about music. Therefore, if your blog has any sort of musical focus, joining that site would be a logical step. Similarly, BlackPlanet is a social networking site designed specifically for an African-American audience. If you aren’t already aware of a niche site that matches your blog’s content and focus, do a little research to find out what’s available.

Bloggers should strategically create the content for their social networking profiles in order to attract readers to their sites. Merely signing up for Facebook, for example, isn’t enough. Instead, you have to entice your audience by providing them with interesting information about yourself and what you have to say. Consider the profile of your typical reader, including that person’s interests and tastes, and make sure your content would appeal to that person. In addition, the appearance of your online presence is sometimes as important as the quality of your content. Therefore, select high quality photos and artwork in developing your profiles. In short, the image you portray through social media should convey to potential readers why they should visit your blog.

Maintaining a presence on a multitude of social networking sites can be a good strategy for maximizing your exposure and generating traffic for your blog. However, you should take great care to ensure your online persona is consistent throughout all social media so it doesn’t appear that you are pandering to your audience. For example, you shouldn’t create a faux persona on a niche social media site just to increase your readership. If readers catch on that your online image lacks consistency, you’ll lose credibility. If you lose credibility, you’ll likely lose readers as well. To optimize consistency, consider using a device like HootSuite to help manage multiple social media profiles.

If you want to attract readers through social media, you must commit to providing continuous updates and fresh content. Posting your most recent blog entries is a great way to generate interest. If your objective is to promote your blog, you’re probably better off avoiding social media altogether rather than maintaining a profile that appears incomplete or out of date.

The more connections you make online, the wider your audience will become. Therefore, when possible, provide links to your blog on all your social networking profiles. In addition, provide links to your social networking profiles on your blog. Any opportunity to connect to a potential reader is a wonderful gift, and you should take advantage of it. As followers show interest in your status updates, they may repost your information, potentially leading to new connections for you – and potentially new readers for your blog.

Regardless of the tone or focus of your blog, social media is a great way to attract readers who might not have found you otherwise.