Having a blog is a great step in the right direction if you are looking for ways to dive into social media. Conversations are at the core of what it's about, after all. However, there is a lot more that you can do once you've got that blog up and running. You can think of your blog as a hub connecting all of your social media activities-and you'll want to encourage visitors to interact with you socially in as many ways as possible. Here are some ideas that you can run with:
Social badges, buttons and widgets (oh my!): Why not advertise your social presence while you have your readers' attention? There are many different ways to do this.
Facebook recently introduced Fan Boxes for those users with Fan Pages. These allow Page administrators to embed the most recent activity from their Page right in their website or blog. If you do not have a Fan Page and want to let people know about your personal Facebook profile instead, you can also add a badge to your site provided by Facebook. Use the "Create a Profile Badge" link all the way at the bottom under your picture.
Facebook Connect is another option-this is a tool that allows software, websites, mobile devices and more to integrate with Facebook and send information between them.
Want to encourage your readers to follow you on Twitter? A simple Google search shows that there are many different badges out there to add to your site. Twittercounter.com has one of my favorites-the "big bird button" has a sleek design that displays your number of followers.
Finally, Google Friend Connect and MyBlogLog are two online services that allow web users to connect with their friends on different websites. These free services help foster community around blogs and blog authors.
Submission buttons: If you use the WordPress blog platform, a wonderful plugin to use is "Sociable." This adds a row of buttons to the bottom of your posts for various social sites and tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon and more. This way, readers can easily submit your content to be bookmarked, voted on and shared.
If you are not a WordPress user, the ShareThis or AddThis buttons are a great alternative.
Share-friendly content: It goes without saying that you want to add content to your blog that provides lots of value for your readers. This is what builds your subscriber base and ultimately determines your success. Some content is more "shareable" than others.
As one example, people just love lists. "Top 10 tips on …." "7 Ways to …." -you get the idea. Consider adding these types of posts to the mix, because readers are more apt to share them.
It's also worth mentioning titles. Keep in mind what might be attention-grabbing when you write your blog posts' titles. People will be more likely to not only read further, but to share it with others and have those people share it too.
These days, people expect to be able to interact with you when they visit your site. Make it super simple for them and they'll be back for more!