Most people use social media and read blogs as they have become fantastic ways to communicate with your immediate colleagues, friends and family. What if you want to start leveraging blogging or social media to grow your visibility online and reach connections outside of your existing network. Maybe you’re itching to break out from being just a content consumer and into a content creator but you’re not quite sure if you should start blogging immediately or focus on growing a social media following first. It’s a relevant question to have, but it’s good to consider how blogging and social media fits into your overall plan. Reading up on the web is a good start, that’s probably why you’re here! But don’t let too many how-to pundits drive you in the wrong direction. One explainer post might offer advice to just start writing blog posts. Others might instruct to setup a Facebook Business Page and spend dollars on promoting your pages. Maybe your internet savvy niece told you to post photos in some ultra high trafficked hashtags. Or your colleague at work is going Live on Periscope in 15 minutes. Yikes!

Where do you really start!

At some point during your internet marketing endeavor, you will need to explore all of the above blogging and social media opportunities and maybe even ones that are not yet invented. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to build visibility online, especially without a large advertising budget. What doesn’t need to happen is you losing sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. Spend a calculated amount of time exploring each platform and begin to identify ones that you are most comfortable with and that seem logical to your endeavors. Everyone has to crawl before we learn to walk. By experimenting you will expose why you even want to embark on this journey and which platforms will help you get there.

Start with why.

Marketer and author Simon Sinek exposes in his bestselling book “Start with Why” how companies build culture. Consumers often become loyal to a company because of why they do what they do and the persona their brand represents rather than simply because of what the company offers or the product features. The process for starting a blog or social media following is similar. If you’re looking to start a blog or really ramp up your social media presence, then you must first dig deep into your soul and decide how you want to portray yourself online. If someone is going to consume your content then what should they take away from it? Think about what type of content (mediums) will best fit your persona and what will you be most inspired to create? It may be easier for you to create video rather than writing, etc. Go with what works best for you. [bctt tweet=”Why are you trying to build a following in the first place?” username=”contentacademy”] Ask yourself what type of content – either in blog posts or social posts – will best reach your audience and what will they find the most value in from you. Who will be the most receptive to your content and how can you best relate yourself to them? It’s always about how you can help the reader, so find a balance between what is creatively you and what will appease your audience. The answer can only be found by trial and error, so don’t give up after a few posts!

Building content is your true starting off point.

Blogging and organic social media are almost always powered by content. Whether in video, photos or written from, content is the ingredient that will make someone want to consume your material. Having a repository for your content, such as a blog or website, is essential in the digital marketing process. Anyone just doing social media is really missing the opportunity to build website conversions. Or the act of taking a website visitor and turning them into a subscriber. Just doing social may accrue followers but the content creator has little to no control over the syndication process to followers on what they will see. Most social profiles are also relatively limited in terms of how you can portray your brand image upon visitors – people looking at your profile. On social media, you must follow the profile mold of everyone else. On your website or blog, you can control the complete experience – from design to delivery.

Blog vs. Social Media

Your blog is where you have the most control over the process and the opportunity to turn site visitors into email subscribers. You can also tell a complete story, in your terms, not limited by characters or algorithms. Without a social following, your blog will not have much of an audience to promote your new content too. You can write the most fantastic post content, but without a following you might as well just write it on a piece of notebook paper. Social media and blogging really work in tandem. Your blog is where your content lives and where users will best engage with your brand. Your social profiles are the digital embassies of your brand, as they provide a digital oasis for your brand where users can drop in while they cruise the social networks.

You can’t focus on just one.

Just blogging or just social media is like going to the gym and the only lifting weights with your right arm. After a while, you will see some results and your right arm will get stronger but it will be lopsided. By working both a blog and a social media following, you can then take advantage of a digital marketing strategy to help you build your visibility online.