If you have more than one freelance specialty, one strategy is to dedicate a separate site (blog) to each specialty, develop strong targeted brands, and grow them independently across multiple social media. With this strategy comes the question of how can we manage all our sites, keep up with our branding efforts and handle our social media accounts (such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin) all at once?
There are pros and cons to having different social media accounts for multiple websites. It's important to choose a social media promotion plan that fits your business structure and future goals best.
Though I’ve been writing for a long time, I started publishing when I discovered blogging is a wonderful way to share my interests, and build a portfolio along the way. However, it is also a demanding activity that requires one to be their own blogger, editor, web designer, marketer, SEO specialist, and social media manager. While I mostly enjoy these tasks, it is becoming harder to stick to my own deadlines while I am managing multiple sites. After all, I have an entertainment blog, a writing blog, and several others. Numerous blogs mean that all these tasks are multiplied.
Managing Multiple Social Networks
Writers love to write. That’s why they became writers. And with the creation of the little genius thing called blogs, writers no longer have to wait to get published by others. They can create their own blog, use social media to promote their content and services, as well as connect and network with others. Since it is easy to create a blog, it is tempting to run more than just one. I am not going to delve into the pros and cons of creating several blogs on different topics. You all know that it is easier to run just one website.
After all, even one website takes enough work and effort with all the content creation, community and traffic-building along with content promotion. But on the other side of the coin, you have to consider branding, specialization and authority. So it is a tough call. Obviously, probloggers like Darren Rowse are able to manage multiple commercial blog sites simultaneously. And many writers run blogs whilst writing for other publications. For instance Carol Tice runs a successful website for freelance writers while she writes web copy and business articles for others.
Once you’ve made the choice to run two sites, you accepted the challenge of having to market two different businesses, mostly through different channels (which might include forums, niche web directories, social bookmarking sites and more). But the most basic decision you have to make concerns your social media accounts on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
So while it might seem common sense to write about one thing alone, we may want to have our say on multiple topics that interest us. This desire brings advantages (such as specializing on more than one topic, a more diverse portfolio, not feeling like you are in a rut, etc…), but also disadvantages.
If we really want to be heard on different topics, we need to establish authority. We need visitors, and we need to build a brand around each topic that we are covering. For instance, if you know a writer for her movie reviews, and she suddenly starts giving relationship advice, you would want to know whether she is qualified. And even if you were ready to accept her word because she makes a good point, she still would have to build an audience almost from scratch. After all, we are talking about entirely different topics here.
So let’s consider Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin separately for the writer who has more than one website to promote.
Promoting Multiple Blogs on Facebook
Does the older blog have its own Facebook fan page? Does the writer have a Facebook fan page for herself? Assuming the writer has fan pages for both, it might be time to create a fan page for the second site. After all, creating a Facebook fan page is very simple. You just fill in the information, and start posting when you update your site. You also take advantage of the Facebook Like widget and add it to your blog.
Done? Good. Now you can add the link of your second site to your author fan page, as well as the link to your fan page for the second site. And if you want to take advantage of Facebook groups, you will have to engage in different conversations with different people – because your two audiences most likely hang out at different groups and pages.
It is up to you to take advantage of Facebook communities for either site. However, I suggest you definitely make the time to separate the fan pages, and link all of them to each other, and include some catchy information.
Pros of separate Facebook Fan Pages
- It makes it easier to build awareness for each site.
- It makes it easier for you to differentiate between your specializations.
- It makes it easier for you to connect with your target audience.
- They are free, and easy to manage.
Note: If you are using Myspace only, or using it in addition to Facebook, follow the same tips.
Cons of Separate Facebook Fan Pages
- It takes a little more time to create, but it is nothing you can’t handle.
- The real challenge is to engage with your various audiences on different pages, check out their posts, review their comments, and reply to them.
Promoting Multiple Blogs on Twitter
If you have created a Twitter account for a specific website, your followers followed you because they were interested in what you were saying about the topics your website covers. You also wanted to make sure your followers were relevant, so you yourself followed people with similar interests. But now with the new website, you have to create a new ID through a second e-mail address, and repeat everything you did with your first account. And now you have two accounts to run. Now, imagine a third website. And a fourth…
Maybe you created a Twitter account for yourself as an author. For instance, my twitter ID is my penname. And after I launched several other websites, I made the “conscious mistake” of not creating other Twitter accounts for my other websites. I said conscious, because I knew the pros and cons of not using individual accounts. I just didn’t have the time to start getting followers from scratch. So I opted for a single author’s Twitter page, while running individual Facebook fan pages.
Pros of Separate Twitter Accounts
- You don’t run the risk of posting irrelevant tweets that isolate some or most of your readers.
- When you are promoting a product of your own or someone else’s, you know you will only be letting the interested parties know.
- You have higher chances of being retweeted.
Cons of Separate Twitter Accounts
- While it is free to create twitter accounts, you need to have multiple e-mail addresses. And you will have to deal with each inbox.
- You have to find followers for each account, and you need to promote each account separately, which can be time consuming. This includes promoting the accounts on forum posts, other social media accounts, e-mail signatures, Twitter applications and communities, blogs, business cards and more.
- It takes more time, and if we consider some paid marketing methods (such as business cards), more money.
Promoting Multiple Blogs on Linkedin
Many people take Linkedin more seriously than Facebook and Twitter. After all, it is considered primarily a place for business networking, and it also includes many features provided by Facebook and Twitter. Linkedin also gives you the chance to build a profile (complete with your CV and links to your sites), discussion groups, messaging and more. It is also free, with the option for a paid account where you get extra features (such as being able to send messages to those who are not in your connections).
With Linked in, I find it easier and more rational to have one author profile and leave it at that. If your different websites are also businesses that offer different services, you might consider registering their names on Linkedin and maybe even get several accounts. But I’d suggest that if you have the extra time, spend it on building strong Twitter followers, while using one Linkedin account.
Pros of Separate Linkedin Accounts
- You make each of your businesses available. When people search your name on Linkedin, they get more results.
Cons of Separate Linkedin Accounts
- It takes more time: You have to fill in different profiles, add more accounts to your already full basket.
Build Your Social Networks Inline With Your Business Goals
- Weigh the pros and cons against each other. Then think about how much time you can allocate to your separate accounts. If pros outweigh the cons, go for it.
- Hire somebody else for social media management. If you can afford it, it only makes sense to “lend” a part of your responsibilities to someone else. Hire someone who is specialized, and stop worrying about spending too much time on this task.
- Experiment a little. Give yourself a specific amount of time for testing the benefits and measure your success. If you think it is worth it, go with separate accounts (including Twitter and Linkedin).
- Choose to run different social media accounts for some sites, and stick to one account with the others. For instance, with social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon, you can choose to go with one account while you maintain separate ones with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The bottom line is deciding on whether to run separate accounts depend on your time, money and the characteristics of your sites (and their readers). Ultimately, building your social network is one aspect of your business plan and should fit with your resources and overall goal.
Above, I've shared the challenges I see most ambitious blog writers face, including myself. Please feel free to add your thoughts and issues in the comments. Are you a freelancer promoting multiple sites (or blogs), working on growing your businesses? Share your struggles below.