Image credit: PublicDomainPictures
The digital era has been a massive boon for hobbyists of all varieties. If there’s something you’re passionate about, you can not only pursue it much more easily but also readily share it with others. Most importantly, you can even turn it into a source of income through broad monetization. People now make money through everything from ASMR videos to DIY guides.
As the first type of content to suit this dynamic, and the variety with the lowest barrier to entry, the humble blog post remains an immensely powerful option. Blogging alone can earn you a significant number of followers (and a fair amount of money if you do the right things). Plenty of entrepreneurs actually start out with simple blogs before turning them into businesses.
Can you do the same? Take your blog and make it a business-level revenue driver? If you have a solid premise, then absolutely. The only question is how. To that end, one thought is to lean on social media — it’s a huge part of modern life, after all. Is that a viable route? Let’s take a look:
Communicating with your followers
If you build a business from a blog, then your core set of customers should consist of the people who’ve been following your blog for the longest time. It’s all about their level of investment since you know that they’re interested in what you have to say and that they’re likely to consider you a reliable source of information (and perhaps products).
As you’re deciding what your business should involve, then, you should reach out to those followers to get their thoughts on your potential business model. This can be done through blog comments, but not as effectively or as visibly as through social media. A Twitter poll, for instance, can give you some useful feedback on which products or services might sell.
Establishing credibility through networking
Your business will need to reach more people than those core followers, of course, and that’s where the visibility becomes even more important. Your social media conversations are open to the world, there to be found by people simply browsing through their feeds. If they see you engaging with your followers, it will show them that you care about what people think — but if they see you interacting with experts and/or influencers, it will establish your credibility.
One of the best things you can do is reach out to other bloggers in your niche (though not direct competitors) to start building relationships. With a business, you can do more than just exchange content — you can potentially form affiliate associations, with those bloggers linking to your store or business site and earning commission on any sales. The more authoritative people talk about you, the more your expertise will be solidified.
Selling directly through social media
Social media doesn’t need to solely be about business preparation and marketing — it can also be a great revenue driver if you’re selling products, which is a logical route to take for the average blogger. Most social networks can be used as direct selling channels if you have a store system capable of taking advantage.
This is the appeal of using a hosted CMS with a lot of native integrations. For instance, a store built on Shopify can sell through platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram — it also has a native blog section, so you can consolidate your operational shift by exporting all your blog content to your store. Alternatively, if you have a WordPress blog, you can set up WooCommerce and use various multi-channel plugins to turn it into a business quickly and easily.
Running PPC advertising campaigns
Of all the modern forms of advertising, PPC is the most convenient for digital entrepreneurs. Why? Because it’s easy to use, consistent, and cost-effective — when done well, at least. And since it’s available on most social media platforms, you can combine your PPC activity with your general social media use to achieve much richer exposure.
For instance, using Facebook’s rich targeting options, you could set an introductory store ad to display to anyone in your target audience, but set another store ad (this time assuming familiarity with your blog brand) to be served only to people who’ve liked your Facebook page. It can take a while to develop an informational blogging brand into a viable retailer, and this kind of smart targeting is a great way to speed things along.
So, to succinctly answer the titular question: yes. You can absolutely use social media to help turn your blog into a business. In fact, it’s likely to be one of the best tools in your arsenal, helping you communicate with your followers, branch out, market with great efficiency, and even sell directly.