Five Social Media Platforms Every Expat Blogger Should Use

social media icons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious, YouTube, WordPressYou’ve set up your blog, you’ve found a terrific theme, you’re producing content. . . now what? How do you attract the right target audience?

Create a social media strategy.

Which specific social media platforms you use will depend on your niche and your audience. Basic rule of thumb? You need to hang out where your audience does.

Here are five social media hangouts almost every blogger should use.

LinkedIn

If you’re blogging about kids or puppies, you don’t need LinkedIn to reach your target audience. However, if your blog is part of your portable career strategy, a LinkedIn presence is a necessity. Yes, LinkedIn is smaller than some of the other social platforms, but it’s the one social media platform that’s exclusively for business.

Joining is super easy.

  1. Go to http://www.linkedin.com/
  2. Fill out your first and last name, password and email
  3. Click “Join Now

Once you have an account, you need to create your profile. We’ll walk through that in another post.

In the meantime, once you’ve joined, please invite me to connect with you — just let me know you’re a Future Expats reader. (You’ll find me here.)

Facebook

You probably already have a Facebook account. If you don’t, get one. With almost a billion members worldwide, your niche doesn’t matter — you’ll find like-minded people on Facebook.

If you have a portable career, you should have a Facebook Page for your business as well as a personal page.

To get started on Facebook, point your browser to http://Facebook.com and provide your

  1. first and last name
  2. email (twice)
  3. password
  4. gender
  5. birthday (they limit children’s usage so they want to know you’re over 18)

Press the “Sign Up” button and you’re in.

You can follow the Future Expats page on Facebook — in fact, pop in and say “hi.”

Twitter

Ah, Twitter. You either love it or you hate it. But believe me, Twitter isn’t just for broadcasting to the world what you had for lunch.

Some people don’t get the 140-character mini-blog. Others, like Chris Brogan and Brian Clark, insist it’s the best social media platform for connecting with others and for sales.

It’s not as intuitive as some of the others, and it takes a while to get a feel for how really useful it is.

Twitter’s easy to join. All they need is your

  1. Full name
  2. Email
  3. Password

Once you’re on board, send me a tweet to introduce yourself at http://twitter.com/FutureExpat and I’ll start following you.

Google Plus

This is the new kid on the social media block. No, G+ doesn’t have as many members as Facebook or Twitter. But there’s a compelling, over arching reason you should have a presence: Google Search.

Google is the king of search, and as a blogger you need to be found. So if you want to rank well in Google Search get active on G+. It’s that essential.

If you already have a Google account because you use GMail, Calendar or any of their many other services, signing up for Google Plus just takes a second. Go to https://plus.google.com/up/start and Sign In with your Google account.

If you’re a new Googler, head on over to https://plus.google.com/up/start and select “Create an Account.”

They want a little bit more from you:

  1. First and last name
  2. Username
  3. Password
  4. Birthday
  5. Gender
  6. Phone
  7. Email
  8. A little captcha to prove you’re not a robot
  9. Location
  10. Check to agree with Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Click the “Next Step” button and follow the instructions.

You’ll find my Google Plus profile here. Introduce yourself, let me know you’re an expat or future expat, and I’ll add you to my Expats circle!

Pinterest

Pinterest is another relatively new platform, but it’s growing fast.

Pinterest lends itself exceptionally well to creative endeavors — photography, art, crafts and design of all kinds. I’ve just started using it, so I can’t speak from a lot of experience, but I can see tremendous possibilities.

Pinterest works by invitation only, so joining has a couple of layers.

If you know someone with an account, you can ask them to send you an invite. (Leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll send you an invitation if you’d like.) Otherwise, go to http://pinterest.com/landing/ and fill in your email address to request an invitation. Once you receive it, follow the instructions to create your account.

Create a Profile

After you’ve joined any of these social networks, your next task is to create a profile. We’ll talk about that next time.

This is the 12th installment in our Blogging for Expats Tutorial Series. You can find the previous installments here.

Comments

  1. Ed Rivers says:

    I’ll say this–I never really caught on to the “social networking” thing. I’ve never bothered with Facebook (I have no interest in it, despite the popularity among my fairly-young peers) or LinkedIn (and I barely used MySpace when it was popular). I have absolutely no interest in Twitter, but I’m somewhat open to G+ (Google Plus); however, all this “being connected at every moment of the day to what someone says or types on a screen” just seems utterly pointless to me. Now, I’m relatively “old-school” when it comes to communications: I firmly stand behind e-mail and phone calls, and the occasional text message–but that’s as far as I go.

    Facebook is certainly NOT for everybody (case in point: my dad tried Facebook sometime last summer (and he’s in his mid-70s, mind you) but closed his account when he saw that people put everything about their lives on their; and he just wanted to better communicate with is kids and grand-kids who use it.) I also have an older sister (who’s in her early 50s) who doesn’t use Facebook either because she never saw the appeal (but she has an Ipad and uses that fairly well) despite her nieces and nephews wanting her to open an account at Thanksgiving gatherings (which is the only time she really sees the rest of our family).

    What happened to online chatting? Or is that not “cool” anymore? With all the buzz about tablet PCs having built-in high-power webcameras, why not push SKYPE or a similar service? It’s the same concept as social networking but you can talk in real time instead of wait for a “blog/vlog” post from someone. Not to mention, SKYPE is more preferred over Facebook abroad because there are less security concerns with it (and less having to deal with proxy server issues like the “Great Firewall of China”).

    Anyone care to give me good (i.e. reasonable) explanation of why I should care about social networking over proven staples like e-mail or phone calling?

    • Ed, you’re absolutely right about social media being a time suck. Certainly many people use Facebook and other platforms to stave off boredom and avoid genuine personal interactions. That’s not what I’m advocating.

      First, I directed this article to expats who do business online with blogs and websites. If you’re doing business online, you can either learn to use social media to attract and grow your audience, or you can pay huge sums for advertising and PR. Therefore, most of us choose to use social media.

      When I write about preparing for your overseas move by figuring out how to stay in touch with friends and family back home, I do talk about Skype, VOIP phone services and other, more personal, forms of communication.

      With a membership approaching a billion, a lot of people seem to think there’s a place for Facebook in their personal and/or business lives. I use it for both, and find it helpful for both. No, it certainly doesn’t take the place of real conversations with my kids (although I find it reassuring to have such an easy way to see they’re alive and well).

      On the other hand I’ve “met” folks through social media who have enriched my life in one way or another, people I would not have otherwise come in contact with.

      As with anything else in life, the tools you choose have to fit what you’re trying to accomplish. There’ve been times I’ve banged a picture hook into a wall with the heel of my shoe, but if I were installing a floor I’d buy a hammer. . .

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