In this post I want to talk about a technique that I call social stacking. Now everyone knows social media is an absolutely fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, once you've built up your profiles and follower numbers - yet it isn't simply 'plug and play' as some people would have you suggest.
Often, the actual process of dealing with social media, posting every day and finding the content to share can be difficult, let alone using it to promote your own content in any meaningful way that gets results.
So this technique really goes hand in hand with promoting other people's stuff on social media so you can be considered as an authoritative content curator, but is also more about using social media; Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn effectively to drive consistent levels of traffic over time to each blog post you publish.
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I first learned about social stacking through a really great guy called Andrew McCauley at Autopilot Your Business. He was on the Content Champion Podcast a while back talking about the Triple Twitter Traffic strategy he uses to get loads of really engaged visitors to his sites using Twitter - and through other fantastic Twitter outreach strategies.
Social stacking moves on from that and really concerns using all of your social media profiles to get the maximum 'bang for your buck' in terms of traffic when you publish a new blog post.
What do we actually do to kick this technique off? Well, the process behind this concerns creating about 20 individual images with associated quotes or 'tweetable' pieces of information overlayed on to them.
That sounds like a lot I know, but bear with me. It won't be too much hassle once you get into the workflow, because I've been trying this and it does get easier and really pays dividends.
The system is all about creating 20+ images that can be drip fed out using Hootsuite, or Buffer - or similar software such as CoSchedule - over the course of six weeks or a couple of months. This means you get good multiple opportunities to grab people's attention with different images and text over that period.
This technique works so well because different people are going to see the messages at various times in different social media streams, so you're casting a wide net. So this method enables you to set everything on autopilot for every post you do, and it's been proven to double or triple your traffic levels over and above the usual social sharing regime of just tweeting things out in the first week a couple of times, perhaps sharing it the next week and tweeting it again a couple of weeks after publication.
If you do things the social stacking way, you'll be setting in motion a process of multiplying your social media influence over time for that single piece of content, because everyone viewing those messages you post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on Google Plus, and perhaps Pinterest and some others if you're using more visual media - will see different images and text each time pointing back to your post. It's really powerful and it really works.
1. Number one, we want to open up an account at Canva (especially if you can't use Photoshop or Gimp). This is a fantastic software and online resource that enables you to quickly create images using templates. Many of them are free but you can get paid ones in there as well.
It's a great tool that I've used a lot recently, and you can do so much with it in terms of creating superb looking visuals for a variety of media platforms.
So let's say you've just published an in-depth interview post with an influencer in your niche - a prominent content marketer in my case such as John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire for sake of example. He's a great guy and I actually did do a podcast with him a while back (my very first one!).
OK, so in our scenario you've just done an interview with John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire. You could just simply go into Canva, get a couple images of John, find a couple of images related to his site, get a couple of the featured images from the post that you've just done to give yourself some visual content to work with.
You'd collect all these images together and just use them within Canva, or indeed, use the Canva pro forma templates - the free ones. Then you're just going to pick your 20 quotes, your stats, your tweetables, your statistics, and put one of them with each of those images.
We want to end up with 20 images with 20 quotes on them - which doesn't actually mean picking all individual pictures - you just want the combination of images, background colours and text to add up to the total 20 unique images (if you get what I'm on about!).
So you've picked your images. You've picked your templates, whatever you want to use visually. Indeed, as I've said you could just use background colours that match your branding and put your logo on as well - and put the text on there rather than using pictures. That's what I do sometimes and it's equally as effective:
2. The second step is to pick your 20 pieces of text from the article itself. These could be snippets of content or specific points you've made within the body text.
They could also be quotes from your expert if it's an interview like in the case of our John Lee Dumas example. It could equally just be tweetable type facts or statistics from the post.
Decide upon those, put them in speech marks, cite them to whoever said them - or if it's just stuff in your own words you can simply publish the quote as a statement. Whatever you want to do.
Then put your logo on there, perhaps have an image of whoever you're interviewing as above, or like I said, some of the images used in the blog post as a background. You can do this really simply in Canva, or you can just have a basic background colour for some of them.
In this way you can easily get 20 of these images with associated text rattled off. Granted, the first time you do it, it will take a bit of time. But once you get the hang of it you'll find it's really easy and straightforward.
3. Step three, you'll want to go into your Buffer or Hootsuite software and upload all your images. You can even bulk upload them within their systems, and they've got tutorials on how to do this. It's very straightforward.
And if this seems like a bit too much hard work, it's worth remembering something. Basically the investment you're putting into this on the front end will pay for itself many times over on the back end.
That's where I agree with Brian Dean of Backlinko. His approach is to publish just one epic article a month and then promote it. In that sense, this social stacking strategy forms part of your promotional toolkit. You're far better off investing some time on this even if you do it manually - and by that I mean setting up the images one by one - because it's going to pay off in terms of enhanced results on the back end.
In this context, it will be far more effective than just writing a load of thin, short blog posts on your site that don't really help anyone. You're far better off just doing a mammoth, epic resource and then using tactics like the one I'm talking about now in a toolkit of promotional strategies to really get some visitors to the page - because that's where the conversions are going to come from, and ultimately your income from your site or blog.
What's next? Simply get your Bitly link or your shortened link for the post and schedule it out over the next six to eight weeks using your 20 different images - with the text snippet associated with each image.
So that's it really - you're done! That's the social stacking technique in a nutshell. It sounds simple but not everyone does it so you can definitely use this to get ahead of your online competitors. And as with all things that look straightforward on the surface, this is very effective once you actually take some action.
The key to the Social Stacking technique is that if you're trying to do all this manually for every post - as in sharing stuff individually over time without any automation - the focus isn't there and you won't get the results you want. (Or indeed the results that I've got by simply doing this all on the front end and letting it run).
By the end of this process you will have scheduled in all of your tweetables, all of your social media sharing quotes with their images. You'll have set them up in your Hootsuite or Buffer to drip out over six to eight weeks - giving those 20 different opportunities for people to engage with your content.
And I have to reiterate you're going to get far better results with this than if you just tried to do it randomly by just tweeting something out one week, sharing something on Google Plus the next week - and then two weeks later going back and sharing something on your LinkedIn company page - or whatever it is. That simply doesn't work as well.
This is a really focused, proper tactic that will get you results. It's also an intelligent thing to do because if you mix this up a bit you won't be posting the same thing to each social media platform, and the various images and text snippets will appeal to people differently in that context.
So all this means you're going to build up more of a head of steam in terms of driving traffic to your blog posts - simply by using social media in this dynamic way.
As mentioned, there are loads of benefits to using this system. The only possible downside is it will take you a bit of time to get used to Canva and Hootsuite/Buffer (which all have free versions by the way). In that respect there is a bit of a learning curve but it's not very steep at all and certainly nothing to worry about.
Once you've done the whole thing once or twice, this system will become part of your essential checklist of blog post promotion tactics. And this one works 'like gangbusters' as my American friends like to say 🙂
Of course the long-term benefit of social stacking is that the more social shares you get, the more that feeds into your results from organic SEO. So after a while you'll have people linking back to you and you'll start to build up a good natural share and linking base for your content.
If your content is great - which it should be - this is win, win, win all around.
So that's the social stacking technique - I hope you can see the really great value baked into it. Why not give it a go, and as ever, let me know how you get on in the comments below.
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