Inside our interview he reveals proven Facebook tips for bloggers who want to get the most out of this social media platform and take their blog to the next level.
You blog at smartpassiveincome.com where you’re sharing proven tips on how you make a living online through multiple source of (passive) income. You built yourself what others would call a massive “tribe” (48,218 Twitter followers and 16,451 RSS subscribers)
I would like to know what led to where you are today. What challenges did you overcome in the beginning, starting from scratch (just like everybody else), how did you turn obstacles into success, and more importantly what challenges do you face today?
My path to the present has been a pretty wild ride with lots of ups and downs, but I appreciate all of it because it led me to where I’m at today.
It all started when I was laid off from my 9 to 5 job back in October of 2008. Unlike many people in the industry I’m in, I actually loved my 9 to 5 job and was ready to spend a good portion of my life dedicated to it.
Well of course, as secure as I thought that job was, I was laid off with all of my other co-workers as the economy took a drastic downturn.
Trying to figure out what to do next was a big challenge for me, and after a few days I made the conscious decision to do business for myself online. I learned that no job is 100% secure, and I’d rather be in control of my own destiny, income and lifestyle.
Luckily, I had a blog at that point that I had created just for myself and my co-workers, which was a blog that kept track of all my notes for the LEED exam, an exam that designers, builders and architects take that demonstrates knowledge of sustainable design and green building practices.
After I was laid off, I went back to my old site, put in some analytical tools as I began to think about how I could take this blog to another level (if I could), and saw that thousands of people from around the world were using my content to help them study for the exam too! Over the 7 to 8 months that the blog was live, I was essentially helping not only myself and my co-workers pass the exam, I was helping anyone who found me through Google too.
Long story short, I turned my blog into a business by writing my own eBook guide for the exam, and then supplementing that with an audio guide. The first month I launched my eBook I had grossed $7,906.55, and I has my best month ever in March of 2009 grossing a total of $30,328.48 in a single month.
That’s when I created the site most people know me from now, The Smart Passive Income Blog, where I reveal all of my businesses and how I earn an income online. I feel very fortunate to be where I’m at today in business and in life, and although sometimes I feel I’m the luckiest guy on the face of the planet, I know that it wasn’t all luck – opportunities arose and I took action with them. That is the key to success.
Now, I have several businesses working for me passively, meaning they are setup in a way that doesn’t require me to trade my time for dollars. Because of tools like paypal and e-junkie, I can run my businesses virtually hands-free, and literally make money when I sleep, as crazy as that may seem.
Now, I’ve been working on expanding the Smart Passive Income brand, so not only do I have a blog, but I have a rapidly growing YouTube channel, a top ranking Podcast, and other projects that are currently in the works.
I guess my biggest challenge now is just trying to balance everything at the same time, and really what keeps me grounded is my family, as they are the most important thing to me in life and the foundation for my inspiration and motivation. My 1 year old son has an awesome effect on myself and how I work.
Let’s turn the conversation over to Facebook, loved by some, hated by others. Why do you like it, how are you using it and what measurable results did you experience so far?
Facebook is amazing, and it’s a platform that everyone – all businesses and bloggers, should be a part of.
I love it because for one, everyone and their moms (and I mean that literally – my mom is on Facebook, hehe) are on Facebook. It currently has over 500 million users, which is more than 1 account for every person in the entire United States of America. Also, as the average time a person spends on a website is only 7 seconds, people are averaging at least 20 minutes per day on Facebook. It’s where people are hanging out, old and young and everyone in between.
For business and blogging, there is no better way to stay connected to an audience and build long lasting relationships with several people at the same time that can eventually turn into some type of action or some form of reciprocity later on. I understand it’s hard for some to realize the benefit of platforms like Facebook because there is no immediate ROI, but seriously the benefits are just out of this world.
For one, there is the viral like nature of Facebook. Everyone has a number of friends who follow what everyone else is doing and the moment someone posts something about you, ‘likes’ a blog post or page on your site, or just has a conversation on your page all of their friends have the opportunity to see that on their own walls which further spreads the word about you and your site, or gives them the ability join the conversation.
Secondly, because people are spending lots of time on Facebook, you can get immediate feedback about anything you have questions about or need help on. For example, if you’re interested in seeing what kinds of blog posts you should be writing, you can just ask (notice how long ago I had asked this question):
Thirdly, it’s a great way to seem like a real person, which helps us stand out from the crowd in our crowded niches online. You don’t have to be posting about topics related to your blog all of the time, and in fact I discourage that. Be a real person, share a bit of personal information and you’ll see just how much more people feel connected to you and what you do:
And lastly, Facebook is excellent for driving traffic back to your blog. Ever since I started focusing on Facebook just a little, Facebook has been a major contributor of traffic to my blog, even more so than Twitter.
Like I said, it’s hard to track measurable results, but this is pretty close and it’s clear that Facebook has been good for my blog.
Personal Profiles vs. Groups vs. Pages. Could you briefly explain the main difference between these, how are you using them to help promote your brand and your blog, and what should fellow bloggers avoid in regard to this aspect?
There are lots of different opinions with these different types of Facebook properties, but here’s my take.
Personal profiles are for YOU, and although YOU could be a brand, I see it more of a personal thing, and so I try to keep my business separate from my actual personal profile. Friends and family only.
Groups and Pages are pretty similar, but you can think of a group as more of a community of people who are interested in a particular THING, whether that THING is an activity, place, movement, hobby – whatever. A Page is a dedicated Facebook property for a specific Brand, company, website, band, artist, business, blog – those types of things where communities get together in support of and to chat about that specific brand.
Pages are what bloggers should be focusing on, in my opinion as it gives us more authority and the ability to do things like integrate our page onto our own Blogs.
Bloggers’ debate: Email, Twitter or Facebook? In your experience, which platform did work the best for generating sales and why? Do you see any trends shaping these platforms in the (near) future?
Okay, here’s the deal, and this is probably not what you’re expecting: Twitter and Facebook should not be used for making sales. Period.
They should be used as a way to connect with your audience and potential customers so that they’ll feel more comfortable and more obliged to give back to you by eventually making a purchase, or simply just spreading the word about you and your business to someone who may eventually become a customer or click on your affiliate links
The moment you start to put sales at the forefront of what you do on social media, the moment you’re going to start to see less results. Again, like I mentioned before, this is really hard to measure, but think about it: when you see someone trying to sell something on Twitter or Facebook, do you immediately click on that link and make a purchase – no way! Especially if it’s from someone you don’t trust or haven’t gotten a chance to learn more about – which is exactly what Facebook and Twitter are used for in my business – making connections that eventually will lead to sales, but not a direct platform to make a sale from.
If I had to choose one of the three you mention, it would be email, for sales. As they say, “The Money is in the List”, however that said I take a different approach with my email campaigns, and treat them very much like I would sending messaged to people on Facebook and Twitter – engaging, content filled and no sales.
I use Facebook, Twitter and Email marketing to drive people back to my site where then sales can be made, or affiliate links can be clicked on.
Again, I’m using the Golden Rule as my inspiration here, and it’s been working like a charm.
Could you share one of your favorite unconventional marketing campaigns on Facebook (yours, or others) and explain the “behind-the-scenes” reasons why do you think it got that successful in reaching its goal?
Like I said, I don’t do any direct marketing on Facebook. I use it to build relationships with my readers so they get more comfortable understanding exactly who I am as a person and what my business is all about. This is exactly how I’ve been able to generate over 5000 fans in about a years time, and why it’s growing faster and faster each day.
Is there’s anything else you’d like to mention?
If you do plan on using Facebook for your blog, which I obviously highly recommend, then you should definitely make sure you utilize a Facebook Landing Page. This is a specific page on your Facebook page that new visitors land on first, which gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and your blog and give people a call to action to click the ‘like’ button. If you don’t use a landing page, then people get taken straight to your wall and there are no opportunities to give people a call to action and the less likely it is they will like your page.
For more information about Facebook Pages and Landing Pages, please check out my tutorial videos here: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-to-create-a-facebook-page-and-landing-page-updated-with-code-psd-files/
*** Now, before you read the next interview or do something else, please jot down the best idea YOU got from this interview (something you could implement today and experience significantly greater results in your blogging and social media approach)
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