Growing your social media is almost as important as your blog content. Crazy? A little – but true.
I don’t usually make such bold statements, but I really believe that it is just as important to grow your social media presence as it is to grow your blog. To not do so is a totally wasted opportunity to increase traffic, increase followers, and grow your brand.
Now, I’m not telling you to neglect your content. Social media alone will not drive your traffic. But the two are symbiotic. Good content will grow your social media following, and developing your social media will help drive traffic.
Knowing this, why wait until you have traffic and a following to start focusing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest? Grow the two at the same time – otherwise it’s a wasted opportunity.
Plus, it’s a chance to interact with your audience and get to know them better – which personally I love! Anytime I get a comment, or a message, I’m thrilled because I know people are connecting with what I’m creating.
A lot of people don’t like social media though, and find it invasive, and tedious. But remember, this isn’t like your personal use of these sites, its for your business. That’s right – a business. If you are invested enough to develop social media followers you aren’t just writing a casual blog anymore. You are growing a business and a brand.
We’ll explore this more later, in How To Grow Your Blog, but for now let’s look at the big four: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
PINTEREST: If you are not on Pinterest, change that, stat. Pinterest is growing and on target to be the largest social media site – and will probably end up being your largest source of traffic. Why would you turn that down?
Tips & Tricks: If you are completely new to blogging and Pinterest, keep these points in mind
- Add A “Pin It” Button Make sure you upload a Pin It Plugin for your site. I’ll address plugins in Growing Your Blog
- Pin An Image From The Post… Not from your homepage. I’ve was guilty of this in the beginning – but imagine how frustrating it is when someone wants to link to your post’s content, and instead they get your homepage! Don’t make this mistake.
- Space Your Pins Don’t pin all your content at once, or it will get lost it the shuffle. Spread it out through the day.
- Picture Quality Matters Pinterest is totally visually based, so the quality of your pictures really matters. A poor or unappealing picture is unlikely to go viral. If your photos need some help, check out our Photography section for some great resources to improve your pictures.
- Get Verified Try to do this as soon as possible. Having a verified Pinterest account not only makes you appear to be a reliable source, it also gives you access to Pinterest Analytics, a handy tool to have. You can apply for Pinterest verification, and read their how-to guide here.
- Change Picture Names If you are totally new to Pinterest and blogging, this little tip is going to help you out. When you upload pictures to your blog, change the name of your image file. Why? Well, Lemon12.13.jpg might work great in your computer filing system – but its also going to be name of the picture you’re uploading to Pinterest, which won’t tell your pinner a whole lot when they pin your picture. So go ahead, and just change it now, and have it permanently attached to the picture. Check out the handy dandy picture below for help.
- Create Board With Themes For example, a dessert board, a bread board, a crafting board – it will make it easier for people to find the content that they want.
Pinterest isn’t my favorite of all the social media – but it does yield the most results, and it is consistent. And, it is great for stoking your own creative juices. Bonus – if one of your Pins goes viral, you’re golden!
FACEBOOK The benefit of Facebook is trifold: It is a platform where you can interact with your followers, where they can interact with each other, and where they can interact with their friends. The benefit to interacting with your audience is that you get to know them better, and what they are interested in – and what will keep them coming back for more.
Plus, if they share your content with their personal network you have just reached an audience that was otherwise unavailable to you. And unlike Twitter, there is no character limit on what you write in your posts. However don’t get too wordy – short posts garner more attention than long wordy ones do,
The drawback? Facebook no longer shares everyone of your posts in your followers feed unless they specifically elect for it to. Which means, for example, that what you post may only show up in the feed of 50 out of your 200 followers. Facebook does give you a way around this: You can pay to boost your audience. Only you can decide if that’s something that’s worth it to you, but I personally have avoided it.
Tips & Tricks
- Limit Your Posts: No one wants their Facebook feed cluttered with your content. It only annoys your audience. Limit your posts to 1 to 3 a day.
- Stagger Your Posts: If you are posting multiple times, don’t post everything at once. Your posts will get lost in the shuffle – but will have more effect and reach more people if you space them out throughout the day.
- Pictures Help: Posts with pictures are always more eye catching and get more attention. More attention means more traffic!
- Bold Statements: Start your posts with something that really gets your audience’s attention: NEW! ON THE BLOG! CHECK IT OUT! All caps, short statements, exclamation points. It let’s the reader know: this is special and I should check it out.
- Links: Always include links to the content you are promoting. If someone has to search for it, they probably won’t make the effort.
- Off Days: Days when you don’t post new content aren’t a waste. Remind readers of older, appropriate content. Is it chilly out? Suggest a great soup recipe you posted that would be perfect for today. Is it the weekend? Share a breakfast recipe that’s perfect for Sunday mornings. Older readers may have missed that post, and it’s new to more recent followers.
- Purchasing Likes: Don’t. It may be tempting, but you can always tell when someone has purchased likes – their likes will not be proportional to the number of people “talking” about the page. It will leave your readers feeling deceived, and make you look less credible to them and other bloggers.
TWITTER What I love about Twitter is that it’s the perfect medium to not just share content and connect with your audience, but to also share a little of your personality as well. The concern of bombarding someone’s feed isn’t an issue with Twitter – so if you have a funny thought, see something your readers would love, or take a picture of your favorite meal – you can share it all. This gives readers a peak into your life as a blogger and makes them feel included. Plus, it’s just plain fun.
Tips & Tricks
- Hashtags Are Your Friends: Hashtags are one of the tools to help you build your audience. Make sure your tags are relevant and topical to either your blog or the post. Try looking at at hashtags (and posts) that similar, successful blogs are posting for ideas. Just don’t go overboard – no more than 2 or 3 per post, or it’s considered bad form.
- Be Shameless (And Ask For Retweets): When you first start out you have to hustle a little bit. It may be out of your comfort zone, but you never know what could make a tweet – and your post – go viral. Find tweets, groups and organizations that promote whatever your blog topic is. For example, when I first started, I found vegan organizations. Whenever they would post something relevant to one of my posts, I tweet a link at them, and ask for a retweet. Did it always work? No. But it did work enough that I kept doing it. While this only creates a small traffic spike, the real goal here is that you’ve exposed your blog to a few more people who would not have seen it otherwise.
- Post At Different Times Of Day: Since it’s more acceptable – hell, expected – that you post multiple times a day on Twitter, you need to stagger when you post. Most Twitter traffic is between 11am and 4pm, so keep that in mind as you time your posts. Can’t post at work? Upload a plugin to post your tweets for you. Your readers will never know you aren’t actively posting, and you can always answer responses later.
- Etiquette: If someone retweets your post, thank them – or at least favorite the tweet – especially if they have a large following or are selective about what the retweet. A few manners go a long way, and people will remember your gratitude and be more inclined to help you.
- Careful Who You Follow: While some people build followers with “follow for a follow mentality, those tweeters are taken less seriously; their following wasn’t built organically. Carefully cultivate the list of who you follow.
- Posting Images: Images are great! They help engage tweeters, and make them more likely to click your content. Posting images directly to Twitter is a great idea, but you can also do so through Instagram. Just remember, when you use Instagram only a link is posted – not an image. If you have very engaged followers, or write a snappy enough tagline to go along with it this is fine, but in the beginning you may want to stick to predominantly Twitter images.
- Bit.ly: Meet your new best friend. Want to post a link but it’s just way too long? Sign up with Bitly to shorten your links to a more manageable length.
INSTAGRAM One of my favorite of all social media, this is a tool of the young. While it is the least likely to drive traffic back to your blog, it does provide original content for your existing readers. Building your blog’s community ultimately helps engage your followers, which ultimately grows your blog even more.
Tips & Tricks
- Always: Include your link in your profile! It’s the only link you can post to Instagram – and the only way users will ever be able to find your original content. Instagram is super fun, but if users discovering your photos can’t link back to your blog, what’s the point?
- #Hashtags #Hashtags #Hashtags: Remember when I said on Twitter you shouldn’t use more than 2 or 3 hashtags per post? Well for Instagram: Strike that and reverse it. The fastest way to build (legitimate) followers on Instagram is to load up on hashtags. Look at other successful Instagrammers in your genre and see what hashtags they are using. In your phone’s notepad collect groupings of hashtags that you can quickly copy and paste to the comments after you post. Try to keep each grouping less than 10 words – or else Instagram marks them as spam and deletes it.
- Where’s The Content? Posting a recipe, or a craft? In the description let readers know that the recipe or instructions are on your blog, and the link is in your profile. Letting people know how to link back makes it that much easier for them to explore your content.
- Off Peak Hours: Every social media has it’s hours when traffic is most concentrated – and that’s when you should be posting the bulk of your photos. Instagram’s busiest hours are before and after work hours.
- Behind The Scenes: Instagram is a great place to post behind the scene’s shots of your work and life. Giving your readers a sneak peek into your life and your blog helps build a sense of community.
- Cross reference your platforms! This is just a fancy way of saying – let your Facebook fans know about your Instagram account. Tweet your followers a link to one of your Pins. Occasionally remind followers of one platform that they can follow you on others for additional content.
- Check out what other blogs are doing. Look to your favorite blogs – how are the handling their social media, and why is it successful? Emulate that.