I feel kind of bad posting about social media after my Balancing Technology post, but the reality is that social media is THE best way to get the word out when it comes to blogging. It can be overwhelming and especially so for newly minted bloggers. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc…it’s hard to know where to begin.
There is a lot to say on this subject so I am breaking down the topic into two parts. In this post I will be discussing my experience with different social media platforms, which have been the most helpful and where I suggest focusing your energy. In part 2 I will cover my tips for increasing your social media followers and presence.
NOTE: this post is based entirely on my own experience. Every blog is different and will say different things. As someone who started off with zero followers on all social media accounts a little over a year ago I’d like to believe that my observations are somewhat of the norm, but as always people will disagree.
Facebook: My favourite SM platform and also the most frustrating. When people actually see your posts it can be quite helpful but on average only 10-15% of my followers see my posts. This is because Facebook changed it’s algorithm to make life incredibly difficult for Facebook Pages. Nevertheless, here are some tips that help increase your engagement:
-Include a picture with your status that you upload. I am not talking about the picture that appears when you add a link to your status.
-Facebook discourages links that lead to sites outside of Facebook so to get around this, rather than placing the link in your status, put the link in your comments and indicate in your status that your “link to post is in the comments below”.
-Engage with the people who comment, like and share your pages. Not only will it increase the number of people who view your post, but they can also be an incredible resource for information to give you a better sense of what your readers are looking for. I absolutely love my Facebook friends! They are awesome. Hi guys 😉
Twitter: This platform doesn’t generate a huge number of hits to my blog but I’ve found it has other uses. I find it is a great place to engage with other bloggers and also to connect with brands. If you use a certain product in your recipe or give a review of a brand make sure you tweet at them with the link. The more engaged you are on Twitter, the more you will get out of it. This can require quite a bit of time but you definitely reap the rewards if you are dedicated. Here are my tips:
-Try using a scheduling app if you’re crunched for time. Not only will you be able to tweet while you’re busy doing other things, but most will make sure your tweets appear during prime Twitter usage periods. Hootsuite and Buffer are two popular options.
-Always shorten your links. Since Twitter limits your tweets to 140 characters so shortening your links leaves more room for you to describe your link. I like using bit.ly to shorten my links as it is able to track how many people click the link on different SM platforms.
Pinterest: This is by FAR the most effective platform and the one where you should be focusing the majority of your energy. Pinterest is one of the few platforms where you aren’t able to pay to promote (just yet…) which makes it an equal playing field for everyone. It is also picture-based which is particularly important for food bloggers. I have so many tips for Pinterest that it deserves it’s own post, but I will highlight the most important:
-Always include a “pinable” picture with your posts. Example, today’s post has a picture under the first paragraph which describes what this post is about.
-As much as possible try to only post portrait pictures rather than landscape as portrait pictures take up more space in Pinterest and are more likely to be viewed. Better yet, create a longer pin especially for pinterest and then upload it.
-Pin your recipes more than once and preferably at peak hours (after 8:00 PM EST on weekdays and weekend mornings). Don’t just pin and forget about it, pin your posts to multiple boards at different times.
Instagram: Both addicting and super fun, Instagram is probably the best way to get your stalking fix. The issue is, unless you are an Instagram celeb (they exist!) it likely won’t lead to a ton of readership on your blog. Some bloggers use Instagram as a way to motivate their readers, promote their posts, or like me, to give a behind the scenes of their world. Totally up to you how you want to use it! I definitely spend the least amount of my time on Instagram. Nevertheless, here are some ways to use Instagram effectively:
-Make sure you have a link to your blog in your bio and a good description of what your blog is about.
-Stick to your brand. If you’re about healthy food, fitness or whatever don’t post pictures of that double chocolate cheesecake you ate last night. I am absolutely horrible at this. Sorry if you follow me for healthy food pictures and instead you get ugly selfies…
-Like Twitter, learn to speak hashtag. You would not believe the power of hashtags on Instagram.
StumbleUpon: Most of you are probably like “huh? I’ve never used StumbleUpon!” Well I’m here to tell you to start! Having a post go viral on StumbleUpon is like having it go viral on all other social networks combined. I usually get a decent number of hits from StumbleUpon each day but when the right person (or enough people) stumble my post I can see my numbers double or even triple in a single day. My tips:
-Make it easy for people to stumble your posts by including a social share bar at the bottom or top of your posts. I use Shareaholic which is the bar at the bottom of the page with the arrow saying “Sharing is Caring”…cute right? 😉
-Don’t stumble your own posts. It’s okay to do that once in a while but eventually StumbleUpon will penalize you.
-Start stumbling other people’s posts! And not just the same ways all the time, but try to diversify the types of posts you stumble.
Google+: I had to include Google+ because apparently it is great for SEO. Problem is that I never remember to actually post to Google+…I’m too busy posting selfies to Instagram.
Are you overwhelmed yet?! I don’t blame you. It’s hard to keep up with everything. A lot of the bigger bloggers actually hire virtual assistants to manage their social media if you’re wondering how they keep it up. For now, just try to diversify but also take note of which ones are actually driving traffic to your blog.
Want more? Check out Part #2 where I discuss HOW to increase your social media following
Have I missed any social networks? Which platform do you find to be the most effective for blogging or your personal life?