One of my biggest blogging regrets (and I’ve said this many times), is the amount of time that I completely ignored my social in the first few years of publishing my posts. My social media accounts are now responsible for about 75% of my daily traffic, have introduced me to thousands of bloggers all over the world and enabled me to build up my own little business within the blogging community.
Social media is by far the most powerful tool we have as bloggers at our disposal, and developing a strategy that utilises it effectively can potentially take a blog to the next level, often with minimum effort, with the added bonus being that most things are completely free! And once everything is set up, it’s fairly quick and easy to update!
But where to start? Most of us already have a social media account for connecting with family and friends, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and/or Instagram to name but a few, but even the suggestion of using these as a promotional tool sends many bloggers into a confusing spiral.
The key to much of this – or at least what works for me – is developing a strategy and a DAILY checklist.
Your Social Media Strategy
or, an overview of everything you plan to do across your social media.
Decide on your outcome. Do you want to grow your traffic and engagement? Introduce people to your products and/or services? Develop a core clientele? It’s important to decide on what your overall goal is.
Define your target audience and learn about who is currently interacting with your posts. Who are the people that you want to read your posts? Think about age, gender, location, niche.
Check out the ‘competition’, as such. While I don’t necessarily always like the idea of looking at others ideas for inspiration (and some bloggers out there just outright copy other people’s posts), it’s sometimes useful to track other social media accounts within the same area that you want to develop. What sort of content are they posting? What hashtags are they using?
If you haven’t done this already, it may be an idea to create a separate set of blog-related social media accounts to your own, personal accounts
Work out the available time you have during a week to devote to scheduling, planning and content creation. For those of you (ie. pretty much all of us) who live insanely busy lives, think of it this way – if you want something to grow then time is a MUST. It’s also important to understand when your highest traffic is – times of day, specific days in the week and/or when you have just posted on your blog. Your site analytics will help with this.
Take a note of your stats before you begin. This will be really useful at the end of the month to see how much your social media accounts have grown by.
Note: This is not a quick fix or overnight process. It takes months (and even years) to really reach your goal engagement. If you aren’t prepared to put the time in, be as consistent as possible and above all, be patient, then you’ll ultimately be wasting your own time – I’ve seen endless amounts of bloggers throw in the social media towel after a few weeks because they weren’t achieving the same results as the big bloggers.
The Big Four
Of course, there are endless amounts of different types of social-based networks available, but these four are usually the go-to ones of choice for a large percentage of the blogging community.
The biggest pro for using Facebook is that it is the biggest social network in the world with over 1 billion users and it’s likely that you already have a personal Facebook account and have some understanding of functionality. It’s easy to share links and images, and a blog-specific Facebook page isn’t difficult to set up. However, it is becoming more apparent that a post’s reach is potentially restricted unless advertising promotion is paid for.
Twitter is incredibly useful for specific and targeted networking opportunities, particularly when the right hashtags are used. Links and images are easy to share and a Twitter account is easy to create. However, despite the character limit now being increased, Twitter is still restrictive on the amount you can write and the fast pace of the network means that your content can easily be lost.
Pinterest is essentially an enormous search engine, and I actually use it far more than any other search engine. It is by far my most successful means of blog promotion, bringing tens of thousands of views to my site every year with very little effort. However, it does take a while to establish and build, and a knowledge of and ability to create beautiful accompanying graphics are important.
Instagram is all about images, and has the potential to bring in product advertising and sponsorships. Hashtags are incredibly effective to enable you to find your target audience and boost your reach. However, it doesn’t allow for links to be added below the images or in the comments and is rife with people who actively participate in the whole follow/unfollow nonsense (complete with generic emoji comments).
I also use Flipboard and Mix (the replacement of StumbleUpon), some Facebook groups and used to use StumbleUpon. SU, in fact, was responsible to thousands of views to my blog and so I was gutted when it closed.
Snapchat, Reddit and LinkedIn are also useful, although I don’t utilise these at all.
Creating and Implementing a Daily Checklist
With almost no short-term memory, the only effective way of being able to successfully keep on track with my daily schedule in the form of a checklist tracker, which I create and use each month as a grid in my Bullet Journal. This is particularly useful because
- I only have to colour in a box rather than writing a new list every day (this saves time and I enjoy colouring).
- I am able to visually see the days where my social media activities had an impact on my views and can adjust my strategy accordingly.
The checklist covers a simple monthly spread that is on a single page. It’s rather crudely drawn and not particularly pretty, but there’s no reason why this couldn’t be created on a computer and printed out – it’s a brilliant time-saving tool. I have a basic list in the first column, and some of these have the daily grid spaces divided into two.
Views – how many views I receive in a day – this allows me to see the impact that different combinations has had on my overall views for that day in particular.
Blog Post – when I have posted new content on my blog
Facebook – the grid is divided into two as a minimum. One section is for my own posts, the other is for when I have shared content from others.
Twitter – again, divided into two. One is for when I share one of my own posts with the relevant hashtags and the other is for anything else – retweets, questions, images etc.
Pinterest – divided into two – one for when I manually pin posts from others for a few minutes and 5 of my own posts every day. Note: Pinterest is actively blocking accounts that repeatedly blast just their own links. Be warned if you’re one of those people who join every group board possible and just send your links out to them in a loop. You know who you are.
Instagram – divided into two – one for the morning, one for the evening. I use relevant hashtags on each image.
Flipboard – divided into two – I share 10-15 links from others and then share one of my posts into a relevant category.
Mix – same as Flipboard – I share 10-15 links from others and then one of mine.
My entire social media checklist takes me about thirty minutes a day. Don’t have the time? Lots of bloggers use schedulers like Buffer and Tailwind, or social media managers to do it for them. Check out my Social Media Management and Advertising Opportunities here.
The Important Things to Remember
When and how you share entirely depends on your schedule, but these generally are the recommended amount of times you should utilise your social media every day to increase engagement.
Twitter: 3 tweets a day
Facebook: 1-2 posts a day
Pinterest: 10-15 repins a day of vertical posts
Instagram: at least once a day.
A large amount of what you share, repin, tweet, retweet etc should NOT be your own blog posts. You’ll potentially drive your audience away and be at risk of being highlighted as a spammer. Your social media accounts should be a mixture of different types of interesting content that your followers will find useful and entertaining and will encourage them to return.
You don’t just have to share your most recent posts from your blog. This seems to be a common (and rather infuriating) misconception among the blogging community. Thursdays in particular are full of posts for the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag, but I share posts that are months and even years old from my blog almost every day across my social media.
Types of Posts That Could Potentially Boost Engagement
- A response to a trending topic – particularly useful if you already have blog content on the subject.
- Asking a question.
- Hosting promotional content, competitions or giveaways.
- Advice and tips on different topics.
- Photographs and images – it’s statistically proven that posts with images attract more engagement than those without.
- Short videos.
- Create a poll.
- Something seasonal or celebratory.
- Inspirational quote.
- An industry article relevant to one of your posts.
And at the end of a month?
Look at your stats. How much have your blog and social media grown in the last few weeks? What was effective? What was a waste of time? How can you improve next month?
What about you guys? Have you got any hints and tips for using social media effectively?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and you can also find me on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks