Suzie Speaks began in 2013, and was originally used as online therapy, primarily allowing me to discuss a difficult time I was having in my personal life. I knew nothing about social media – I had a personal Facebook account and a Twitter page that I hadn’t used in quite a while, and I rather naively assumed that I would receive a large amount of views simply by pressing the publish button.
It took me about six months to realise that the biggest source of traffic to a blog, without getting heavily into SEO (which I still find difficult to understand), is through different social media accounts. I created a brand new Facebook and Twitter page, separate to my personal ones, and set about building a following.
In two years, I have had nearly 44,000 views from Twitter, but only have 6,500 ‘followers.’ It’s hardly setting the blogging world on fire, but it’s certainly a large number considering the small amount of time (about 5-10 minutes) I spend on there each day.
It’s all about the hashtags.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag, put simply, is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and are primarily used on Twitter and Instagram. Once you have copied a URL or used the share button on a post, hashtags can be used to direct your post towards the people you want to read them. On Twitter you can use a hashtag for everything – #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches – but as a blogger the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.
Which hashtags should I use?
My blog has no niche – I write about whatever I feel like at a particular time – and I have always found it difficult to put myself into a specific category. However, there are endless categories within the blogging world, and all have different hashtags. The most popular ones are:
#lbloggers: Lifestyle Bloggers
#bbloggers: Beauty Bloggers
#fbloggers: Fashion Bloggers
#pbloggers: Parent Bloggers
#fblbloggers: Fashion Beauty Life Bloggers
There are also hashtags for categories that are more self explanatory:
For example, if I have done a post about a place that I have visited recently, I would use the hashtags #lbloggers, #travelbloggers and perhaps #fblbloggers in my link.
However, there are weekly hashtags that can be used to promote yourself further. For each of these, the concept is the same – you tweet your post, regardless of the content, using a certain hashtag on a particular day, and then take the opportunity to see other posts that have been shared within the same hashtag, read them and then retweet. This has been my biggest way of increasing my readership and meeting other bloggers from all over the world. And by retweeting somebody else, it’s likely that they will return the favour and introduce your blog to potentially thousands of new readers in their following.
Note: experienced bloggers will know if you have retweeted something without reading it first, and are unlikely to reciprocate if you develop a reputation for doing this.
- Monday: #MondayBlogs. This is the godfather of all weekly sharing hashtags, with thousands of bloggers participating each week.
- Tuesday: #TuesdayShares
- Wednesday: #wwwblogs (Women’s Writer Wednesday) and #BeWoW
- Thursday: #ThrowbackThursday
- Friday: #BlueSkyFriday, #FridayShares and #LinkYourLife
- Saturday: #ArchiveDay (for older posts), #WeekendBlogHop and #WeekendCoffeeShare (for any ‘If We Were Having Coffee’ posts).
- Sunday: #SundayBlogShare (I created this)
For example, if I wanted to share my latest travel post on a Sunday, I would add #SundayBlogShare to my hashtags.
There are also Twitter chats for bloggers that will go on for about an hour during the week using hashtags, and there are LOADS of these. However, these are not places to share links – they are purely for talking to other like-minded people, establishing connections and building a readership. For more information on this, here is a brilliant link from The Sits Girls about Twitter chats:
Use trending hashtags
Trending hashtags are the most popular things on Twitter at a particular moment in time, and at several points in the last few years I have written a post about a topic while it was trending, with immediate effect on my traffic once it was posted.
Earlier in the year, the Independent published a scathing article about beauty blogger Zoella. I wrote a post about it and used the hashtag #Zoella that was trending at the time. It was viewed several thousand times on Twitter in a matter of hours.
During the summer, I saw that the hashtag #BloggerBlackmail was trending in the UK. After finding out what it was, I did a post on my opinion of the situation and tweeted it using the same hashtag. It was viewed 500 times in an hour.
Similarly, a story about a stripper named Zola went viral last week. I wrote a post about it, used the hashtag #Zola and tweeted it three or four times. It was seen nearly a thousand times that day, and a further 500 the next.
If something is trending, take the opportunity to base a post around a hashtag and tweet it out.
Note: remember that content is key – if you post out any old nonsense then you may get lots of views initially, but potential readers are guaranteed not to return again, damaging your traffic in the long term.
How often should I use hashtags?
Like every area of social media, it’s important to pace yourself and spread your tweets out so as not to spam your readers. When I have time, I tweet between 3-5 times a day at times when I know I have peak traffic. It takes just a few minutes. If I am using a weekly hashtag, I will make sure that I read and retweet at least one other post, and during #SundayBlogShare, which I host, I can read and retweet several hundred others throughout the day.
So, to put it simply:
- Use hashtags that are relevant to the content of your post and the audience you wish to target.
- Use weekly hashtags and take some time to read and retweet other posts in the same hashtag too.
- Use Twitter chats to establish connections and build a readership.
- Use trending hashtags where relevant.
- Tweet your posts 3-5 times a day, leaving some time in between so as not to spam.
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out 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.