If you want to be a successful blogger, then you need some sort of social media strategy. There is no point in writing away and posting like fury if no-one knows you are there. There are a so many platforms that it can simply be overwhelming to simply learn how to use them at all, without learning to use them fully and effectively. Now, I am not an expert in any of these platforms; all I can do is share the knowledge I do have and hope it helps you to develop a strategy that will work for your blog.
In 18 months my social following has grown from 0 to over 15k, with almost 8.5k being followers on Twitter; so not a bad growth in that time. Let’s break this down into the different platforms and I will give you some tips and highlight what I do in each area.
Twitter is where I spend most of my time. Twitter is a high volume/low value network; it is fast-moving and you need to know how to get it to work for you, or it will pass you by. Your strategy here should be quantity; aim for a least 5 tweets a day but there is no maximum number, the more the merrier.
I wrote How to grow your Twitter following, but I will highlight some key points and tell you what I do with this network.
- You NEED Twitter lists. Without them Twitter may well be overwhelming and you will probably end up losing track of everything. You could have a list for your blog (those you interact with), closer friends, brands you work with and brands you want to work with. The possibilities are endless! My way might not suit you, but it works for me. I have increased my following from 0 to almost 8.5k in 18 months and most of my traffic is referred from Twitter.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. It is so important to schedule tweets that share your post links. If you don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar someone else is and your one tweet will get lost in people’s timelines. I know people worry about flooding other people’s timelines. However, I believe that people follow so many accounts, that there is always a mixed flow of information on people’s timelines. I use Social Oomph* to schedule which, in my opinion, is the best scheduler and it saves me hours of inputting for a very small fee. Other options are Buffer, Twuffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, TweetDeck.
- Times to Tweet – Best time: 1-3pm Worst time: 8pm-8am
- Finding people to follow – When I started to build my following, I would go into people profiles of blogs I loved, go down their following list and follow those who caught my eye. At the start I would unfollow people who didn’t follow back, as you are limited to following 2k until your follower number builds up.
- Retweeting others – I retweet where possible and always for people linking up to one of my linkies. I retweet a lot of blogger linky posts and their general posts. I use my lists to make it easy for me to retweet posts shared by members of my tribe.
- Using Social Oomph – I schedule every new post of my own personal content to go out every 8 hours, twenty times. Every review will go out every 8 hours, ten times, as do sponsored posts. I have a few posts that do very well for me and seem timeless Blogging as Therapy, Blogging; A full time job? and my Blog Club page. These posts tweet out every 8 hours forever (just put a 0 in the recurrences box on Social Oomph and you don’t have to think about it ever again).
- Using Evergreen – This is a WordPress plugin, which I set to tweet an archived post on the hour throughout the day (and night for our friends in the US). You can select certain categories/tags that you want to be included; I leave out giveaways and reviews, but let the others be included.
- Respond – I *try* to respond to every tweet I am mentioned in. Occasionally, (like on a Friday) my feed goes mad and I may miss one or two, but I will always thank someone for retweeting or sharing my post, thank each person who links to one of my linkies (and retweet their link) and respond to questions that I am asked.
- Use #FF – to show your appreciation to other bloggers and businesses you work with.
- Hashtag your posts – I have recently found a Google Chrome extension, Ritetag that helps you find the most popular hashtags and even gives stats for each one! I am new to this so I cannot give my opinion, other than to say it looks like it will be a great help! Hashtags help people to find your posts, so it would be silly not to use them if you want to increase your readership.
- Following back – At the start of my growth I would always follow back. However, to prevent my timeline becomingly too difficult to manage, I now only follow back accounts that are of interest to me.
- Unfollowing – I am now very bad at unfollowing. You can use a variety of sites to monitor your unfollowers. I think this is more important when you are limited in your numbers of allowed followers.
I think Facebook is a trickier platform, as they are so focused on making money that it is hard to get people to actually see your stuff without paying for it! Facebook is a low volume/high value network; too many updates tends to annoy people and they are more visible as the network moves slower. Therefore, you need to make each post count. Some experts have said a minimum of 3 updates per week and a maximum of 10; focusing on quality content (rather than quantity) that the readers will benefit from. My good friend Hannah, from Mum’s Days, has written this awesome Facebook for bloggers post, that might help you.
- Like and comment as your blog Facebook page – To make your page more visible (just change it by clicking on the little flag).
- Share any interesting work of others – I shared a American blog post last week and it got over 116 shares! So don’t just share your own content. To find content, read blogs, look at your facebook feed and share interesting stories from businesses you support.
- Times – the best times for Facebook are 6-8am and 2-5pm. The worst being between 10pm- 4am.
- Schedule – I schedule my blog posts to appear on my page at 8am and they are shared there just once. If I get ahead writing posts, then I can schedule ahead of time on Facebook; if not I schedule the night before for the following day.
- Use photos for 39% more interaction. I often post from my IG to FB and Twitter.
- Concise statuses are better – below 250 characters for 60% more engagement
- Using emoticions – increases comments by 33%
- Thursday and Friday – are the best days for interaction – 18% more than other days.
- Ask questions – posts including questions get 100% more interaction.
- Advertise you page – to help bring in the likes.
- Visibility – The more a post is liked, then the more people FB will show it too. So if you have a tribe, get them to like your updates/comment and this should help you see a rise in the number of people seeing the post.
To me, Instagram feels different to the other social networks, almost friendlier. Yes you do get spammers and lots of people trying to get you to buy slimming wraps, but on the whole it is a lovely place to interact and build relationships.
- Be consistent
- Use lots of relevant hashtags to improve your discoverability!
- Comment on others and use # in your comments
- 10 most popular # – Good morning/awesome/healthy/shoutout/follow/folowforfollow/follow/throwback/throwbackthursday/love
- Use Iconosquare to make IG on your desktop easier – great for responding to comments.
- I use Square Instapic to make all pictures the right size for IG.
- Use Tags4Likes to find appropriate hashtags for specific topics.
- Post approximately 3/4 times a day and spread the posts out to increase your visibility.
- I often like every post on my feed, it takes milliseconds to double tap and it gives everyone a boost. They may also reciprocate.
- Reciprocating likes – If I have time, I will go into the accounts of the people who have liked one of my pictures and like a few of theirs.
Similar to FB in that it is a low volume/high value network. Every time you post on G+ you give google more keywords and information to index and link to you. Google + is an area I still need to find time to focus on.
- 3-10 updates per week.
- Ask questions/ Start discussions
- Share relevant content within your circles
- I automate sharing to Google + from my WordPress dashboard and occasionally I will pop on and +1 a few things. I also share friend’s posts on there, but I do need to formulate a more robust strategy.
Pinterest is a high volume/high value network. You need to post frequently to get noticed in the volume of pins, but quality also matters.
- Use beautiful images, catchy titles and carefully chosen keywords.
- Make sure your pins link to your blog.
- 5-10 pins a day.
- Pin your posts – only pin those with pinnable images and that are worth pinning. Good things to pin are tutorials and ‘Hot to’s’; posts that are giving the reader useful information. Think will someone want to repin it?
- Pin other interesting posts from your feed
- Use a headshot, people want to pin from real people
- See who have pinned your recent post, go and return the favour. Try to engage.
- Best times to pin – 2pm-4pm and 8pm-11pm. Worst: 5pm-7pm and 1am-7am
- Post about your boards on your other social media networks
- A pin is 23% more likely to be repinned if image is not someone’s face (Curalate research)
- Pin seasonally – Go and make an Easter board!
- Descriptions on pins – use positive words like fantastic/awesome, but also practical, descriptive words.
- The average pin in repinned 10 times, compared to the average tweet which is retweeted only 1% of the time.
- Popular board/seasonal boards on top row.
- See whose pinning which posts from your blog – https://www.pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com/
This network is low volume/high value professional network.
- Frequency – Post 2-5 times a week
- Post your more formal/professional/technical content around your sector, i.e. for me it would be blogging posts.
- Share your content in any relevant groups.
- Time to share – Best times are 7am-8.30am and 5-6pm. The worst between 9am and 5pm.
A general tip would be to make sure your social media buttons are in a prominent place on your side bar. I also put them at the bottom of every post, with sharing buttons. Make it really easy for people to follow you and share your posts on a variety of networks.
I hope these tips have given you some inspiration for developing your social media networks. Which is your favourite social media platform?