In case you missed the previous posts in this “Blog” series, you can check them out here:
I’m going to do my best to attempt to tackle a pretty large subject today: SOCIAL MEDIA.
I will state this off the bat: I am not a social media expert. ANYONE who tells you that they are is a liar. Straight up. No one is a social media expert… because guess what? Social media changes daily. Some people might be GREAT at social media… but they’re not an expert. 🙂
I come at you with almost a decade of experience working in digital marketing in addition to blogging. Like, this is what I did… for my job. For awhile. So, I at least have lots of varied experiences. 🙂
Social media is a beast. It’s both totally amazing and also, utterly frustrating. It’s a blessing. And it’s a curse. It’s so many things… so, the best thing to do is to try and not get too overwhelmed. Also, remember, there are entire books, blogs, conferences, webinars, etc. on social media.
I could, literally, dedicate this entire blog to just tackling social media and how to use it to grow your business or blog. But, since I’m going to just look at it from 35,000 feet today… take that for what it is.
However, if something you read in today’s post strikes your fancy or maybe probes another question, PLEASE feel free to leave your follow up question in the comments or send it to me in an email! Chances are, you aren’t the only one with that question and it might behoove me to do a follow up post (or three) answering your questions.
It seems like a new social media platform is popping up every other day. I’m not even going to try and tell you about all the dozens and dozens of platforms out there. Today, we’re just gonna focus on the big players.
Ah, old faithful. The question I always get is: should I still be using Facebook? And the fact is, Facebook is still one of my top referring social media sites to my blog. So, even though the fastest growing population on Facebook is people 55+, Facebook, to me, is still very much a strong platform to engage on.
I don’t think Facebook is going around anytime soon. Sure, the traffic might ebb and flow, but it’s still very much a valuable platform.
Even if you don’t want to focus your time on Facebook and if you think your audience isn’t on Facebook… I AT LEAST recommend setting up and HAVING a Facebook page dedicated for your blog… and reserve your blog’s username.
Mine is http://www.facebook.com/stillbeingmolly – I made sure to have that reserved so no one else would take it… and now I use the page all the time for sharing content. And, again, Facebook is one of my top five referral sources… so clearly, people are still using it.
If you want to check out a REALLY old post of mine, I wrote one a few years back on how to have a rocking Facebook page. The information might be almost three years old, but a lot of the points still stand. 🙂
I love Twitter. Twitter is actually one of the most fun platforms to engage on… BUT, it can be overwhelming for some people.
To me, Twitter is good for sharing links to your blog posts, engaging in conversation with your readers (and potential readers), learning from others (there’s a lot of GREAT twitterers out there!), and just popping in every now and then with a random 140-character thought or two.
It is not one of my top referral sources, but that’s just because I focus less of my time on Twitter for actually growing my blog. Some people really love it and find great success with it… you just have to determine what is best for you.
At the very least, like with a Facebook fan page… at least HAVE a Twitter account. Reserve that username. Even if you don’t have it, it prevents others from taking your username and holding it hostage.
Pinterest is, by far, my biggest referral of blog traffic of all social media platforms. Plain and simple. It’s not my largest referral (organic search actually is for me…), but Pinterest comes in at a strong second place. It’s how a large majority of new readers find me, too.
Pinterest can be intimidating and I am certainly not even the best “pinner” out there… but it is a GREAT resource and tool for promoting and growing your blog.
Would you guys like me to dedicate an entire post to Pinterest? I feel like I should / could do that… Thoughts?
My biggest suggestions to you when it comes to Pinterest is: create an account, reserve that username (sense a trend?), create a board for your blog content, pin your content to that board… but ALSO share and pin other content (from OTHER PEOPLE) to relevant boards. That grows your Pinterest following AND your credibility AND your overall audience. 🙂
Also, make sure to have a “pinnable” image in every blog post you do!
Man, I have SO many regrets about Instagram. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms… and it’s not even NEW. It’s been around for YEARS now! But it just seems like it’s taken off in the last year or two.
It’s also THE platform that people ages 18-35 are living on. It’s quick. It’s easy. And people love it.
I opened an Instagram account back when it first started and I remember thinking, “This is a fun social media outlet… too bad no one uses it!” And I just putzed around on it and never took it seriously. For awhile I didn’t even really “get” Instagram… no one really did, I think. People just thought it was a place you could add cool filters to make your pictures look all vintage and stuff.
So, for a long time, I just posted pictures and added filters and ignored what is now a MAJOR player in the social media world. And I regret that… very much.
There are a TON of theories and ideas and philosophies on Instagram and how to grow your following and how to do Instagram “right.” And to be honest, I think everyone has an opinion, but there’s no real RIGHT answer. There are certainly “best practices,” but no hard and fast way to be successful.
The biggest things I can tell you about Instagram: yes, get that account and reserve the username… then, share content that is relevant, engaging, and pretty. Instagram is about pretty images, but don’t feel like they have to be PERFECT. Just be YOURSELF. Don’t force it. Also, don’t spam people with 100 pictures in a row. That’s a quick way to get unfollowed.
First, my biggest piece of advice is, again, to at least HAVE the account. If a social media platform starts up, get an account and reserve your name. You don’t have to necessarily use the account right away… but TRUST ME, when I say: better to be safe than sorry and have your username reserved. Just in case. 🙂
Second, don’t try to do it all at once. Pick one or two social media platforms to start with and focus on those two. Focus on growing those platforms… if you spread yourself out and focus on them all… you’ll be doing a lot of social media “just okay” and not “really well.” Think about where your audience is. If your audience is on Instagram and Pinterest, then focus on those. If they’re on Facebook and Twitter, focus on those.
Third, focus on creating and SHARING great content. The #1 rule in social media is: “it’s not about me.” Social media is just that: it’s social. It’s about sharing things we find, promoting and building up others, and THEN sharing our own stuff. The more you can share great content from around the web, the better of you’ll be.
With the exception of Instagram (just because it doesn’t as easily lend itself to sharing OTHER content within your own feed), focus on sharing great content and keeping your sharing diverse. Share something of your own… then share something from someone else. Share a blog post… then a photo. Share a thought… then some more content. Keep it varied.
Fourth, ENGAGE. You should be retweeting, and liking, and commenting, and following, and pinning. Engagement is the KEY to being successful on social media and, ultimately, getting referrals to your own content on your blog or site.