In the last post we discussed how to leverage SEO to make your blog posts as findable as possible. Other than search engines, how else do people typically browse the internet? Social media of course!
Social Media is Everywhere
How often do you open up a social media app and start scrolling through it the moment you grab your phone in the morning? *Raises hand* Guilty!
We are a bunch of social media addicts. On average, Americans are spending approximately 2.5 hours on every day on social media alone. That sounds crazy, right? But it’s true!
As you’re scrolling, how often do you see brands using this space to market their product? According to a recent Hootsuite survey, 48% of Americans have engaged with a company or brand on social media at least once. It is basically required for companies everywhere to have a social media presence. It gives your brand a voice. Through social media channels, you can engage with others as peers. It’s a fun way to relate to customers, build rapport, and show the world what you’re all about.
See how social media and blogging fit together perfectly?
Social Media Doesn’t Have to be Complicated
Feeling overwhelmed? Between Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+…it can seem like a bit much when you’re first starting out. Don’t worry! This doesn’t have to be scary. We have a few basic tips to get you off to a great start.
Evaluate Your Target Audience
First off, think about the kind of person you’re looking to attract to your blog. Now think about what social media sites those types of people use. Are they business professionals? Stay-at-home super-moms? Fitness junkies? The photograph-before-each-meal foodies? Different types of people tend to gravitate towards different social media sites. Your topic may translate great through one medium, but fall a little flat on another.
If your blog’s subject is highly visual, for example, (think food blogs, fashion, travel, etc.), Instagram and Pinterest are where you want to be. They focus on images and draw you in with a short tagline/caption outlining what the image is all about. Pinterest is great for linking directly to blog posts. Instagram is incredible for showing off your most picturesque moments and sending people to your blog via the web link in your bio. That latte art pic you took in your search for the best coffee shop in Paris? Perfect for Instagram! Besides the usual food photos and craft tutorials, infographics also tend to do get a lot of attention on Pinterest.
If your subject is less image-centric (think finance, software, etc.), you may want to gravitate towards Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+. Pictures are still a huge part of the experience (and necessary for optimal engagement!), but these sites are often more text-intensive and may represent your content better.
On Social Media, Consistency Is Key
So you’ve decided what social media networks you’re going to be on. Next step is: become and stay active! Consistency is one of the most important factors in successfully building your social media audience. It might be tough at first, but making sure you post regularly on all of the networks you choose to be a part of is essential. If you take long breaks from posting, your followers (or potential followers!) can quickly lose track of you. Out of sight, out of mind. Makes sense, right? You certainly don’t want people to forget about you!
An easy way to make sure you’re getting your posts in regularly is through services that automate your posting. Facebook has a way to schedule posts ahead of time built into the platform, and so does Twitter! If you would rather keep all your networks organized in one place, services like Hootsuite allow you to manage all sorts of accounts from one dashboard. Busy bloggers rejoice!
Starting from scratch and gaining followers seems daunting, but a little bit of active social media time every day will help tremendously. Find the communities that your blog fits into and start interacting with them. Tag people, use relevant #hashtags for your industry, and follow people who run in similar circles to you. Before you know it, followers will start trickling (or, if you’re lucky and really stick to it, maybe even flooding) in.
Now that you’ve gained a following, you have to work to keep it! Like every real life, in-person relationship, you have to work to maintain these social media connections as well. Engage with your audience. Ask them questions! Say hello! Comment and respond to comments that you receive. People appreciate when companies show personality through their social media–it makes them more authentic and relatable. You are a real person behind that smartphone, tablet or laptop after all. Show your audience that by letting your voice shine through!
Keep It Up!
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a huge return right away. Building your social media presence takes time and dedication. It’s not going to happen all at once! If you stick with it, you’re bound to see an increase in traffic.
Feel like you’re putting the work in and not seeing the results? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Are you using the best networks for your blog? Is your voice consistent across all platforms? Are you active enough? If you’re stuck, a good rule of thumb is to try something new and see if anything changes. Maybe Twitter is the best network for you after all! Even though there are plenty of good guidelines to follow, there is so much variation in the industry that rules may change. Be flexible, be resilient, and get to posting!