How to Start a Blog: Part IV - Social Media
When I first started my blog just over a year ago, I had no idea what all went into it. I think many of us who started blogging saw a "glamorous" side; the influence, the ability to share your voice in a unique way... But once you start thinking about getting serious about your blog and treating it like a business, you quickly realize that it isn't a "glamorous" side, only satisfying.
What I mean by that is having a blog isn't always sunshine and butterflies, but it is worth it. And the moment I figured this out was when I started thinking social media. Social media is how bloggers and influencers get their message out to people, and if done incorrectly, it can be the end of your blogging career. Most recently, some of you might have heard of a certain YouTube video that went viral for extremely negative reasons. Social media is a fickle thing, but with the right mindset for each outlet you can use these tools to get your message out there!
First things first, should you have a separate account for your blog? Honestly? I don't think so. Why? Well, when I first started using social media for my blog, I chose to start a separate account, and let me tell you, it was kind of pointless. I was constantly trying to make sure I shared to the correct one and sometimes I wouldn't, so I would get stressed out. I don't think it's worth the stress. Plus, you can still have personal posts that fit in with your brand. Stick with the single accounts; I promise you'll be less stressed in the long run.
Pinterest for bloggers. Pinterest refers 96% of my overall traffic for my blog, so when I say I think Pinterest is the most important outlet for bloggers, I mean it. Here are some important things to remember when it comes to pinning:
- Convert your account to a business account. You can use this to keep track of your Pinterest analytics.
- Pin quality content, not just your stuff. People want to learn new things and see ideas. Sorry to say, you don't have all the answers, but you can find and pin from people who do. Since starting this, I've seen a dramatic increase in the amount of followers I have!
- Organize your boards with searchable names. I used to have cutesy sayings as my board titles, making them much harder to find. I've seen a rise in followers and pins since changing the titles of my boards to relevant things.
Instagram for bloggers. While Instagram doesn't drive a whole lot of traffic to my blog (yet! I just finished Helene in Between's Instagram for Success course!), it's still a vital part of my blog. I have gotten a lot of outreach from brands because of my Instagram, which turns into sponsored opportunities for my blog. Some tips when it comes to Instagram:
- Edit your photos! It's so stinking simple. There are so many apps, my favorite being Snapseed, that can make your photos look professional. But another piece of advice: don't over edit. Keep it natural, people!
- Define your aesthetic. Does this mean you have to have all your photos in the same color scheme and never of anyone else? NO! But you should really decide if you want your photos to be bright with light backgrounds or bold dark backgrounds. When you post outside of that, it has the potential to look a little out of place.
- Like and comment on other's photos! Instagram is designed to be a community of people sharing photos. When you like and comment on other's photos, not just "Cute!" but real quality commenting, you are giving someone what you want. This means they, too, might just turn around and like a few of your photos. Plus, you never know if you'll find some new inspiration!
Twitter for bloggers. Twitter and I have a love-hate relationship. I don't have a lot of interaction with my followers, and most of my followers on Twitter are also other bloggers. I'm okay with that, and so I mostly just use it for other community opportunities. My advice for Twitter:
- Find relevant twitter chats. There are so many, #Nectarchat, #createlounge, #ellechat... The list goes on and on. Each are tailored to specific audiences (but these are all pretty similar). Search for chats that appeal to your niche or just what you want to learn about. It's a great way to "meet" new people.
- Buffer is awesome. I use Buffer all the stinking time. It's a great way to be online without actually being online. Use it to schedule some awesome social shares and you'll be good to go throughout the day!
Facebook for bloggers. If I'm being honest, I would tell you that I'm not actively spending much time on Facebook anymore. It almost seems like a social media outlet for adults now... Like older adults. Aside from using CoSchedule to automatically post my blog posts at a time I want, I don't actively spend much time on there. But some tips I have for Facebook:
- Share other's status updates. The more you share, the more Facebook likes you, thanks to Facebook's crazy strict algorithm. Follow pages that inspire you and don't be afraid to share it.
- When in doubt, schedule it. Schedule your posts, especially old content. It's a great way to reshare it without putting in a whole lot of effort to find new things to share.
These tips are just a few of what I've learned over the past year and a half of blogging. I'll leave you with one final tip: don't let social media stress you out. It's an extension of your blog and ultimately yourself.