How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog
If you're anything like me, you'll have a love/hate relationship with social media. I hate the way I am sucked into it. I've lost hours, days and maybe even weeks browsing this timeline or that inanely not knowing how I got there or when I started. BUT, as a blogger (and a journalist too) I rely on it for finding work, promoting my blog and connecting to other freelancers. PS - all the pictures in this post are 100% unrelated. They are basically on my camera roll with nowhere else to use them ;)
The amazing Sara Tasker wrote recently about being a 'Webtrovert' and it was a total lightbulb moment for me. I'm an introvert by nature (and no, that doesn't mean I'm shy or unsociable) but I have found a wonderful community on Instagram, and find myself chatting to Insta-friends daily. I've even met up with some in real life. I look forward to posting on Instagram, connecting with people, checking out my Explore page and finding new accounts to pore over.
Because of this, I have a fairly steady referral stream to my blog from Instagram and those who come from IG stick around a whole lot longer than those who come from Facebook.
I do think social media is important when you blog, at least to promote it. When you are truly engaged, it's even better. So if you hate Twitter with a passion, don't use it for the sake of it....pick something else.
Note: I'm including Pinterest in this post despite the fact it is a search engine, and NOT a social media platform because it is another tool you can utilise to promote your blog.
I use the full gamut of social media platforms but with varying diligence. I post to Facebook twice a week, Instagram once a day, Twitter several times daily and Pinterest a gazillion times every damn day.
But I do it all in one hour on a Wednesday morning (sort of).
How? I schedule. People - you need a content plan, and you need to schedule! Otherwise you'll spend your life on social media and go batsh@t crazy.
THE PRACTICAL STUFF
I've used lots of free scheduling tools, and paid ones too - here are my faves:
I LOVE using Buffer to schedule Twitter & Facebook posts. With the free version you can schedule about ten posts, but for about £7 a month you can schedule an unlimited amount, look at your top performing posts and quickly re-post them, and review some basic analytics.
My favourite feature is the power scheduler, where you can schedule four posts in one go (super handy for your own blog posts).
For Instagram, I use Planoly to plan content, curate my grid and respond to comments. I prefer Mosaico to be honest but it's not available on Android. It's worth noting that you cannot auto-post on Instagram, you always have to press publish in the 'instant' you want it posted. But you can save stacks of time planning ahead of time.
And my ultimate tool for scheduling Pinterest pins is Boardbooster which is a scheduling tool of dreams. You can schedule and loop (where the tool deletes poor performing pins and re-pins others on a 'loop').
If Facebook is your thing and you really wanna grow it, don't schedule posts. Do them in the moment (and ideally make them a video or live post!) because Facebook hates scheduled posts by a third party app and penalises them in the algorithm, meaning they get seen less. Gah.
On another note, Facebook also hates links within your post text. I know, I know.....post the link until you get the link preview (usually with a thumbnail image) then delete the link, add your text and post. The image will retain the url so anyone who clicks the image will head on over to your post. Phew.
Also, I have a very talented VA while I'm on maternity leave, although I've retained my beloved Instagram.
You don't always need to waste time creating a whole new post for each platform. Sometimes you can repurpose content instead, which is what I do a LOT. I always start with my blog content, and then essentially repurpose it for everything else - that way, you are always leading people back to the source!
All I mean by re-purposing is to take an original piece of content (a blog post perhaps) and re-use the words or pictures, tweaking for every platform you then repost it too. For example, you might reuse an Instagram picture in a Pin, adding words and tweaking slightly. Or turn your blog post about social media into a tweet with one top social media tip, linking back to the post.
One of the easiest (ahem, laziest) ways to do this is with IFTT.
IFTT (if this, then that) is truly a game changer. When I discovered it I went mad using recipes (as they were previously known) like mad and went a little too far.
WHAT IS IT? It's basically a resource library full of clever little 'applets' which, when triggered, mean you can do super clever things on social media. Like automatically post your Instagram pictures as native Tweets (with your picture still visible).
There are honestly thousands of applets (recipes) so have a play around, you'll find hundreds that can make your life a whole lot easier.
What's your favourite social media platform? And where do your biggest traffic referrals come from? It's potentially the same or, like with my Instagram example, you get the best engagement from one.
Either way, use these two metrics to decide where to put all of your eggs, so to speak, and get creative. I always promote my blog posts in Instagram, within a post, in my bio and on my Stories too. I even did a cheeky Instagram Live.
Facebook prioritises video content, so create a little video or do a Facebook Live stream. On Twitter you can use Periscope (basically live video streaming) and on Pinterest I really encourage you to get involved with groups, like Mappin' Monday (travel).
I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it's best practice to get into sharing other content aside from your own. There are stacks of resources that will give you an 'ideal' ratio of sharing....'three of theirs to one of your own' or whatever.
But, unsurprisingly, I think that's BS. I also don't think it's a good idea to share a set group of content in a prescriptive way. By which I mean to have a list of bloggers whose posts you share, regardless of whether you've read and liked them or not.
You're a blogger, so I'm almost positive you read stacks of content across various diffetent topics right? I love reading stuff from The Pool as much as I love reading the latest from The Travel Hack and I devour anything by The Bloggess (including her hilarious books).
I share these with abandon, but only if I've actually read and enjoyed the posts. I do this using Feedly, which keeps all of my fave content in one place, then sharing my fave posts with the Buffer extension for Safari.
SIMPLE. Or is it? You tell me. Have I missed anything?
Join 3,000 other subscribers and sign up to my newsletter.