When I started seriously blogging in 2010, twitter was the big thing. Bloggers were using facebook to promote their blogs, but pages hadn’t rolled out yet. Instagram and Pinterest weren’t even around yet. So even though in some ways I was late to the major blogging game, I feel like I’ve been a part of the social media explosion.
From the beginning, I’ve made a practice of using each social media platform differently. Unless it’s something I really want to push everywhere (my Secret Posts, for example), I create different content for twitter, facebook, and Instagram. And by “create content” you know I just mean “post different stuff.” I don’t have a huge social media strategy other than to post things I like and not be too repetitive.
The two reasons I use social media every day:
- To connect.
- To get people to my blog.
I genuinely enjoy communicating with zillions of people online, but this blog is my final destination. I’d give all the rest of it up in a second if I had to. And this isn’t just preference. If you’re a blogger, think long and hard before you invest too much time or energy in curating the perfect Instagram feed or cracking the facebook algorithm. You don’t truly own any of that content, nor can you count on those followers. All things should circle around your blog like the sun, and the people who follow you there are your true readers.
Here’s how I approach the main social media platforms:
Years ago, I wrote about my love for twitter. As more and more people use it prolifically, twitter has gotten so noisy. And because it drives roughly zero traffic to my blog, I understand why many bloggers have quit twitter entirely or backed off significantly.
But I still have a major fondness for twitter. It’s helpful to me personally, if not professionally. News breaks first on twitter. People answer crowd-sourced questions quickly on twitter. I keep tweetdeck up on my computer screen most of the day and it makes me feel like I’m part of the buzz of the city. And like I’ve mentioned, I’ve made real friends on twitter. That one important thing hasn’t happened for me on any other social media platform. For better or worse, chatting with strangers on twitter isn’t weird.
I am probably the most candid on twitter. I’m more likely to post unfiltered opinions there, flying high in the fast conversation. I love to live-tweet events, either in person or from my couch, and that fun little activity alone has gained me most followers there. I live tweet awards shows and blog conferences, mostly, or whatever else I’m in the mood for. Some people live tweet tv shows, which I think is fun, though I’m never caught up enough on tv shows to jump in on that. In my experience, twitter is where you’ll find people being the most real.
I have two different facebook lives - my personal account and my blog page. With few exceptions, on my personal facebook page I’m only friends with people I know in real life or knew at one time. I actually don’t post all that often on my personal facebook page, but I do use that account every day to participate in facebook groups. If you’re a blogger and not in a facebook group, find one. They’re the new chat rooms and have hands-down revolutionized my social media life. I’m in local LA facebook groups, niche facebook groups, and just friend facebook groups. I know people in health related facebook groups and specific hobby facebook groups.
I understand this kind of chatting is going down on google+ also, but I haven’t tried that myself. Whatever you’re looking to talk about: blogging, CrossFit, photography, find an open facebook group and jump in the conversation.
On the HH facebook page, I post links out to new blog posts and also random thoughts and nuggets that aren’t enough for a full blog post. I also crowdsource quite a bit on the HH facebook page, because the community there is awesome and will give me advice and tell the truth. (See: Last month’s fashion dilemma)
I super love the engagement that happens on facebook. My personal and reader demographic hangs out on facebook for much of the day, so when I’m looking for something, that’s the first place I head. As a blogger, facebook brings in the most traffic by leaps and bounds. This is not because I’m so charming, but just the culture of it. Even though I have less followers on facebook than I do on both twitter and Instagram, it’s the FB people who click through and “like” and share. Therefore, cheers to facebook.
I enjoy Instagram a lot, but can’t say that it’s done much for me as a blogger. As a human, I love posting pics of the kids or our life, so I’ll continue using it because it’s fun. I also think it’s a good place to follow your favorite blogger, since most people post slice-of-life stuff that you might not see anywhere else. (That’s the kind of thing I post.)
But as a reader, if someone posts their Outfit of the Day, why would I click through to that post? I’ve seen the outfit. I’m good. Not to mention that Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links anyway. I do follow people on Instagram who I don’t follow their blog, and I know the same is true with followers I have. In some ways, Instagram is like its own little microblogging platform. Which is fine for some things. I used it that way when we were on the European press trip in the fall, and I’ll use it that way in Haiti.
But again, if it doesn’t serve my blog, I’m not going to pour into it. Even if I like it.
Pinterest has been probably the biggest game changer for bloggers. I say that even though I’ve never used it all that effectively. I get some traffic from people pinning my posts, but not as much as, say, food or craft bloggers. For those people, Pinterest is just a boon.
I jumped on Pinterest when it was new on the scene but then several things kept me away for a loooooong time. Only recently have I used it again and I do really like it. It’s great for personal use, to keep track of projects I’m working on around my house or posts and ideas I’ve liked. Even for some fashion stuff, it’s handy.
But I have not used it as well as a good blogger should, and I respect those who rock Pinterest like a champ.
There are other social media networks out there, of course. LinkedIn, Vine, Google+, other cool things I probably don’t even know about. But a girl only has so much time. And since I do post mostly original stuff in all those places, I just can’t do it all.
Social Media feels crucial to my blog growth, but I know at least once extremely successful blogger who doesn’t have a facebook page and several who no longer do twitter. So it’s all in how you engage on these platforms and, almost more importantly, how your audience does.
If you’re a reader, it’s really, really helpful to bloggers when you like and share their content. I rarely ask for that sort of thing, because I think if it’s good enough it will get shared anyway (which is mostly true). But if you’re looking for a way to encourage your favorite bloggers, the currency is no longer blog comments (though I personally love those myself). It’s sharing.
Sharing is caring. And when we get to the money post, you'll see why.
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