Welcome back to the Beginner’s Guide to Blogging series! Today is post number three and it’s all about social media tips for bloggers. I’m super excited about this one because social media is a huge part of the blogging world. And whether you like it or not, you gotta play the game. There is just so much that goes into promoting your blog on all the different social media platforms. I mean we have Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Snapchat, etc. To be honest, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. So in order to keep this post from being massively long, I’m going to focus on the three main social media platforms I personally use for my blog: Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. As usual I have a ton to talk about, soooooo let’s get right to it.
I want to start with Pinterest because I believe it is the best social media platform to grow you blog and increase pageviews. Yep, I said it. If you’re not taking Pinterest seriously, you’re missing out. When I started blogging, the first thing I did was create boards that were relevant to my brand: farmhouse style, vintage decor, DIY projects, etc. Then I made sure all my boards had pretty cover photos and were nicely organized with the most relevant boards at the top of my Pinterest page. Then I simply started pinning awesome content to these boards. And I pinned A LOT. But in the mix I also started pinning my own content (photos from my blog posts) and that’s when the magic happens. The more of your content that is on Pinterest and being pinned and re-pinned, the more pageviews you will get. Pin your content! It’s that simple. Here are my big tips for Pinterest:
1. Only pin what is relevant to your niche and make it good. Everything else should go on a private board that your followers don’t see. Period. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re pinning really, really great content. Avoid spammy looking pins or photos. Also be sure to pin content that is trending. You can find out what topics are hot on Pinterest by simply putting your curser in the search bar and letting the drop down list appear. Those topics listed there are “trending” for the day.
2. Pin your content like crazy. Now there’s obviously a balance to this, you don’t want 90% of your pins to be your own stuff, but I believe at least 50% to 60% of what you pin in a day should be content from your blog. Create relevant boards and start pinning your stuff to those boards. Obviously the more posts you publish the more content you’ll have to pin, so this will be tough in the beginning days of blogging, but you’ll get there.
3. Keywords! Since Pinterest basically operates like a search engine, make sure the descriptions in your blog post photos are full of important keywords. For example, if you have a post about a healthy chicken salad recipe, make sure those exact words are put in the description of each and every photo when it is uploaded to that blog post. You DO NOT want the description to say something like IMG 3834. That description will follow the photo when it is pinned from you blog and re-pinned on Pinterest, so use keywords that are relevant to your post!
3. Schedule your pins. I use Tailwind to schedule my pins each day and without it I would be lost. I highly recommend it. The concept is pretty basic: you simply schedule out pins to specific boards at specific times of day. It’s awesome because you can schedule your own content and other pins as well. I’m pinning around 65% of my own content and about 35% are pins from other people. Here’s a screenshot of a typical day on my schedule.
On the right side you can see the schedule I’ve created. Each little square is a time slot I’ve selected. Those that are empty just haven’t been scheduled yet. But you can easily see what’s going where throughout the day. I generally spent about 2-3 hours a week scheduling pins and then I don’t have to worry about it. BoardBooster is another great pin scheduler a lot of bloggers use, but I haven’t tried that one yet.
4. Get on group boards. Group boards are simply boards that multiple people can pin to and they generally have more followers than your typical board. Getting yourself (and your pins!) on group boards is a great way to drive more traffic to your blog. You can simply do this by searching out fellow bloggers in your niche and checking to see what group boards they’re contributing to. The description in that board will typically tell you how to request to be a member.
This is the platform that I believe is undergoing the most changes right now. And I’ll be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with the new Instagram. It’s a bit tricky to figure out and totally different from what it used to be when I got started back in the summer of 2015. Instagram now feels a lot more like Facebook. You don’t see posts in chronological order anymore–users now see posts based on what Instagram believes you want to see. The algorithm is still a bit of a mystery to most people and it can get really frustrating. But it’s a great tool to direct people to your blog and grow your following. Here are my best Instagram tips:
- Share only photos that are relevant to your brand. This seems obvious, I know. But it’s so important. If you’re just growing your IG following, it’s incredibly important to stay true to what your blog is about. If you’re home decor, stick to that. If recipes are your thing, stay laser focused on that. You want your feed to 100% reflect what your “brand” is about. I’d definitely recommend eliminating random things like photos of your dog, your kids, or selfies. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but I’d do it very sparingly in the beginning. Just stick to your content and be consistent. And edit your photos so they all have the same look/vibe. Basically make your IG feed a mini-version of your blog and delete any photos that don’t fit that mold.
- Don’t neglect the stories. Instagram’s newest thing is offering users the ability to do stories–video clips, photos with text, etc. I think this is becoming an important part of IG, so it’s definitely something to pay attention to. I recently asked my followers (via stories) if they’re more likely to go to their stories or regular feed when they first log on to Instagram. Most of them said they jump right into stories. So they’re definitely important. But I think it’s a tricky balance. I personally don’t have time to sit on my phone all day and record 321 stories for people to view. I just simply can’t do it. However, I do believe Instagram’s new algorithm has something to do with how often you do stories, so it’s important to incorporate them when you have time.
- Connect with people you follow: One great way to grow your account is to simply connect and interact with other similar IG accounts. Get to know people in your niche and be sure to leave comments on photos you love. Those connections will come in handy and it makes the entire IG experience more enjoyable.
- Know your hashtags: Definitely try to use relevant and trending hashtags on your photos. You can figure out what those are by simply typing a few in the search bar and exploring around to see what is popular and what others are using. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each photo you post, so go for it if you have that many that work for your photo. Just be careful not to use the same ones over and over again. I hear the new IG algorithm is picking up on that and somehow blocking people from being seen under the tags they repeatedly use.
- Get in share groups. Many, many Instagramers use share groups to grow their accounts. The concept is pretty simple: gather up a group of similar IG-ers that you love and ask if they’d all like to participate in a share group. Each person in the group shares each other on their feed. This is awesome for a few reasons: 1) you’re sharing an account you love and genuinely think your followers would like too. 2) it’s a great way to grow your own feed. 3) it gives you other content to share that isn’t your own. Sometimes your followers want to see what inspires you and this is a nice way to break up your feed with something fresh. It’s really a win-win. So do yourself a favor and get in a share group.
- Be yourself. With all the changes to Instagram lately, I know a lot of people are frustrated with slowed growth and limited engagement. I’ve definitely felt the same way and it can be really discouraging. But my best advice is to just stay true to who you are and be yourself. Stay consistent, post great photos, and be genuine. And by all means, don’t buy followers. I know there are a lot of services out there these days that will allow you to buy followers, and many IG-ers are doing it, but I think that’s risky business. I personally think it’s better to slowly build a group of people that actually love what you’re doing and are following you for the right reasons.
Of the three social media platforms I currently use, Facebook is where I spend the least amount of time. And not because it’s not valuable, but because I just don’t currently have the time to devote to it. But it’s definitely important. Get yourself set up with a page ASAP if you’re a brand new blogger. And then once you do that, there are a few different ways you can manage your page and share your content:
1) Share only your posts. This is what I currently do for the most part. If I have a new post, I’ll share it. And if it’s an off-day I’ll share old content and recycle my best posts. There are lots of bloggers that do this and it’s just fine. However, I know this strategy leaves me with slower growth compared to the next option.
2) Share your posts + great content from others: This combination approach allows you to share not only your posts, but great posts from other bloggers. I also see a lot of bloggers sharing interesting articles that are relevant to their brand–such as a mommy blogger sharing a news article about different parenting styles. If you’re sharing content your followers enjoy and like, you can definitely increase your engagement and grow your numbers.
3) Create & share videos: Videos are HUGE on Facebook. People love to watch short videos and share them with their friends. If you have the means to do it, definitely consider making a little video and sharing it on your page. Maybe a quick and easy DIY project that’s been sped up to fit into a 30 second video. Or you can even do a live video. I haven’t personally done this yet, but I know many bloggers swear by doing live videos on their Facebook pages. This is a great opportunity to connect with your fans and build relationships. And engagement is definitely the name of the game on Facebook.
All right guys, those are my best social media tips for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. There is so much more that could be said, but I’m going to stop here because this post is getting way too long! I hope this was helpful if you’re just getting started in blogging, or even if you’ve been at it a while. Social media is a tricky, tricky game. Algorithms are always changing. Sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re not. But the more followers you have, the better chances that people actually read your blog–so it’s definitely important! Let me know if you have any questions about anything at all, I’d love to chat more about social media in the comments. Next up in my blogging series I’ll be talking about ways to make money with your blog, so stay tuned for that one!
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