I had a very ambitious plan to actually get things done this year… and believe it or not, things are slowly but surely starting to roll around here. I began by declaring January the month of computer themed decluttering and sorting out blogish things that tend to get forgotten in the day to day of life. If you haven’t yet done any computer maintenance or blog updating at all this year, then it could actually be many months since you did anything at all… may I gently suggest that you back up your machine before you head out into the week. Otherwise, I have blogged about decluttering your computer, updating your blog (and I have a few nice updates coming your way), and finding your workflow… This week I am going to talk about streamlining your Social Media.
Most of us are so busy living, that we hardly have time to blog, let alone spend time falling into the huge time-trap called social media. But the fact of the matter is that in order to promote the work you do as a blogger, you have to spend some time on social media. The other fact of the matter is that hours of your life can literally roll past you unnoticed, while you scroll down your Twitter feed or watch other folks’ Instagram stories… and I won’t even mention Pinterest. In order to make social media work for you you need to have a social media plan, to get the most done for the least possible time spent over there. This past month I have been setting goals and getting a few of my social media strategies in order for the rest of the year ahead.
Se7en Strategies to Streamline Your Social Media
- Work with your Strengths: Just because everyone else is everywhere on social media doesn’t mean that you have to be there as well… pick your three best social media platforms and stick with them. I know all advice appears to say that you have to be here and you have to be there. While you do need to share your work, you don’t have to share it everywhere. If you hate Facebook and love instagram then go with that, if it is vice versa, that is okay too… there is space in the world for all sorts of online players and you definitely do not have to love it all.
- Each Platform Needs its Own Attention: And this is why you cannot be on every single platform, there just isn’t enough time in a day. Twitter is not the same as Instagram and Instagram is not the same as Pinterest at all. They are each unique and draw a particular kind of follower. While our overall brand as family friendly site with lots of interests is covered on all sites, I do treat our platforms very differently. For example you can find us on:
- Instagram: My favourite platform to play on, I have a lot of friends there. On instagram I will share one or two of our blog posts each week, but not all of them… folks are there to see our behind the scenes everyday life and that is where they will find it. It is very relational and always good for interacting. My goal is to post one or two, never more than three pictures a day. Folk will comment and I try to respond to their comments… I spend a fare amount of my online time commenting and engaging with other folk in my feed. You can draw folk to your feed with a great comment and then if they like your feed they will follow you. My strategy to double our instagram following last year was to find one or two new folk to engage with each day.
- Twitter: I have found folk on Twitter less conversational than on instagram but they do enjoy sharing more, they are looking for news and they are especially looking for something fabulous to share. I post every blog post I post almost immediately on Twitter and then again about twelve hours later, when the other half of the world is awake. I spend about ten minutes on Twitter twice a day and tweet and retweet things that I find interesting… stuff about books, traveling with kids and the great outdoors. While I tweet in batches, I never tweet our own content as part of a batch, I prefer that to stand alone and hopefully get noticed that way. Always, always thank folks for retweets, courtesy is king. Otherwise, I have found the best way to build our Twitter following has been to just join in. Twitter chats are a fantastic way to find likeminded Twitterers… find one you like and join it consistently.
- Pinterest: This is by far our biggest platform… and yet I don’t pin a lot of our own material, I pin almost exclusively other folks content and only things that I think our followers will enjoy. I have found a couple of pins spread over the day to be a good strategy for keeping folk checking to see what we are pinning. Three times a day I pin between ten and twenty pins and that’s it. I don’t linger on Pinterest and I don’t search for things there. I do keep tabs on what folk pin from our blog, and you can do that for your own blog at https://za.pinterest.com/source/put_your_own_blog_address_here/ When I see a post of ours start to get pinned, then I will pin it myself, because I know that it is a post that our followers want to see.
- Find out Where your Followers are: Previously in this series, I mentioned that you should take a look at your Google analytics, right now you need to take a look and see where your followers are visiting your site from. This is a clear indicator of where your followers like to hang out… join them there. If most folk visit your site from Facebook, then dedicate a good chunk of your social media time to Facebook. By far the most of our traffic come from Pinterest… this tells me that our followers are on Pinterest and that I need to be active on Pinterest in order to meet our readers where they are at.
- Sharing is Meant to be Caring not Scaring: While it is important to share your blog content across your social media platforms, make sure that you are not just there to promote yourself… that’s pushy, overwhelming for your followers and too many calls to action… especially those that require your followers to change platform, will turn them away. While social media is work, a lot of folk are there to relax, they don’t necessarily want to hop over to your blog when they are looking at your Instagram feed and following a link on Twitter might have them wandering off for days. There are very few followers that will follow you across all your platforms, just enjoy the followers you have where they are. There are followers and fans on each platform, but really (for myself) a handful of superfans that extend themselves across each platform, as well as consistently commenting on our blog, I make sure to respond to them and engage with them.
- Sharing is Really Caring: Social media is all about connecting with your followers and potential followers and so sharing things that interest you is a good way to define your online self and build up your personal brand. I know that social media is the place to share your own work… but, and here is a tip, it is definitely not exclusively your own work. There is a vast difference between promoting material that interests you and plain old self promotion. If you want to get noticed on social media, then make a point of share other folk’s good work… if nobody else notices you, then the folk you are promoting will notice and appreciate you, and so will their followers. It is a win/win tactic for social media growth.
- Have a Strategy for Sharing Your Own Content: For each and every blog post I write I have a routine for sharing. I always tweet it out, but I don’t tweet and tweet it… once for our side of the world and once more for the other, that is enough. I only mention our blog posts once or twice a week on Instagram. And then, as I mentioned above I pin posts of ours when I see them starting to gain traction on Pinterest. Could I self promote more, could I push harder… yes, but that isn’t my style, I am quite content to let the internet do most of the work and share my content on.
- Schedule your On/Off Times: To be honest, the internet doesn’t really care if you are engaging on it or not, there are plenty of other folk on it 24/7 for it not to matter if you take a little time out. It took me a while to get that… anybody who is trying to build their online presence is told to spend time and attention on it… I have found the opposite to be the case. It is as if taking a break gives me fresh eyes when I return, because of that I only really hop onto the internet before school, around lunchtime, when I have finished with school and then later again in the evening. I know you can use software to schedule your social media posts and promotions. I like to have conversations and interact… so generally if I post something I want to be around for a little while to engage the followers that interact.
- Make your Content Easy to Share: The trick about social media and sharing is not so much promoting yourself at every turn, but to create such fantastic content that other folk will share it for you. Make sure your posts are pinnable, make sure your feeds are available to your readers to follow, so that they know where to follow you. And for followers that only want to pop by from time to time, it is easy enough to create a newsletter and take your blog to their inbox.
And the Se7en + 1th strategy:
Hopefully you will find some top tips in this post. Honestly, I need to get onto this immediately… if you take a look at our blog design you wouldn’t even know we were on Instagram… and I have to confess that there isn’t even somewhere to sign up to our newsletter and follow along, because we don’t have one yet. This is definitely an action point for me… I am hoping by letting our readers know that I need to address this, that that would motivate me to just get moving already.
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