Social media is here to stay, and cannot be ignored as a way to network. By connecting you with millions of users around the world, it is the perfect marketing tool – although many of us are still working out how to get the most out of it.
For blogging, it is one of the best tools you can use to increase your readership. Share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll immediately notice the increase in visitors – but that’s only the first step to using social media to boost your blog. By using social media to its full potential, you can transform your small, seldom-visited site into a buzzing blog with an avid community of readers.
Which types of Social Media are best suited to you?
There are many social networks, to all of which you can sign up, although in most cases certain ones will be better suited to the theme of your blog – the ones where you should put the bulk of your focus.
No blog can do harm from having a Facebook and Twitter page. These are the biggest social networks, appealing to almost every audience. You can create a Facebook and a Twitter page separate from your personal pages – and invite all your friends and family to like and follow.
Other social networks may be better suited to specific kinds of blogs. If you own a cookery blog, Instagram could be a great way to share pictures of your foodie creations, although not so suitable if you own a business advice blog (for this kind of blog, a site like LinkedIn would be more appropriate for promotion).
Automate Content Sharing
Once you have social media pages, the best practice is to automate your blog posts so that as soon as you publish them, they automatically share on social media (easier than having to manually post them each time). There are many social media automation programs that can do this, although WordPress users can use its built-in automation tool.
Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
Next, you should add social media sharing buttons to your blog, so that people who stumble across your posts can become regular followers. You can get sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. These require you to embed a code into your blog – there are sites that tell how to do this if you are unsure. Make sure that the share button is somewhere clear where readers can see it, such as the top of your blog’s homepage.
Build up Likes and Follows
As already discussed, you should invite your friends and family to like and follow your social media pages. The more likes and follows you have, the more official your blog will appear. If you have a music blog that reviews bands, or a make-up blog that reviews cosmetics, contact the artists and brands that you positively review and get them to like and share. You can also join community groups and forums to gain followers.
On top of this, there is always the option of paying for likes and followers. I have never done this personally, but there are sites that will help you get automatic Instagram views, just as you can pay for LinkedIn endorsements.
Hashtags were made popular on Twitter, but have recently moved onto Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter and Instagram, you can use them to relate your posts to a theme so that others searching that theme will find your posts. It’s a great way of connecting to trends such as #catsofinstagram or #photooftheday or #music, although in each case your hashtag should relate to the post and not merely be annoying spam.
You can also use hashtags to create your own trending topics and to categorize posts. A music blog might create a #newmusicfriday hashtag to make people aware that it blogs about new music every Friday. If your blog covers multiple themes, you could separate each post with an easily identifiable label in the form of a hashtag, such as #travel or #tech. Note that tweets with hashtags ordinarily earn twice as many likes as those without, although more than two hashtags can have the opposite effect (lesson to self)!
You can run an ad on Facebook for your page or for an individual post. The promotional ad will appear on timelines around the world, alerting other Facebook accounts to your blog. Ads can also be run on other social media sites. You will often be asked about the demographic in which you wish to target your ad, so make sure that it is one that is likely to engage with the content of your blog.
Network with other Blog Owners
The best bloggers read other people’s blogs. Find a blog that you like and become a familiar reader by following their social media pages and regularly liking and sharing. You can also use social media to directly message other blog owners and offer the opportunity of cross-promotion. You could write guest blogs on one another’s blogs, share each other’s social media pages or endorse each other on LinkedIn. With many blog owners already doing it, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
Don’t just post new content – give new readers a chance to see your old content too, by reposting it on social media. You can use automation tools to do this or manually choose and repost yourself at your leisure. Sometimes an old post may link in with a current trend. For example, a political or social issue that you blogged about might suddenly link in with current news events, or a product you reviewed may have suddenly found mass attention somewhere. Seasonal posts related to Christmas, Valentine’s day or Halloween can be reposted year-in-year-out, as they will always be relevant. Obviously, the more content you have, the more you have to repost.
Bloggers: do you have any other tips and tricks for boosting your blog?