Blogger U: Social Media 101.

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Here it is! Our first post in the Blogger U series, which is designed to give you the basics on a topic to help you improve as a blogger. First up: social media 101.

There’s a lot more to the blogging game than just writing and publishing posts– promoting your post is almost as important as the post itself.

Social media has become quite the task on its own. Entire careers are dedicated to running social media for companies, organizations, and brands. It can be a confusing thing to jump into! What to post? How often? What channel? It’s easy to get lost, especially given how quickly social media moves.

Let’s dig into some tips and tricks to help you navigate.

1.  Don’t try to do it all.

You can’t. It’s impossible. Unless you have someone helping you or you have a ton of spare time, it’s practically impossible to do it all. So pick two or three social media channels you really like and focus on those. Remember: you don’t have to be in every social media arena.

2.  Post different things on each channel.

You want your users to have a reason to follow all of your accounts. If you post the exact same content on Facebook and Twitter, why would someone follow both?

It’s hard to decide what to post where, so here are some thoughts based on my own personal social media use.

Facebook: I always post my latest blog post. Beyond that, I tend to use Facebook to post some inspirational or funny things I find on Pinterest, or articles I have read that are relevant to my readers. I also use it for reminders (“Don’t forget about the giveaway!”). Sometimes I will post about sales that are coming up (especially relevant around the holiday season)– things I don’t want to necessarily dedicate an entire blog post to, but I want to inform my readers about.

Twitter: I tweet out my most recent post a few times a day, but I also use Twitter as a place for my readers to get to know me. I generally tweet random things on my mind, what I am doing, what music I am listening to, etc. Twitter is a great place to show off your personality beyond just what you blog about.

Remember your hashtags; they can be beneficial. You can follow a hashtag as part of a Twitter event (like a chat, for instance), because the hashtag gathers all the tweets related to that event in a single stream. You can also use hashtags to get the attention of groups who monitor specific phrases. Do a little research to see what brands are using what hashtags (it might just be the brand’s name as a hashtag, or it might be a phrase created by the brand, such as Piperlime and #momentsofchic. (Another example: you can use hashtag #tbc on your post tweets, and we will see them and retweet them!)

Instagram: I like to post a picture from one of my outfit posts (usually one I have taken instead of a collage of products).  You can, of course, post your collage pictures. It’s all about personal preference and what your followers seem to like.

I like to use Instagram as a way to show some behind the scenes stuff– pictures of my adorable dogs, what I am cooking, a sneak peek at a project. Instagram is a good way to give followers a look at your everyday life. Be careful not to post too many pictures in a row; people tend to treat Instagram like a daily snapshot, not as a stream-of-conscious timeline (like Twitter, for example).

Sidenote: Starbucks cups and pretty floral arrangements are not necessary for good Instagram pictures. Be yourself and take pictures of what you love. I find hashtags to be important on Instagram as well.

Pinterest: I try to pin everything from a blog post onto my blog’s Pinterest board, but I don’t always get to (it is all about time management and priorities, people). Although this can seem like the easiest thing of them all, you would be surprised how quickly it can slip your mind. For me, Pinterest isn’t the most important social media platform. This would be different if I were a food or DIY blogger, however- those blogs translate to Pinterest perfectly because people love to scout new recipes + DIY projects.

Pinners on Pinterest seem to like pictures where the blogger/model’s face isn’t pictured, so detail shots of an outfit or a close-up where you face is cropped out of the picture is likely to get more pins than a full body shot. Make sure you are paying attention to the meta info of your images (the description, alt text, etc.) because that’s the info Pinterest will use to populate the description of the pin.

Of course there are a million other social media channels –  Google+, You Tube, Tumblr… but I would consider these four to be the major players.

3. Use social media as a way to connect.

Social media is a great way to connect with readers and other bloggers. Post questions to get a conversation going, and participate in conversations when you see other bloggers do the same. Ask what your followers might like to see on the blog. Monitor your responses/mentions, and don’t let questions go unanswered for long.

4. Support your fellow bloggers.

We are all about support here at TBC. Follow your fellow bloggers on their social media accounts. Like their Facebook and Instagram posts. Pin outfits, recipes, and DIY projects that you want to take a crack at. Retweet posts you really like. (You never know who might do the same for  you, and you are exposing your readers to content they might enjoy, which enhances your feed as well as giving your fellow blogger a signal boost.) Engagement and support have to start somewhere, so set an example.

5. Try to be consistent.

You have a busy schedule that doesn’t completely revolve around your blog, and it can be easy to let things slip. But consistency is key in the blogging world, and this means with social media, also. You can’t tweet 20 times in a row on a Tuesday and then disappear for two weeks. Your followers won’t know what to expect from you if you do this, so try and maintain a fairly consistent presence.

Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the world of social media a little better!

___

Nikki blogs at The Fashionable Wife and is a co-founder of The Blogger Collective.

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