All right, my friends. Here it is: The follow-up post to our last discussion on How to Make Your Blog a Business.
Ironically, I spent most of the past weekend in Hilton Head — and offline. I’m sure you can relate to this, but when you feel like you’re living a lifestyle that’s constantly connected, you crave time away from social media.
Over time, I’ve really grown to have a love/hate relationship with it. Quite frankly, I hate how social has transformed (/is often treated as) a soapbox and platform solely for self-promotion.
Before we dive into part two, I’d encourage you to go back to the original post and read the comments. If you feel overwhelmed about blogging and balance, you are not alone!
While I’m going to go into greater detail in this post, my advice for managing and growing your social media presence can be summed up in two very simple sentences:
- Share updates that are purposeful, consistent and authentic.
- Don’t just post for the sake of broadcasting.
Seriously, don’t be that person. Would you walk into a party of 100 people and announce, “Hey everyone! New post! NEW BLOG POST! CHECK OUT THESE PHOTOS OF ME ON MY AWESOME BLOG!”
I really hope not. (And if so, you’re not invited to my party.)
Sure, there’s a promotional aspect. I utilize it too. But let’s remember what each platform is rooted in: Being social. Sharing. Creating conversation. Being a freakin’ human being.
Now, I am not an expert. I have, however, spent many years working in strategy-driven agency environments, so I have lots of formal digital experience underneath my belt. My advice is just a suggestion — and what’s worked for me; at the end of the day, it’s your brand (and voice). You do you.
First things first, a question that some of you have been asking:
Was your handle change because of SoulCycle? – Jess, 26 and Not Counting
Yes, it was. (I recently changed my handles from @coralsncogancs to my name, @halliekwilson.) Reason being, I now cast a wider net on social media. It’s no longer just corals + cognacs readers who might follow me; it’s SoulCycle riders, too. When it comes to social media, you’ve got to consider who you’re reaching and why.
Without further adieu:
… ON MASTERING SOCIAL MEDIA
How do you gain attention to and grow your social media platforms? – Kierra, Lavishingg
By focusing on quality, consistency and authenticity. Seriously. Engage with other people — and don’t try to play the 100 hashtag game on Instagram, just focus on your content.
Do you have a strategy for each social media outlet, or do you just post when you’re inspired to? Any tips? – Anita, Always Anita
Yes. Oh yes. Get to know each of your social media audiences — because, guess what? They’re different on every platform.
I know, it’s annoying. But my (and your) Facebook audience is different from Instagram and Twitter audiences. Users on each want different things (shorter phrases, outfit snapshots, direct links, etc.) and are online during different times of the day. If you haven’t already, implement post-testing strategies to see what works for you.
How do you grow your following without becoming anti-social (a.k.a. the girl glued to her phone)? – Natalie, CincinNatalie
This is a big part of being able to freelance — as well as achieving work/life(/blog) balance. You want to appear like you’re always accessible and online, even if you’re not. For that reason, scheduling tools are the best invention ever. EVER! Which brings us to…
What are your favorite tools to schedule social posts & how often do you do it? – Jess, 26 and Not Counting
I use Tweetdeck and Ahalogy to schedule Twitter and Pinterest content, accordingly. (Another one worth looking into is CoSchedule.) I only schedule Facebook.com to schedule Facebook posts, and I do this sparingly. Using a third-party scheduler will tank your EdgeRank (the number of people who see your Facebook content).
Scheduling blog content is something that I do when I’m writing a post. I try to be mindful about ensuring I have enough content circulating every day, but there are some days where that doesn’t happen or when I stay completely off social media. That’s okay, too. Quite honestly, people probably won’t notice a brief absence.
You do an amazing job of re-posting older content in fresh ways — how do you stay organized? Especially with photos? – Rose, Blonde in this City
Thanks. Everything gets scheduled all at once — creating a blog post isn’t done when I hit “publish.” I create unique social assets for each platform by cropping my photos. Then, I write (edit and re-write) social copy and schedule them accordingly: later that week, month and yes, even that year.
Develop a system that works for you to ensure you aren’t being too repetitive. I also hashtag #cncarchives so people can easily browse my archives on Twitter.
What do you think is the most powerful social media platform for blog promotion? – Joyce, rejoyce today
It depends. What are your objectives? If it’s blog traffic, you probably want to invest most of your time in Twitter and Pinterest. You have to trial and error which works best for you. Instagram has become a micro-blog in-and-of itself, so you can treat it as such.
How do you grow your Instagram account? I’ve been hovering around the same number for FAR too long! – PJ, A Girl Named PJ
We all go through this. I actually wrote a dedicated post on how to take better Instagram photos, so check that out. Instagram has become a highly stylized version of our lives, which is fine, but don’t be afraid to humanize the experience. Give people something they can aspire toward, feel something about or relate to. Don’t just share updates for the sake of broadcasting.
What if you feel you’ve peaked on social? How do you keep growth consistent and avoid the plateau? – Amber, Ember & March
You’ve never peaked — and plateaus are totally normal. Find new brands, bloggers, audiences and people to interact with — and do it regularly. Or shift your focus to a different platform for awhile, sometimes we just need a mini creative sabbatical.
… ON “MEASURING UP”
I would love to know a bit about what your numbers are like – page views, etc. At what level of did brands find you valuable? – Lindsey, Building a Vision
While I’m not comfortable sharing my pageviews (gotta draw the line somewhere, right?), I will say this: Once you can demonstrate that you’re an authority in your field, you have leverage. Do you influence people? Prove it. Screenshot tweets and comments that showcase purchasing behavior or specific feedback. Build a case to market yourself.
Yes! I’ve always wondered how “good” is good enough for brands, what types of numbers and information are they looking for? – Alyson, Crushing on Clothes
Numbers are great, but if you’re able to show a brand why you’re valuable to them, they will want to work with you. This all comes down to how well you can package yourself (in an honest manner).
In this day-in-age, the best partnerships are as much about organic integration and unique content creation as they are about sales.
… On blogging basics.
What are the best ways to grow a blog? – Candace, Lovely Little Rants
Quality, consistency and authenticity.
What were some of your go-to sites or books you used to get started, or what do you still use now (HTML coding help, SEO information, blogging basics, etc.) – Gretchen, Gretchen Runs
Two of my friends started a great website for bloggers: The B Bar (and lots of their resources are 20% off through the end of the month). I’ve also written a few posts about this:
- Why I Left My Job
- How to Make Your Blog a Business
- Five Tips to Take Better Instagram Photos
- Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder
I’d love to know how to get your voice heard with all of the “noise” because there are SO many blogs out there. – Alyssa
I know my voice and I stick to it. Stay true to your brand and give your audience the content they want and they’ll give it legs by sharing it, pinning it, etc. (And for what it’s worthy, my mantra: When the tide rises, we all float. There is plenty of success to go around!)
I’ve recently started my lifestyle blog and I wanted to ask you about advice on how to get things going in the beginning when you have so few readers and followers.
It sounds silly, but you have to “be” what it is you’re seeking. For example: Looking for bloggers that are experiencing the same things you are? Click here. Re-read this post, click on someone’s link in the comments and leave them a comment. Tweet them. Scroll through their Instagram and become friends with them! That’s how I have made all of my blogger BFFs. Truth!
Last but not least, I want to summarize one piece of advice for you guys:
Truthfully, I’d encourage you not to focus on follower acquisition. Seriously. DON’T DO IT!
Pour your whole heart into producing amazing, high-quality content. Make your images pin-able (clear, focused and interesting) and your content shareable.
If your work (and blog posts) are engaging, informative and pretty to look at, your readers will do the leg-work for you and share the love. (And with that, I have to say — thank you guys so much for your comments, e-mails and the like. I may suck at responding on the occasion, but that’s part of my own work/life balance struggles. I see and appreciate every single one of them!)
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. And, oh, is it weird if I ask you to share this post? Wink.