Social Media for Bloggers : How to Make it Work for You
Whether you are a new blogger or one with a little time under your belt, social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is one of the best ways to get your content seen by more people as well as find new members of your audience. It can also be one of the fastest ways to turn your audience off to your content or lose their attention.
One of the most important things to think of when it comes to social media for bloggers is a solid strategy. First, you must define who you are trying to talk to. Then, you need to post consistently to keep that audience interested ( but not too much or it becomes spammy). Finally, you need to turn that audience from social media to loyal readers by offering them something new and different or by providing a unique voice to a favorite topic.
Finding Your Audience
We will be covering the path to finding your audience in more detail soon ( complete with a super fun worksheet you don’t want to miss!) However, for the purposes of this post, we will be going over the basic of defining your unique group of readers.
Although there may be other blogs similar to yours it is important to decide the one or two things that make your blog different and finding the audience who are looking for that different perspective.
Perhaps you are a pet blogger, but you focus on porcupines. Maybe you are a car blogger who writes about Japanese makers only. Both these broad topics and small differences can help to pinpoint your audience and help find them.
Ask Yourself the Following Questions:
- What topic do I want to write about on my site?
Some bloggers do cover a variety of topics. Even this site is about homeschooling, mom life, and recipes. However, all of these topics fall under a broader topic of women’s lifestyle. A good way to help choose your topic is using a funnel or tree system. First, think of your broad topic. Next, define differences within this topic and pick one that you would like to focus on. Then, take time to think of any nuances within these differences that you would like to talk about. ( As an example, if you were a special needs blogger you could focus on Autism, ODD, or Cystic Fibrosis. Then you could choose to focus more on selecting girls with Autism, or coping mechanisms for children with ODD.)As a general rule, the more specific your topic is the easier it will be to target your audience. However, it is also important to not narrow things down so much that you feel stuck in something you will get tired of quickly.
- Who would be interested in this topic? Try to think of one individual who would be the PERFECT reader for your site. What gender are they? Do they have children? Are they married? How old are they? What about their income level and career? Try to come up with as much information as you can about this individual. Sometimes it can help to visit a competitor’s site and taking a look at their readers. Who is interested in their content? Are there any trends? Take note of these things and try to determine a segment of these readers that you can provide content to in a way that is more interesting or more relevant to them. ( No, I’m not saying directly steal traffic. However, looking at those already interested in like sites can help to give you an idea of those who may be interested in yours.)Read over forums that are within your broad topic. Look through Instagram users who are fans of similar sites. Take the time to get to know those in Facebook groups related to your niche. Quora can be another great resource to learn the type of questions people are asking within your chosen topic.
- How can I provide a different experience than those already talking about my topic? After you have decided on your topic and narrowed it down to something you are interested in focusing on it is important to decide the one or two things that will make your voice different from those already talking about it,.to stay on top of things, and then add your personal touch to them for your readers.
Related: The Ultimate Blog Planning Workbook
When and Where to Find Your Audience
Once you have defined your audience, or at least your preferred readers ( those you think will be most interested in your content) it is time to think about where to find them.
Naturally, if you are a craft site you wouldn’t want to promote your content to a bodybuilding community. However, it can get a lot more complicated than that.
Think about the readers you defined earlier. What social media sites would they be found on? Where are your competitor’s readers congregating online?
Working on every single social media site available can be daunting. Not only do you have to create unique content for each site, but you have to monitor analytics and other data for each. It can get confusing very quickly.
While some do choose to go with all of the top sites I feel that it is a far better strategy to choose one or two that you know your potential readers are using and focus on those. This could be Pinterest and Instagram or Reddit and Twitter. This will vary greatly depending on your audience demographics and only you will know the right answer when it comes to which sites to focus on.
Another tactic you can take is going to the site you are strongest on. Are you amazing at curating the content of others? Perhaps Pinterest would be best to work with. If you are a top-notch photographer then a visually strong site like Instagram may be the best for you.
There are tons of tutorials and gurus out there who will tell you one site is better than the others. This can be true to an extent. For example, Pinterest is a good option for driving traffic to mom blogs and Instagram can be very profitable for some lifestyle sites
However, just because it worked for them does not mean it will work for you. It all depends on your specific audience and their audience may be very different from yours. While Facebook may be a goldmine for one writer another could easily find that Twitter is the most active for them.
The main key is to not overwhelm yourself with what others are doing but rather take their key tips and strong advice to add to your own strategy and your own audience. Knowing your readers well is more important than any other growth and engagement tactics.
Your Posting Schedule: When and How Much to Engage
Regardless of what it is, choose a posting schedule and stick to it. This could vary depending on your audience size, availability, and personal preference.
Defining and maintaining a schedule is important for two reasons.
- It lets your readers know that they can depend on your content to be there. Readers may lose interest quickly if you are posting sporadically or if you forget to post for a while.
- It keeps your content in front of your readers. All of the algorithms on social media these days can make it difficult to keep your content visible to your readers. By using a regular posting schedule you guarantee that your content is there for your readers to interact with and in turn keep your visibility high. ( This is especially important if you are using Facebook.)
Another advantage of sticking to a strict schedule is that it keeps your readers from seeing too much of your content too often. In many social media sites, users can select to “see less of” or completely unfollow a certain account or page. This can effectively remove them from your audience completely.
When are Your Readers on Social Media?
An important part of creating a social media schedule is keeping a close eye on your analytics for each site. We will discuss analytics in more detail in a later post. However, for this post take a minute to find and look at the analytics for each social media site that you are using. Here you will find information on what day and time readers are interacting with your content the most.
It is always best to tailor your posting schedule to your personal audience and their social media habits. There are, however, certain times and days that are generally more active on each site.
Once you have decided the site or sites that you want to focus your social media strategy on you will want to decide what times you will be posting. Your posting schedule can be loose guides or a strict time every day. However, it is best to generally stick close to the same times each day.
You can come up with an individual posting schedule for each site or a combined social media posting schedule to help you keep everything together in one place if you are working on multiple sites.
If you have already been posting on social media for a while you can use your own data to decide what times you will be posting, or if you are new you can begin with those outlined here.
How Often Should You Be Posting on Social Media?
Each site has its own general guidelines for the number of posts per day that is acceptable to readers there. Depending on your audience size you can decrease or increase these numbers slightly, however going too far over can push readers away from your content and going too far under can keep your content invisible.
Several people have taken the time to look into just how many posts make up that magical number and honestly the findings can be all over the place. However, there is a generally acceptable range that lies somewhere in the middle of all of the expert opinions.
To Schedule or Not to Schedule
We will be talking about a variety of schedulers in detail in a later post. For now, it’s just important to know that there are a variety of them available that can help you stay on top of things. Some focus on one or two particular sites such as Later for Instagram or Tailwind for Pinterest. Others, like Edgar or Hootsuite, can help you to post across all of your social media accounts.
Many of these schedulers allow you to line up posts for days in advance with a free option or a paid one. In general, the paid options offer more accounts covered and more posting options.
So should you be using a scheduler?
The answer is yes and no. I know but stick with me here.
The important thing to think of here is algorithms. Not only can they be a little difficult to figure out if that type of thing isn’t really your cup of tea, but they are also constantly changing. It is never a bad idea to follow the blogs or news of top sites like Facebook, Pinterest, or even Google. You can also follow those who make it their job to follow these things for you to get a simplified version of any changes that are made.
Put simply, however, the algorithm is what tells a site a user indeed wants to see your content and then shows it to them. Due to the massive amount of information out there it would be next to impossible to show everyone everything. Thus, algorithms came about to help sort things out. Sometimes they do their jobs fantastically, other times not so much.
Some things can be done to help or hinder your chances of matching up to that algorithm and getting your content to potential readers. One of those things is the use of a scheduler. Some sites, such as Facebook, prefer that you use their own scheduler and keep everything on their site rather than using outside sources. Thus, content coming in from an outside scheduling service can get a lower score. Along the same token, scheduling too many posts rather than spontaneous posting can also lower your score.
Although social media for bloggers can be a difficult game at times it is a crucial part of what we do. I hope this article has helped clear up a few things for you as a new blogger. If you have any questions regarding social media or blogging be sure to leave me a comment!
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