Vicky and I are going to do a bit of a mini-series on the purpose of having social media accounts for your blog! This post will introduce the series and discover the purpose of each account and how to choose which are best for your blog to start with. The other posts in the series will cover in more detail Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Recently I hosted a Twitter Chat (#BlogBuddyChat) and there was one question really got me thinking about how bloggers use social media. One of the best posts I think I’ve ever written was the 4 Stages of Blogging. What was different about this post for me, was that it was descriptive writing. So I’m going to do that again today, doing my best to explain the purpose of each social media account, and why you should or should not have each account.
How to decide which accounts to start with?
As a beginner, I would recommend starting with just a Twitter and Pinterest account. As you start to get content written, and build up your blog’s brand I would consider then adding either Facebook or Instagram. Once you decide which three social media accounts for your blog you want to focus all of your marketing efforts, you can really start to claim your brand and build your reputation. If you hope to successfully monetize your blog, then you must build an audience that trusts you, recognizes you, and believes in your marketing.
Spreading yourself too thin in having too many blog accounts (especially if you don’t know how to use them) can seriously hurt your blog’s marketing efforts and decrease your traffic potential. Let alone the danger of never finding your natural readers, your blog’s audience! If you find it easy to gain a following on Twitter and Facebook. But you are struggling to get Instagram going, then maybe you stop trying to force Instagram and focus on the Facebook audience. You’re better off excelling in two accounts then doing badly on all of them. (I’m seriously guilty of this guys!)
So take my advice: Focus on the accounts where your most naturally interested readers are trying to connect with you! Invest time and effort into marketing strategies that are best targeted to your blog’s content. Even if it means you choose an account you thought you wouldn’t be interested in pursuing because you are unfamiliar with it right now. Try it out personally, and see how everyone hangs out and uses the account.
As a beginner, I would recommend starting with just a Twitter and Pinterest account.
Are you going to schedule your posts or are you going to manually engage with your audience every day?
I think this really depends on a few factors and let’s just start by saying everyone is different.
There are two ways you can generally post updates to your social media, and that is to schedule or not to schedule. There are free to tools such as Buffer that will allow you to schedule posts in advance, but you can also just use Facebook to schedule Facebook posts in advance. And for Twitter, you can use Tweetdeck (available on the desktop only, a tool by Twitter!). This can save you a lot of time if you have an editorial calendar, and you know when your posts are going to be published. Instead of trying to come up with posts every, you simply spend time each week scheduling all of your posts for the week (or the month).
So that just leaves Instagram and Pinterest, in which you can schedule with tools such as Tailwind or Buffer, or you can just manually update daily or weekly. Personally, I do a mix of both but it’s wise to think about this in advance so that you know how you are going to use the account. If you plan to schedule posts, then you must also plan your blog’s Editorial Calendar in advance. Which means getting ahead in your blog’s content and committing to a weekly post schedule.
Another thing to think about when it comes to deciding to consistently post manually, on a regular basis… I struggle to manual post and I’ll be honest, it’s because the platform itself is distracting. When I open the account, I am enticed to look at the new posts and scroll through the activity stream! Which definitely delays my progress in my manual posting efforts. I try to manual post when I’m inspired and feel I have something worthwhile – in the moment – to share. Otherwise, I personally tend to plan my content a week or two in advance whenever I can and let my posts go out in its weekly schedule.
How do you know where your readers will find you?
Hopefully, you are a user yourself of social media accounts like Facebook or Pinterest so that you can understand the perspective of how it’s used by people. If you know which platforms are used for searching and finding information then you know you should practice “being found” by the readers there. If the account is mostly reliant on photos and video (Pinterest & Instagram), versus engaging personal stories (Facebook), that makes a difference in how you will use the account.
If you know which platforms are used for searching and finding information then you know you should practice “being found” by the readers there.
You should visit and find the bloggers that are similar to you. This is how you can find out if the audience is there or not! The research comes in when you go looking for the already existing communities that are out there, related to what your blog is about and finding out what other people are interested in: reading, commenting on, liking, or retweeting, or favoriting, or pinning.
This depends heavily on your blog niche as well, because DIY crafters are going to Pinterest for their answers. Where lifestyle followers are looking for vlogs on Youtube and posts to quickly skim for on Twitter. You have to go find out for yourself where your readers are defaulting to, to search for the kind of content you are creating for them. And then post it up right there, where it’s easy for them to find on YOUR BLOG.
Note also that it is much easier to reach other bloggers on Twitter, but is harder to find natural readers. Where Facebook can be a great way to involve your personal friends and family, but harder to befriend bloggers personally and many (including myself) do not add other bloggers as friends on Facebook unless I know you personally.
How many social media accounts for your blog can you manage at once?
(And will you still have time for your personal accounts too?)
Naturally, you spend some time on your own accounts for your own personal reasons (daily?), right. So if you have accounts that are in line with those, then you can easily add a few additional minutes to post, check, and rely on those accounts. My biggest tip for newbies is going to be to check your notifications often and get to know the terminology that the account uses such as Likes versus Favorites and Groups versus Communities, posts versus stories versus tweets, sharing versus retweeting. There are many different technical terms for each platform, that do very similar things to other accounts you might be more familiar with.
But when you have to sit down, go somewhere else (work mode) and blog because you’re not used to the account or how it works yet. When you have a lot to learn still. Analyzing how much time you have to spend on each account will help you decide:
Do you really have time for all those social media accounts for your blog?
Straight up: No. You don’t. Not if you want your social media strategy to work. (Or you build a team because let’s be honest. You are only one person!)
So pick three, no more and no less and master them. Spend all the time you could be creating yet another account, and instead learn more about the accounts you already have and get better and better. Improving your skills when posting, sharing, commenting, referencing, giving referrals, and become part of the community there. Find those readers and get those likes and follows.
Once you have mastered your accounts, and have a significant following. You’ve established good habits of manual posting, scheduling, AND using the account then think about adding on more to increase your brand, your audience, and your reputation as a consistent, valuable blogger.
So pick three, no more and no less and master them.
Should you go claim your username/handle even if you don’t plan to use the account for marketing yet?
I would absolutely say yes! I highly suggest that you research each platform you think you might use and make sure to claim THE SAME USER NAME ON ALL OF THEM! Try very hard to be clever in your username to make it unique, easy to remember, on brand, and hopefully does not include any numbers or symbols that do not match your domain.
Example: My Domain LovingLifeWithLee.com has the username @luvlifewlee on all of my accounts!
I found that this was too long of a name for 2 out of 4 of these accounts, no surprise. Love is an extremely common word, and so is the name Lee. I figured w is pretty common to shorten ‘with’ so I went with @luvlifewlee on all of my social media accounts for my blog. After checking for this username before signing up on all of the accounts, I claimed this username only a few days after I registered my blog’s domain URL. This ensured that even though I wasn’t going to use them right away, that when I was ready all I had to do was sign in, and start updating my bio and marketing on the platform. Without promoting anything on the page, the account sits inactive or even unpublished until you return.
” I claimed this username only a few days after I registered my blog’s domain URL.” – Lee Bowden
If you have different usernames on some of my blog accounts, should you go change them?
If you can, yes! Most of these accounts allow you to change your username or domain at least once a week, if not whenever you want. The trouble is making sure areas that link to your social accounts are also updated with the new URL (such as, the follow icons on your blog). This is NOT a hard change to make as a blogger, especially to build up your brand further. Building your brand with your social media accounts for your blog is helpful to your audience so that they can better recognize, relate and appreciate your accounts and content. They will applaud you for becoming easier for them to remember and follow.
Just remember to do your research for all of your accounts all at one time so you don’t end up changing your username more than once, and it’s best to do for your readers all at once so that they can follow along. (This is also a good time to make sure your logo and profile picture is the SAME for each account so that YOU are easily recognizable!)
If you don’t take pictures for your blog or have any graphic making knowledge, should you have a Pinterest or Instagram?
Honestly, if you don’t take personal photos then I would count Instagram out of your accounts for now. If you think you might try one day, go ahead and claim your username but I wouldn’t focus on this account if you don’t plan to take a lot of your own photos! The only alternative to using your own photos is using stock photos and let’s be honest that this becomes very time consuming to make graphics with free tools, even using Canva, when you have no way to personalize the images regularly. You are honestly better off making graphics for Pinterest marketing!
Pinterest is definitely still worth your time, even if you don’t take your own photos for your blog’s social media accounts! The general rule of Pinterest pinning is 80/20, 80 percent other peoples pins, and 20% your own. What this means is even if you only create one graphic per post to share as a new pin on Pinterest, you can still do a great deal of marketing for your blog by building an account of high quality, educational boards related to your blog’s niche without writing content or creating graphics!
The lifespan of your one pin is much longer than a single post you make on Facebook or Twitter. Additionally, you can always make new pins for old posts, and recycle the content back onto Pinterest and again, that pin has a long life span. Your graphics efforts will not be wasted! Additionally, there is tons of great resources, templates, and articles on how to make good pins and it’s fairly simple even for graphics beginners using tools such as Canva!
Without knowing you or your blog, what accounts do you recommend all bloggers start with?
I strongly believe that every blog should have a Twitter and Pinterest account! Twitter because it’s easy to set up, you can’t mess up too bad with only 260 characters a post. And the blogging community here is fantastic! Bloggers are wildly easy to find and follow and are extremely helpful in adjusting to Twitter and blogging, there are tons of ways to grow very quickly on Twitter even with very little blog content when you’re just getting started!
Pinterest is going to be the best marketing tool for your blog in the long run so if you can learn and grow your Pinterest account and following, then your blog content will have a nice, long-lasting foundation and bring you tons of traffic consistently. Additionally, it’s the easiest platform to learn about because you can just use Pinterest to learn about Pinterest. As well as any other part of blogging, Pinterest is a go-to educational source for bloggers.
What’s the platform with the least amount of drama?
Pinterest. It’s safe to say that in all of my many years on Pinterest I have never seen any drama, negative comments or trolls. Additionally, I see a lot of drama on Facebook but if I’m totally honest Facebook users are the most engaged. With the ability to leave long, unfiltered comments sure you may see some trolls and rude comments and drama. But you also get to see how people really feel about things. And this level of insecurity, whereas a blogger, you can get inspired about what people are asking, concerned about, want to know more about, and are ignorant of.
For the most part, I have seen very little drama on Twitter or Instagram as these platforms have an extremely short post lifespan, so even if there is some drama it’s really easy to lose it for good by continuing to scroll.
Can I have a blog without using social media to market the content I write?
Sure, you’re just going to have an extremely hard time getting anyone to see your blog. Relying solely on Organic Search or word of mouth will never bring you the kind of traffic that social media account referrals bring. You’ll read more about why I think every blogger should have a Twitter and Pinterest in this series, so I encourage you to start these right away. There are tons you can learn about on Pinterest! A world of free education can be found here for bloggers everywhere!
More about whether or not you should consider a Facebook Page in tomorrow’s post!
THE ULTIMATE QUESTION
Ultimately, if you have a blog your probably going to enter the world of social media marketing. For the best possible outcome here, I encourage you to think about WHY you are sharing your blog content. Who that audience is, should sway where you put your effort into reaching out! Everyone says, “you have to have this account” but honestly if your audience isn’t there then don’t waste your time! Narrow your interests to find the people who will BENEFIT from reading and finding your content.
Are you ready to share your blog content with the world?
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