I took a webinar about blogging the other night. I watch these every once and awhile in hopes to learn something new and give myself a break from designing. It was interesting how many new bloggers that were signed on were at the stage of starting their own blog. It made me wonder how many of you creative mamas were ready to jump on board the blogging fun and caught our first blogging post about getting started. If you did catch it, how many of you actually started? I hope all of you.
One of the discussions in the webinar was about how many people want to start a blog, but never do so. The best time to do it is today. It’s not going to get any easier and your audience is waiting – promise.
Since you have now started your blog (and remembered to establish it on a self-hosted service such as Blue Host), published a few posts and are working on a few more, it’s time to discuss ways to build an audience with social media. Although there are hundreds of ways to build an audience, using social media is the easiest to start with and see results quickly. Today, I’m going to review the primary social media accounts and how they can be used. Although there are many platforms out there, these are my top posts that I find the easiest to use.
Facebook – Facebook is a huge social media opportunity and a great place to start if you already have a personal account. You can build a large audience pretty quickly and share out your blog posts, which helps drive traffic to your blog. The issue with Facebook is that although you can build an audience, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to reach all (or even a large percentage) of them. Facebook likes to hide it’s audience from businesses trying to make you pay for advertising to reach them. Just beware.
To start on Facebook, you will need to create a business page and verify your website. Once it is set-up, you can use Canva to create a Facebook cover photo (check out the free options… they’re great!).
To get started building your audience, I recommend sending out invitations to all of your personal Facebook friends. Facebook might also offer you some free advertising too. I recommend using this tool (I mean it’s free, why not?) for a little bit. It will help you pick up some likes from your focused audience. I do not recommend continuing with paid Facebook advertising, though. Facebook changes the rules too often and you could be investing a lot of money in an audience that might not be there tomorrow.
When creating content for your Facebook page, consider it the face of your blog. It’s the place readers would enter if you were a magazine, book or even a store front (which you might also be eventually). Create posts featuring your latest work, other bloggers’ work that your audience might also be interested in and ask related questions. Over time, Facebook becomes a wonderful place to test out new projects, share products or even post affiliate links that will make you money when your followers buy.
Twitter – I used to use Twitter a lot, but will admit that I haven’t been on there very often lately. I found it difficult to drive traffic to our website with Twitter and haven’t been very patient since. The other bloggers that I know that are on Twitter – LOVE IT – so I’m not saying to this isn’t the platform for you. Twitter is the place to share thoughts (under 140 words) and build relationships with others. One of my favorite bloggers – Studio DIY – built most of her relationships with other bloggers through Twitter. Those relationships will help your blog grow, which is a plus for being on Twitter.
When creating tweets, remember to keep them short. Share out your own content, retweet the people you are following’s content or just share tidbits from your day. Your followers will want to know what you’re making or funny things that happened. It will help build your brand and personality online.
Instagram – Oh, the pretty picture place. If your blog features a lot of beautiful images – crafts, parties, diys, weddings, photography, food – I recommend focusing your efforts on Instagram. Not only is it nice to look at, but it’s a great platform for building an audience. One of the difficulties about Instagram is that it is hard to measure the number of clicks to your blog that you are receiving. Another issue is that displaying a link can be complicated. I recommend putting links in your profile page or adding them to the comments. You can also create an Instagram Favorites page on your website where you can send your Instagram audience to view your post. Whenever you promote a post on Instagram, you can add it to this page.
Instagram is the perfect medium for any one who likes to share images. I do not recommend this social media platform if you don’t like to take good pictures or don’t want to try. It’s important to create a feed that has a similar look and feel to your blog. For example, if your blog is all about loud colors and fun, then your Instagram feed should be similar.
Pinterest – One of my favorite places to hang out. I can’t get enough of the creative ideas I find on Pinterest and neither will your audience. It’s such a fantastic social media platform to be involved in. To get started, you will want to establish a business page for your blog. Add your profile photo (should be the same on your blog and every social media platform you choose to use) and your blog’s name.
After you have set up your page, it is time to create your first boards. Most profiles have hundreds of boards, but you can start with 10 to 15. Each board needs about 10 pins to make them interesting. I will admit that my most popular boards have hundreds of pins, but this is just to get you started. Create boards around topics that you write about on your blog or you think are interesting to your audience. For example, Katarina’s Paperie has boards about different party themes that are featured in our shop, but we also have boards for kids crafts, recipes and fashion. These are other topics that we focus on and that our audience enjoys.
The one must have board (and it should be the first one in your list) is the best of your blog list. This is a compilation of your favorite blog posts. You will want to post to this board often and soon it will become one of your most popular.
So, that’s a detailed description of the top four social media platforms. There are many other social media networks that you might want to consider depending on your blog. Some include SnapChat (for live video), You Tube (for recorded videos), Stumbleupon, Google+, Flickr, Linked In and Reddit. You can check out the popularity of the different social media sites here.
One cautionary thought about social media. Although social media can be fun and it’s a great way to start building an audience, I do want to warn you about spending too much time on the different networks and spreading yourself too thin. When I started Katarina’s Paperie, I tried to be on every network all the time. My social media marketing strategy was impossible for a team to complete, let alone just one person who had so many different responsibilities. It wasn’t until I started focusing on product development that our social media audience started to grow.
My recommendation is to choose one (maybe two) social media networks and build on them first. Get to know them really well, spend time with your audience by sharing other people’s work (with permission, of course), commenting on posts and responding to conversations. Begin to understand how the network works by taking classes (I highly recommend Skill Share – I’ve been learning so many social media marketing skills since I joined a few months ago) or reading social media marketing books (Abby Lawson discusses a LOT about social media in her e-book Building the Framework).
When you focus your efforts on one to two platforms, your audience will start to understand where you are active and your blog will grow. You also will feel less burnt out and able to spend more time on developing amazing content.
So, back to the fact that you are already extremely busy and now you’ve started to blog. How do you keep up with even one social media platform successfully given with everything else you are responsible for? Scheduling. If you want to concentrate on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then I recommend signing up for Hootsuite. This free platform let’s you schedule posts to these three networks. That way you can prepare the posts in advance and they will publish for you.
If you want to focus on building your Pinterest following, you can use a pin scheduling tool such as Tailwind. I can’t say enough about this important social media application. It is easy to use, provides important analytics and is key to building your Pinterest following. You can schedule pins from your own site or that you find on other websites. They also suggest pins to add to your boards to take the time out of finding them yourself. Tailwind has changed how I use Pinterest and has been AMAZING.
Although building social media can be a lot of work, it is worth the time investment. You will find an audience that enjoys and wants to follow your work, as well as get to know others through your communication.
If you still haven’t started your own blog and would like some tips on doing so, check out our How to Start a Blog for Creative Mamas. It’s full of ideas and tricks to help creative mommies start on sharing their amazing work online.
Tagging: blogging tips, how to blog, social media, blogging, social media for bloggers, first time blogger, how to start on social media, building an audience, building a social media audience, social media audience, blogger, first blog, new to blogging, mom blog, mom social media