Social Media plays a huge part in the Blogosphere – love it or hate it, we need it for various reasons.
We use it to drive traffic to our blog, particularly if like me, you’re Self-hosted. We use it to interact with other bloggers to build engagement and also to connect with brands.
It can seem slow at times to grow your following but growing it organically is best, as opposed ‘buying’ disinterested followers. You will sometimes see a user with thousands of followers but very little if any engagement on their tweets. If you’re wanting to work with brands then this won’t do. If you want plenty of interaction then you have to put the time in and engage with others, jump into conversations, like, retweet and comment. This goes for both Twitter and Instagram and is something I do more of these days. When I first started out I felt self-conscious adding a comment to a conversation string but now I join in lots and my own engagement has really increased which is great. In turn, I also have more of those elusive PR emails we all love to see drop into our inbox. Of course, I absolutely love blogging so it’s not all about the freebies but, after all, we beauty and makeup junkies love to receive exciting products to test and review don’t we! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some higher-end brands more recently along with drugstore brands too.
Again, here we want genuine followers who are keen to see what we’re up to, to actually take an interest in our tweets and blog posts, to like, retweet or comment. I take time out each day just to do a bit of networking on the social media platforms I use to interact with other bloggers and brands. Some will respond, others don’t and that’s just life. When it comes to “unfollowers” I use the Follower apps to keep an eye on what’s what.
I think that’s pretty standard these days. I’m not better than anyone else and so I like to keep my follow-following ratio quite balanced especially as I am not a ‘big blogger’. Some have 65k followers but hang on, they are following a few hundred or so. Sorry, I won’t be boosting your follow count…They’ll generally unfollow you soon after if you do. If your ratio is wildly off balance then I certainly won’t be following you back.
Don’t get hung up on this though, make use of the features on the follower app and have a good twitter cull every now and then, get rid of those who persistently don’t engage with you. Particularly if you’ve been retweeting their posts, liking, commenting or whatever. There are millions of other bloggers around who will engage with you so just change it up! Search hashtags for common ground. Build your relationships with other bloggers by being supportive, not competitive. I know I always say it but there is room for all of us in the blogosphere. Ps. Don’t forget to retweet your tweet every hour or so all day! Otherwise, use an app such as Buffer to schedule your tweets for you.
I try to join in with twitter chats but honestly, the evenings in my home are family times and so unless the chat is a subject I’m particularly interested in I don’t always take part. However, they are a fab way of building your following and getting your name out there. Once the chat finishes there is usually an Instagram follow string so there’s a chance to add your links and go follow each other. You can expect to gain a few followers from joining in with a chat although it can depend on whether there is anyone new chatting otherwise you find regulars who you’re already following. My favourite is Grlpowrchat chats are on Tuesdays at 9 pm, Thursdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 9 pm. Don’t be shy, go say hi!
Just a note to say that if you tag for example #GRLPOWR to your latest blog post they aren’t likely to retweet your tweet unless you join in with their chats occasionally, that’s just how it works! There are however groups that don’t hold chats and will retweet if you tag them in your post. I use femalebloggerRT and I find they always retweet.
I use ‘Pinterest for business’ and I absolutely love it. I could lose hours pinning away! Pinterest is a powerful platform for us bloggers, has around 50 million active users as of 2016 and is a great way of driving new readers to your blog. It’s where I have the highest follow count. I like to pin several times a day as well as comment on, re-pin, and save. I also contribute to group boards, this means if you’re invited to join a group board and it’s relevant to your boards or blog go ahead and accept the invite. This way you can pin your blog posts to it or just add pins to it (relevant only of course) This, in turn, will give you so much more exposure as these group boards have SO many pinners. I got into Pinterest whilst planning my wedding and haven’t stopped since!
Pinterest hover button
Also, make sure you have the Pinterest hover button installed on your site so that readers can easily pin your posts to their boards. Likewise, you can pin your own posts to your blog board. This is the easiest way of doing it, it saves fiddling about pasting links etc. Always then go to the pin, write a good description to entice the reader to click through to your blog. If You convert to a business account, it’s free and means you can access Pinterest analytics and other cool extras! If you’re not using Pinterest, you’re missing out… Sign up and get pinning. It’s quite addictive, plus it can work wonders for your blog!
NB. If you do decide to convert to Pinterest for business (if you haven’t already done so) you will have to verify your blog site first. You will be shown some code which you will need to copy and paste to your blog’s header. Don’t be alarmed, there’s an easy way of doing this, just get yourself a nifty plugin which does the work for you! Go to > Plugins (from your dashboard) >Add a plugin, type “WP insert code” into the search box >Install the plugin.
Once this is done go to “settings” from your dashboard, here you’ll see your new plugin there in the child menu and from there you can go ahead and paste the code into the header section. Believe me, it’s FAR less scary doing it this way! In the last few days Pinterest has retired the ‘like’ feature which is a bit sad but hey we will get over it!
Engage for engagement
Instagram used to be great and fairly easy to grow your following but since the algorithm was introduced It definitely affects engagement. I’ll explain: Basically, you post your photo and use up to thirty appropriate hashtags if your photo gains a lot of comments and likes in the first moments of it being published, this means it will be seen more times. Instagram likes to repeatedly show the popular ones such as Instadaily hashtag as millions of users are all using the same hashtag at the same time meaning your post will be less likely to be seen.
Respond to comments quickly
This increases the activity surrounding your post – Instagram likes that and will rank your post higher. If You may miss someone’s photo it’s technically dropped off the radar due to unpopularity. This also means your feed won’t be in chronological order either. The algorithm has meant that it’s harder to grow your follower count too. You might gain a follower or two for each photo you share ( when you’re fairly new to it ) interestingly you’ll soon figure out which are the key times to load a photo. If you get the timing wrong you’ll only have less engagement. This is annoying as you can’t ‘regram’ your own photos. You can post a photo at 8.30 am but 10 am it’s losing momentum and there’s not a thing you can do about it! Saturdays are always good in terms of timing. Post your photo around 10.15 -10.30 am ish for maximum engagement, I imagine people lying in bed scrolling through their feed at around this time so those are your targets! (Those that aren’t working of course)! Follow you’re favourite bloggers and brands and tag, tag, tag away!
Recently, Instagram introduced the archive feature which means you can archive any of your own photos you no longer want on your page without actually deleting them, this is great as you can go ahead and re-publish the photo at a later date if you like, all your original engagement remains with the photo. If you decide to archive a photo you can find it again by clicking the little clock icon on the top right of your page, if you want to republish the post click the ellipsis then “show on page” it will appear back in its original place – that’s the only downside of this feature.
Join comment pods to maximise engagement
I am currently a member of 3 pods, these are basically a group chat where the admin of the pod messages you and invites you to join, once a member you can share your photos to the pod (chat) by clicking the send arrow at the bottom of your photo. Other members can then click the photo and will be taken straight to your page where they can comment and like.
These can be quite time-consuming as some members are Posting several photos a day, all the of which need a like and a comment. I sometimes let them build and then do a mass comment/ like session, as I haven’t always got time to immediately respond. If you are invited to join go ahead if it’s something you’ll enjoy. It’s a nice way to build engagement and make online friends. The more the better! I always think that if as I have over 1k following me but I’m only getting up to 200 likes on any given photo then something’s going wrong.
Of course, we all tend to follow our favourite brands who, unless we are working with them aren’t going to interact with our posts. Perhaps thin down the brands you follow (their PR agents will find you if they want you) and then follow some more bloggers. I like to see interaction from fellow ‘Instagrammers’ as well as Twitter as this means that blogger is likely to be someone who engages with others. If they have low engagement maybe move on to another instead. Don’t forget to tag the brand in the post as this will hopefully get you on their radar.
I recently jumped on the theme bandwagon. While I was churning out flat lay after flat lay this was fine but as I want to move toward posting photos which are more interesting i.e outfits, hair or pretty flowers etc (mine of course). My theme gets in the way a little and can be restricting in terms of having to stick to a certain colour palette. If I post a random photo which doesn’t fit with my theme and just doesn’t look right at all, I’ll end up quickly deleting it before anyone sees it! Heaven forbid.
What to do about this? I’m trying to gradually introduce photos of myself, wearing clothing which doesn’t stand out completely as the wrong fit for my theme so whites, pinks, nudes are fine, nothing too dark just yet. My hair is blonde so that kinda fits with my paler coloured theme. This may all seem a bit of a faff for some, but as you might know, I’m a VERY visual person so the images on my Instagram as well as my blog are really important to me. I like my photos to look bright and as professional as I can get them using the limited equipment I have. I want my Instagram page to be aesthetically pleasing but I also don’t want the restriction. I’ll see how it goes, watch this space.
I’m sure you know about and use Bloglovin’ but in case you don’t, It’s basically a platform for you to follow your favourite bloggers no matter which platform their blog is on. If you click on the post title it will take you to the actual blog post if that makes sense! Each time you publish a post to your blog it will be seen on Bloglovin’ too (if you have the two connected) It’s really simple to sign up and will definitively help boost your blog readership.
Plus you can keep up with all your favourite bloggers, create your own lists, i.e bloggers to watch or posts to read Later. If I’m scrolling through quickly and spot an interesting post I will save it to my ‘read later’ list so that I can read it properly when I have time. You can now comment on posts too which is a fairly new feature. Interacting is a fab way of getting noticed. If I’m right, some follow your actual blog via Bloglovin’ but others only follow ‘you’ This is slightly confusing to me because of course, we want blog followers too! Perhaps just have the one option? Maybe I’ll figure it out one day. I’m thinking I should probably use it more than I do.
Like anything we do in life, we will soon lose interest if there’s no reward or pay off for our actions. That’s human nature, but a positive I have learned is that the blogging community is a wonderful thing, brimming over with helpful, supportive and friendly people only too happy to share help or advice. I’ve not come across any bad intention so far. Apart from over 1500 malicious login attempts on my blog in a relatively short space of time. Quite scary really but luckily I have good protection from that kind of thing.
Please do comment if you have any tips of your own to share! Why not have a read of my basic blog maintenance tips.