This post is Day 18 of the 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. You can chat about the challenge on social media using the hashtag #BloggingBreakthrough. Click here to view all of the challenge prompts. I'd also like to welcome Tom from Terrace Legacy, who has written today's post. Tom is a digital marketer and freelance writer - who is also my other half and official photographer.
Gone are the days when social media could take a back seat in getting yourself known online. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn - they are now so saturated with the claims of bloggers and businesses each vying for their market share, that simply having a presence on these platforms is no longer enough. You need a proper social media plan to give yourself the best possible chance of standing out from your competitors.
This is a guide for you to achieve that, with five steps to help get you started and then repeat over and over until your social media presence is flourishing.
Please remember though that this takes time - people will not flock to your website within a week, perhaps not even after six months. But if you put as much hard work and effort into your social media plan as you do creating brilliant blog posts, there is no reason why your social platforms cannot become a valuable asset for your work and career.
So let's get underway, focusing on two of the most useful social platforms for bloggers - Twitter and Instagram.
#1 Go on a Following Spree
When starting out, you will almost certainly have to follow someone for them to follow you in return, so identify individuals beneficial to you and follow them. The best case scenario is that they follow you back. The worst case scenario is that they don't, but by following them you will still be able to see all the useful content that they share.
A good way to ensure that your feed is full of truly genuine opportunities for engagement is to go on a following spree.
Say you follow 100 people relevant to your niche all in one go every Monday - make a note of each, give it a week, and see how many have followed you back; the ones who haven't you can then unfollow, unless they are exceptionally useful to keep.
There is no limit on the amount of people you can follow, so this process can be repeated time and time again on your social platforms. Keep it realistic though - the number of followers a person has is a good indication of how likely they are to follow back.
#2 Organise Your Lists
Once you have built up a substantial number of followers, it's highly likely that you will have a good mix of individuals covering a range of ages, jobs and specific topics. You can now take a more detailed approach to distinguishing between these various categories by organising the profiles into lists on Twitter.
Some general examples would be having separate lists for journalists, full-time bloggers and big brands, which can then also be used to help break down your topics of interest into their own individual lists. Fashion, for example, could have the following three lists: fashion mag writers, fashion bloggers and fashion brands. Remember too - you don't even have to follow an account to add them to a list.
Overall, lists can help massively when it comes to identifying and then using popular hashtags, as well as finding inspiration; but even more so when looking for opportunities to engage and interact, which is what your social media plan should be all about achieving.
Without doubt the most challenging aspect of social media is to sustain good, consistent interaction, and sticking to a plan means it is potentially the most rewarding aspect too.
You are not, after all, curating numerous followers to simply just read what they share if you're serious about your blog.
With every new follow comes a new chance to interact, so set yourself daily targets - interact with at least one new person every day, then after a while up it to two, then up to three when you're more confident, and continue with however many you feel comfortable with. Even if you have to search through hashtags for a post or tweet to interact with rather than waiting for an opportunity on your feed, it's still interaction and it's still just as effective.
Social media is all about building relationships and you are only ever going to achieve this by interacting with others. People will love that you're showing an interest in their work, and the interaction will no doubt get easier over time if you persevere with your plan.
#4 Got Your Optimal Posting Times?
The interaction on social media doesn't always have to be initiated by yourself if you provide others with an opportunity to interact with you first. There are many online tools that analyse your followers and reveal a range of times when they are most are active; these are your unique optimal times - when a post is most likely to be seen and therefore has the best chance of being engaged with.
Creating a brilliant piece of content is only half the job if you truly want it to find those whom it will be of most value to.
Unfortunately, most people only click links to read a blog if they believe it's beneficial and worth their time, but they do have to see it in the first place, and posting at optimal times allows for this.
What's more, it's likely that you'll struggle to be active at all your optimal times, so experiment with analysis tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite, which also allow you to schedule posts on Twitter so you never have to worry about missing that big chance to target your followers. Check out yesterday's task here, which is all about finding your optimal times.
#5 Pictures and Personality
Let's start with Twitter. You're now at the stage when you've attained many followers, you've organised them, interacted with them and got your tweets showing up at peak times when your community is active. But how do you plan and ensure that they truly stand out from all the hundreds of facts, links and ramblings appearing on their feeds every second?
One way is including pictures with your tweets, particularly those linking to a blog post. Have you noticed how most major brands on Twitter are now doing this? It's all about brand recognition and getting noticed. Think about it - would you read a blog title if it was simply in a tweet, or if it was styled into a large, attractive image accompanying a tweet? While the image does eat into characters, it means you don't have to repeat the title within the actual wording, which frees up space - and with Twitter, every character is crucial.
Moving on to include Instagram, and another slightly scaled down method of getting your posts noticed is including emojis in your captions. Emojis spice up your words with a bit of personality and are often great substitutes for actually typing your feelings. Their current popularity has led to a vast array of choice, also meaning we are much more likely to see more before we see less, and this is great news for your social media purposes.
Go through each point Tom has talked about to create your own social media plan.
- Start off by going on a following spree - mark down a day in your planner each week when you're going to go on your platforms and follow people.
- Once you start following more accounts, start grouping these into lists on Twitter.
- In your plan, note down every day to interact with at least one new person on the platforms that you're active on.
- Get your optimal posting times if you haven't got them already! Make sure you note down to update these weekly.
- Write down some ideas for content ideas - remember to always include images and emojis in each update you can on all your platforms.
Now go forth and have fun with your social media plan!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
Have you ever thought about having a plan for your social media before? What are some of the biggest tips you'll try out from this post?