This post is Day 21 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.
If you’ve been joining in with the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge, you’ll have noticed there’s been quite a theme this week – social media. We've talked plans, platforms and posting times. You know how beneficial it is to you as a blogger. And you know how much fun it is too. I chat to lots of you who read ABOH over on Twitter and follow many of you on Instagram – that’s what a community is all about. It’s a two way street. But how do you grow that community? How do you get people to start talking to you? How do you build relationships?
It’s great having an audience. But it’s even more valuable to create an engaged audience. After all, really, these are the people that make blogging possible – they’re there to read your posts and spread the word, which means you want to keep on creating and creating.
Your community can become your biggest supporters and even your friends. It’s mad how I've got friends who are people I've never met. But it’s because I've engaged and interacted with them that has made this possible. So today, as part of the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge, I wanted to chat to you about how you can boost your social media presence by INTERACTING with others.
#1 Study Your Followers
First off, know when your audience is online. Brilliant blog posts and fantastic flat lays won’t be any good to you if your community isn't there to see them. Luckily for us, there are some great tools out there that help you find out exactly when your followers are going to be active.
For Twitter, you want to use Followerwonk - just put your Twitter handle in and it’ll tell you what times of the day your followers are most present. Then you can sync this with your Buffer schedule so you’re scheduling tweets for when you know people are going to see them.
As for Instagram, you want to use Iconosquare. This links to your Instagram account and compares when you post pictures, to when your audience is most likely to see them.
And because we’re such fans of social media here at ABOH (and it’s my day job ) - I've already made a tutorial for you that will take you through these step by step. Click here to go right to it.
This is super useful information, because you can see if there’s a disconnect between you and your audience. That could end up being the reason why you aren’t seeing much interaction on your social platforms, because your audience isn't there to interact back with you.
Finding your optimal times is one of the most important things you need to do in your social media plan.
#2 Ask Questions
I couldn't recommend this to you enough. One of the best ways to boost your social presence is to start a conversation.
Building trust with your audience is really important. Members of your community want to know that you value what they have to say. So ask them questions!
I admit at first, you may get very few or no responses. But everyone starts off this way. Soon enough you’ll start getting responses. Especially if it’s something that requires help. When I was buying a MacBook Pro, I reached out on Twitter to see which one people recommended. Loads of people got back to me and we started having a conversation.
Ask people how their day is going. Ask them what they’re working on. Take a photo of something you’re making and ask them what they think. Share about where you’re going on holiday and ask where your followers are going. You can literally turn anything you post on Twitter into a question.
And what happens the more you ask questions? The more you’ll start interacting. If people can see you being active and engaging with others on your Twitter account, they’ll believe that you’ll engage with them too - that means they’ll be more likely to answer the questions you ask.
#3 Answer Questions & Respond to Everyone
If you’re nervous about asking questions, why not try answering them first? People are asking questions on Twitter all the time and on Instagram too. Just start joining in with a conversation and sharing your opinion. Only good things can come from doing this.
It’s also worth responding to people properly. Some bloggers reply to comments with one word - some don’t reply at all. I always try and formulate a full response to everyone who comments on my blog and reaches out to me on social media.
Take the other day - someone commented on one of my posts in the #BloggingBreakthrough series and asked how I come up with my blog post ideas. I made sure to give her a full reply and now it’s given me more of a push to share this as a blog post.
Even if someone comments on one of my Instagram photos saying “Love” or “Great feed!”, I always make sure to reply back to them. It’s a small thing to do but it’ll make all the difference. Never underestimate the value that your followers will have when you thank them and engage with them. Plus, this will lead to even more interaction and a stronger social presence. Result!
#4 Show up and Take Part
Social media is THE place that readers will go to ask you questions and reach out to you. If they follow you, you’ve got to show up on a daily basis and be active.
You won’t boost your social presence unless you’re actually being “social”. *drops mic*
The amount you’re on social media and what you do on there may look different depending on what your purpose is. You might check in there once a day. You might post a picture to Instagram three times a day. You might go on Twitter to interact every single hour.
Whatever platforms you’re on, the point is that you’ve got to make yourself “available”. You might not be awake 27/7 - but social media is.
It’s simple things like linking to your social media accounts from your website (sidebar, footer, about page, contact page) and your email newsletters, and linking to them from each of your accounts too. Who says you can’t share your Instagram feed on Twitter and put your Snapchat username in your Insta profile? I do both these things and they work.
Here are some other ways you can show up to boost your social presence:
I can’t shout about these enough. For more engagement, more knowledge and more followers, Twitter chats are where you need to go. They’re the best chance to talk to people in real-time. Plus you can share your expertise too and that’ll grow your community and brand.
There are Twitter chats going on everyday of the week. Here’s a link to a great calendar that’ll tell you when they all are.
There are loads of Facebook groups you can join too. People are always asking questions in these groups so I can guarantee you’ll be able to interact often. You can ask your own questions too and join threads to just carry on the conversation. Facebook groups are all about finding and adding value.
Use Community Hashtags on Instagram
This has completely transformed my Instagram presence. Since using community hashtags, my following, likes and interactions have sky-rocketed. It’s unbelievable. Plus, this is how you find like-minded people, which makes interacting even easier.
Join Group Boards on Pinterest
Now you might think that Pinterest isn't the best place for interacting. But listen to this story.
The most popular post on my blog has had over 500 shares - and 500 of those shares have come from Pinterest. That means an extra 500 people who have visited my blog. If they turn into regular visitors, that means they’re more likely to become a part of my community and start doing what?
See how everything flows together? It all helps to create one big happy circle of interaction.
#5 Show an Interest in What They Do
Here’s what you do. Pick some people that you follow and reach out to them - let’s say about five. Visit their social media profiles and their website to find out more about them.
Then on either Twitter or Instagram, say something like:
“I really enjoyed your recent post on (this) and it really helped me with my (that) so I'm really looking forward to reading more from you!”
This is a great way to start interacting, because you’re 99.99% likely to get a reply.
If you haven’t done already (and I know you’re sick of me going on about it) get your optimal social media posting times!
Start making a point of asking a question everyday. Schedule one into your tweets for the day and when you post a picture to Instagram, ask a question at the end of it. Make notes in your planner or your daily blog list to help you remember.
Make sure you dedicate time to check your social platforms, whether it’s once a day or once every two hours. As you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, pay attention to the caption, and if you like a picture, leave a comment! Do the same when you’re looking through the Twitter lists that you created - if you can relate to something or give your opinion, don’t hesitate to hit that reply button.
Also remember to dedicate time to checking your mentions from all your social accounts and your blog comments too. Make a note of when you’re going to do this and reply to them all.
Go to the Twitter chat calendar I linked to and note down some of the chats you’d like to join in with.
Research Facebook groups and join some of them.
Research Instagram hashtags - search Pinterest for helpful articles and pay attention to the hashtags some of your favourite people are using.
Research Pinterest groups and join some of those too.
Lastly - share the love. Tell someone how much you enjoyed their latest blog post. Ask someone where they got that gorgeous rug from. Anything goes!
Now all that’s left to do is one thing - interact.
I’ll see you out there.
Remember, if you’ve got any questions, reach out to me on Twitter at @abranchofholly or leave a comment. And if you take any pictures of your progress be sure to use the#BloggingBreakthroughhashtag!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
Remember - there's something exciting coming for the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge. It'll be launching in the second week of February & I can't wait to show you. Watch this space for more info!
Let's chat in the comments - do you find it hard to interact on social media? What are some of the biggest things you'll take away from this post?