This post is Day 15 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.
When it comes to spring cleaning, you always start off with good intentions. Making a list is what usually happens first - room by room, task by task, you write down what needs to be done. Then you think it’s time for a brew - Netflix goes on, you jump on Twitter and whaddaya know? Two hours have passed.
But with some things, spring cleaning really needs to happen way before Spring even starts. With some things, it needs to happen now. Like your social media channels.
Most of us are guilty of never going on our social platforms other than to check our notifications and have a good scroll. When actually, there’s something we’re missing. There’s something we need to do at least once a year that doesn't really involve being social.
Let’s face it - your bio could probably do with an update (and possibly your profile photo), you’re still trying to create the “perfect” Instagram feed, but don’t know what that entails, and Twitter is still quite a mystery to you. Sound familiar?
You’re not alone, friend. If you want to feel better about social media, it starts with cleaning up your channels. Day 15 in the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge is going to tell you five ways you can do that right now.
Go on an Unfollowing Spree
I'm gonna’ start off with the most unglamorous task first, but arguably the most important. You've got to go through those followers. I'm serious. I know you might be following hundreds (or thousands) of people, and it might take you most of your afternoon, but trust me. This is what you want to do. And here’s why.
Sometimes, we follow people on a whim, without really paying much attention to who they are. Sometimes, the cheeky channels do it for us! But if they’re not relevant, you don’t have a clue who they are or they’re not bringing anything positive and valuable to your feed then they’re pointless being there. It’s not worth following them. Don’t be afraid of hitting the unfollow button!
I did this at the end of last year and cut who I was following down by about 300 people. It felt so good. Why? Because I knew I was getting rid of accounts that were meaningless. It left me with more room for the people I actually wanted to follow.
Keep scrolling, read all the bios and if they don’t float your boat, just hit unfollow. It’s as simple as that.
Go on a Following Spree
Now this one is more fun. When was the last time you actually went on social media and just followed loads of people? For me, I just do it as and when. Usually there are two scenarios: I either see I've got a new follower, think they look interesting and follow them. Or, someone mentions me or I'm talking to someone in a Twitter chat. But I never follow lots of people at one time.
You want to make sure you’re following the right people on social media. I've found two great ways to do this. I'm going to focus on Twitter and Instagram for this bit, because from chatting to you all, I know they’re your favourites.
On your profile on the right hand side, you’ll see a box that says “who to follow”. This is a great place to start. Usually, three accounts are shown. You can click on them to find out more and then if you like what you see, hit follow. You can also refresh the box so new Twitter accounts pop up or just view all the suggested ones at once.
An even better thing to do is start stalking. Go through who you’re following and see who they follow. Chances are there will be a lot of similar accounts that you’ll be missing out on. These could open you up to people and opportunities that you never knew existed.
You don’t have to do this with all your followers, don’t fret. Maybe pick between 10 and 20 and go through who they follow. Pick out people you like the sound of and hit the follow button. Who knows - you might even gain some followers yourself.
The blogging world is about community and communication. Real friendships can be made online. Don’t be afraid of reaching out.
Ask Yourself Why You're Using These Channels
This is the biggest barrier to using social media effectively. You've got to know why you’re using these channels. There’s no point putting tweets out all day every day, unless you know what you’re using each social platform for.
Instagram is for promoting my blog too, although nowhere near as much as Twitter. But it’s more for showing behind-the-scenes shots and more about my personal life.
What I post to Twitter and Instagram are usually very different.
Think about it. Why are you on these platforms? What do you want to achieve by being on them? Who do you want to connect with? Why should people follow you? These are questions you need to consider when figuring out your answer. It can shape your whole presence on social media.
You need to make sure you talk about what you say you’re going to talk about. If you’re a beauty blogger but you talk on about the latest gardening trends, two things will happen. You’ll get confused and people won’t follow you - because they’ll expect one thing from you and get something totally different.
I post pictures of my cat Maisy, on Instagram all the time - but I'm not an animal blogger. Yet this works, because it’s showing an insight into my life. It’s great doing this within context. But if you blog about certain topics, you want to make sure you’re talking about these topics.
Edit Your Bio
I say “bio” and not “bios”, because all your bios should be the same. This helps people recognise you and keeps everything consistent.
Once you know why you’re on social media, your bio will be much easier to write.
I don’t know about you, but I'm way past the list thing. You know: blogger, cat lover, writer, tea drinker - and so on. I prefer full sentences, but that’s just me.
You want to make sure you’ve got two things in your bio - what you do and something personal. My bio right now is:
I help people chase their dreams, reach their goals & get to where they want to be. Marketer & Freelancer. Cups of tea make me happy.
The first two sentences are what I do. The last part is something personal.
All you need is something simple, like an essential in your life. Cups of tea feature a lot on my Instagram feed so it made total sense to include something related to that in my bio.
I won’t go into much more detail about this here, because I've got a full post on creating a great bio that you can read right here.
Plan What You Want to Share
The way to get what you want out of social media is to be intentional with what you share. You can’t expect to grow a community on Twitter if you only tweet once a day, just like you can’t expect to see growth on Instagram if you only post a picture once a week and don’t use any hashtags.
You don’t have to be specific here. Just make a note somewhere in your planner or a notebook about the types of things you want to share on each platform. My lists would look a bit like this:
Links to my blog
Links to other blogs
Behind-the-scenes (desk, blog work etc)
Things I’m loving
My cat (obvs)
Blog post photos
Around the home
Things I love
Then it’s all about knowing how often you want to post to each platform.
For Instagram, I now try to upload two photos per day. One is to promote my latest blog post, but it’s usually just because I love the shot too. The other is a personal post. During January, I'm doing a Photo A Day challenge, so I've got a prompt for each day.
Twitter is a little different. I schedule what I can - so links to my posts, other people’s posts and quotes. But personal tweets and other things have to be done in the moment. That gives me a really good mixture on each platform of both blogging and life, which is exactly what me and my readers want.
There is one more thing I want to leave you with that isn't really a tip…
Have fun with it!
Social media is such a great place to be. Spend as much or as little time on it as you want and trust your gut. Social media has done great things for me and my blog - I'm sure it can do the same for you too.
Go through the five steps to clean up your social channels.
Start by going through who you’re following and unfollow anyone who doesn’t serve you or that you don’t know.
Then go ahead and follow as many people as you want using the methods we talked about above.
Think about why you’re using these channels and answer the questions to help you.
Edit that bio!
Make a note somewhere of what you want to share to your social channels. That way, you can always refer to this list when coming up with ideas.
Here’s to being social.
Remember to take some pictures as you go along and tweet me with your progress using the hashtag#BloggingBreakthrough. And if you’ve got any questions or you’re struggling with anything, feel free to get in touch!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
Let's talk in the comments - how often do you tidy up your social media channels? Do you think it's about time now you've read this?