When you think back to your earlier social media days, a lot has changed, right? It used to be all about MSN and MySpace. Now it’s all about flat lays and Twitter chats. But there’s one main thing I’ve realised over the past few years.

Using social media as a blogger is very different to using it as a non-blogger. Three years ago I never had to think about optimal times to post my tweets or what link to share on Facebook. I posted what I was getting up to that night and what I was having for breakfast - plus my pictures weren't taken with that much care!

Then when you get into blogging, you realise something. Paying more attention and putting more effort into social media actually pays off.

I’ve learnt so much from spending time on social media. So much so that not only do I love it - I also blog about it and it’s my day job. So as a sort of fun post to round off the social media year on ABOH, I thought I’d share some of the best things I’ve learnt so far. And if there’s one thing we need to get to grips with to get ahead in the game, it’s social media.

It’s crazy to think that I schedule tweets for a living. But that just goes to show how important all of this really is. So get ready, and take note!

11 things I've learnt from spending years on social media

#1 | Images are everything

Really, they are. They’re one of the most shared things on Facebook. Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are all image-based platforms. And if you include an image with a tweet there’s 150% more chance of it being shared. Is that not enough to get snapping?

Take care when taking your photos. You want them to mean something or inspire someone. Capture the perfect moment. Capture everything. Then take your pick. I’ve recently started putting much more care into my Instagram feed and it’s definitely paying off.

#2 | Be active

It’s not as simple as hopping on Twitter and waiting for your follower count to increase. It takes a lot more hard work and effort than that. If you want to grow your presence online and build your brand, then get involved with everything. Take part in Twitter chats and regularly join in with the ones that you enjoy. Other members will start to recognise you and that’s how you build relationships.

Join Facebook groups. Ask questions and answer them. Be helpful to people and be generous. Find your optimal posting times for each social platform and utilise them. Likes on Instagram don’t seem to be given away that easily when really, they should.

All bloggers really want to know is that they’re doing OK. If you like what someone is doing online, tell them.

#3 | Be relatable

People need to find ways to connect with you on a real level. Share things from behind-the-scenes. Share cuddles with your cat. Share your favourite breakfast. Share the outfit that makes you feel really good. Show us where you work. Show us where you chill.

We’re all a bit nosy online. The bloggers I follow, I want to know what’s going on in their day to day lives. I’m happy enough watching bloggers go about their everyday business, which is why I’m loving Vlogmas so much! They’re the things that work the best - where your audience gets to know more about you.

#4 | Facebook is still the leader - even if we don't know how to use it

Facebook is and always will be the most popular social media platform. It’s got over 1 billion monthly active users. That’s insane! And it’s a shame, because now, ads are the way forward. So we won’t see fast growth unless we’re willing to invest.

Don’t lose hope though - you can still use Facebook for your online presence if you choose to. It’s all about knowing how to use it to its advantages. In other words, videos and images get the most engagement on Facebook so that's what you want to focus on posting.

#5 | Edit your photos

It’s no secret that the way our photos look matters. But there are so many editing tools at our fingertips that really, it’s easy. VSCO Cam is my go-to. It makes all my images look so light and bright, which is exactly how I want my feed to appear. Plus, it’s free. The best bit is that you can save your edited pictures to your grid so you can see exactly what your Instagram will look like. And it doesn’t even take that long. I like to take some photos for Instagram all at once and edit them in bulk to keep me organised.

#6 | Don't just post links to your own work

As bloggers, small business owners or brands, we all understand that social media is great for self-promotion. It’s part of our job and a brilliant place to advertise ourselves. But if that’s all you do, you’ll find that you won’t see the growth you want.

We’re all really interested in what other people are doing. But you’ve got to show your support to others. Definitely share links to your own work. Then share links to others work, share inspirational images and general thoughts and snaps as you’re going about your day. People notice if all you’re doing is promoting yourself and that will really affect your presence online.

#7 | Quotes rule

Seriously. They’re the most shared piece of content on Facebook. If you use #qotd on Twitter you’re bound to get some engagement. And they work just as well on Instagram too. Share a quote to your social platforms once a day and it’ll really benefit you.

#8 | Hashtag your life away on Instagram

This has been a game-changer for me. When I first started out with Instagram, I’d use around three or four hashtags and they’d just be completely random. Then I started using a few more. Now I’ve started taking more care with editing my photos and developing more of a strategy, it’s made a big difference.

Some people say you shouldn't use more than ten hashtags for each image you upload to Instagram. I disagree. It’s actually the photos with eleven or more hashtags that get the most engagement. I’ve got proof. Since I’ve started using more hashtags, my followers and engagement on this platform have massively increased.

Moral of the story? When it comes to Instagram, don’t be afraid of the hashtag.

#9 | Take advantage of daylight (if you can)

The struggle is real at the moment. Taking photos for Instagram and our blogs just isn't as easy during the winter months. Shorter days mean less light. If you’re like me who leaves for work when it’s dark and comes home when it’s dark, it makes it even more difficult.

Like anything else, you’ve got to take advantage of it. On a Saturday or a Sunday, take lots of pictures in bulk. I’ve got a running list of ideas that either pop into my head or when I see other images I’m inspired by. For half an hour, go through your list and take some snaps. That way, you’ve got a great back up of some really well-lit pictures.

#10 | Use the right formula

A lot of people tell me how they get frustrated with scheduling social media posts. They can never think of anything to put, they don’t know how to word them and they feel it takes up too much time. You can erase all of these hurdles. You can easily get past them. It’s all about using the right formula.

When you’re writing a tweet it’s best to go:

Tweet copy >> shortened link >> hashtag

If you add an emoji to that, you’ll get 20% more engagement. Add an image and it increases to 150%.

Put that formula on a sticky note and attach it to your laptop. That way you’ll won’t forget it.

#11 | Be yourself

This is what it’s all about.

People hit the follow or like button because they want to hear more from you. They like who you are.

I treat social media as my friend. When I write a tweet, I write it as if I’m talking to my friend. When I’m uploading an image to Instagram and writing a caption, I do the same. The most important thing to remember about social media is that it’s “social”. Sure, definitely share links to your own work and big yourself up. It's the perfect way to promote yourself. Then join in, share insights and be an inspiration. Social media is about you. To me, that’s all I really want to do.

Let people see the real me.



Now it's your turn - what have you learnt the most from social media? What's the biggest thing you'll take away from this post?

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Holly SuttonComment