You started a blog. Congratulations, and I’m sorry. That is what we used to say to senior lifeguards who were promoted to Pool Manager for the first time. In other words, watch out what you wish for, because you may just get it!
We start blogs for a thousand different reasons. Most of us want to write and share our life experiences. We embark into this world of blogging and suddenly we are overwhelmed with decisions: the blog’s theme, blog title, which social networks to use, when to post…the list can be endless.
I recently reached another milestone with over 700 followers on my blog. I debated about writing this post. After all, there are thousands of posts with great blogging advice and tips. This post will focus on the social side of blogging.
Promote your Blog with Social Networks that YOU Like
Can you sustain a blog without social networking? In my experience…No. But, there are new social networks being launched every day. Once you decide on a social network, don’t just use it to promote your posts. You can share other interesting content as well, and even share fellow bloggers’ posts you enjoy.
The conundrum: which social network to use?
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram have been described as The Big Four of social networks. Others prefer LinkedIn and Google+. All can be used to bring more readers to your blog and you can link these networks directly to your posts. Using social networks takes time and dedication, and there are tricks and apps for making them work.
I recently participated in WordPress’ Blogging 201. One assignment asked bloggers to pick a social network to help grow their blog. Many bloggers, new and veteran, shared that they were reluctant to start a Facebook page, or did not understand Twitter. Some mentioned they were not planning to use images, and therefore not interested in Pinterest or Instagram. Some bloggers choose not to use any social networks.
If you are still deciding, as you read some of your favorite bloggers’ posts, scan through their page to see what social networks they use.
What works for me? Thank you for asking.
Facebook: I use Facebook for both my blog and my consulting website. Yes, I have three different Facebook pages. No, I do not spend a lot of time on them. Since my blog shares directly to my Facebook Blog Page, readers following through Facebook can easily access my posts.
Facebook Groups: I belong to and follow several groups. In these groups, I have met a large number of bloggers and writers. Groups have their own flavors and cultures, but they do offer support and can be quite a great resource.
Twitter: I’m still learning the art of tweeting. Tweeting is another way to share a fellow blogger’s post you really liked. Because of a Facebook group I follow, I learned about a tool for sharing called Twitter Feed. Other bloggers agree to use this to promote and tweet each other’s posts and once set up, it is automatic.
Pinterest: If you create images for your posts, you can pin yours and others’ images directly from posts. By creating a board for your blog, you can collect information in the form of pins to be read later. Others may see these pins and re-pin them onto their boards. Following and pinning to group boards can also expose your blog to more readers. I have followed and have new readers because of pins. Pinterest can also link to Facebook and Twitter, leaving a post that you pinned something of interest.
Instagram: A network for sharing images, Instagram is meant for mobile technology and is designed for quick photo uploads. I should use this network more. Each time I create an image, I place into my “Ready Images” folder in Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud for collecting images and files. Once you download the app onto your mobile devices, photos taken with your phone or tablet will automatically land in Dropbox. Once I access Instagram from my mobile device, I can select the ready image from Dropbox and share it instantly. It can take some time to share images, but once shared, the images are connected to your blog post which, in turn, may bring folks to your blog.
Linked In: When I was employed full time, I used Linked In constantly. I used it for any professional development posts I wrote. On Linked In, you can also share a blog post straight from its home page function.
A word about Google+. Are you using it? I was and really liked it. Unfortunately, Google has re-purposed this platform because it couldn’t compete with Facebook and Twitter. Here is the article, What Happened to Google+? Once I read this I decided to cut it loose and focus on the other networks.
Participating in link-ups to other blogs can be a double-edged sword in terms of time consumption. But, if you are trying to expand your readership, it is worth the time. Link-ups are an excellent way to meet other bloggers. For more in-depth information on link-ups, read my post here.
Most link-ups are organized so that blogs that receive the most clicks or views are presented as a featured post for the week. If your blog is featured, participants coming back for the next link party will see your featured post and likely read it.
Part of the charm of link-ups is the requirement to read and comment on other blogs that have joined the link-up. Commenting can take a little time, but who doesn’t love comments on their posts? Take the time to comment and even a follow a new blog. The author may just return the favor.
And to think that all you wanted to do was to write a simple blog. My blog has become my social network of choice and I have met hundreds of people, many I now call friends. I prefer reading wonderful blogs than scrolling through endless, and sometimes silly, Facebook posts. The social networks have become my social tool to enable my love of blogging.
Do you use social networks to promote your blog? If so, which one(s) is your favorite? Do tell!
For more information on blogging, regardless of what level of blogger you are or how many followers you have, take a moment and stop by these blogs. Each of these bloggers also hosts a link-up.
Fabulously 50 and Living with Batman. Elena offers helpful blogging advice.
Mostly Blogging Janice’s entire blog is about How to Blog.
Marilyn’s Treats I met Marilyn through a Link party. She offers expert advice to bloggers!