You may or may not have a social media account for your blog, but you probably do have at least one. If you don't, you should probably think about setting one up as this is going to be your main outlet for sharing your awesome blog content. But what's the best social media for bloggers?
Unfortunately, you can't rely on good old Google to show your blog every time someone searches "blogger Manchester", so the chances of people just stumbling across your blog are pretty slim. So you've got to build a following, or tribe, as I like to call them. And the best way to do this, is using social media...
But what channels are out there and which ones should you use?
Social Media for Bloggers
Truth is, everyone has their own preferences about which social media they like best and which works best for them. It will depend on your blog content, your business and your target audience. Most bloggers choose to use a few or all of the platforms out there, but some find they have more success when they just stick to one or two. It'll come down to time as well.
So my advice...trial and error. Have a go and see which social media platform fits and works for you.
Here are the "mainstream" social media platforms that bloggers tend to use, with a few pros and cons of each one...
Active users: 313 million monthly users
Twitter is probably the original social media tool for us bloggers and used to be the main way to interact with your audience and get your sh*t seen. However, these days, it can be hard to grow an audience, unless you've got a large following already. It moves very quickly, meaning that interaction is usually instant and then minimal.
But, it can work for some and be a great addition to your other social media accounts. If you RT (retweet) and share other people's tweets and blog posts, chances are you'll get some follows and some RTs too.
It's best to target with twitter - follow other bloggers, look at their followers, follow some of them. It's a great way to network with other bloggers too. In my opinion, you need to dedicate a good amount of time to Twitter if you're going to see any results.
PROS: you don't have to crop your images, you can share your videos and incorporate GIFs into your tweets really easily!
CONS: if you're not careful, your twitter stream can just look like a news bulletin of stuff you're not interested in, that becomes overwhelming to keep up with. Try to only find and follow people that you're genuinely interested in or that are in your industry or target demographic.
TIP: be as visual as you can with twitter. Share photos and video content along with your tweet, as it will help it to stand out and capture the attention of your potential audience.
Active users: 600 million+
The favourite of all creatives and bloggers into visuals and photography. Now with the ability to create insta stories and even go-live, Instagram has incorporated video and feels like a one-stop-shop for social sharing. It's a great tool for businesses and if you've got something to sell too and as a blogger, you can even have a business account, which helps you evaluate your audience and optimal times for posting etc.
Some of the limitations/frustrations of instagram is that you can't search for users by location and the content on there can be very USA heavy. So you've got to be savvy with your searching and use of hashtags and sift through the american posts to find the UK posts (if that's what you're looking for).
PROS: great way to get your photos, products and self seen by your audience. A good way to dabble with video social media and instant features like "going live".
CONS: you have to really have a hashtag strategy, growth can be slow.
TIP: use hastags - you're allowed up to 30 on each post, so use them. It'll increase your chances of your image getting seen. But don't just stick to the large generic ones like #photooftheday or #love, as there's millions of other photos on there, so chances are yours will just get lost.
Active users: 1.79 billion monthly
I'm pretty sure everyone has a Facebook account don't they? Certainly feels like it's become a part of most people's everyday lives. It's a great way to keep in touch (or spy on) friends and family, but it can also be a great place for bloggers to share their posts and interact with their audience.
You can set-up Pages and Groups (different benefits of each one) for your blog and anyone that likes your page or group will get your notifications or updates in their feeds. It's a great way to get your sh*t seen and it's super easy to upload and share posts, photos and video on-the-go from your phone. Again, you can go live on Facebook now, which I think before we know, everyone will be doing!
PROS: pretty much everyone has a Facebook account, so chances are your target audience is there, ready to find you! It can be a great way of advertising and selling products.
CONS: Facebook advertising can be a bit of a minefield and you're best to try and share your contact at particular times of day (usually lunch time) to give it the best chance of being seen.
TIP: consider scheduling some time to "go live" so you can interact directly with your audience. Just make sure you let people know when you plan to do it, so they can make sure they're free at that time.
Active users: 100 million +
Often deemed as the social media for the younger generation (especially if you're a thirty-something like me), Snapchat is undeniably the social media for the millenials. It's cool, it's silly and you can make yourself look hilarious with different filters everyday. You can take photos or videos that last for seconds and then disappear, meaning interaction is fast and instant and it's a great way for bloggers to engage with their audience.
PROS: Once your snapchat has been seen by your audience, it disappears and is deleted...gone forever! There's no interaction, commenting or likes on your posts, which means it's cleaner and easier to use and probably more gratifying in some ways.
CONS: It's only usable on your phone/device, which may be a good or bad thing. Means no scheduling or editing etc. If your audience are older than 30, you might struggle reaching them on Snapchat.
TIP: Your audience will have to know you're on Snapchat, so make sure you send your account to your mailing list and followers of other accounts, as they can't search for you organically from within the app.
Active users: over 1 billion per month!
All you vloggers out there will probably be using Youtube in some way - you may even have your own channel? Like Google, Youtube is a search engine and means it's a fantastic way to get your sh*t seen and grow a seriously huge following. BUT, you've got to be happy having your mug on screen and you've got to create content that is actually useful and that people want to watch.
Vlogging seems to be the way forward though in the world of the social influencer, so it's more than likely that we'll all be headed that way this year.
PROS: It's the most well-known video channel, so chances are, if you've got decent content, you can grow a following and a pretty big one! Not every blogger vlogs, so you'll be setting yourself apart and giving yourself a better chance of being seen.
CONS: Seems to be particularly bad for "trolling" and mean comments. So you may have to grow a thick skin and turn a blind-eye to any silliness like that! It's generally more time-consuming to create a vlog post over a blog post, but once you've done a few, you'll find time-saving strategies and will feel more confident with less editing.
TIP: Combine blogging and vlogging, by embedding your video into your blog posts and other social media channels. Then you can "attack" from all angles.
Active users: 150 million+
Often forgotten about when talking about social media, perhaps because like Youtube, it's technically more of a search engine. Which is a great thing for us bloggers, particularly if you're a business or have something to sell! Don't underestimate the power of Pinterest and it's ability to bring you a great audience.
PROS: you can add a pin button to your desktop and pin anything you stumble across on the internet, as well as content from your own blog. It's visual and easy to find things using the search window.
CONS: you've got to think about it like you do SEO...think key words and be strategic to ensure your followers find your pins. It's also way better if you pin your own original content, rather than just re-pinning constantly. Pinterest prefers it if you mix it up.
TIP: Always pin portrait images (not landscape) and try not to post images of yourself in an obvious way (most pinners won't want to pin a photo of you, although they may want to pin a photo of what you're wearing, so choose a photo that focusses on your outfit over your face).
There are a load of other social media platforms out there that bloggers and businesses use, including:
Vimeo, WhatsApp, Google+, Tumblr, Skype, Linkedin, Vine, Periscope and many many more!
It takes time
Whichever social media tools you decide to use, you're going to have to dedicate some time to using it each day, to give yourself the best chance of growing your following and getting your blog seen. You might only be able to dedicate 15 minutes every morning or you may have an hour each day - whatever it is, be consistent and invest the time. It might be slow, but your growth will be steady!
Title image by Anna Hardy Photography