If you are a blogger the chances are that you also use social media to promote your blog posts - but do you share smartly or do you exist in a state of fluster that you really should be getting round to getting on Google + and Stumbleupon but just haven't enough hours in the day?
Picture the scene, I'm sure it may be a familiar scenario - you read in a forum that Whoopee Do's blogpost on 'How to bake the perfect Roast Potato' has received 40,000 page views in the past few days through StumbleUpon.
Cue the following:
- "Wow! Well done you! That's great"
- *Bugger me I need to get my arse into gear and get on StumbleUpon*
- *Why can't I get traffic like that - no one ever reads my blog*
- Mild to moderate self pity coupled with mental note to join StumbleUpon
STOP! HOLD THE FREAKING PHONE! SOUND THE KLAXON OF 'WAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!'
Ask yourself this: Do I want to sign up?
Do I need to sign up?
Is that social media channel the best one to use for my 'type' of blog?
Do I have time to use that social media properly?
You see that's the thing with social media - it's kind of social.
That Whoopee Do blog with the 40,000 visits via Stumbleupon ? They are most likely an active member, sharing not only their own but more importantly other peoples posts on a regular basis. If you think you can sign up start adding just your own blogposts and get 40,000 visits each time you need a hot cup of reality.
Now that's not meant to sound harsh, the point that I want to make is that you can use social media and get great results - but you need to consider two things:
- What social media channel is right for my content?
- Do I have time to be active on that channel? And by active I mean anything from half an hour a week dedicated to interacting with others - following, repinning, sharing, commenting.
As someone who uses more social media channels than I care to admit my advice is this:
Better to use one or two social media channels really effectively than it is to try and spread yourself thinly across six!
But how do you work out what type of social media channel is best to use for your blog? Sit down and work out just what your blog is mainly about and what sort of posts are best to focus on sharing.
Craft and Food blogposts - Pinterest and Stumbleupon are probably best.
Personal posts, opinion pieces - Twitter and Facebook -The places that you speak to people directly and interactions tend to be more personal.
Practical Parenting tips - Stumbleupon, Pinterest and to a lesser degree Google +
Photography - Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram.
Here are some examples of established bloggers talking about what social media channel works best for them:
Emily from A Mummy Too
- who writes about food and occasionally craft and parenting says: " I probably do an hour a week on StumbleUpon and it brings in between 100 and 1000 visits a day depending on what I've posted that day"
Emily gives some great advice -
"if it doesn't have a 'how to' element, or isn't a round of something like '50 most useful..' then it's probably not worth promoting on StumbleUpon as it just won't get picked up"
"On Pinterest, make sure your images are properly Alt tagged because that's what the Pin It browser toolbar button picks up and it's not good if all it populates the description with is img_23423.jpg!"
Maggy from Red Ted Art
-who writes about children's crafts and activites, says: "Pinterest is without a doubt my biggest traffic source. Very rough estimate probably 75% of traffic is derived from there. I am increasingly seeing Google search engine traffic, and I am hoping that that that is due to my G+ activity! In terms of time? I probably spend half an hour each on Pinterest and G+ every day (if that), interestingly I spend FAR more time on Facebook, which is a lower traffic provider - BUT the facebook groups (hopefully soon to only be G+ communities), provide me with the opportunity to get to "know my readers and my network" as well as generating a LOT of back links as people who do "round ups" put out calls for links on FB. So. Though traffic from FB is low, I still benefit significantly in terms of community, backlinks and thus my PR"
Anna from The Imagination Tree
- who writes about children's crafts and activities, says: "Mine would be about 80% Pinterest. I do see a large referral from FB too, maybe my 3rd biggest source of traffic, and spend my most time there because it's the most enjoyable and best way for me to interact with readers. I don't nearly spend enough time on Pinterest (maybe 10 mins a week!) and rarely ever on Twitter, never used stumble. Too many ways to play...not enough hours in the day!"
Emma from Science Sparks
-who writes about fun science for kids says: "Pinterest for Science Sparks brings in over 1000 visitors a day, I probably spend less than an hour a week actually on Pinterest, but also spend time making sure images on my posts are suitable to be pinned."
Jen from Love Chic Living
-who writes about home style tips and inspiration, says: " For my home blog, Pinterest is amazing (as you'd probably expect) as long as the post has a Pinterest friendly badge. I'm spending more and more time on there but it's no more than 15 mins a day on average. Stumble is also good for the 'how to' posts. Just getting to grips with G+ (one thing at a time!) and FB and Twitter bring in some traffic, enough to still be beneficial but the other two are the biggies."
Helen from Kiddy Charts
-who writes about rewarding good behaviour in children says: "I get the most from Pinterest believe it or not, primarily from the US - considering I don't have a very visual blog. that's pretty amazeballs I think! There are not actually that may people on it than post original content, so us bloggers have a headstart. If the content it good, it'll get re-pinned. I have also SOLD on there directly too, which I haven't even bothered to do on the other channels. People are more in the mood to buy on Pinterest, an its set up for selling as well - hence the reason why if u put a currency in a pin description it goes onto the piccy. After Pinterest its Twitter, and those, plus Google+ are the ones I pay most attenion too...I am really moving away from FB for promotion as they made their changes, just doesn't work too well for me at all."
Jane from Northern Mum
-who writes about the high and lows and downright hysterical bits of family life, says: "Facebook, I cant really use anything else! I think twitland is great when you are starting out as you 'meet' people but now I have some lovely blogger friends I tend to speak to them on the phone or text or in here so twitter not as relevant"
Tanya from Mummy Barrow
-who writes about the things that pop into her pretty little head, mainly topical opinions, says: "The only one I really use is Twitter. I rarely post my blog posts on FB and I fanny about on Google+ and Pinterest. I post my link everyday on Twitter, but maybe only once. And I do find it is the place I hang out most. It is a great resource for me. I look for links there from people I like and look forward to reading their posts"
Cas from Mummyneversleeps
-who writes about motherhood and depression in what I can only describe as a brilliantly funny way, says:"I only use twitter as frankly, I have no understanding of anything else"
Cass from Frugal Family
-who writes about budgeting, recipes, family life and more, says: "My blog Facebook page is quite engaged and converts into my biggest referral for page views from social media sites. I've started to get comments on the Facebook page for posts that I publish on the blog more than I used to as well - I think it's just easier for people to comment on the Facebook page link to the post rather than on the post itself."
Kathryn from Crystal Jigsaw
- who writes about life living on a farm, life, her family and blogging, says: "If I can't reach out on twitter and Facebook and by getting around other blogs and leaving comments, then I give up. In my opinion, as a blogger who isn't technical and doesn't understand all these fandangled social media platforms, I found myself tied in knots after being unable to keep up. I think eventually, we have to make a choice; do we waste several hours fannying about and wondering why we bothered, or do we spend a few hours showing some blog love and supporting others, and hope people will do the same for us? I chose the latter and for the past 6 years it's worked for me."
Troubles Mum from Trouble Doubled
- who writes about parenting twins, craft and more, says: "I use Twitter over and above everything else. It's the one I have the most fun on and I think (possibly) it shows. My FB page is there and I do update it but I'm not very disciplined at it. Google+ I don't understand at all so I avoid, but I am trying a little. Stumbleupon I liked but now I don't really read enough to have the time to make it effective. Pinterest is great for certain types of posts so I only use it on the kids days out reviews blog and not for Trouble Doubled which is more content based and wordy. Twitter enables me to talk rubbish all day long and people seem to be liking it, I think. Suits me perfectly."
Aly from Plus2.4
-who writes about family life, recipes, craft and more, says: "My biggest traffic referral is Facebook (my personal profile), Red Ted Art , Twitter, Pinterest then Stumbleupon.I'm not very good at being consistent at any of them really.I took time out to schedule tweets Friday pimping my slow cooker recipes (just 3 a day) and that has had some engagement.My FB page is dead and I rarely get any engagement from it.I tend to use Pinterest and G+ most as it's more visual, which I like.Stumbleupon is more a weekend thing when the kids are with their dad and I have time to read the articles properly.I really should come up with a plan/schedule and concentrate on the ones that the biggest referrals. Although I do it for fun so I don't have a break down when all my pimping results in very little.It's impossible to be everywhere, and I'd rather spend time on my blog making it better than spreading myself thinly and letting my blogging slip."
Hannah from A New Addition
-who writes about food, beauty, fashion and much more, says:" I think g+ food community's are good for sharing food posts"
Naturally it pays to sign up for everything, just so that you have earmarked your brand (yup start thinking of your blog name as a sort of branding) - even if you don't actively use it but keep your expectations realistic.
Oh yes and that blog, Whoopee Do? You probably won't see them sharing the news that another post last week only got 200 visits - blogging isn't a competition, don't compare your blog to others - you'll be happier for it!