In past posts I’ve been talking a lot about email lists. How to grow them, incentives you can use to grow them, and even how to take advantage of them using autoresponders.
But this week I want to talk about social media, and how you can use it to get even more traffic and engagement on your blog.
The power of social media
Email is still the best way to connect with your readers. But if you’ve set up your email list and are sending out newsletters regularly, it’s worth looking at social media. Social media is a great secondary point of connection, and can help you drive traffic to your blog and connect with even more readers.
Social media evolving, not just the platforms available but in how they work. It seems like Facebook changes its algorithms every time the wind changes direction. Without measurable results, the time spent to create and publish social media can feel like a waste of time.
It’s worthwhile taking a look at how you’re using social media and what you might need to change. Even if your results don’t change, you might find a way to create and publish your posts more quickly. And as we all know, time is one of most precious resources.
A change in direction
When I looked at how I was using social media I realized I needed to make some changes, to my social media accounts. It can a boring process. You also have to examine the information you’re posting and how it benefits your followers.
I discovered that most of my posts were focused on selling. I was not providing links to my valuable evergreen content. I wasn’t promoting my new content very well either, and I was posting quite sporadically.
I didn’t have systems in place to feed my accounts, so it came down to how much time I had and where I spent it. If I spent 10 or 15 minutes creating a visual to go with my post, it seemed like a waste of time. In minutes my post would disappear, never to be seen again.
During the next year I changed my approach to social media. I soon began to receive positive feedback from my readers and followers that I was getting the results I was hoping for.
So what did I change? A lot actually. Rather than list everything I did, I’m going to give you four questions that I want you answer. Answering these questions will give you the framework for auditing your social media – no matter what platform you’re using.
1. Where are your readers?
Do any of your readers hang out on social media? If so, where do they hang out?
There’s no point in posting on Twitter if your readers prefer using Facebook. Yes, you might be able to attract new readers there. But you won’t be able to provide your current readers with any real value, because none of them will see your posts.
So find out what social media platforms they use, and whether they prefer one over the others.
How? By asking.
Whenever you chat with a reader, ask what social media platforms they use. Add the question to your newsletter. Include a question like “What social networks are you using?” in your next survey. You could even ask other bloggers in your niche what social media platforms they tend to focus on.
For platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you might want to go a little deeper. Are there any particular groups they like hanging out in? And how do they feel about live streaming? Some of your readers might prefer to sit back and listen rather than having to read.
Which brings me to my next question…
2. What type of content do my readers respond to?
Take a look at the posts that got lots or shares, retweets, comments, etc. Do they have anything in common – images, video, quotes, links – that your readers seem to prefer?
I found my readers responded very positively to visual content. On our Twitter account, any tweet with a nice graphic or image got retweeted and shared five times as much as text-only content. And it was the same on our Facebook page.
Live content also seemed to have a big impact on our readers. While those Twitter chats, Facebook Lives and webinars weren’t shared a lot, the readers who joined me in those interactions became incredibly engaged. So much so that they became advocates for the blog.
On Twitter, I found that any posts where I shared the slides from a talk I was giving did really well. These scored on two fronts – they were visual, and included good information.
So take a look at the kind of content you (and others in your niche) get good responses from, and use it to help you decide what to post in future.
3. How often (and at what times) do I want to post?
To answer this question you’ll need to take a few things into account:
The platforms you use
how many social media accounts you have on each one
how much time you can spend engaging on them
how much content your readers want.
With these in mind, create a calendar and start mapping out when you want to share content on each platform. Do you want to tweet five times a day? Ten? Fifty? It’s totally up to you. And while you may not need (or even want) to post on Facebook 50 times a day, you should come up with a number that you’re happy with.
Once you’ve decided how many times you’ll post each week, and slotted the times into your calendar, it’s time to think about what you’ll be posting. And this is where your answers to the second question will come in handy, because you can start slotting the types of content that readers like. You might decide to post a quote each morning to get people thinking, and perhaps something funny on Friday afternoons to get them ready for the weekend. On Sundays you might share links to longer content so they read it while sipping a cup of coffee.
Of course, the more content you want to post, the more work it’s going to take. Which is why you need to ask yourself one more question.
4. What’s the most efficient way to post my content?
If you’re just starting out on social media, you might be able to get by with creating all your posts manually. But as your blog becomes more popular, and your readership grows, you may find it more and more difficult to find the time.
So what can you do?
One option is to outsource the work to someone else. Tell them what you want to post, and the content you want to link to, and have them create and publish the posts. This can be a great option if you know what visuals you want, but don’t have the skills to create them yourself.
However, you may need to do a trial run before handing your social media posts over to someone else. If your is heavily tied to you then you need someone who can write posts in the same voice you use for everything else.
Another option is to take advantage of some of the tools that are available. We use CoSchedule – an editorial calendar that has some amazing tools for scheduling social media posts. Whenever we publish a new post on ProBlogger we also schedule five Twitter posts and four Facebook posts to go out at various times over four weeks.
Before I wrap up this week’s post, I need to remind you that the changes I’ve talked about in this post took me a year to make. Auditing your social media platforms and making the changes isn’t something you can achieve overnight.
And it’s not something you can do once and then forget about either. As I said, these platforms are constantly changing, and what worked a year ago might not be working as well now. You need to keep doing it, though how often is something you’ll need to work out for yourself.
So are you ready to optimize your social media? Let us know in the comments.