First off, there’s no rule that you have to promote your blog on social media, or be on social media at all for that matter. However, I know many of us are, so why not chat about it?
I’m not all that big a big fan of social media, and if it wasn’t for blogging I wouldn’t be on it at all. However, I do like my blog to have a presence online beyond just the reach of my website, so I have some social media accounts that are all mental health-focused. I don’t have personal social media accounts because a) I don’t know people, and b) I don’t like people.
I’m also not a fan of self-promotion. It’s not a confidence issue; it just feels like work. Work that I’m not interested in and not particularly good at, yet it fits with some of my goals, so I stumble along as best I can.
I started my Twitter account pretty soon after I started my blog. All of my blog posts get automatically posted to Twitter. I don’t dislike Twitter, and I get to see a broader cross-section of the online mental health community, but I find it quite overwhelming in terms of the volume of information. The amount of stuff that’s on there just seems endless.
I also don’t do much in terms of status update-type tweets because my day-to-day life is pretty boring (by choice) and there isn’t really anything going on to talk about in a snappy little tweet. It fascinates me how prolific some people are on Twitter, because I just don’t have that much to say.
There are a variety of different Twitter accounts that run promotional comment threads, but the basic idea is the same. You’re supposed to leave a comment with a link to your latest blog post, retweet the comment thread, and have a look at (and comment on) the posts that other people leave links to in the thread.
I can see how this would generate views, but I wonder if it would actually translate to more followers. At least some of the other people leaving their own links on the thread are going to play fair and check out other people’s blogs. However, I’m guessing that for a certain segment of people participating the primary motivator is to be discovered rather than to discover other blogs, and I wonder how many of those people would choose to actually hang out and stay awhile.
I would also wonder if there are diminishing returns the more often one participates in these comment threads. And is there much new blood getting injected into these threads, or is it mostly the same people over and over? I really have no idea.
My Pinterest account got started at around the same time as my Twitter account. Pinterest is my favourite social media platform. It’s very low-maintenance in that you’re really not interacting with other people directly in the same way you are on other platforms. There’s no sense of needing to get “caught up” on other people’s pins. It’s also possible to get a wide reach without having big follower numbers. I get a pretty steady stream of traffic to my blog from Pinterest.
Pinterest is the third-largest source of traffic to my blog, after the WordPress Reader and search engines. As I write this, in the last week I’ve had 124 visits to my blog from Pinterest. I only have 721 followers on Pinterest, but my monthly views range from 400ish-500ish thousand.
A Pinterest business account is a good idea since you’ll get more data on how your pins are doing. As already mentioned, a high follower count isn’t needed to get your pins viewed. There can be very large variations in short periods of time in the monthly views statistic, so try not to get too hung up on that.
While the mysterious Pinterest algorithm determines how often people are going to see your pins, I think there is also a heavy dose of luck involved. If someone with a big reach repins one of your blog post pins, that alone could bring a bunch of traffic your way. When I pin something I usually have very little idea if it’s going to do well or not. The more you pin, the more likely it is that some of those pins will become popular.
Pinterest Tips & Tricks
To create a pin that’s going to get noticed, you’ll want to do more than just pin the stock image that you may plan to pair with your blog post. If you want to create pinnable images, Canva.com is your best friend. It lets you create designs in the optimum size for Pinterest (1000×1500 px). There’s a wide variety of templates available that you can use.
You can create multiple boards, and make sure you enter a solid description for each one, as that’s one of things that Pinterest uses in determining how much it likes the pins in your board. My impression is that Pinterest likes bigger, busier boards, as opposed to a bunch of small boards. Creating sections within your boards can help you to stay organized. You can let the board cover be selected by default, or you can pick your preferred image. This should be a square image, and the Pinterest guru advice I’ve read says that all of your board covers should look pretty similar to keep everything consistent.
Besides creating new pins, you can also save pins you’ve already created to a different board. Pinterest isn’t all that keen on this, so avoid resaving pins more than a couple of times, and space them out.
You may come across group boards, or you may decide to start one yourself. With most of these, the expectation is that for every pin you add to the group board, you will save one of the pins from the group board onto one of your own boards. This can give your pins greater reach.
I’d already been on Pinterest for quite a while before I realized that they use hashtags, as they aren’t particularly obvious. Pinterest won’t pay any attention if you go back and add them to an old pin, but definitely use them for your new pins. When using hashtags, think along the lines of descriptive search terms; Pinterest hashtags are a lot more focused than some of the rambly hashtags you’re likely to see on Instagram.
Besides hashtags, it’s a good idea to create descriptive file names for your Pinterest graphics. For each pin, it’s also a good idea to give a substantial description of what the pin is about, because this makes it easier for Pinterest to figure out what the pin is about so it can display it to relevant people.
Tailwind is a service that allows you to schedule your pins. It will also figure out the times of day that are best for you. You can also use Pinterest itself to create and schedule posts; I believe this is only available for people with a business account. Apparently, weekends, mid-afternoons, and late evenings are the best times to post.
I started a LinkedIn account earlier this year that’s blogging/writing focused. I don’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, but my biggest reason for creating a profile is that LinkedIn profiles show up really high in search engine results, and as an author, I want to be visible.
WordPress lets you automatically share posts on LinkedIn. I’ve disabled that, though, because it’s a different audience there and I’m not sure that it’s the best fit for the majority of my posts. Instead, I share posts individually as appropriate.
Instagram is the newest addition to my social media world. I don’t use it every day, and I still only vaguely know how to use it (what are Stories???).
When I started the account, I decided not to focus on blog promotion; I just didn’t want it to feel like an obligation. Instead, I use it to share positive stuff like guinea pig photos, nature pics, and quotes. So if you want to see more guinea pig pics, that’s where they are.
I had a Facebook account for a while when I first started blogging, but I just didn’t like Facebook, so I decided to call it quits. Earlier this year, I tried to start a new Facebook account because of a specific group I wanted to join, but Facebook decided I wasn’t a real human being and deactivated my account until I provided them with photo ID. I figured that was a pretty good sign that I shouldn’t have Facebook in my life.
Interestingly enough, though, I still get traffic to my site from Facebook, presumably from other people sharing my posts.
Here’s a look at how many visitors I’ve had from different social media channels over the last month:
- Pinterest: 437
- Facebook: 306
- Twitter: 83
- LinkedIn: 10
I honestly don’t know where all these Facebook visitors are coming from. WP stats don’t tell me, and from what I can tell Google Analytics will only show me the link to my site that was used, not where that link came from on Facebook. Weird.
I could try to up my Twitter game, but at this point, I just don’t care enough to put in the work.
I would be quite content to hang out on WordPress and never venture beyond it. My social media feeds are very highly controlled so it’s not that I’m seeing things that are distressing, it’s just all very overwhelming. Still, social media can help a blog grow faster, and I think if there is a business aspect to a blog social media becomes more important.
Do you use social media to promote your blog? And if so, what are your key strategies and goals?