If you write blog posts, you probably have some desire for people to read them. On WordPress, it’s not too hard for people to find you if you use tags and interact with other bloggers, but what if you want a wider audience? If you choose to go out looking for readers, social media is one obvious place you might go to promote your blog. Or you may hate social media and want to steer totally clear, or you may be somewhere in the middle. This post looks at what social media promotion might look like if you’re so inclined.
Connecting WordPress to your socials
WordPress lets you automatically share your posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr (do people actually still use Tumblr?). You can set this up by going to My Sites > Tools > Marketing, and then click on the Connections tab.
You can verify your site with Pinterest and Facebook so those platforms know that the person who owns those social accounts is the same person who owns your website. This can be set up by going to My Sites > Tools > Marketing, then clicking the Traffic tab and scrolling down to Site Verification Services.
I’m not a fan of Twitter, which is actually putting it lightly, as most of the time I despise it. It seems like auto-sharing your own posts in the hopes of passively bringing in traffic doesn’t accomplish all that much, so I stopped doing that quite a while back.
Twitter blog promo threads
There are a variety of Twitter accounts that run promotional threads where people can promote their latest blog posts. On these threads, people will often write that they return all comments (i.e. if you leave a comment on their post, they’ll leave a comment on yours).
I’ve never actually participated in these, but they strike me as a really inefficient way to drive traffic to your blog. Since these threads are so tit-for-tat, it seems like they require a lot of effort, yet they seem unlikely to build an audience that’s likely to return to your site without you continuing to actively participate in these threads. I’m also not keen on spending a bunch of time reading and commenting on blogs I have no interest in just because I’m doing the returning all comments thing.
While these threads are certainly a way to get views and comments, I’d be curious to hear from people that do participate in these what you think of their efficiency.
Pinterest is my preferred social media platform because it’s really not social media; it’s more of a visual search engine. There’s very minimal person-to-person interaction, and you don’t get a feed focused on keeping up with what specific people are posting.
Because Pinterest is content search-oriented rather than person-oriented, follower numbers are a lot less important than other platforms. Creating pins involves work upfront, but pins can bring in big traffic long after they’re published without any work on your part. Pinterest is a pretty substantial source of traffic for me, and prepping pins to go with posts doesn’t require a lot of mental energy.
One thing I find weird about Pinterest is that most of my new pins don’t get much action; it’s the older ones that do well, which is the exact opposite of how Pinterest says their algorithm works.
I’ve been using Pinterest pretty much since I started my blog, but a lot of things about it remain rather mysterious and/or just plain weird. Here are a few things I’ve learned, though:
- Canva.com is useful for creating pinnable images, although the annoyance factor seems to be increasing regularly. Pinterest’s optimum dimensions are 1000×1500 px.
- Even if you’re not running your blog as a business, switching from a personal to a business Pinterest account gives you access to more features.
- The way you name and describe your boards impacts how findable they are and the pins that are in them are. Pinterest gurus say that your board covers should all have a similar look (and unlike other pins, they should be square). Pins seem do better when they’re in boards that are more popular, so lately I’ve been combining boards and using sections to organize them. I haven’t been doing that long enough to tell if it’s helping me at all.
- Your pin descriptions matter in terms of how findable your pins are when people search. You can also enter alt text that helps people using screen readers (as well as search engines).
- Hashtags can be used in pin descriptions, but I”m fairly sure that they don’t actually accomplish anything.
- You can save pins you’ve already created to multiple boards, but Pinterest is less keen on this than new pins. I will typically save each pin to one additional board a few weeks after originally posting it.
- You can join group boards, but from what I’ve read, they’re a lot less effective than they used to be at broadening your reach. The stuff I pinned to group boards never did well, so I’ve stopped doing it.
I don’t use Instagram enough to have much of a sense of how useful it is for promoting individual blog posts. It’s probably easier now that you can use links in your Stories, and I can see it being a way to let people who are already in your community that you’ve got a new post up.
While I can see Instagram being a decent way to get people to your site more generally, I’m curious to hear from others who are more frequent Instagram users whether they find it’s a good way to promote specific posts. How often are people actually looking at a post in their Insta feed, clicking through to the person’s bio to click the link in bio, then selecting a particular post link from whatever link in bio tool you might be using? That’s quite a few steps, and every extra step seems like it would decrease the likelihood of people following through.
I also wonder how many people are like me and tend to compartmentalize their social platform use. When I’m doing my WordPress thing, I like to stay on WordPress, and while I’m doing my Insta thing, I like to stay on Insta.
I don’t have a Facebook account, but I get a decent amount of traffic from other people (I have no idea who) sharing my posts there. I get substantially more traffic from Facebook than I do from Twitter, even though Twitter is something I actually use (albeit rarely).
I can see LinkedIn potentially being useful, depending on how connected and active you are there and what your blog is focused on. It doesn’t really strike me as the kind of platform where auto-sharing every post is likely to be a very high-yield activity. I share the odd blog post on LinkedIn (mostly book reviews) and get a handful of visitors a month coming from there.
I’m too old to see the appeal of Tiktok, so I don’t have much to say about that platform. As far as I know, if you have a Tiktok business account, you can add a clickable link in your bio, and use a link in bio tool like you would for Instagram.
Social media management tools
There are a number of different tools that allow you to manage your social channels, including scheduling posts. What exactly your can do with them and what kind of analytics you get access to depends whether you use free or paid plans. The only scheduling tool I use is Pinterest’s built-in scheduler to do a day’s worth of pinning all in one go.
Tailwind lets you schedule things to share to Pinterest and Instagram, and it will suggest good times for you to post. It’s also got a tool to help you create graphics. Tailwind communities can also help to expand your reach.
Should you promote your blog on social media?
You may sometimes feel like you should be on social media to put your blog out there in the world, but you are totally free to ignore any and all shoulds that anyone is spouting regarding blogging. There is no universal law of blogging that says you must promote your blog on any specific social platform, or promote it at all. Just because a lot of other bloggers seem to be using one strategy doesn’t mean that you need to do the same thing. You do you.
It’s also worth considering what you’re trying to get out of your blogging experience. If you’re after community engagement, the traffic that you’re drawing in from social media probably isn’t going to be interacting with your blog in the same way as your WordPress traffic. If traffic without interaction does nothing at all to float your boat, social media promotion is probably a waste of your time.
Speaking of wasting time, social media promotion can be a massive time sink, and it’s probably worth revisiting every once in a while whether the benefit you’re getting out of particular strategies is enough to warrant the amount of time you’re putting in. It’s totally okay to say fuck it.
Now, over to you. Do you use social media to promote your blog, and if so, how? And if you don’t and want to spout off about how much you hate social media, feel free to go right ahead and do that. 😉