social media

Image via Amilight Creative

I have a love/hate relationship with social media, and I think this is also a huge weakness of mine. I love browsing through Pinterest and Instagram for amazing inspiration, but for me, it also creates a bit of envy and insecurity. I tend to browse and follow much more than I lead and post. However, in order to enjoy the benefits of the amazing blogging community out there (and staying optimized in the process), you have to participate! But participating in social media is seriously a job in itself. Unless you have a lot of time to kill or an extra pair of hands, instead of spreading yourself too thin across every manner of media you can find, try focusing on a handful that you truly enjoy because you will be doing it a lot! For example, I’m obsessed with Pinterest, I love Instagram, and I’m able to tolerate Facebook, so these are the mediums that I will focus on (“will” being the key word. I’m working in real time here folks, so it’s all still a work in progress! You’re learning as I’m learning). I’m on Google+ and I do have a Twitter account so I will occasionally throw out a post or a tweet, but these are mediums that will take the back burner.

You can also take advantage of sites like Co-Schedule and Hootsuite to schedule posts on your media of choice at times that are the most conducive to repins and shares. Yes folks, WHEN you post has as much importance and what you post. Crazy, right?

In the past, when I published a blog post, I automated WordPress to also publish a link to the post onto Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Turns out, this is most definitely NOT the right move (it’s basically equivalent to spam)! Your plan here is to reach as wide of an audience as possible and posting everything all at once isn’t going to do that for you. Plus, for those that may follow you on multiple platforms, it’s just kind of annoying! So take time out of your day to schedule your social media posts and pins separately.

There are also times throughout the day in which users are more active. When are you most likely to check social media? Perhaps in the morning over breakfast, during your lunch break, during that 3pm brain fry, and sometime before hitting the hay. So consider the audience you want to reach and post during those times.

Luckily, instead of putting way too much time and effort into posting to each site separately, there are sites out there that will help you schedule these posts/pins to be published at designated times. Phew! For example:

  • Hootsuite – I just signed up for this site myself. It’s a little primitive to me, but it will get the job done. And it’s free! Unfortunately, in order to get the most out of this site, such as analytics, you need to upgrade to Pro.
  • Co-Schedule – Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for the platform, but if you blog on a different platform and are willing to pay the $9-$10/month then it’s totally worthwhile.
  • Tailwind – This is another site that I recently signed up for. It allows me to schedule pins at times that I can set (or they can set for you). Again, to get the most of out of the site you will need to upgrade. With the free subscription, you can’t see your analytics and you can only schedule a certain number of pins.
  • Iconosquare – this is one I just learned about, but it’s something that I will use consistently going forward! This is for Instagram only, but it allows you to break down analytics by category. One of these categories called “Optimization” is where you can figure out the best time to post based on your audience. And going back to SEO, this site can also help you determine what is trending by showing you your most liked and most commented on posts.

I think the biggest thing I am learning through all of this is don’t be afraid to promote yourself, but promote wisely.

Of course, even if you’re breaking your back promoting yourself, the results will be minimal if you don’t actively communicate with your audience. If someone takes the time to comment on your post, whether on Instagram, Facebook, or your blog, have the courtesy to comment back. And don’t just leave it at that – seek out like-minded (and like-sized) blogs and feeds and write your own comments. Be authentic and build yourself a sense of community (because really, isn’t that why most of us amateur bloggers blog to begin with?). Again, sites such as Hootsuite can help you manage this, but you may also want to consider building in time throughout the day specifically for this purpose. Schedule in 30 minutes – 1 hour to schedule your posts (promote) and another 20 – 30 multiple times a day to actively engage.

Which is the perfect segway to my next post in this series! Up next: Creating your Editorial Calendar.

What social media platforms do you like to use?  Are there certain sites/apps that you prefer to manage these accounts?