Once upon a time anyone who wanted to start a blog – food, or any other kind – wandered around the internet until they found a platform they either liked, understood or could afford, started up an account, added some content and then sat back and waited for traffic.
With the advent of social media that last stage has changed dramatically and we now have a selection of social media sites on which to talk about our blogs, share our content, meet like-minded bloggers and engage directly with our readers.
The use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and now Instagram and Pinterest are becoming increasingly indispensable to bloggers, but there are a few tips that we all need to know about the use of these sites. In future posts we will look at each of these social media beasties in more depth, but for now here are some general hints to get you started.
1. Number one and most important – be yourself!
Your blog is an expression of you so there is no point trying to copy someone else’s style on social media. People who follow you on these sites do so because they want to engage on a more personal level with the author of the blog so don’t be afraid to let your personality show. Of course, they don’t necessarily want to hear all the in’s and out’s of your latest surgery, your marriage breakdown or how you struggle in the relationship with your mother (or is that just me?) – but they do like to know that there is a real, live human behind the posts. Your readers want to get to know you a little better so try to be just a little personal.
2. Engage with those who post comments on your page
Don’t just leave them hanging out there on their own. It’s polite to acknowledge comments where possible and often this can lead to conversations and genuine interactions with your readers. You never know where these can lead – many sincere friendships have begun on Facebook or Twitter!
3. Don’t engage with trolls
(those who post inflammatory, abusive or insulting remarks) or troublemakers. Engaging with these people just adds fuel to their fire – take the oxygen away from them by deleting their remarks and then block them. Likewise, if you decide you don’t like someone’s remarks or posts on pages you frequent, just “Unlike”. Intelligent discussion over a contentious point can quickly descend into something more unpleasant, so if things look like they are getting ugly it’s always best to back out of the situation.
4. Don’t be afraid to use exclamation marks and emoticons.
Without the advantage of facial gestures and body language sometimes words alone can be misconstrued and these simple tools can often clarify your meaning or intent.
5. Social media accounts are a great way to expose your blog content to a wider audience
But try not make that all you ever post on your page/account or it just starts to look like spam. Your readers want to see what interests you, so do post links to other blogs you enjoy, articles that interest you or things that you find amusing – share the love a little. And speaking of sharing the love – make sure you engage on the pages of others. People soon get tired of one-way relationships so make sure you visit the social media accounts of blogs that you like too.
6. Don’t kill yourself trying to be everywhere all the time.
We all work hard on our blogs, researching our next post, responding to reader comments and engaging with our followers on Social Media, but don’t kill yourself trying to do it all and be everywhere all at once. You have a life outside your blog and don’t feel guilty when that gets in the way sometimes.
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