I wouldn’t by any means call myself an expert at social media (really, who is?!), but somehow since I started this blog last year I got nominated and then selected as one of the top social media influencers for the state of Hawaii (and was awarded a trophy to boot). And today while you’re reading this post, I’m sitting on a panel at a social media convention, hopefully not turning beet red with embarrassment (hey – I’m used to being behind a screen!) and answering questions about social media.
I’ve been using social media in a business capacity for a year now. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve learned what to do, what not to do, that I should take more of my own advice, and that I still have a long way to go and a lot of questions about it.
Preparing for the panel discussion today has really forced me to examine and think about the good and the bad with regards to social media and the way I use it. I believe that social media requires a lot of persistence and a little bit of magic. So I’ve gathered up top tips and no-nos not only from myself, but from my peers as well to help you create some social media magic of your own!
Interspersed throughout it all is an amazing and conceptual inspiration shoot from Ared Tagani Photography. Why the shoot? Well, just like when it comes to social media – it is different, definitely thought-provoking, and somehow totally works!
I wanted to talk about Pinterest first because of all my social media referrals to this site Pinterest brings in the most. I adore it and I’m on it all the time. But initially, I had a really hard time earning followers. Having a lot of people reading this blog didn’t translate the way I thought it would.
So how did I go from 9,000 followers to over 30,000 in the last three weeks?
– started pinning lifestyle in addition to weddings
– pinned more from my favorite blogs and repined less from my feed
– and I sought people out and dug deep into their boards looking for real treasures.
I’ve done quite a bit of goggling and reading up on ‘how to gain millions of Pinterest followers’ (hey – a girl can dream right?!) and one particularly interesting thing that I found out was that the signup process stacks it in favor of some. When you sign up for Pinterest you are forced to choose pictures that you like, these pictures are pulled from boards of Pinterest’s choosing and it helps them to auto populate who you start out following – meaning – there are at least 80-100 boards you follow automatically upon sign up. So don’t get all down and aboard the comparison train when you see someone with millions and millions of followers, it might be that they hit the signup jackpot. *fingers crossed that this happens to us!*
Twitter is my least favorite social media outlet and the only one I schedule for. I use TweetDeck and schedule everything from retweets to my own links, sometimes even my responses. I think that my problem with twitter is that I’m a visual person so tweets just don’t flip my switch. I looked to my fellow wedding bloggers for tips on using twitter and this is what they had to say:
– Cris of Kiss My Tulle: “Share the work of others – it makes you appear friendly and a part of your industry.”
– Heather of Style Unveiled: “Search your business name and retweet or respond to tweets that may not have included your twitter handle properly.”
One tip I would definitely add to this list is to not be creepy. What do I mean by that? Well, basically, if it’s creepy in real life, it’s going to be creepy on twitter. Don’t direct message someone asking them to like your Facebook page and don’t message a link with no context. And if you’re a small business looking for some free PR – harassing wedding bloggers on twitter is not the way to go. It will definitely earn you creeper status. Engage with us in meaningful ways instead! We’re quite a chatty bunch.
And a more personal tip to friends and family, we don’t walk into your place of work asking you to mass email everyone you work with to visit our blogs, right? So please don’t ask us to tweet a link begging all of our followers to vote for your baby photo or whatever it might be. It puts us in a really awkward position when we have to say no.
Managing Burnett’s Boards’ Facebook page has been an interesting journey for me. I’m gaining followers at a pretty steady rate of 5-10 a day, all without advertising or ‘boosting’ posts. I take Facebook pretty personally though and most people do. It’s where they go to catch up with family and friends. So after a few experiments with promoted posts I gave up. Why? A. it’s expensive and B. I hate it when I see paid posts in my own personal newsfeed so I choose not to do that to others.
When I first started this blog I used advertising on Facebook. I think if you are just starting out and your page has less than 500 followers, definitely spend some money and advertise. People follow crowds!
Keeping your edge rank up on Facebook is important. There is a fantastic article over on ProBlogger about the wave system (it’s a must read) – check it out and if you’re unsure as to what edge rank is, it also does a great job of explaining it.
A few more Facebook tidbits:
– Don’t shorten your links on Facebook the way you would on twitter. People are really wary of links on Facebook and are more likely to click-through if they can see exactly where it is going to go.
– Krisstin of On the Go Bride says, “use an image to represent your blog post with a link. Images get more likes and interaction.”
– Megan of Glamour and Grace adds, “engage followers with questions and also use call to action words. Tell people to like or comment on posts to get more interaction.”
– And one tip I definitely need to get a handle on: (in my defense – this is HARD when you live in Hawaii but most of your readership is mainland US) Naoise of One Fab Day suggests that you should “time your posts carefully. Make sure you post at times that people are using the medium.”
– Don’t flood! This is sort of a golden rule for any social media service. Remember, no one wants to see only posts from you in their feed.
I didn’t start using StumbledUpon until last November and it steals your soul. What happens? Well, one of your posts will go viral on it, get loads of likes, send you through the roof with excitement that you have THAT many views (like how this post got 70k + views in two days). And then it stops. Just like that. For no reason!
You can do everything right and it’s all part of some mysterious algorithm that only SU knows. However, Stephanie of Fab You Bliss, who is an SU guru, added this advice: “be an active member. Dig in and really learn about the service. Follow people outside of your circles and add a wide range of likes. Just like Pinterest, when you add other interests besides wedding related stuff, the experience ends up being worth more. Remember, just like with most things, you get out of it what you put in.”
Instagram (along with google +) is a social media avenue that I have a lot of questions about. I see a lot of other bloggers posting images from their blogs and reminding people to come and visit their site. I’ve tried this a few times but it felt weird. For now, I’m sticking to cat, beach, and jewelry photos. This probably isn’t the right thing to do for my brand, but at some point I believe it is important for the blogger’s personality to shine through, and this is where I’m choosing to do it.
Plus, as Megan of Glamour and Grace once told me, “if you’re just starting out, pick one or two social media platforms and do them well versus getting on all of them and posting sporadically.”
Instagram is definitely my sporadic one.
Google + is relatively new and I’m not sure I’m a fan yet. One thing I do do every morning though is go and +1 my own post! Make sure you do the same for yours. I hear it helps your google search engine ranking to accumulate those +1s not only on your posts, but also your homepage (pretty sneaky of google if you ask me…) so I’m definitely trying to get into this more. It’s tough though with all of the other platforms I’m on. I tend to also whip through my Google + feed once a day and +1 everyone I follow.
Keep it positive. Debbie Downers are no fun and playing the mean girl or ‘woe is me’ card all the time is a great way to lose fans. And finally, it’s important to remember that social media is not just about you and your blog posts. You need to interact with your followers, answer tweets, reply to comments on Facebook, share work other than your own that you admire, and just be social!
Do you have any tips or no-nos? We’d love to hear them!
I’d like to give a big thank you to Ared Tagani Photography for sharing this fantastic shoot with us!