Hello, dear bloggers and friends! In this article we are going to talk about Social Media and just how important it is for you. We are going to break this article in a few important segments so you can better understand social media in relation to your blogging activity. First off, we’ll start with a question.
Do I need to be on social networks?
Absolutely! There is no question about it.
What social networks should you use?
There are so many social networks available online today, it’s only natural to ask yourself if you need to be present on each and every one of them. Well, let us tell you: You don’t! Use JUST what suits you.
Let’s have a quick recap of the most important social networks available at the moment:
Facebook – Did you think we would start with something else? This social network is pretty standard for everyone, so no matter what type of blog you run, your presence is required here. Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide and it’s constantly growing.
Twitter – Most bloggers prefer Twitter to Facebook and that is quite understandable. The information is shorter, better structured and the amount of cats, sorry, useless information is significantly smaller. This one’s a standard (and mandatory) option as well.
Tumblr – This network is conquering ground each passing day, especially amongst young people. If your blog targets teens and pre-adults, you should definitely be here.
YouTube – Now, YouTube is a great environment. However, it is ruled by vloggers. The vlogging and blogging industries took separate paths a while back and they tend to have different audiences. A YouTube channel requires a lot of hard work and it’s quite costly. If you are a man of the written word, perhaps you should stay away from this one. Of course, you can use it as a tool if you want to share video content and then embed it onto your blog. Other than that, it’s a battlefield out there and gaining a loyal fanbase on YouTube is not an easy task.
Vine – Instead of youtube, why not Vine. This is a relatively new platform for short form video sharing. Recently bought by Twitter, the network is becoming increasingly popular.
Instagram – Although many think Instagram is just about pretty filters and hipster photos, we have one thing to say: the community counts over 200 million active users and it’s rapidly growing.
Google+ – This social network has a huge amount of members, but many of them joined because, well, they didn’t have much of a choice. It might be of little value in social terms, but G+ is a jewel when it comes to SEO. Make an effort and have a presence there as well. It will help you.
LinkedIN – Unless your blog is professional, stay away from LinkedIN.
Pinterest – Lovely network, especially for those with artsy blogs, DYI, home and garden etc.
Let’s see some numbers:
Facebook – 1+ Billion active users
Google+ – 540 Million active users
Twitter – 241 Million active users
LinkedIN – 300 Million users
Instagram – 200 Million users
Pinterest – 20 Million users
Now that we established what the options are, let’s see some tips for you, bloggers, to get the most of them.
1. Make sure you display social icons on your blog.
Make it easy for your readers to find your social presence. Display social icons in a visible spot on your blog, but make sure they are not excessively obvious.
2. Add social badges/boxes/feeds.
Many social networks are offering a piece of code you can embed on your website.
How to get them?
– For the Facebook like box, visit Facebook Developers. Please note you have to have at least 30 fans (people who have liked your page) before being able to create a “like box”.
– If you want a Twitter feed on your blog, here is all the information you need.
– For Pinterest widgets for WordPress, visit their Plugin Directory
– For the Google+ badge, visit Google Developers
3. Display share/like/+1 buttons.
Make it easy for your users to share your content and spread the information across social networks. Each and every article should have share buttons at the end of the text.
You can add separate buttons for each network, but it will be a struggle design-wise, since they are looking a bit different. If you choose just Facebook and Twitter, they will go along, but if you want more, it will be a challenge. The solution here is to find a plugin that displays them all, with the possibility to remove what you do not use.
Here are some social plugins that are free and very useful:
4. Make your own social pages.
Of course, you can use your personal account to share articles and spread the news, but creating a real fan base requires a page. You can create pages on Facebook, Google+ and you can choose a business account on Pinterest.
For instance, a personal Facebook account cannot have more than 5000 friends. Hopefully you are aiming at a much higher number of fans. With a page, possibilities are endless.
5. Short links
Short links are very popular on Twitter because of the 140 characters limitation. What many people don’t know though, is that short links give you access to further analytics. You can see more accurately when and where your links were clicked. Use them everywhere, even if you are not on limited space.
6. Be polite!
Never (and we mean never) be rude to your readers. They will drive you nuts at times, but keep your cool no matter what. Same goes for haters, be elegant and don’t make your blog or social media page a battlefield. Moderate and delete any disrespectful comments, don’t respond to them in the same manner.
PRO Tip: Even if you don’t use all social networks, create account on each one of them to reserve the name. Someday you may turn to them or someday you’ll be so famous that people will want to impersonate you.