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Blogging 201, Day Eight: Create a Social Schedule

Today’s assignment: create a 30-day plan for how you’ll grow your presence (and your blog) on the social network you selected yesterday.

Integrating your blog with social networks is essential to growing an audience — if you want to attract people outside WordPress, you need to go to where the people are.

Social networks don’t have to be an “extra.” They can be the ideal platform for growing a community, with your blog at the center. And using them means a lot more than just publicizing your posts; if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not really using them at all.

Today’s assignment: create a 30-day plan for how you’ll grow your presence (and your blog) on the social network you selected yesterday. If applicable, create a profile on the network just for your blog.

Why do this?

  • Because if you’re serious about growth, blogging is about building a community of like-minded people, and other social networks have ready-made communities.
  • Because using social networks effectively creates a funnel of new ideas and inspiration that will make your blog better.
  • Because social networks are a great place to continue conversations that are tangential to your blog, or to experiment with content you’re not sure about.

If you need a profile on whatever network you’re going to focus on, let’s take care of that first.

If you liked analyzing your stats, Facebook may be right up your alley. Fan pages offer analytics (Facebook calls them “insights”) that let you see which posts are most viewed and shared, along with basic demographic data about your fans.

To create a page on Facebook, log in to your personal account, go to Create a Page and, well, create a page! You’ll want to create a “Brand or Product page” and select “Website” under “Category.” You’ll administer this page through your personal account, but there won’t be any visible link between the two. (Visit our tutorial for more detail.)

To create a profile on Twitter, simply sign out of your personal profile, if you have one, and sign up for a new one — these will be 100% separate. The same goes for Instagram.

With Pinterest, you have two choices: if you don’t yet have an account, you can create a new one for your blog. If you already use it, you can also create a board just for your blog. (Either way, you can use the Pinterest Site Verification tool to connect your blog to your Pinterest account.)

Okay, so you have your page/profile/board set up. Now what?

The main thing to remember is that social networks are not just about promoting your blog, but creating a sense of community with your readers — yesterday’s assignment was just the preamble. Don’t just use your Facebook page to Publicize your blog posts: share other interested, related content, and engage with your audience. Tweet about more than just your latest post, and re-tweet other good stuff. Participate in Twitter chats or Facebook discussions. Try sharing a few of these:

Tip: If you have a particularly witty tweet you want to share with your readers embed it right into a post. It directs readers to your Twitter feed and adds visual interest. Since readers can retweet directly from your blog post, you can see your reach expand exponentially.

  • Other bloggers’ posts — there’s nothing like sharing the love, and promoting others’ good work ultimately brings people to you, too.
  • Random funny, interesting, or provocative links. Your fan page becomes valuable when you curate, helping fans weed through the swampland of the internet to find the goodies. Links and posts with great images are especially shareable.
  • Questions. If there’s one thing people enjoy doing on on the internet, it’s sharing opinions. You might not want to run a poll on your blog, but asking questions on Facebook or Twitter is a good way to get people to engage and to get feedback on what your readers are interested in.
  • Status updates. Are you on round three of the DIY project you’re planning to blog next week? Are you headed to the movies to see the next film you’ll review? Did you just spend 15 minutes trying to remember the word “conundrum”? Keep fans up to date and share blog-related glimpses into your life to build a personal connection.

The same goes for Pinterest. Adding beautiful images to your posts makes them highly pinnable, and re-pins can spread like wildfire. Then, you’ll want to branch out beyond your own posts and start pinning (and re-pinning) other content. As you develop collections, you not only create a handy catalogue for yourself, you become a resource for your blog’s readers and for other Pinterest users who admire your excellent taste… some of whom will find their way to your blog.

Tip: Check the rights before pinning possibly copyrighted content. Lots of people don’t mind having their photos shared, but some do — check the license for images you pin before pinning them. If the photographer reserves all the rights, or you’re otherwise unsure, ask before pinning.

It’s especially useful for supplemental content that you wouldn’t necessarily put on your blog, but still want to collect and share. If you’re a book blogger, your site might feature reviews or affiliate links for your absolute faves, but your Pinterest boards are a place to park all the other titles that catch your eye.

Now, create a plan for how you’ll use your main social network over the next 30 days. You don’t need an hour-by-hour schedule of tweets, just some goals: I’ll Publicize all my posts. I’ll update two times a day. I’ll share other bloggers’ posts three times a week. I’ll upload one photo every week. Sketch out the ways you’ll use this tool, and you’ll be more likely to do it.

If you have any questions, go to The Commons – you may be able to pick up some followers for your blog’s new profile or some tips from folks who are already social butterflies.

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      1. Philosophermouse is referring to the tips and notes we publish to the left of the article. For example, here’s a tip you’ll see on the left-hand side if you read the article:

        Tip: Check the rights before pinning possibly copyrighted content. Lots of people don’t mind having their photos shared, but some do — check the license for images you pin before pinning them. If the photographer reserves all the rights, or you’re otherwise unsure, ask before pinning.

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  1. Do you think that there are too many social media accounts that you could have? Is there a rule of thumb for how many you should have before it gets to be too many to manage? So far I have twitter and instagram. I am not sure about adding more accounts until my blog becomes “older” with some more posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you just answered your own question… stick to just a couple social media sites until you’re comfortable to move into others, or if you feel that the ones you’re currently using aren’t appropriate.

      As a writer, I might suggest that Instagram isn’t the most suitable social site to promote your brand, but Twitter (and maybe Facebook) is/are. With Twitter and Facebook, you can share writing snippets, ask questions, and have tremendous conversations. Instagram doesn’t allow for live links in their comments section, so I feel that it benefits visual subject matter better than text.

      Just my thoughts, but I am certainly no expert :)

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      1. It seems like Instagram, at first glance, may not be appropriate for writer content but more experimental photograph logging. I see a lot of photos of selfies and food on the public side of that with filters.

        I have a page on Google+ that follows two homeschooling communities. I share videos and links to my posts and recently had reshares. Content is skimmed through easily and I can capture quick headlines for essential content I am interested in. My YouTube favorites list is also linked to my blog, embedded in a page therein. It displays my favorited videos for view.

        These two seem to work well for me.

        Now to drive traffic… Now to use Twitter… That is the question…

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      2. You are right, instagram is a bit weird to use for a writer. I had it as a personal account, and just kind of transitioned it for use on my blog. I do find though that there are a lot of people on instagram who are writers as well and they post some interesting things. Kind of a different side of writing I suppose!

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    2. I haven’t used Instagram so I can’t speak for the advantages/disadvantages. I think Twitter, Facebook and Google+ might be a better alternative for me. I’ve used Pintrest but not for blog. Not sure about that one either. Guess it’s what we are comfortable with but then we need to step outside that comfort zone to grow….. HELP….jeezzz, way to many options LOL :0 :)

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  2. Hi Michelle

    I’m feeling a little lost at the moment – I am getting between 20 and 50 new followers every couple of weeks. Lots of them turn out to be blogless or message givers. But there is always a core of genuine WordPress bloggers.

    I do harbour perverse ambitions to make my art a commercially viable product and that was one of the reasons l enrolled. Unfortunately l dont have either the time or inclination to take up a social network membership. Perhaps being a grumpy sixty something has something to do with it.

    My Question is simple – ‘Can l continue to benefit from this excellent tutorial if l dont become a ‘Social Butterfly’

    Regards

    Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We move on from social networking tomorrow, and cover some other community-building and content strategy tools over the next six days. Nothing about this challenge is mandatory, so feel free to keep an eye on the assignments and tip in a toe where it feels appropriate (and fun).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Don’t feel along in this. Please remember more and more people are using “private browsing” settings and don’t leave real tracks. You are probably getting more views than you know.
      Many people started just posting on WP and have gone on to commercial ventures after building an audience here. Buddakat is one blogger/artist that did just that.
      Post great stuff, gather people, then take the next step to open for business – your WP base will follow you (and at that point you may want some social media connection – FB can help then – and you’ll have stuff here well under control)….seen it happen in several cases over the past couple of years.
      While not everything is applicable to everyone, WP is great about offering up ideas – and showing how to use them (Thanks WP!)

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    3. Can I just say ‘Here here!’ at this point from one grumpy sixty something to another.
      I do have a Facebook page but I only use it to check on what the kids have been up to. (I use the term ‘kids’ lightly). I thought I might just have a look at creating a business page once I have double checked it is not linked to my personal account at all. That seems a better option than creating a second account which would need managing.
      I’ll let you know if I get a whole load more traffic.

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  3. I think I’ll try to do something with my Pinterest account. It is the network that reflects the most my interests and the one that relates the most with my blog posts.

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    1. It can really be a traffic win. I stopped updating my food blog at the end of 2012, and my archives get 200-500 hits a day, mainly from Google searches and Pinterest.

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      1. Wow, that’s huge ! I realized looking at my boards a few days ago that they are almost the same as my categories here. That’s why I think that developping the link between the two would be a good idea. Gonna have to work on that now !

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  4. I’ve been seriously considering adding a dedicated Facebook fan page for my blog, but I’m not exactly sure if it’s the right time. I suppose I won’t know until I try. Does anyone have any tips on that, and if you have a Facebook page (not a personal one) do you find it beneficial if you are a photography-related blog?

    I have just added Pinterest and Flickr to my blog, and have noticed some traffic bouncing between those sites and my blog. I’ve also seen some re-pins on Pinterest and likes on Flickr, that I wasn’t getting until I connected them to my blog.

    However, I have to do a better job of not simply promoting my own work… which is what I’ve been doing lately.

    Thanks for the great advice today Michelle.

    Like

    1. It can be challenging, because to get the most out of these networks, you do have to put time and energy in — time and energy that could be going into your blog instead of Pinterest. It helps to keep the end goal in mind, and remind yourself that the benefits ultimately devolve onto your blog.

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  5. Thank you so much for all your tips and advice! Following this course is really interesting, and it is fun too!
    I am on Google +, but I don’t feel it helps me very much. Do you have any tips/opinions about Google+?
    Thanks.

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    1. Google+ increases your changes of showing up in search engines. Make sure you tag your post under things that other would google. Also having a circle helps, as people will share your posts etc. Locate others on Google+ and engage with them. I dont really use mine all that much but its still linked.

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  6. I am a style blogger htpp://www.highlatitudestyle.com. I see that many of my fellow style blogger have s.th. that is called “follow by blog loving”. I think I once even made an account there, but I never got what this funny platform is about and I never got really on their pages. I just found it awful. Has anyone 1) an idea what it can do for a fashion blogger, and 2) what it is really? Thanks.

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    1. I’ve followed blogs on blog lovin and found it pretty neat. It’s like the WordPress reader so you can scroll through all the new posts from blogs you follow. I even set up my blog there but when I changed everything around it messed up my RSS feed and I haven’t been able to fix there. It’s not a social networking site but another way for someone to follow your blog. You don’t have to have a blog or anything to set up an account and follow blogs you like. I thought it was good to be available for people who might not follow via wordpress and didn’t like having their email cluttered. Kind of like having an ebook available on every e-reader instead of just Kindle.

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  7. im glad that you said that the page should be more than just the published posts.

    but i kinda wish that you had done this in reverse (maybe not the actual assignments) but explaining to people that creating a twitter/fb account for your blog is work. you can’t be saying the same things on the the e-spots or people will get bored. that managing multiple sites/accounts is hard work.

    while i know this challenge is about pushing people to think outside their usual boxes, and get the most out of their blogs – that the base of all social networks is organic growth. it’s not twitter + blog = follows = blog page views. you don’t ask people to follow you (outright at least), people will do it if they see the value. are you funny? are you knowledgeable about the topic? do you motivate? why should people add you to their newsfeed/timeline? esp if you already have a personal account where you may already be promoting yourself.

    i by no means am an expert, but i will say that blogging for 3 yrs, managing as many twitter accounts as i have as well as managing social media for work gives me a different perspective on things.

    im not here to be debbie downer (poor debbie) and encourage everyone to go forth and propser, i just want people to have realistic expectations of themselves. in 8 days, we’ve set goals, created editorial calendars and now making forays into social networks by creating new e-identities to push the brand.

    also think about the logistics (im an event planner..sorry) of managing these things. wordpress and twitter for iphone allow for managing multiple accounts from one app. facebook, ig, pinterest, tumblr do not (a 3rd party app may though).

    i probably should have just written a blog post. oops.

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    1. I agree, social media takes sooo much time. I have a FB account directly linked to my blog. However, in all honesty I do nothing with it. I have my own personal FB account with my chums from a long time, I don’t push my blog on them, so I have a separate account as mentioned before linked to my blog. You know I spend alot of time blogging, writing, commenting on WP, I simply don’t have enough time to be on the social media site also. I find this quite stressful, like I will fail unless I become a social media butterfly. I have links also to Pinterest and Flickr, which I enjoy as its my photography as is my link to instagram but there it is easy, you do your photos, upload, someone comments I write back, but its not hugely time consuming and i admit to not really scouring around looking at others sites, I save that for WP. Wow I just rambled on there, I guess this challenge day makes me uncomfortable thats all. x

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      1. LOL.

        nope. all valid points.
        i found this pic yesterday for my day seven post and think it helps alot to put into perspective the kind of work social networks entail (from a brand perspective)

        i did end up writing a blog post about it too. im taking a stand and protesting against the man!! LOLLLL.

        http://wp.me/p3JAvW-tm

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      2. I’m with you there! I have an author facebook account connected to my blog but I haven’t done a thing with it in months. I don’t know how to drive conversation. I had 700 followers at one time (from a kindle giveaway thing I participated in) but only about 12 people actually saw my posts at any given time. And most of them were people that are my actual flesh and blood friends that “liked” the page via my personal page…seems a waste almost to have a separate author page. I thought about just connecting my personal page and not worrying so much about it.

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    2. very good points. I guess the challenge is more to give bloggers old and new a wide perspective about all that blogging can be, not so much to push things on people before they are ready.

      I see a lot of people become very earnest about every step, which I guess is fair enough but depends on the person. I’m the laid back, at my own pace type, so there were plenty of things I skipped the first time around yet I find myself incorporating them now. Social media is not one of them although I have given Pinterest more thoughts than ever before just by going through the comments here.

      For me getting involved in social media at this point is biting more than I can chew. I’m excited to be writing so that’s what I focus on right now. Who knows how I’ll feel in a few months? But that’s not true for everybody. Some people feel good planning everything in advance and sticking to their schedule. Also some people are using their blogs to promote their business in which case social media is a must.

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  8. Great post and advice! I created a Facebook page for my blog last month, and I’ve created a Twitter account as well. I’m really bad at Twitter (I don’t use it personally), so it’s going to take a lot for me to get the hang of it!

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  9. I have a question about this please, I created a facebook page and it seems to automatically create a personal facebook account also with it, you can’t seem to have the page without this. I have linked up my account to post automatically I thought to the page, however it posts to the personal account instead and i’ve no idea how to change this, id prefer it to post to both, but how does one sort this out? Is it even possible. I do log on to FB sometimes, once a week perhaps, i find blogging takes so much time that I wouldnt have a real life if i was on all the other social media sites too or perhaps I am doing something wrong? hehe

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    1. Hey I am no expert but it seems Facebook will not allow you to have a page for your blog without a personal account attached. I think they do this so you can use your friends and family as a starting point for fans. I think (unless you want to be anonymous) you should create a page from your existing personal account. You can post from WP automatically to the bog page you set up rather than your personal page I think just look in the share settings on WP. Hope that helps.

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    1. I agree, social media takes sooo much time. I have a FB account directly linked to my blog. However, in all honesty I do nothing with it. I have my own personal FB account with my chums from a long time, I don’t push my blog on them, so I have a separate account as mentioned before linked to my blog. You know I spend alot of time blogging, writing, commenting on WP, I simply don’t have enough time to be on the social media site also. I find this quite stressful, like I will fail unless I become a social media butterfly. I have links also to Pinterest and Flickr, which I enjoy as its my photography as is my link to instagram but there it is easy, you do your photos, upload, someone comments I write back, but its not hugely time consuming and i admit to not really scouring around looking at others sites, I save that for WP. Wow I just rambled on there, I guess this challenge day makes me uncomfortable thats all. x

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  10. I’ve connected my blog to most of my social media accounts. I get the most reads from Facebook because it is there that people already know me. I just need to encourage them to comment on my blog rather than on facebook.

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      1. I think it’s a good idea to link that one. As I said, it’s been one of the best traffic sources for me. The people that know you really want to see your blog succeed and can be a great source of encouragement.

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    1. I might consider it. I just think that they might get fed up of my posts coming daily in to their feeds etc and esp if i post more than once a day hehe…but I shall sit on this and contemplate :-) do you use the same name, ie blog to fb page, so it’s easy for people to know its you?

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      1. I currently use my same name, but since I started Blogging 201, I’ve been consciously working on the creation of my brand. Once I get that done, I hope to direct people away from my personal page over to the FB page I created for my blog.

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  11. Thanks Michelle. I have a concern about one of the terms of service on Pinterest about giving users the right to modify your photos. I am going to post this on The Commons and see if other have the same concerns.

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