Be a Better Blogger, Vol. 2: Mastering Social Media

All right, my friends. Here it is: The follow-up post to our last discussion on How to Make Your Blog a Business.

how-to-grow-your-blog-on-social-media

Ironically, I spent most of the past weekend in Hilton Head — and offline. I’m sure you can relate to this, but when you feel like you’re living a lifestyle that’s constantly connected, you crave time away from social media.

Over time, I’ve really grown to have a love/hate relationship with it. Quite frankly, I hate how social has transformed (/is often treated as) a soapbox and platform solely for self-promotion.

Before we dive into part two, I’d encourage you to go back to the original post and read the comments. If you feel overwhelmed about blogging and balance, you are not alone!

While I’m going to go into greater detail in this post, my advice for managing and growing your social media presence can be summed up in two very simple sentences:

  1. Share updates that are purposeful, consistent and authentic.
  2. Don’t just post for the sake of broadcasting.

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advice-for-growing-your-blog

Broadcasting. Ugh.

Seriously, don’t be that person. Would you walk into a party of 100 people and announce, “Hey everyone! New post! NEW BLOG POST! CHECK OUT THESE PHOTOS OF ME ON MY AWESOME BLOG!”

I really hope not. (And if so, you’re not invited to my party.)

Sure, there’s a promotional aspect. I utilize it too. But let’s remember what each platform is rooted in: Being social. Sharing. Creating conversation. Being a freakin’ human being.

Now, I am not an expert. I have, however, spent many years working in strategy-driven agency environments, so I have lots of formal digital experience underneath my belt. My advice is just a suggestion — and what’s worked for me; at the end of the day, it’s your brand (and voice). You do you.

time-management-tips-for-bloggers

First things first, a question that some of you have been asking:

Was your handle change because of SoulCycle?Jess, 26 and Not Counting

Yes, it was. (I recently changed my handles from @coralsncogancs to my name, @halliekwilson.) Reason being, I now cast a wider net on social media. It’s no longer just corals + cognacs readers who might follow me; it’s SoulCycle riders, too. When it comes to social media, you’ve got to consider who you’re reaching and why.

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working-from-home

Without further adieu:

… ON MASTERING SOCIAL MEDIA

How do you gain attention to and grow your social media platforms? – Kierra, Lavishingg

By focusing on quality, consistency and authenticity. Seriously. Engage with other people — and don’t try to play the 100 hashtag game on Instagram, just focus on your content.

Do you have a strategy for each social media outlet, or do you just post when you’re inspired to? Any tips? – Anita, Always Anita

Yes. Oh yes. Get to know each of your social media audiences — because, guess what? They’re different on every platform.

I know, it’s annoying. But my (and your) Facebook audience is different from Instagram and Twitter audiences. Users on each want different things (shorter phrases, outfit snapshots, direct links, etc.) and are online during different times of the day. If you haven’t already, implement post-testing strategies to see what works for you.

social-media-tips-for-bloggers

How do you grow your following without becoming anti-social (a.k.a. the girl glued to her phone)? – Natalie, CincinNatalie

This is a big part of being able to freelance — as well as achieving work/life(/blog) balance. You want to appear like you’re always accessible and online, even if you’re not. For that reason, scheduling tools are the best invention ever. EVER! Which brings us to…

What are your favorite tools to schedule social posts & how often do you do it? – Jess, 26 and Not Counting

I use Tweetdeck and Ahalogy to schedule Twitter and Pinterest content, accordingly. (Another one worth looking into is CoSchedule.) I only schedule Facebook.com to schedule Facebook posts, and I do this sparingly. Using a third-party scheduler will tank your EdgeRank (the number of people who see your Facebook content).

Scheduling blog content is something that I do when I’m writing a post. I try to be mindful about ensuring I have enough content circulating every day, but there are some days where that doesn’t happen or when I stay completely off social media. That’s okay, too. Quite honestly, people probably won’t notice a brief absence.

working-from-home-tips

You do an amazing job of re-posting older content in fresh ways — how do you stay organized? Especially with photos?Rose, Blonde in this City

Thanks. Everything gets scheduled all at once — creating a blog post isn’t done when I hit “publish.” I create unique social assets for each platform by cropping my photos. Then, I write (edit and re-write) social copy and schedule them accordingly: later that week, month and yes, even that year.

Develop a system that works for you to ensure you aren’t being too repetitive. I also hashtag #cncarchives so people can easily browse my archives on Twitter.

What do you think is the most powerful social media platform for blog promotion?Joyce, rejoyce today

It depends. What are your objectives? If it’s blog traffic, you probably want to invest most of your time in Twitter and Pinterest. You have to trial and error which works best for you. Instagram has become a micro-blog in-and-of itself, so you can treat it as such.

How do you grow your Instagram account? I’ve been hovering around the same number for FAR too long! – PJ, A Girl Named PJ

We all go through this. I actually wrote a dedicated post on how to take better Instagram photos, so check that out. Instagram has become a highly stylized version of our lives, which is fine, but don’t be afraid to humanize the experience. Give people something they can aspire toward, feel something about or relate to. Don’t just share updates for the sake of broadcasting.

What if you feel you’ve peaked on social? How do you keep growth consistent and avoid the plateau? – Amber, Ember & March

You’ve never peaked — and plateaus are totally normal. Find new brands, bloggers, audiences and people to interact with — and do it regularly. Or shift your focus to a different platform for awhile, sometimes we just need a mini creative sabbatical.

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… ON “MEASURING UP”

I would love to know a bit about what your numbers are like – page views, etc. At what level of did brands find you valuable? – Lindsey, Building a Vision

While I’m not comfortable sharing my pageviews (gotta draw the line somewhere, right?), I will say this: Once you can demonstrate that you’re an authority in your field, you have leverage. Do you influence people? Prove it. Screenshot tweets and comments that showcase purchasing behavior or specific feedback. Build a case to market yourself.

Yes! I’ve always wondered how “good” is good enough for brands, what types of numbers and information are they looking for?  – Alyson, Crushing on Clothes

Numbers are great, but if you’re able to show a brand why you’re valuable to them, they will want to work with you. This all comes down to how well you can package yourself (in an honest manner).

In this day-in-age, the best partnerships are as much about organic integration and unique content creation as they are about sales.

prodigy-coffee-shop-nyc

… On blogging basics.

What are the best ways to grow a blog? – Candace, Lovely Little Rants

Quality, consistency and authenticity.

What were some of your go-to sites or books you used to get started, or what do you still use now (HTML coding help, SEO information, blogging basics, etc.) – Gretchen, Gretchen Runs

Two of my friends started a great website for bloggers: The B Bar (and lots of their resources are 20% off through the end of the month). I’ve also written a few posts about this:

prodigy coffee west village

I’d love to know how to get your voice heard with all of the “noise” because there are SO many blogs out there. – Alyssa

I know my voice and I stick to it. Stay true to your brand and give your audience the content they want and they’ll give it legs by sharing it, pinning it, etc. (And for what it’s worthy, my mantra: When the tide rises, we all float. There is plenty of success to go around!)

I’ve recently started my lifestyle blog and I wanted to ask you about advice on how to get things going in the beginning when you have so few readers and followers.

It sounds silly, but you have to “be” what it is you’re seeking. For example: Looking for bloggers that are experiencing the same things you are? Click here. Re-read this post, click on someone’s link in the comments and leave them a comment. Tweet them. Scroll through their Instagram and become friends with them! That’s how I have made all of my blogger BFFs. Truth!

cute-work-outfit

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Last but not least, I want to summarize one piece of advice for you guys:

Truthfully, I’d encourage you not to focus on follower acquisition. Seriously. DON’T DO IT!

Pour your whole heart into producing amazing, high-quality content. Make your images pin-able (clear, focused and interesting) and your content shareable.

If your work (and blog posts) are engaging, informative and pretty to look at, your readers will do the leg-work for you and share the love. (And with that, I have to say — thank you guys so much for your comments, e-mails and the like. I may suck at responding on the occasion, but that’s part of my own work/life balance struggles. I see and appreciate every single one of them!)

cute shoes to wear to work

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. And, oh, is it weird if I ask you to share this post? Wink.

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 For the sake of being social, you can find me on…
Instagram | Twitter | PinterestFacebook | snapchat (@coralsncognacs)

56 comments

  1. Hi Hallie! You are so right about being authentic and posting quality content, and your following will grow organically from there. I’ve been shocked how people share what you write so often, if it speaks to them. I love how you’ve grown your blog and now added in the group fitness aspect as well. Changing to your first name was an excellent idea! Thanks for this informative post! Have a great day! 🙂

  2. Loved this post, obviously! You give such great tips. I’ve been feeling like I fell into a bit of a social media rut, but this post made me want to kick it into second gear and get back on track with engaging with followers and not worrying so much about my numbers (to a certain extent). KEEP KILLIN’ THE GAME *fist bump emoji*

    Pink Champagne Problems

  3. “you do you”. new mantra found! thank you, Hallie. (btw, i can’t wait to ride with you again. your Soul classes are amazing).

  4. Thanks, Hallie! Loved this series & especially the tips on repurposing old content – we’ve been trying to figure out how to do that ourselves. We’ll be sharing, for sure 🙂

  5. I love the idea that when the tide rises, we all float! Thanks for this post, as always — it is amazing. I am excited to sit down this weekend and rethink I do some of my social media. There is so much good food for thought here – a true testament that you make it look easy! xo

  6. Thank you for sharing your insight with us! I just now remembered that you shared that Pinterest app with me over on Twitter eons ago and I spaced it off. I’m looking into it now!

  7. Great post, Hallie! I have always felt like you have one of the best communities around your blog! The comments are always super positive and GENUINE. People build on your blog post to talk more about their own experiences…and isn’t that what blogging is all about??
    Meg of An Affair of Character

  8. you are so insightful on basically everything I wanted to ask! and by the way, thank you for answering my question 🙂 I got really excited when I saw that you did haha! I see so many bloggers and shops on instagram who are clearly only in it to gain a following and it kills me! I just can’t see how you can only want big numbers. I would way rather have a loyal small amount of people who read my blog or follow my instagram than have 90003454 readers and followers who only followed me to “win $1,000 to kate spade!!!!” haha

    Xo
    Candace
    Lovely Little Rants

    and one more question! What is your opinion of leaving a blog link at the end of a comment? I keep seeing mixed reviews. some people see it as spammy while other people thing it’s great to do! I do not want to seem spammy, I just want to make it easy for someone to see my blog if they want to!

  9. So crazy helpful as always. I love that you take the time to get to know your followers and write posts like this.

    Allie
    allienotsally.blogspot.com

    • Sure! Great question(s): As for snapchat, it won’t let me. I tried!

      Things to note about Facebook: My Page is mainly for blog readers/to alert fans to new posts. My personal profile has become more SoulCycle-oriented, so anyone who friends or follows me on there will receive those updates. In addition, Facebook only lets you change your page name/URL once — I don’t want to do that in case I rebrand in the (distant) future. Hope that helps! x

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  21. great advice. i love that you really answered the questions you included and did not just gloss over! totally motivated to start now! thx

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  23. Great piece as always Hallie!! I’ve been following you now for almost 5 years, and have never gotten bored of any of your content. Love your blog, instagram & FB page. This piece I think is not only just for bloggers, it’s given me great advice for my IG account for my line of jewelry. Thanks for sharing your tips.

    Much love
    Maria xx

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  28. I just started a blog just for fun because I had a sudden urge to do it, even though I honestly had never even looked at a blog before. So I did go with my intuition and went for it and I began posting… It has been a nice diversion from my job and everyday responsibilities. I find your blog refreshing and inspirational to browse, and I enjoy your pictures. Thanks for the insightful advice!

    -Jess

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