You can spend A LOT OF TIME on social media, pottering about and making new friends. Here’s a quick guide to the various popular social media platforms. There are others, of course, but these are the BIG GUNS…
(More on social media in this post!)
Like one giant worldwide inspiration board, Pinterest allows you to gather and sort images to your own virtual pinboards in a super social way. You can follow other people to see what they are pinning and create your own public or private boards for inspiration, information or just for fun! The more great people you follow on Pinterest, the more great images you will see in your Pinterest stream. You can check my Pinterest follows for some good people to get started with or if you’re already on Pinterest you might find some extra people to follow here!
It’s a good idea to PIN any particularly nice images from your own blog if you want to gain new readers and show off a teeny bit!
I am a huge fan of Facebook for all kinds of reasons. I think that it connects us to each other in ways we would never have thought possible and helps to silo like-minded people into interest groups or pages. To me, it’s a free virtual club-house with lots of potential for fun and connection if you keep your eye on privacy and tweak it to suit you. For bloggers, Facebook pages are a good way to push your content out to where people are. MOST people use Facebook as their internet HOME BASE. If you put your content where those people are, they are more likely to read it.
YES, they may go read your post and come back to comment on FACEBOOK (rather than the blog post itself!) But this is just an illustration of how the internet is shifting all the time. A Facebook comment and tight knit chatty Facebook community who pops by to read your blog is better than no comments, no community and no readers, right?!
Here’s my Facebook PAGE in case you want to see what it’s all about. (Pages are different to profiles – a PAGE is for a business/blog/whatever. A PROFILE is for a private person.)
Instagram is a visual social media platform you download via an app for your smartphone. Once you’ve downloaded it and logged in, you can connect and share photos with other users. Some photos are tagged with #hashtags (for instance #365grateful) which users add to help filter their images and send them out to a wider audience. If you click on the hashtag you can see images from all Instagram users who like to use that hashtag on their photos. It’s a way of creating movements, memes and like-minded communities.
Some people run their Instagram accounts as PRIVATE and only share with those they know. Others, like me, run their accounts publicly (but are careful about the things they post for privacy reasons.) Others again are public and post whatever they like. It’s a bit of a free-for-all! I love Instagram! It can really enhance your audience and give you an extra way to document your life and find new friends. The downside is that it can dilute your blog.
You may find that your Instagram followers are reluctant to visit your blog (as many prefer to stay within the Instagram platform) while your blog readers are probably more likely to follow BOTH a blog AND Instagram feed. If you are keen to grow your readers and you use Instagram, it’s a good idea to vary the content between the two and provide teasers for your blog content on Instagram. For instance, you might post a photo of something delicious you baked on Instagram with the caption ‘recipe on my blog : meetmeatmikes.com’ to encourage them over!
Don’t let the ease of Instagram turn you into a lazy blogger who forgets to post at all. Unless you want to blog less and Instagram more as a conscious decision. Then GO FOR IT!
A challenge for the wordy, 140 characters is all you get to express yourself via Twitter. This character limits results in a short, sharp, chatty stream where there’s no real obligation to reply and you can broadcast to your heart’s delight. PERSONALLY, I think it’s actually very NICE to reply and chat on Twitter, but the unwritten rules are that you can come and go as you please and a non-rely may mean you are just busy (and not be a snub!) Some people are complete masters of this platform, distilling JUST what they want to say into only a few words. Others post tweet after tweet, trying to get their point across or use a site called Twitlonger to extend their expression. Here’s my Twitter, in case you want to see what it’s all about. If you know what it’s all about, feel free to ignore!
I don’t tend to use Google+ or G+ much, but it’s threatening to be huge someday. If you have a Google account you have a Google+ account too. Just go to Google.com and click the +yourname in the top right corner of the screen to view it! For Blogger users, there is a handy feature where Blogger will share your latest blog posts to G+ automatically. That could be super useful in terms of easy blog promotion, right? For everyone else I would recommend not spending too much time on G+.
(Intermediate and advanced bloggers might want to add Google Authorship to their blogs via Google+. This brings up the little image of YOU when your blog posts come up in Google search results and also improves your SEO (search engine optimisation) cool!)
In the comments:
Do you use social media? Which platforms do you prefer?