So, marketing your blog is difficult. Trust me, I get it! With so many algorithm changes to all of your favorite networks, it seems like once you finally have a schedule down—it up and changes on you. Today I am going to share the marketing strategy I use for my blog. I mostly use various social media sites to market my content, so I am going to share with you that strategy.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Please, please, please don’t focus all your energy on just one network if you can help it. I understand, when you are first starting out it may seem so overwhelming to figure out all the networks and get all the marketing done, but I am going to walk you through each of the networks I use and how I market on them. You may choose to focus on one network over the other once I give you the details to do that in this post and that is totally okay. But, obviously, the more networks you have (if you use them correctly) the more chances you have at your work being seen.
How To Market On Facebook
So, I am not going to lie—me and Facebook have a love/hate (and mostly hate) relationship. Connecting with your audience can be so difficult on Facebook. The thing you need to understand, though, is that there are so many ways to market on Facebook so I am going to show you how to market with Facebook groups and pages.
Facebook groups are amazing! There are so many different types of Facebook groups out there. Some of my favorite groups right now are:
Generous Content Creation With Amanda Cross (my group)
There are many different types of Facebook groups out there. Blog & Biz BFFs and For Love & Money are both groups run by amazing bloggers and the point is more connection and helping each other out with blogging questions. They both have weekly promo threads, though, that can be great for your content. Show Your Blog Love is more of a reciprocation group. There are threads for things like blog comments, Pinterest shares, and more. I usually participate in just the blog comment and StumbleUpon threads, but sometimes I venture to other threads.
Above all else when you are using Facebook groups be sure to follow these points outlined below:
- Read & Follow All The Rules Of The Group: Different groups will have different rules. Most of them are similar though. They don’t want you just dropping your link on the group wall and leaving. Read the rules the group sets up, and then make sure you follow them.
- Be employed at your Facebook page: Even if you don’t make money, add your Facebook page to your employment list and make sure that the public can see that. This will make it super simple for people who see your content in Facebook groups to find your blog.
- Be helpful: If you see someone needing help in a Facebook group, help them. This will look so great on you and you will begin to build trust within that Facebook group. Make yourself an authority by helping out others.
- Never miss a chance to share your work (if you have time to reciprocate): If you have time to return the favor, never miss a chance to share your work with the audiences in various Facebook groups. Make sure you have the time to reciprocate within the time allowed by the group though. Add the various threads you are a part of to your daily to-do list so you aren’t just getting free boosts to traffic without returning the favor.
Marketing on your Facebook page is a little harder than marketing on Facebook groups. Getting your page out there is crucial, but there are a lot of great resources for those who market that way.
- Consistency is key: The first thing about your Facebook page you need to know, is that consistency is key—not necessarily in constantly posting your own content though. You only reach a small portion of your audience each time you post, so you have to make sure that you share content consistently so you reach more of your audience.
- Variety is important: It’s important that your page be seen as valuable and not overly sales-y. Facebook wants their audience to have the best experience on their site. They will protect their viewers over your content, all day every day. So you need to be seen as valuable, informative, and not overly sales-y. You need to be interacted with. Don’t just share your posts constantly and leave the page alone other than that. Ask a question, share a story (without a link to your blog), share a picture from your weekend, share a meme. Keep the variety in your posts.
- Market your page: Facebook is one of the most closed social networks in my opinion. They make it really difficult to respond to things as your blog or participate as a page on the network. Because of this, you need to take time to market your page. You can do this by paying for things like Facebook advertisements (although don’t do this all the time) or you can do this by cross-promoting your Facebook page on other networks and in Facebook groups so you can grow your potential audience. Then as you grow your audience, you can continue to market your amazing content to them.
- Use Facebook Page Insights: Once your page reaches a good amount of likes you can use Page Insights and these insights are fantastic! You can see when most of your audience is online, the gender and age range makeup of your audience, find out how many clicks you get and the reach of your status updates, and more! This is great because after you see who your audience is and what they react well too, you can then see what to market to them so they interact more with you and your content. Heck yes!
- Don’t Be Sloppy With Your Copy: Hey readers, let me offer you some advice, no wait, I didn’t mean offer as in discount! Facebook is a strange and literally blocks certain words from doing well in their algorithm. There are SO MANY reported buzz words, and these will kill your reach faster than you can say your favorite tongue twister. The other day I wrote a super well meaning post, and it had great advice in it, but Facebook picked up on the word offer and basically decided to kill that post in its tracks unless I was willing to pay them. You need to make sure that you are very careful about how you word things on your page. Check out this super helpful article that features some of the potential buzz words Facebook has.
How To Market On Twitter
Twitter is a network that I am growing more in love with, but marketing on Twitter can be very difficult. The biggest reason why? Twitter moves SO QUICKLY. If you post something on Twitter, it will be swallowed by a mass of other posts rather quickly. Almost too quickly. So, what do you do to stop this?
Hashtags on Twitter are a great way to market your brand. You can use the trending hashtags if you can find a way to interject your content into that hashtag, or you can just use non-trending hashtags that just work with your audience. Don’t hashtag every word, but you can get a lot of recognition through hashtagging.
Tag The Organizations & Brands Mentioned
You can use this for every network, but I think it works especially well for Twitter—tag the brands you mention within the post. As an example, last week I posted a great blog titled “Why You Should Join An Academic Organization” In the post I mentioned the two organizations that I am a part of—Alpha Kappa Delta and the American Sociological Association. I decided to share that post on Twitter a few times, and one of those times I tagged the accounts for the academic organizations mentioned in the post. When I tagged the organizations I got significantly more RTs and click throughs and a way more impressions than normal. Both organizations RT’d my blog and the American Sociological Association has 20k+ followers on Twitter, way more than my small 1.4k follower number.
Twitter Chats Are Your Friends
The next way you can market on Twitter is by attending Twitter chats. I have so many favorite Twitter chats. Going to these chats allows you to connect with new people, grow your following, and usually also allows you drop a link or two throughout the chat if you have a post on your blog that is relevant to the chat. Chats can really increase your impressions and reach on Twitter and get you some great clicks to your content. Who doesn’t love that? If you are looking for chats to join check out this post that features some of my favorite chats to join (as well as some I am excited to try!)
Consistency Is Key
Lastly, it is important to be consistent, maybe to the point of annoying-ness honestly. Twitter moves so quickly so you can’t just post once on Twitter and decide to give up hope. Keep posting, keep hashtagging, keep following, and growing your audience on Twitter. After a while it becomes a little easier, but in order to see results from Twitter you can’t be a one-then-done Twitter marketer. You have to keep it consistent and keep it going. Use a scheduling software to make sure you are scheduling your content to go out multiple times at varying times on Twitter so that more people see your amazing content.
How To Market On Pinterest
Okay, so Pinterest is basically my favorite platform for sharing my work and marketing. It consistently brings me the most page views to my blog, and does consistently well. I have a blog post titled How To Use Pinterest for Bloggers which is good, but I have learned a lot since I wrote that post so I hope you find this content useful too.
Make Pinterest A Priority
Okay, so a lot of people don’t really consider the amazing things that Pinterest can do for their website, but Pinterest is amazing y’all and you need to make Pinterest a priority in your marketing. I have done so much with the help of Pinterest, and I know that I am just reaching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Pinterest can do for my brand. So, please don’t leave Pinterest out.
Pinterest is a search engine
A lot of people confuse Pinterest for a social networking site, I mean I lump it together with social networking sites all the time, but it is more of a powerful search engine than it is a social networking site. There isn’t a lot of social networking done on the site, but you can search for a whole lot of stuff. You want to make sure that Pinterest sees value in your website, and that you get higher on the Pinterest search feed. You can do this by using a bit of Pinterest Search Engine Optimization. Make sure that your pins feature the language they need to succeed.
- Pick those key words and use them often.
- Offer meaty descriptions of your content.
- Use call-to-actions to get people to interact with your content, click through to your blog, and save your pins for later.
- Use great vertical images so your pins take up more of the screen and get noticed.
Pin Other People’s Content
You are probably giving me a dirty look right now and saying, “Why on earth would I want to pin someone else’s content? That doesn’t make sense.” Trust me though, you want to pin other people’s content. My Pinterest feed is probably 95% other people’s content, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t get multiple notifications of people pinning MY content. I know that seems so strange, but it is true. You want to be seen as an authority in what you pin about, you cannot be afraid to pin other people’s content.
Pinning other people’s content can also create an amazing pinning relationship with them. I have a lovely person whose content I adore on Pinterest and I often repin her work on my Pinterest profile. We blog about the same things, and I want my readers to get advice from her because I love her advice and I know they will benefit from it. She also pins my work. One day she pinned an article I wrote a while back about cutting down unnecessary spending in college, and since she has pinned that pin it has received 150 repins from her account alone. That’s amazing. You never know the relationship you could be crafting with other bloggers by pinning their content and what that could mean for your blog in the grand scheme of things.
My last Pinterest hack that I am going to share with you is the amazing BoardBooster. BoardBooster is the website that I use to schedule and loop my pins. I am a night owl. If I didn’t schedule my pins, all of my pins would go out at like 2 AM when I have had a bit too much ice cream, cookies, and soda and I am feeling pinteresting. This, may be when some of my readers are on, but are they on for college and blog advice? Probably not. They are probably on Pinterest for recipes and random DIYs at that point.
By using BoardBooster I can keep my 2 AM Pinterest parties, but instead of pinning to my public boards, I pin to these great secret boards or “source boards” as BoardBooster calls them. Then BoardBooster, following the schedule I set up, drips these pins out over a few days, instead of at 2 AM when none of my readers are really on Pinterest. I know we all want to keep our Pinterest parties, just be smart about them.
How To Market On StumbleUpon
So StumbleUpon can be a hit or miss, but when it’s a hit, boy is it a hit. Today I am going to share with you how to market on StumbleUpon so that you can get the best result, in the shortest amount of time.
SumoMe is a great tool to use if you want to market on any site, but especially StumbleUpon. It makes sharing your StumbleUpon link a million times easier. Submitting a link on StumbleUpon is not the easiest thing in the world, and SumoMe makes it as easy as clicking the StumbleUpon button then checking a few boxes. You can get SumoMe on Blogger, self-hosted Wordpress, and Squarespace for sure. I know there are probably other platforms but I have seen them on those sites or tested them on those sites myself. I currently use Squarespace and the purple and pink boxes over to the side of this post if you are on desktop or at the bottom if you are on mobile is the SumoMe social sharing bar. I love SumoMe because you can easily customize the social sharing buttons so they match with your site or keep them normal.
StumbleUpon Senses Self-Promotion
I am not sure what it is, but I swear StumbleUpon senses overt self-promotion of your own posts. It is so crucial to mix it up on StumbleUpon. Don’t constantly share your own content, StumbleUpon will notice and not put your content in front of audiences on their website. StumbleUpon makes it easy to share other people’s content on their website. You can go through and stumble a few websites and make sure to rate them by giving them a thumbs up or down so your StumbleUpon site can curate better content and you can share other people’s content besides your own.
Likes Are Essential
Remember earlier when I talked about Show Your Blog Love and that I shared my blogs in their StumbleUpon thread? I share there because of the fact that a couple dozen initial likes really helps your blog catch attention on StumbleUpon. Last week I shared my Academic Organizations post on their StumbleUpon thread and that really helped my blog take off there. Last week I got hundreds of page views from a few posts on StumbleUpon. Pretty cool huh?
Participating in these reciprocation threads also helps StumbleUpon see you as a person who does more than just self-promote because you are liking other people’s content. These reciprocation threads aren’t always 100% amazing for your StumbleUpon account though, so you may want two accounts if you really want to use the site because you may be liking all sorts of content that will mess up the algorithm that StumbleUpon uses to find content that you will actually like.
How To Market On Instagram
The next site that I use to market my content is Instagram. Instagram marketing can be tricky, but I am going to share with you some of the best tips I have for using Instagram to market your blogs.
Get A Theme
Setting up a theme can take some time, but I feel like it’s important to understand exactly what you want your profile to look like. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate, but it is important to understand exactly what you want from your Instagram account and keep it consistent. You want your site to look put together, and like it all works. I have gone through a few theme changes, but right now I have two pictures I take with my Canon T5 or my phone followed by a quote or blog post picture I design in Canva that uses my blog colors. I find that this works for me so I don’t have to constantly take pictures, but that I have enough pictures of my own on my Instagram.
Post For Your Readers
Never post just to post on Instagram. I know some people like to show their imperfect side on Instagram so they may share a blurry picture or something else, but be careful with this. Don’t make this a habit and blame it on wanting to be more human. Be very intentional about what you share on Instagram because while you may like various pictures on Instagram, it doesn’t mean everyone does. I have learned a long time ago that I don’t post on social media for me, I post on social media for other people. I am very honest about that. It’s important to love what we put on social media, but at the same time, I need to be aware of what my readers would like because I am not trying to market to myself.
Use Those Hashtags
Instagram is a site were hashtags are pretty important. You need to use hashtags on your images and you need to interact with those hashtags once you use them. As a rule of thumb, once you put up a new post, try to go in and interact with hashtags you just used on your post. This way you are interacting with the people who are using similar hashtags to you and they are more likely to interact with your content too since they just posted using the hashtag. Don’t forget to use hashtags on your pictures and interact with them too.
You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post and I suggest using as many as you can. Use hashtags with a variety of pictures on them. Some hashtags are so overused that your picture gets buried in new pictures, so you want to make sure that you use ones that vary.
Need some hashtag inspiration? Check out this post by The Blog Market.
Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post. I hope the content featured here was helpful for you as you think about how to best market your content on social media. Here are some final thoughts on marketing to your readers and viewers:
Don't be afraid to learn from others
The biggest thing I have learned over the years is don't be afraid to learn from others. Do you need to learn how to better use Instagram? Take a course! Do you need to learn more about Pinterest? Read a book about it. Need more help on conquering a platform like Periscope? Check out an informative in-depth post. If someone has found an excellent resource or way to make something work, don't reinvent the wheel. My all time favorite course is Melyssa Griffin's Pinfinite Growth course. I have learned so much from this course and the lessons I learned within it continue to help me greatly on growing The Happy Arkansan.
SEO It Up
One of my favorite resources for SEO is another Arkansas blogger, Kimberly Herrington. She posts a ton of great content all about SEO and even has a quick SEO for Beginners course that features some great content in it. There are a lot of great SEO tips and bloggers out there. Creating better SEO on places like Google and Pinterest will get your items seen more, and can honestly be a lot easier to depend on than things like Facebook.
Stay updated on current changes
You need to stay updated on current changes to algorithms so that you can get ahead of the curve. Make sure you follow along with the blogs of various social media networks and that you keep up with the bloggers who excel at those networks too. These bloggers can offer great insight as to the new algorithm updates and what that means for their blog and yours.
Get those emails
The biggest thing I can tell you is to get those emails. If you can convert someone from just a viewer to an email subscriber, you can do so much more with them. You can interact with them, market to them, and get to know them in a more intimate environment. Convert as many people as you can by having multiple subscription opt-ins on your website and making it super simple to sign up for your newsletter.