Now that I’ve covered all of the topics I wanted to talk about under the heading of content, it’s time to move on to community. One of the most important aspects of blogging is community and it’s essential to respect that. From personal experience I have found that the best way to build your blog (as well as making some pretty amazing friends) is by getting involved in the community and I think that one of the more prominent platforms to aid this is Twitter.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
When creating your Twitter profile it’s essential to make sure that your bio clearly conveys who you are. Include little things like a general location, links to your websites and other social media profiles as well as an up to date profile picture. It can be tempting to follow hundreds and thousands of random profiles in hope that they will follow you back, but in the long run it’s better to only follow people who’s tweets you really care about. Communicate with people you’d like to get to know in order to build your network and maybe even make some friends. I first met Hayley through Twitter and she’s now one of my best friends!
One of the best ways to get yourself & your blog out there is to join in one of the many Twitter chats. No matter what your niche – or even if you have no niche – there will be the perfect chat for you. Twitter chats typically last an hour and are a great place to find new blogs to read and people to talk to. Some have set topics which that particular chat will stick to on that day, with a variety of questions to spark discussion, whereas others are for more general discussion. Elaine from XOMISSE has this fantastic calendar that details all of the chats and what time they take place, but a few notable chats include #lbloggers (lifestyle bloggers) on Sundays & Wednesdays at 7pm, #bbloggers (beauty bloggers) on Sundays and Wednesdays at 8pm and #fblchat (fashion, beauty & lifestyle) on Tuesdays at 8pm.
TWEET TWEET (BUT NOT TOO MUCH!)
One of the most off-putting things when I’m browsing Twitter is a constant stream of tweets all linking to the same blog post. Sharing links to your new posts is one of the greatest things to use Twitter for however there is definitely such a thing as overkill and oversharing. If I look at someone’s profile and all I see is links to their posts I probably won’t follow them, Twitter is a social media platform and so requires some work on the social side. Be conversational! Interact with your followers and people that you follow. It’s difficult to use Twitter successfully if it’s all one sided, so be sure to get involved. It’s okay to tweet things that aren’t about your blog – even if you made the account purely for blogging purposes!
My favourite feature when it comes to Twitter is the ability to schedule tweets when using apps such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. I don’t always have the time or signal to allow a regular stream of tweets so I always try to have a few tweets scheduled – especially if I have a new blog post live! This stops me from worrying all day about maintaining a consistent Twitter presence, and helps to make sure that my new shiny blog post that I spent hours on does get seen. Typically, when sharing a post I will schedule approximately 5 tweets a day to try and hit a varied amount of Twitter users. I will usually have tweets around 9am, 12-1pm, 4pm, 6pm and 9pm so that I’m still getting my posts out there but not spamming my followers timelines. If you struggle to find spare time in the day to tweet out links to your posts I would definitely recommend trying out a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to help – I personally prefer Tweetdeck as I find it a bit more user friendly but I am trying to make the transition to Hootsuite as it provides a few more handy features.
Hashtags aren’t just those annoying things that seem to be on t-shirts everywhere nowadays – they do actually have a pretty important use. When sharing content that you want people to see one of the best things to do is include a few relevant hashtags to expand the reach of the tweet. Depending on what you’re posting about, there’ll probably be a specific hashtag as well as a few general ones to include. Usually, I opt for #lbloggers, #bbloggers and #fbloggers but from time to time I will also use #scottishbloggers and #fdbloggers for my foodie posts. Have a look at what other prominent (and relevant) tweeters are using then see if you can adapt them for your own tweets. Having a read through the tweets of a certain hashtag is also a fantastic way to find new people to follow & blogs to read!
WHO TO FOLLOW
Finally, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tweeters that I currently follow: Becky, Lis, Jayne, Terri and Joelle.
NEXT WEEK: In the second installment on social media, I’ll be talking all about Facebook as a blogging tool and my undying love for Pinterest.