Hello all and welcome to the Bloggiesta Social Media mini-challenge! There are many mini-challenges about the details of how to use specific social media sites, but this isn’t one of them. Today, I’d like to focus on the big picture: what kind of content to share on each type of social media and how to use different social media platforms in a complementary way. Basically, this post is for people who start out like me, more uncertain about what to do with these sites than about how to use them. At the end of the post I’ve got a fun giveaway of a $15 gift card to Amazon or TBD, starting at midnight tonight when Bloggiesta officially begins. All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me one thing you’re going to do to improve your social media presence and/or share something you think people should know about using social media. So, here we go!
What to use it for: casual conversation with other bloggers, interacting with authors, promoting authors you love, sharing your posts, sharing other bloggers’ posts, sharing anything you post on any other social media site,
How to use it:
- Don’t be scared to just talk to random bloggers and authors. I’m always thrilled when someone responds to one my tweets and I’m sure most other people feel the same way.
- If you read a post you love, think about tweeting it. Include the blogger’s twitter handle in your tweet.
- If you write a positive book review, think about tweeting it to the author and the publisher. They almost certainly have more followers than you and they might retweet your link.
- Don’t tweet an author a negative review. Obviously 🙂
- Consider making a list of authors you want to support and periodically checking if they’ve tweeted anything you want to retweet.
- Many social media sites let you tweet things automatically when you post them. Take advantage of this to make your twitter feed somewhere people can find everything you do online.
- If you host a link-up, think about promoting the links people add by tweeting them. (As others have pointed out in the comments, some people prefer to use this feature judiciously or not at all. It can get very annoying to have the exact same content tweeted over and over through multiple sites. It can also be annoying to have too many impersonal tweets or to share content that doesn’t work well as a tweet – for instance, something with a lot of text.)
- Use a scheduler, such as Hootsuite, so that you can schedule posts in advance. This is especially great if you’re going through a link-up of your own or reading through someone else’s and want to share a bunch of links without overwhelming your feed all at once.
What to use it for: share collections of posts with a common theme, make “list posts” but with pictures, advertise your posts, meet new bloggers
How to use it:
- If you have a great idea for a list but it needs pictures, they’re probably going to show up better on Pinterest than in my feed reader. If you have a list that needs lots of pictures, consider Pinterest.
- Pinterest is also nice because you can build a collection of posts over time. This makes it perfect for sharing your posts, since you can add them as you post, or for a list that you don’t have many ideas for yet but will build on later.
- Consider creating boards for different categories of your posts, so people can find them easily. For example, I do a board called “Five-Star Non-Fiction” with just my top non-fiction reads.
- Find a group of bloggers to promote and who will promoter you by joining group boards. Be sure to check with the admin that you’re allowed to add your own posts and don’t spam the board. Do visit the posts shared by other users.
- Be sure to make your posts pinnable by others. As a book reviewer, I have an obvious, go-to image for my reviews – the book cover. But other posts, like discussions and giveaways, need pictures too or they won’t get pinned. Check out picmonkey.com for an easy, free photo editor where you can start making simple images like the title of your post over a suitable background. (As you might be able to tell, the figure at the top of my post is one of my first attempts!)
What to use it for: to share your posts, to share images, to share other content from around the web
How to use it:
- At a minimum, there’s no reason not to have your blog posts automatically post to Facebook, especially if you’re using WordPress. On blogger, it sounds like you can do this using an account with Networked Blogs (Thanks for the info Melissa!). Either way, this makes Facebook another option for people who want to subscribe to your blog.
- Personally, I’m part of the reason for the statistic about posts with photos being clicked on most often. I almost exclusively end up on a blog’s Facebook page when the blogger tweets a picture they just posted to Facebook. This also goes back to my point about automatically cross-posting to Twitter.
- If you find a link or a blog post you want to share that doesn’t belong in a collection (in which case you’d put it on Pinterest), Facebook is a good way to share a one-off item.
- I don’t heavily invest time in my Facebook page yet, but if you’re going to, I’d recommend reading some of the posts about who Facebook share your content with. I’m sure there plenty of tips out there for maximizing that number.
Bonus! Other Social Media and Random Tips
- Other sites I use include:
- Goodreads for direct interaction with bloggers and friends about what they’re reading while they’re reading it
- Tumblr which is automatically linked to my WordPress account, like with Facebook, and is also great for finding gifs
- Instagram for sharing photos instantly. I just started using Instagram but anticipate using it mostly to share pictures of books and of me doing blog related activities.
- Google+, also automatically linked, and while this is another one I’m new too, I plan to discover more ways of using it since apparently greater activity will increase your search ranking
- In general, when beginning to use social media, I’d suggest focusing on one new sort of social media at a time. Once you feel like you’ve mastered something, move on to adding another platform as you have the time and inclination.
- Don’t ever hesitate to ask other people for help and be sure to google for answers, because there are lots of great tutorials out there.
And Now… The Challenge!
Actually it is quite easy for one to post to Facebook, provided you get an account with Networked Blogs, which does post one’s blog posts when you post to both Twitter and Facebook, depending on how you have set it up (I have it to post to both Facebook and Twitter). Also if you haven’t posted for some time, you have to go into Networked Blogs and “pull” the post so that it does post.
Thanks Melissa! I’m updating my post to reflect that 🙂
Andi @ Estella's Revenge
Great post! I use these three and consider them the “big three.” Very easy and convenient to use. But I do have to say Google+ is sneaking up for me since Facebook’s algorithm went all wonky.
Ha, I knew I was forgetting a site I used! Yes, I’m adding Google+ to my list and will hopefully be starting to use it more myself in the future. Given that it sounds as though your use of G+ can impact your google search rankings, I feel like it might be more worth the effort to me than facebook.
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
I’m not a big fan of facebook and I don’t think I’ll get into it, but twitter and pinterest I LOVE, so I was glad to read your tips! I think I follow most of them, except for making pinnable pictures for my posts that aren’t book reviews – that’s a really good idea! I do like having a collection of photos in pinterest to represent the content of my blog too, so I plan to do that soon!
I can’t think of any other tips though- I think you got those all covered! 🙂
I’ve not gotten into facebook as much as Twitter and Pinterest either. I don’t yet make pinnable photos for most of my content either, but I’ve noticed some other bloggers doing a fantastic job at it and I’d like to get better myself 🙂
Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness
I loved this post! I’m just learning the ropes with this social media stuff, but my biggest concern was to know if I was using them right. I’m currently on twitter and facebook, but was feeling more insecure about twitter. Now I feel relieved to know I’m doing things right. As Melissa, I also use Networked Blogs to automatically post my blog posts on twitter and facebook, but I haven’t heard about Hootsuite, so I’m checking that out. So, since I now feel confident with those two, I think my challenge will be to try out Pinterest! If I manage to handle it, I guess my next would be Google+, but I need to figure it out first. Anyhow, one step at a time. Thank you!!!
I love Hootsuite, although you might google other twitter schedulers to see which you think you’d like best. I love being able to just pay attention to twitter all in one chunk and end up with tweets scheduled for throughout the day. I still need to work a bit on Pinterest and a lot on G+ myself so hopefully we’ll both get them all figured out 🙂
Wesley at Library Educated
I go back and forth on the usefulness of Facebook pages because of their limited teach but I still think it’s good to have one!
I think I feel the same way. I’m not yet willing to invest the time in figuring out what arcane process determines who sees my posts, but I do like to share my posts on facebook so that people have that option if that’s how they like to follow blogs.
I linked my blog up to Google+ today after reading Amanda’s post and I use Twitter and Facebook already. I am still on the fence about Pinterest though. I have an account but do not really have the time to utilize it. — Suggestions anyone?
I know other people seem to get lost for hours on Pinterest, but I generally have to make myself use it. One not too time consuming way to use it might be to mostly create boards to categorize your posts or pin posts from other bloggers which you enjoyed reading.
I have to disagree about automatically posting from other sites to Twitter. For some sites it works because the update is short enough to fit into a tweet — GR updates and Instagram don’t bug me — but with ones that don’t, it’s just irritating, and FB is the worst offender.
I also hate it when people have all their different sites set to auto-post to Twitter, but then they post the same thing on all their sites! So I end up seeing it on Twitter three or four times in a row… and often none of these is a “real” tweet! Unless I already have a good relationship with the blogger, this is something that will quickly lead to an unfollow.
Obviously, that’s just my opinion, not a “right” or “wrong” way to use it. But when I see so many guides like these focusing on how to best use the strengths of each site, I do get confused on why Twitter is the catch-all for everything, whether it fits the medium or not.
Shannon @ River City Reading
I totally agree with the auto Tweet from multiple sites, Charleen. I use auto Tweet for posts during the day when I won’t be home, but I don’t have my FB/Twitter account linked because I hate to see the same exact thing coming through the same channels at the same time.
Great point! I like being able to catch up with everything someone is doing just by checking their twitter feed, but I agree it’s not always going to be the best way to share things. It’s also true that people can very easily end up spamming the same content over and over that way as they post to multiple sites. Personally, I’m using both Literally and Goodreads right now, so I’m trying very hard to make sure I don’t post updates about what I’m reading through both sites. I know some people suggest retweeting the same link with different text, but even that intentional retweeting can be annoying, much less retweeting identical, impersonal tweets through other sites. I’m updating my post to include this advice 🙂
A great summary of the different social medias. Thank you!
I’m happy to help 🙂
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories
I really need to remember to tweet the author/publisher for positive book reviews! And will have to look into Tumblr, I haven’t signed up yet. I need to be better about sharing my posts/pics to Instagram as well. I still want to find a way to auto-post to G+ too. Thanks for the challenge and the chance to win!
This is something I’m still working on doing myself! For some reason, I’m much shyer about tweeting authors and publishers than other book bloggers. I think I need to get over my nerves though, because it always goes well when I remember to tweet them. I know on wordpress there’s a way to auto-post to G+ because I’m using it, but I don’t remember how. I’m sure google has the answer though 🙂
Rebecca @ Love at First Book
I love this. I think the biggest thing is to pick a few social media platforms and run with them. I like Instagram, and I use it for both personal and blog pics. It’s a great way to connect with others. But I don’t use it as much as I use FB and Twitter!
I like that you share some personal pictures on Instagram, especially the ones of your dog! I’ve been debating whether or not I can share some pictures of my cat without becoming one of those crazy cat people, haha. I’m afraid once I started, I’d just post pictures of her all the time! Question… for your facebook page, do you use an autoshare feature or are you writing descriptions for each post? It looks to me like you’re writing captions for each post and it seems like that could be a better way to go than just autoposting, if you have the time.
Great post. I’m new to both Pinterest and FB with my blog and I’m still figuring out how to use each most effectively. This definitely helps.
Question: if i post a picture to my blog’s FB page how do i get that to be tweeted? How do it set this up? Or maybe i just need to post more pictures and then i’ll figure it out.
Jen from The Relentless Reader (@JenHartling) is the one I see doing this the most often, so she might know of an easier way to do this. However, if I were trying to set this up, my first stop would be If This, Then That (https://ifttt.com/wtf). This is a site where you can easily put together recipes which allow you to say “if I do this on one site, then doing this action.” For instance, I know that you can cause anything you post on facebook containing a particular hashtag to also automatically be tweeted. It’s a pretty nifty site 🙂
kai charles (Fiction State of Mind)
Thanks for the challenge! I actually have all these sites but except for twitter I’ve been lax with them so today I updated them all and posted them. I also added easy links to my tablet so I can keep updating things easier.
I definitely have more social media sites than I have social media sites that I’m managing as well as I would like! I think I’m going to try to brush up on my Pinterest, Riffle, and G+ accounts this bloggiesta. I like your idea of adding easy links too! I might have to see what I can do with my smartphone to make updates easier.
Vicki @ Hot Tea and a Good Book
Great tips. I plan on trying to jump in more with Twitter. I also think I will create a facebook page for my blog as well. Up until now I haven’t because I figured I’d tackle one social media site at a time. Thanks for the tips.
I didn’t used to get twitter but since I started using it to talk to blogging friends, I’ve fallen completely in love with it. It’s such a great way to get conversations going! Facebook I’m less enamored with, but I do like to have it available for people who like to follow blogs that way and now that I have it setup, it only takes as much work as I want to put into it.
I love Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads, but I don’t have a Facebook account. I would if I could use it for my blog ONLY, but I don’t think my relatives would allow that.
Haha, yep, that’s a good point. I don’t mind having a personal facebook account but I do get away with using it almost exclusively for bookish things. I think I might get rid of it otherwise too.
Melinda @ The Book Musings
I’ve only taken to twitter about a year ago (and created an account for my blog about 3-4 months ago) and I can already say it’s my preferred social media platform. Thanks for your tips!
Twitter is my favorite too! It’s just so easy to interact with other people in a personal way on Twitter. I don’t really have any back and forth interaction on any of the other social media sites, except maybe Instragram.
I’m hoping to play with Pinterest a bit more and create some great boards. Tumblr I like, I just need to post more. Instagram is still kind of foreign to me, so I’ll be playing with that today too!
I only recently figured out how to automatically post my blog posts to Tumblr so I still need to play with it more to get it figured out. I do occasionally go there for gifs, but other than that, it makes me feel old – I just don’t get it the way I do some other sites! Speaking of feeling old, I also just got my first smartphone, so I’m excited to do some playing around with Instagram too 🙂
I found it so helpful and such a time saver to have my posts automatically sent to Twitter and Facebook! That only leaves me to post to Pinterest which I usually try to do once a week! I’m also starting to get into G+ which looks like it will be fun!
I love this feature too! I’m also auto-posting to G+ but would still like to do more with it and I need to be more consistent about posting everything to Pinterest. There’s always just so much to keep track of!
I love Pinterest and use it for my other blogs but haven’t used it much with my book blog. I will use your tips and make an effort to pin my reviews in to categories/lists. Thanks.
This is something I need to get better at myself. I know a lot of people get really good traffic from pinterest, especially if they have good pictures in all of their posts, so I think it’s worth the time for me 🙂
Angie @Angela's Anxious Life
You may have seen me mention this on the other challenges but alas… facebook blocked my blog a few years ago as spam. So I can’t actually post there. But I use twitter and pinterest. I have also been really getting into instagram lately. I used to only use it for personal pictures but it is so fun to see book bloggers post pictures of books and bookish things.
Oh, that’s too bad! Although I think if you were going to get blocked by one site, that’s the least bad. I really just can’t deal with the complexity of who sees what on facebook and personally I have more fun with both Pinterest and Twitter. I’m starting to really like Instagram too 🙂
Trish @ Between My Lines
I think my biggest tip is to experiment and see which ones you enjoy using the most. I think twitter is best for interacting with book bloggers but I use FB, GR, G+ and Pinterest too. I like to mix it up but the biggest driver of traffic is twitter. Nice round up 🙂
I think that’s great advice. I’m sure which social media each person prefers will be pretty individual. I also find that my biggest driver of traffic is twitter and it’s the site I enjoy the most 🙂
Jenni Elyse (@jenni_elyse)
I have such a hard time with using Pinterest to promote my blog. I just don’t see the point for book bloggers. Do you find that you get a lot of traffic through Pinterest?
Just checking my stats since switching to self-hosted in January, it looks like I’ve gotten about 250 referrals from twitter and 100 for pinterest. Given that I put much more effort into twitter, pinterest is looking pretty good for referrals per time spent! I could still do a lot more with it too and I’ve seen other bloggers list as their top referral site, so if you enjoy doing it, I think it could be worth the time 🙂
I’ve been using Twitter for awhile and I love it, but you’ve give me some good ideas about how to maximize its effectiveness. For instance, I’m co-hosting a read-along next month and it never occurred to me to retweet posts that participants link-up.
Glad I could help 🙂 I should actually credit the idea for tweeting link-up participants to Rebecca from Love At First Book. It’s a habit I picked up after noticing that she was doing it 🙂
Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such
Great overview of the top social media sites! I need to start using Twitter more, and think making lists will help me connect more often. Thanks for the tips!
Twitter is definitely my strong suite. Some of the other social media sites still make me feel old for not getting them. It makes me glad I’m blogging so that I’ll work to stay up-to-date 🙂
I’m going to explore using Pinterest to promote my blog.
I currently use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Goodreads. Whew! That’s a lot of social media. Anyway, thanks for all of the tips!
It is a lot of social media! Just writing this post, I felt overwhelmed by how much is out there. It sound like you’re already doing quite a lot!
I use all of the social networks on your list and a couple others – I am trying to get my head around Bloglovin’ at the moment!
It is nice to have a list like the one you laid out above so I could make plans on my own list!
Great post thanks 😀
I’ve actually exclusively used Bloglovin’ as a way for others to subscribe to my blog. I sometimes follow people back, but since I don’t actually use it to read blogs (I use feedly and wordpress for that), it’s just a nice gesture and I’m usually also following some other way. Do you use Bloglovin’ to actually interact with people?