Alright ladies and gents, we’re now in the final installment of the “Living Creatively” series. In this fourth post, we’re diving into how you can promote your blog on social. In part one we talked about how to start blogging and do what you love, in part two how to set up a website with SiteGround, and finally in part three how to write great content that matters.
Using social media to promote your blog posts tends to give creative entrepreneurs the chills – it means advertising ourselves, finding ways to stand out and be creative. In a sea of voices, it’s possible to use social media to drive traffic and grow your blog – even when you feel fresh out of creative ideas.
The Fear of Self-Promotion
It’s totally okay to be scared of self-promotion. As humans, our biggest fear is being judged. That’s why our egos work so hard to fill in the gaps – with money, with popularity, with attention from the opposite sex. You name it. These are all ways our ego tries to keep us from looking “bad,” from being judged.
Social media is a plethora of eyes that can cause our egos to go H A Y W I R E. I want you to know that fear is good. Why? Because it can help you become better at what you do. You put in so much of your time and effort into your business, you create incredible content, and then when it comes time to share with others you freeze.
That’s fear – there’s something there that wants your attention. Figuring out what the block is lets you create a plan of attack. Once you’re able to recognize it and say “Oh… I see. I’m afraid people won’t like me and my creations.” You can begin to work through that, and find ways to affirm that you and your creations are exactly what the world needs.
Why Promote Your Blog On Social Media?
Self-promotion is essential to selling. You can create and create and create. But keeping it to yourself will never allow you to start a real business. It’ll make a nice hobby though (if that’s your intent).
It may seem as if social media invented the art of self-promotion. Actually, self-promotion has always come part and parcel with being creative. Before a writer can get an agent or a publicist, they need to be able to share and sell their ideas. They need to go to an editor and say “hey, I have this great idea for an article. I think you’ll love it. Here’s why.” That’s called pitching. Every industry has some aspect of pitching involved – portfolios, samples and resumes are crucial for this reason. Cover letters? They’re all about selling your skills and sharing how your work can benefit a company or business.
What’s great is that now social media makes it easier to promote your blog. Learning how to use social media is important because it places you in front of the people you’d like to be at the table with. We’re all looking for a seat at some table. I like to think the world is a lot like college just on a larger scale – we have different subjects to study, extracurriculars, groups of friends to sit with. Social media is like picking a table, sharing a meal, and creating thoughtful conversations while there.
Ways to Use Social Media to Promote
There are a few different ways to promote your blog: social media, email marketing, even in-person networking. All of these work together. Each way will have a different strategy and practice. You want to keep that in mind when creating content for social media platforms. You wouldn’t approach someone at a workshop the same way you would at a team dinner. The same goes for social media. You don’t just want to create one post, and slap it onto three different platforms.
Say someone follows you on all three. First, they’ll think you didn’t care enough to put in the effort to diversify your content. Second, it shows that you’re not paying attention to how each platform is used and for what purpose. Third, you can have very different audiences on each. Customize and personalize your strategy when using social media to drive traffic and promote your blog.
“To effectively cross-promote your blog posts, you can’t simply broadcast the same message on each social network; you need to tailor your message to fit each platform and audience.”Social Media Examiner
It’s a good idea to choose two to three social networks to start off with. Most people only use a maximum of three on any given day. Using a mix of platforms allows you to diversify your content and reach different audiences. If email newsletters are also part of your social media strategy, make this your third channel. That way you can get into a consistent rhythm, nail down your plan, and branch out further down the road.
Creating a Social Media Strategy
Creating a social media strategy was one thing at the beginning that scared me. I’d think “Oh man, how do I make the content on each different?” It sounds like it can be tons of work too. Thankfully, it’s not! I dive a little deeper into the 101s of social media marketing here. If you’re having trouble creating a plan, and tailoring your brand story for different platforms then this’ll be a great intro read.
To create your own social media strategy, check out who you already like and connect with. It’s likely that you’re already following people who are serving your ideal client – and seeing what works for them or what’s not working too well can give you an indication as to where to begin. Let’s take my favorite: Marie Forleo. Marie is a marketing master, and if you look at her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout the week you’ll see she doesn’t just share the same content across all three.
On Instagram, she gives a more personal inside look into her business – she shares photos of her dog, Kuma, throws in a clip of her upcoming video, gives us a behind the scenes into her new pasta adventures. It’s like we just came over for coffee, and she pulled out the photo albums. Seeing her joyful and inspired life makes us want to live that life too. Marie makes being a coach and business owner look fun, enjoyable, and refreshing.
On Twitter, you get more of Marie – the teacher. This makes sense, she’s a coach and so scrolling through her Twitter feed brings up inspirational quotes, links to recent blogs, even tips she loves from other coaches in the industry. On Twitter, she’s able to drive traffic to her website. This gets more eyes on Marie’s content – one follower retweets her quote, another thinks “wow I need to see the full post” and yet another loves the Tony Robbins article she shared so they leave a comment. On Twitter, comments are posted directly to your timeline, further extending Marie’s audience. 😉
With Facebook, Marie again gives you another side. Here she mixes the previous two personas. Facebook is one of those hubs where people go to catch up with friends, get some news, take a break. So Marie gives you fun tips on how to become more fulfilled, she asks her community questions, she even shares insightful personal wisdom. Through Facebook, Marie creates trust with her audience – she lets her community get to know her, and she gets to know them, making them advocates for her brand and services. This is how you create brand awareness.
When creating your social media strategy, think about how each platform fits into your blog and business goals. The most common are:
- Brand awareness: telling the story behind your brand
- Improving engagement: inspiring people to take action
- Increasing clicks: driving traffic to your website or
content Drivingconversions: turning customers into buyers
Once you’ve established your goals, connect a platform to it. From their experience, Quick Sprout has found that “the social media sites that send the most traffic to blogs in general are: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.”(In that order).
Mix Up Your Social Media Content
Once you’ve created a strategy brainstorm what types of content will help you best promote your blog. Say you own a shop and one of your goals is driving conversions. Your content is very visual, so you’d like to use Pinterest to sell items from your store. You can create product pins, use text overlays to tease out the benefits of your products, and encourage customers to find out more on your blog.
You’ve now got a great way to promote your blog and turn customers into buyers using Pinterest! This is just one example of what your social media strategy can look like in practice.
Next, create a content calendar. Calendars are so so so crucial to social media – it’ll eliminate any anxiety around what to post and when. With a calendar you can create your social media copy in batches and then schedule. I use Buffer for scheduling posts. It’s free, has a simple to use layout, and lets you connect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and in the paid version, Pinterest.
The best part about creating a calendar? If you’re stuck for creative ideas, you can simply switch up the copy and share a previous post. Every two to three months, you want to share older posts (if they’re not time-sensitive, like a Christmas feature). You can also repurpose this content. If a post did really well, and you notice it’s a topic your readers enjoyed then you can turn into a YouTube video, or create an eBook for it. You’ll have fresh ideas, and increase blog traffic.
Get creative with your content. For example, only the links in your Instagram bio are clickable, making it a challenge to promote your blog. Though there are still ways to creatively use social media and build your audience. The Content Marketing Institute, for example, suggests using stories. “With Stories, you can link within an individual story, bringing people directly to your content without leaving the app.” You can also share one of the visuals on your page, use the comment section to write up a mini-post, and then encourage reading the full feature with the link in your bio. 🥳
Building Your Blog Audience
Now, once you’ve created your content and are ready to promote your blog you need to engage. Getting to know your audience is an important piece of the social media puzzle and one piece many businesses get wrong. The drive behind business is to sell, so social media tends to become just one more way for businesses to promote, promote, promote. But the real gem of social media is connecting. Providing value (i.e. offering help), rather than trying to make a sale.
Think of it this way: you go to a friend and say “Man… I’d really like a slice of pizza.” Your friend now acknowledges that there’s a problem or challenge you’d like help with. They say “hmmm… I know a great pizza spot I think you’ll like. Let’s go.” Wow! This is great. You’re thrilled that they’re so open to being of service. They’re helping you satisfy your pizza craving. Because they were so nice and generous, you offer to get them a slice. And man, that slice? Thebomb.com
Now imagine if your friend said “Hmmm… I know a great pizza spot I think you’ll like. Let’s go. But… you have to buy me a slice.” 😰 You might be taken aback, because now your friend seems more interested in helping themselves than helping you. By the time you get there, you might even be upset ‘cuz you just traveled for who knows how long to a place that looks like a hole in the wall, and now you’re stuck having to buy this guy a slice that you’re not even sure you want!
It’s the same with social media. You have a community of friends who are in need of service, genuine help. By providing quality, risk-free solutions, you can turn these friends into buyers. It takes trust to get people to actually buy from you. It all comes down to satisfaction. Will I be satisfied once I buy this? Why? With continual exposure, your audience will see you as a brand that provides value
How to Connect With Potential Readers
One popular way to boost your blog traffic and use social media to promote your blog is groups. This is like going out to a cool party and socializing with people while there. You get to create conversations and let people reach you.
This is a great way to also meet others who are doing similar things as you, who are in a similar space, and who you can partner or collaborate with in the future. You may for instance find your next graphic designer or photographer from hanging out in these spaces!
Facebook and LinkedIn are two primary spots for groups, while Twitter allows you to create “lists” for certain audiences. There are also great forums, like Reddit, LanceBase, and Alignable that give you an opportunity to directly connect with potential readers and promote
“[F]ocus on building your reputation in the group first, and then keep it by only sharing valuable content, at the right time,” says online business expert, speaker and coach, Lilach Bullock.
There are so many networks to join online, so if you’re wondering where to even begin here are some of my favorite Facebook groups for creative entrepreneurs:
- #WeAllGrow Latina Jefas Group
- The Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon
- #GiveWork Social Entrepreneurship Community
- The Business Lounge Mastermind [For Online Entrepreneurs]
- Humans of Online Business
The sky is the limit with groups. You can find specific groups such as for freelance writers or virtual assistants, interest groups if you enjoy traveling or fashion, even location-specific groups. Try out a few and see which ones you enjoy.
Grow Your Blog
Now, the only thing left is to actually promote your blog! Use social media to grow your blog and boost traffic. You may even make a new blog or business friend along the way. 🙌🏽 These business friends will keep you encouraged and can be of service when you’re in a sticky challenge.