By, Natalie V. Davis
When I first dove into the world of blogging back in 2014, I didn't have a Facebook page or Twitter account for my blog. I thought that my content would be able to stand on its own and that readers would find me because of that content, not because of some social media marketing gimmicks.
Oh, how arrogant I was.
That approach would get me 3,000 monthly page views if I was lucky (and most of those were my parents and my husband after I’d begged them to read my latest post), and I was ready to throw in the towel. My effort in creating and maintaining a blog was so far out of line with the results I wanted to see that I felt as if I was wasting my time.
Then, I decided to go all in with social media: what did I have to lose? I created a page for my blog, opened a Twitter account, and switched my personal Pinterest account to a business one. I started marketing my content via those channels, and everything changed rapidly. Within 4 months, I’d gotten my page views up to 13,000 per month, and I’d started to grow a following.
While analytics are crucial when creating a blog, there are many other reasons why social media can help you, too. Here are 5 more reasons why you shouldn’t delay in adding social media marketing to your blog or website.
1) Allows Me to Interact with My Followers
What an incredible world we live in: never before have we had an opportunity to reach out and directly connect with our favorite actors, singers, brands, and bloggers. Everyone nowadays has Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so content creators have the ability not only to produce content for their audience, but get immediate and direct feedback from that audience.
2) Helps Me Reach New Followers
While keeping those existing relationships with followers should always be first, finding new followers is essential to growing your brand in the long term. Having a presence on the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram) puts me in front of new faces whenever I interact with my existing followers and allows me to find others with similar interests who might want to see my content, too.
3) Shows Me What Fellow Bloggers are Doing
My biggest source of learning about travel blogging has been through Facebook groups: these have allowed me to learn from other, more established bloggers, and ask questions about blogging in an environment where we can all draw from one another’s experiences.
Beyond those private groups, I’ve also learned a great deal about content, posting, branding, and marketing just by following some of my favorite fellow bloggers. I’ve learned about to craft my own online brand that showcases my personality and perspectives.
4) Gives Me New Opportunities for Blogger Friendships
Working in a world that’s completely online can sometimes feel isolating, as I don’t have any co-workers to bounce ideas off of on the day-to-day. However, finding bloggers to whom I can shoot a quick email to with my latest collaboration idea or a short question about my next destination is crucial. My blogger friends are always in my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds, so keeping up with them via social media allows me to feel more like I’m a part of a community even though we’re sometimes thousands of miles apart.
5) Showcases My Abilities to Brands
Working with brands, hotels, and CVBs is crucial to growing a successful travel blog, so it’s important that everything I put out on social media is a reflection of my personal brand. As I’ve grown, I’ve gotten emails from travel companies based solely on what that PR person saw on one of my social media channels: that quick impression led them to my blog, which allowed them to learn even more about my goals and blogging style. Staying professional and on brand throughout your social media posts is crucial to getting those brands interested and turning them into readers—and hopefully, partners!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Natalie, a former college literature professor, decided to combine her passions for travel and writing into Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown, a travel blog, in 2014. Since then, she and her family have explored King Ludwig’s castles in Bavaria; flown in a World War II era plane over St. Simons Island, Georgia; explored an Iron Age fort on Ireland’s Aran Islands; and touched fossils in the Grand Canyon. Her travels focus on the intersection of history, literature, culture, and family-friendly adventures. When she’s not traveling, Natalie can be found exploring her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and two young children.
By, Abbey Weit
Don’t call it a break.
Call it a comeback. Definition: When a well-known artist, player, entertainer comes back after a long wait with something truly amazing. Thank you Urban Dictionary. What am I referring to exactly? Well, if you haven’t noticed, things have been a bit quiet around my blog…. (cue the crickets). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still been active. Posting photos on my personal accounts, checking in on the blog traffic, generally just doing what twenty-something’s do in the city. Yes— I went there.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Why the interruption, Abbey?” and you know what? I’ve found that I’ve been asking myself the same question. Friends, Family, colleagues… They’ve all asked why I haven’t posted on social media and why I haven’t kept the blog going. GUYS! Have a little faith, I haven’t quit! But honestly, it’s been overwhelming the amount of support I’ve received on social media from this blog.
I think that’s what makes social media so special—it has the power to make or break you. Five or ten years ago, who would have ever thought that you’d be able to stay up-to-date on the lives of everyone you care about by simply placing your finger on a touch screen? So many people have been able to take a peek into my life because I started this blog, have been featured on other blogs, and am sharing moments of my life in text and images. There is an unmistakable sense of community that supports you when you’re down and need to be picked up.
Speaking of community—social media, by definition, is social. So, why not put yourself out there and engage? As I entered the bloggersphere myself, I’ve been introduced to other young professionals that I would have never known if I hadn’t started this blog. Yeah, I know it sounds a little creepy but I’ve become friends with people I’ve never even met! It’s also gotten me back in touch with old acquaintances that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve received endless Instagram direct messages from photographers in my community to other bloggers wanting to feature me in exchange for me featuring them.
So why am I calling this a comeback? Because social media has empowered me to remember just why I started this thing in the first place—to be a part of something just a little bit bigger than myself. To inspire others to live a life worthwhile by sharing moments that they can recreate or engage with and to communicate in a way that is thoughtful and organic. Being able to share these moments with the world is such an incredible opportunity—being able to share a piece of yourself with others and build trust. I think one of the coolest aspects of social media is that it’s constantly iterating to become more sophisticated and complex. It allows you to recreate yourself as you grow and learn more about the person you want to become.
That’s exactly what I plan to do here. Today starts a new journey to recreate myself through social media and self-expression. Here comes the comeback.
Check out my new and improved site, www.twenty-somethinginthecity.com, my Twitter Account: @20_inthe_city, and my Instagram handle: @twenty_inthe_city.
By, Ireana Nathan
Hey, guys my name is Ireana Nathan! I’m a Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger at Xoxo, I. Joelle. I currently reside in Charleston, SC born and raised. I’ve been blogging for about five years, but I’ve been blogging under Xoxo, I. Joelle for two years. When I’m not blogging, I am a Kindergarten Teacher Assistant and student. I know it sounds like a lot but somehow, I get it done.
When I first started blogging I must say I thought I knew all I needed to know. But over the years I learned that there is so much more than meets the eye. I remember in 2013 I started to feel stagnant and I couldn’t figure out why. I got bored writing some of my content because I felt like it wasn’t my authentic voice. I was trying to keep up with the other bloggers I would see on Instagram. I remember writing constantly about the latest MAC Cosmetics makeup release or the latest style collabs with brands like Target and H&M. I saw other bloggers write or post about it so I thought I was doing something right. But after doing my research I found out that the bloggers that I admired were getting invited to these events and sponsored products. Also, they were getting paid to do just that. I then realize I couldn’t keep up because I didn’t have the following on my blog and on my social media accounts. I was pushing 300 followers promoting my blog.
Fast Forward to 2017.
Over the years, I’ve learned so much from blogging and it has changed me for the good. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the ins and outs of blogging. If you’re looking to start a blog, I have a few basic tips for you that can help you get started:
1. Mission Statement: Why do you want to start a blog?
Just like any business today there should be a reason behind what you’re doing. I feel that your mission statement is the foundation of your blog. You can reflect on your “Why” on the days when you feel uninspired and need boost of motivation. I would answer this question with at least three answers.
2. Be Original
From your blog/brand name, voice, and etc BE YOU. With so many bloggers and blogs in the bloggersphere you’re probably wondering how can you stay original? By simply being yourself. You alone can make it if you stay true to your mission statement and work ethic. If you want to work with brands majority of the time they are looking for fresh new bloggers or influencers. Be you, do you and the rest will follow.
3. Stay Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to everything in life, especially when it comes to blogging. When you’re running your blog, you don’t have to post every day. Create a schedule that you can stick to and be consistent with it. Keep your readers up to date with your schedule. For example, I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and if I have time Fridays and Saturdays
4. Do what works for you.
DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT try to keep up with other bloggers or influencers. You don’t know what comes with each blogger and brand collab. You don’t know what these bloggers go through to keep up with an image. Do what works for you and do what you love.
Over the next few months I’ll be sharing more tips on blogging! Stay tuned for next month’s post.
Until Next Time,
I have always loved taking pictures, so getting to incorporate that into promoting my business was a natural fit for me. I don't know the first thing about Twitter and have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, but Instagram is one channel I'm in tune with. Early in my business I started paying attention to what type of content I like to see in other accounts and then tried to emulate that when featuring my own products. A recurrent theme I found is pure and simple; pretty pictures. Instagram isn't for words/infographic/blurry photos. People want to see bright and lovely photos, so if that sounds like it is doable for your business then stick with Instagram. I am certainly not a professional photographer, but I make my phone photos as good as possible with the help of some simple editing.
Of course there are plenty of important factors that can make pictures better from the get-go (such as lighting & the type of phone you have), but using a photo editing app can really enhance whatever you are working with! I'm not talking about applying Instagram filters- they don't quite do the trick. However, both Instagram & iPhone allow you to manually edit photos. You can adjust brightness, saturation, eliminate shadows, & so much more within these apps. There are also plenty of other photo editing apps, my favorite of which is Snapseed. It’s really user-friendly and the “selective” feature can help me just make one area of a photo brighter or make the sky extra saturated with blue. I’m confident you can teach yourself Snapseed by playing around with it until you find settings you like for your photos, or check out this tutorial if you need some photo examples to go by. You might prefer other editing apps such as VSCO or A Color Story; it really doesn't matter as long as you keep your photos bright and crisp! Have a look at a couple of these before and after photos, taken with an iPhone 7 and edited with Snapseed.
If you know you could use a little more 1-on-1 help, check out my Instagram consultation here.