bloggingBloggers/business owners/brands depend on social media to grow, expand and thrive.

Social media is an easy, instant way to connect with friends and potential readers/consumers.

When I joined twitter in 2010 as a new blogger and Mum, I felt a little lost and isolated, I was the first of my friends to have had a baby and was desperate to find others going through a similar time to me.

Twitter immediately enabled me to discover like-minded people, other parenting bloggers mostly whom understood how hard first-time motherhood was, they were supportive and fun and encouraged me to keep blogging. The conversations with those people made a huge difference to my life at a delicate time.

And that’s what social media is essentially- a conversation/ sometimes a visual one (instagram/pinterest)-otherwise verbal (twitter/facebook).

Now, as professional blogger, those relationships and connections still matter hugely to me, I discover new friends daily over and I’ve made long lasting friendships and colleagues thanks to social media but it’s also become crucial to my work, it helps me to promote my blog posts and I’m also paid to share content across my platforms by brands I work with.

In this post, I wanted to share what I’ve learnt so far; as with technology, it’s ever-changing so the learning never stops but for now, here are my top 5 tips to growing your social media-

1. Content is King

As with your blog posts, the quality of what you write, content is always king.

Ideally you want to engage readers on social media. Try and be yourself (like minded individuals with mutual interests gravitate towards one another) but do make sure you are offering value to those following you. Share useful information whether that’s blogging tips, recipes, family posts, advice and mix things up to reflect your own interests and personality. Write what you’d want to read, I say. Try and remain polite, stay away from drama, and be true to you.

Social media is a two way dialogue, I know it’s not easy with huge followings, but try and respond to all comments if you can. It doesn’t have to be immediately either. I don’t tweet much over the weekend so wake up on a Monday with literally hundreds of tweets, that’s OK. Reply when you can.

Some of the biggest, most time-short bloggers respond to every single comment they receive. That’s what makes them so successful.

Also ensure your gravatar is the same on every single social media platform you have so readers/followers can easily recognise and follow you everywhere. Try and keep that same image for at least 6 months too.

I have my blog header as my background on all social media and all my details are up to date with correct urls on each one. Check your links.

I try (it’s not always easy I know) to follow the 70/30 rule when it comes to SM, for 70% of the time, I share fun, relatable, engaging, real titbits of my life, the rest is promotional-urls to my posts (which are hopefully still of interest to my audience), my youtube videos, sponsored tweets etc.

On a similar note, when it comes to blogging, when I write a relevant sponsored post (I only accept commissions for brands I would use myself and fit my blog and readers) I go live soon after, with my own personal non sponsored post, unless the client has requested the paid for post must be the only post of the day, which is rare.

As I go live sometimes 3-4 times a day (a minimum of twice to fit my own blog and advertisers) and multiple posts is my house style as I run my blogs as magazines, 99% of the time, PR’s are happy with that.

Many allow me to post sponsored content on p2 of the blog too if I wish, so my homepage can remain as ad-free as possible.

It’s your blog, get negotiating on how you want it look.

2. Schedule Social Media

I use a combination of Social Oomph (which I pay for and love) and tweetdeck (free) for twitter and I also schedule facebook statuses and upload videos over on FB. It saves time, means I can meet my own clients’ schedules for sponsored material and offers me greater structure.

I do like to share funny things my kids do or say on a whim on FB but I mostly try to only post there twice a day, in the morning and after 8 at night as I’ve found those are the times my audience, mostly parents, are engaging with SM. More than twice can clog up people’s timelines.

I also use Crowdfire (paid account) to check who is unfollowing me on twitter and instagram and then I can decide if I still want to follow. PR’s tend to find the number between how many you follow and you is following you as the most valuable, bar a few A-listers etc, I try and ensure I’m mostly following those who follow me back.

The most important platform for SEO is Google +, a facebook style platform that really boosts your exposure in search engines. Make sure you sign up and plug every post and youtube video there.

3. Share Your Best Photos

Be it instagram or twitter, try and always share your best photos. That doesn’t have to mean professional photos either. Great if you have access of course- I personally take decent photos most of the time, and my husband’s are amazing which is always useful when growing followers, but many I personally follow simply snap on their phone. That’s what instagram was invented for.

Photos that are well lit (never shot facing direct sunlight), are pretty/bold to look at and tell a story are always best. Streams of the same shot or taken seconds after one another make for a boring feed. Mix things up. Share what you yourself would want to see. I only post once a day on Instagram usually and like to use #tagforlikes for ease of adding tags and gaining exposure as well as group tags like #cutekidsclub when sharing shots of my kids. There are millions out there.

On Pinterest, I only share my favourite photos from blog posts, not all, on various relevant boards and I make sure they are portrait not landscape shots as per Pinterest’s favoured format.

I have a share button to all social media on my posts and Pinterest buttons on all my images.

I personally don’t like to add my url on to photos I pin, every image links back to the blog it was pinned from anyway, and I don’t pin many photos with other’s details on the shot either. I like the shot clean bar Wise Words type stills.

It’s a personal thing though, most pinners/bloggers want to remind people of their link. When discussing this recently with social media experts, they said they don’t feel there’s a need to include this. However when it comes to Blogging Tips posts or How-to’s for example, there is titles are useful.

There’s no right or wrong way though, do what makes you feel comfortable.

On Pinterest, join popular, relevant collective boards, follow their rules and get exposure for your pins to bigger numbers. I have made a lot of my own boards shared too.

After a long hiatus, I returned to Pinterest, analysed pinners’ pages I loved and gave mine a revamp.

I left shared boards that were too similar to my own, chose new cover images for all my boards that collectively looked beautiful on the eye as a page, grouped similar boards together and ensured I was specific with board names to help SEO on that platform so ‘Easter Baking’ rather than just ‘Baking’, ‘Breton Stripes’ ’70’s Style’ as well as ‘Style’ taking into consideration what people search for on Pinterest.

Within a week of the make-over, I’d increased my followers by thousands and Pinterest UK had found my page and blog and had invited me to an exclusive event with George Northwood. Good huh?!

4. Run Competitions

Social media competitions can be a super-effective way for growing your social media following.

I have run competitions on my blog via Rafflecopter for a long time, requesting entries follow my platforms/ visit my FB page etc/ sign up to my newsletter. (You can’t ask followers to subscribe to YouTube or follow you on Google +).

I then promote across competition sites like PrizeFinder, Loquax, Super Lucky, MSE, BritMums Giveaways (some you need to sign up to) as well as across my social media platforms.

Asking entries to tweet they have entered mentioning you and your link (via Rafflecopter) is a fab way of garnering hundreds of thousands of impressions as entries tweet to all their followers too.

I also follow RT’ers @competitionspy and @ChrisRUK whose large accounts are focused on sharing competitions.

Only in the last month have I started running competitions only on either Twitter and FB, I’m not sure why I didn’t before, because Follow & RT competitions on Twitter are a great way to bump up your following.

You can no longer ask entries on FB to like your page and share due to their change in rules but you can ask entries to like your status and comment.

Blogger and Social Media Expert Jacqui of Mummy’s Little Monkey advises using, ‘the word ‘follow’ rather than ‘like’ writing something like, ‘Don’t forget to follow my page not to miss out on future competitions’ as a way round this.

Jacqui says, ‘ FB don’t like soliciting for Likes at all – their algorithms are designed to pick up the word ‘Like’ and may still penalise your page by not letting as many people see it’.

Many of my clients give me secondary or third giveaway bundles or hampers for my own social media alongside my paid blog competitions, sometimes to benefit them on twitter, other times simply to help me on FB because I have such a good relationship with them.

I also raffle off my own vouchers as part of my blog’s PR and marketing budget. Remember you don’t need hugely expensive items to get a big response. Low value but quality items can offer great results.

5. Boost your Posts with Paid Ads

I haven’t personally paid for twitter ads but brands I’ve been hired by or those I offer consultancy for, have seen great results with targeted advertising.

I do pay to boost posts on FB and advertise my page there, and I always advise clients to use boosters on FB for the best results.

Not everyone wants to or can afford to, but on posts I want to get the maximum exposure for, or to give posts a bigger push, along with getting the most life out of competition posts, boosting nearer the end of the giveaway, has proven fruitful in growing my numbers there.

I’ve not spent a lot either, a small amount goes a long way. A giveaway for £100 Cath Kidston card I offered reached 250,000 people in 2 days with only a £2 boost.

So there are my top 5 tips.

Oh and don’t be shy at promoting your social media on your posts/sites/business cards and anywhere else.

Case in point:

Why not follow me on Twitter, FB, Instagram, Pinterest & Google +.

I would love to read your comments and any of your own top tips too.

 

 

Like what you've read? Then why not follow Vicki on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram

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64 Responses

  1. Jane Allen

    I found this post useful. You took your time to explain. Valuable, as usual. I appreciate it!

    Reply
  2. Amber

    Your blog is such a wealth of useful information, Vicki. Every time I come here I learn something new and I’m starting to get a bit addicted to browsing your archives. Thank you so much for all of your generosity in sharing.
    Amber recently posted…Revisiting the BathtubMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh Amber thank you so much, that really means a lot, I respect and value your opinion and really appreciate you checking out my archived posts too x

      Reply
  3. Alex

    Such a helpful post! My SM following is so slow, especially on FB. I pay to boost posts and have noticed a huge difference. I have learned a lot from this post, thank you 🙂 xx
    Alex recently posted…Are you ever ‘ready’?My Profile

    Reply
  4. Rachel Bustin

    Fantastic Tips! I’m going to make sure I bookmark this page to refer back. Thanks for the post! xx
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…Book Review: The Crooked HouseMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Wander Mum

    Fabulous tips as ever Vicky! Just started using Tweetdeck and it’s amazing how scheduling your tweets can make a difference. REALLY need to get my head around Google + – what’s the best way to generate followers on it? #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    • honestmum

      It really is, Google + doesn’t rely on followers really, it naturally gives you SEO every time you post there, treat it like FB, add your best pictures and post regularly. Of course great to have followers and build your circles, so follow others your friends/ peers/ colleagues are following but the priority is to post there. Making You Tube content helps too as Google owns them so it all feeds into one another. Add the Google + badge to your blog too so people know to find you there, and share buttons at the bottom of your posts to encourage shares x

      Reply
  6. Ashley Beolens

    Such brilliant tips as always. I think I need to work more with G+ I tend to only +1 a page once and have it post automatically to my blogs G+ page. Knowing that it helps with search I should do more I think (thanks for the extra workload!)
    Ashley Beolens recently posted…Proud Daddy Moment 2My Profile

    Reply
  7. Kate

    These are so helpful, thank you! I’ve only recently started scheduling my tweets and I’ve noticed a dramatic rise in page views on my blog so that’s definitely a good one to try 🙂 #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Kate recently posted…Achievement WallMy Profile

    Reply
  8. Eimear

    Great tips, especially for a newbie like myself! Now off I go to overhaul my Pinterest! #brillblogposts
    Eimear recently posted…Tanning for dummiesMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Mumma McD

    Very useful tips Vicki, thanks for this post. I seem to have flurries of activity on my social media, where I gain a heap of new followers over a day or two, but then none for a few weeks – I’m trying to work out why/how that happens! It doesn’t seem to be connected to what I’m posting… it’s a social media mystery!

    I think I need to do less blog promotion on my social media profiles, and more ‘sharing tidbits of my life’, as sometimes it just feels like I’m writing ads for myself!
    Mumma McD recently posted…Easy ways to make your blog more accessibleMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Yes really important to mix it up and I would look at your twitter insights to see which tweets get the most RT’s, are seen the most as that dictates what people are most interested in. I say variety is best. Also actively follow others too to grow.

      Reply
  10. Penny Pincher

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for as I’m new to blogging and my main problem is getting people to view my site. I do use facebook (hate it though) but I love twitter and pinterest. I’ve not even had time to look at anything else yet, there’s so much to do but you’re quite the inspiration and I’m very glad I made the decision to follow you plus I’m from leeds too hahaha.

    Reply
  11. Carry On Katy

    This is ridiculously helpful! Thanks Vicki! I have of course nominated you in a number of categories. It’s a shame they don’t have an award for the best hair cos you’d nail it! Xx

    Reply
  12. Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas

    Fabulous tips as always. Glad I have introduced you to Tweepi back at our first MASH meeting after Britmums, such a great tool, isn’t it? Need to start competitions on twitter, and like the idea on twitter and facebook ads. just so much to do in not much time!
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…Top 10 Family Destinations in EuropeMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh hun, forgot you’d introduced me, thank you! I love that and I also use similar ones when working with clients. Boosters are really quick and simple on FB and twitter comps garner great results x

      Reply
  13. Mel

    Told you: you ARE the queen of social media. Vicki, I am always amazed at how well you know your stuff. Keep sharing those fab tips!
    Mel recently posted…Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Pear & Rosemary PuréeMy Profile

    Reply
  14. Franglaise Mummy

    Fab tips here – really helpful for all bloggers, old and new 🙂 xx
    Franglaise Mummy recently posted…Dancing for a better life with Comic ReliefMy Profile

    Reply
  15. Renee @ Mummy Tries

    Another set of brilliant tips Vicki, thank you! Really need to get my butt over to Pinterest! xxx
    Renee @ Mummy Tries recently posted…Nanny vs Nursery – where do you stand?My Profile

    Reply
  16. Chirag Nayyar

    Fantastic tips. Specially about Run a Competition. This kind of strategy gives boost to our growth.

    Thank you for sharing this informative post.

    Reply
  17. Ebabee

    Very useful post – thanks for sharing lovely. I especially found some of your competition tips very useful. I use buffer to schedule posts – it’s ridiculously simple so works for me. x
    Ebabee recently posted…10 fun Easter egg decorating ideasMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh yes, I use buffer for clients but I personally prefer tweetdeck, think it’s just because I use it so often but buffer is good for forward planning, both fab. So glad you liked it x

      Reply
  18. Jess Helicopter

    This is a great post. I didn’t think about how confusing and annoying it must be to have me changing my profile pic every 5 mins! I’m like flipping Wyld Style from the Lego Movie!

    And you are SO good at responding. It must be quite exhausting. But you’re right, it does make people want to come back for more. 🙂
    Jess Helicopter recently posted…My Biggest Post-Birth FearMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh that’s so sweet, I do try but it’s not always immediate. It really matters to me that my readers know I’m here, reading and appreciating the time they’ve taken to comment. Def stick to one per blog on all social media. I have 2, so a different one for my style blog but I follow suit with those images across all corresponding social media platforms x

      Reply
  19. Sian

    Great tips as usual Vicki thank you. I didn’t realise how powerful Google+ is either, but seeing as though it’s Google, that makes so much sense. Food for thought re: Tweetdeck and Pinterest too … oh so much to do and so little time as usual!
    Sian recently posted…Living Arrows 12/52My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Really is the big Daddy of SEO, just do a little at a time, a small bit goes a long way and before you know it, will all be second nature x

      Reply
  20. hannah Mums' Days

    Another great post Vicki – it’s absolutely jam-packed with such useful info, from where to share your competitions to exactly how to use each social media platform. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it up love!

    Can I ask – for G+ do you share directly to the site or use something like Buffer to schedule?

    Thanks again lovely xx
    hannah Mums’ Days recently posted…Brilliance in Blogging AwardsMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks darling for your lovely words, so glad you liked it, especially as you’re so on it with SM. I don’t schedule on Google + and I like to upload images rather than the featured one from the url x

      Reply
  21. Ann Winters

    Great post with really good tips, as usual 🙂 Thanks for letting us know about tweepi, I was needing to do some cleaning on my twitter account! I usually follow everyone who follows me, but I realized that my numbers drop afterwards and is difficult to keep track on who unfollows you… x
    Ann Winters recently posted…My Sunday Photo || {The Ordinary Moments}My Profile

    Reply
  22. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Great post hon, I don’t yet use Tweetdeck, although have downloaded it and really should! Competitions is a great way to grow following for sure, as is RT and talking to other people – I often think of social media as walking into a party or playground alone, you have to strike up a conversation to get things moving! Xx
    Mama and More aka Zaz recently posted…Comment on All About You link party – celebrating YOU! by Spring Capsule Collection + A Sweet & Spark GiveawayMy Profile

    Reply
  23. Dawn of the Dad

    Great post with some great tips. I use G+, FB and Twitter, but I just can’t get my head around Pintrest. Do you think Pin’ holds a lot of clout, and should I give it another chance?

    Reply
    • honestmum

      I absolutely do, it’s a fabulous, inspiring place, my happy place online and is a huge traffic booster. Get pinning from your blog and generally. I have a menswear board you might like on there.

      Reply
  24. Anna

    I didn’t realise Google+ was so powerful for SEO – thank you! Am going to set up a BOKAC page right now!

    Reply

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