Social Media

5 Tips for Managing Your Blog's Facebook

5 Tips for Managing Your Blog's Facebook Page

I'll be the first to admit that my blog's Facebook page is often the last thing on my list. I can stay on top of Twitter and Instagram easy; Pinterest, I tend to fall behind on; and Facebook? If I have time, I'll throw a post Facebook's way... but not usually. 

However, I've been researching and researching to find out the best ways to manage Facebook without actually spending a ton of time on it. My time is limited and I'd rather have my 30 minutes of relaxing by scrolling through Instagram than having an extra 30 minutes of work (is that lazy?). Here's what I discovered. 

1. Use a scheduling tool that doesn't suck. 

The secret to managing social media, as most people know by now, is using a scheduling tool. I'm on the record as hating Hootsuite; it's probably my least favorite app, and yet, it's insanely popular. It's ugly; it's wonky; and accounts constantly need refreshed to stay connected. No thanks. 

I recently started using Later and it's a game changer. Later allows you to connect 3 accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are my go-tos) and you have about 30 posts per platform per month in the free version. That's one for each day. Not bad! Later is also visually based, so it allows you to store your best photos and use those, instead of having to constantly uploard and re-upload each individual photo. Genius. 

2. Pick a schedule that works for you. 

Some articles suggest that you should post on Facebook as much as possible. Obviously, this naturally increases your reach--but it doesn't necessarily increase your engagement. In fact, it puts you at risk of annoying your followers. I post once every two days on Facebook (when I, uh, make the effort) because I just find this works best for me. 

3. Write Facebook-specific content. 

Occasionally, it's nice to write a Facebook-specific post--like a special announcement, a giveaway, something, anything. You can promote it in your other social media channels, but since Facebook has a higher character limit, it's a great place to play with micro-blogs and experimental content (like, say, a baking feature you've been thinking of adding to your lifestyle blog). 

4. Tease blog posts. 

Facebook is a great place to tease future blog posts: to provide that little sneak peak at what's coming next. Again, you can promote these sneak peaks on other social media channels, but thanks to that character limit, Facebook is a great place to get feedback and hype people up.  

5. Don't stress about numbers. 

One thing I've learned from my day job is that Facebook numbers deviate more than any other social media channel. Facebook's algorithm (like Instagram's these days) is incredibly wonky. Some days, I will have only blogs I follow have posts in my timeline; the next day, it's all my mom friends. There really doesn't seem to be a correlation. So above all else, if the numbers jump around week-to-week, don't stress about it. It will even out! 

7 Tips for Starting a New Blog

This post was originally published on my old blog, Ellipsis, over 3 years ago. I've learned a lot since then, so I've adapted the post to fit the current blogging climate. 

When I started my blog, I really didn't have any advice to turn to. I started blogging because I wanted to be just like Gala Darling (cringe!) but I've definitely grown since then. I see a lot of talk about advice for new bloggers. Here are my simple, 7 tips after blogging for almost 10 years. 

1. Start with clean, simple design. 

No matter what platform you use (Blogger, Wordpress, etc.) pick a theme that is clean & simple. I see a lot of "cluttered" looking blogs -- huge headers, double sidebars, crowded sidebars... it's incredibly overwhelming for readers! I'm a firm believer in less is more & I personally like designs that have one sidebar with a clean, organized look -- not too many icons, no random text, etc. Beyond that, remember to pick a readable font for your body text! The other day I went to a new blog that used cursive as the body font, that was near impossible to read. 

2. You don't need a fancy camera. 

I love my Canon Rebel t2i, but honestly, I don't use it as much as I used to! Most of the time, I use my iPhone to take photos or I use stock photos from websites like PicJumbo and Unsplash. If I'm writing a review post, I'll use my Canon to take those -- but an iPhone or point-and-shoot camera takes photos that are just as good. Remember, you don't need perfect photos -- just photos that clearly demonstrate what you're trying to show! 

3. Content is king. 

Your content matters -- from formatting to what you're actually writing, your content is the most important piece of your blog. The other day, I clicked to a blog that has 1000+ followers & had received a box of samples from Benefit -- really! -- and the first paragraph of that blog post? About 30 lines of text with not a single period. It was so stream of consciousness and it read horribly. Content matters. The amount that businesses pour into content marketing makes that very clear: write good posts and you will reap the benefits. 

4. Pick 2-3 social media platforms & use them to their advantage. 

Most of my traffic comes from Twitter and Pinterest. I also get a lot of traffic from Google+, which I don't even really use! Lots of people try to use every social media network, but that's not really necessary. Pick the ones you like best & work them! Post consistently, post intelligently, and post your links! (And if you decide to use Twitter, participate in chats whenever you possible can! I like #lbloggers, #fblchat, and #blogtrends the best!) 

5. Network. 

The blogging community is just that--a community. My blog is primarily read by other bloggers. If I find a blogger doesn't interact with the community, I'm much less likely to read their blog! It's totally fine to be busy, but replying to people on Twitter, asking questions, participating in chats, joining communities... it'll help you go further in the long run. 

6. For Love, Not Money. 

Ok, I have something to tell you: the blogging bubble has burst. There are just too many bloggers. It is certainly possible to have a creative career, but blogging will only be one part of that. To be truly successful, you have to have multiple streams of income if you are an entrepreneur: you can't rely on just a blog or just an etsy shop. You have to establish multiple ways to be successful & work hard at all of those things. Have passions, hobbies, and a career outside of blogging. It will all fall into place someday! Don't blog to get rich -- you'll only end up disappointed! 

7. Be yourself. 

This is something I cannot stress enough. I see so many blogs that are just carbon copies of each other. You don't have to have the perfect, pin-worthy home, an expensive camera, or new everything all the time to be successful. You just have to be yourself. When you blog in a way that is genuine to who you are, you will be successful. 

I Suck at Writing Subject Lines (But It's Ok & Here's Why)

Writing emails for content marketing purposes is, hands down, one of the most difficult things I've ever learned how to do. This is coming from someone who cried in their sophomore geometry class because proofs were so difficult and complicated. Well, sophomore-year-in-high-school me, you're in for a shocker: a writing task (writing! your favorite!) is even more difficult. 

Thanks to all the content marketing resources out there, I've gotten better (perhaps even "good") at writing email marketing. I wouldn't call myself an expert, necessarily, but I get the job done.

Most writers will tell you that subject lines (or titles or headlines) are the most difficult part of writing: how can you sum up everything in an article, a book, or an email with one succinct phrase--and still inspire people to open the email, click the article, or buy the book? 

The short answer: you shouldn't. 

Subject lines are my writer Achilles's heel: they are my ultimate weakness. They are my greatest challenge when it comes to writing. 

I've read every article in existence on writing better subject lines, how to write subject lines to get clicks, to get opens, to change the game. Trust me, I've done the legwork. I've attended webinars and signed up for email newsletters on the subject. I've done A/B testing; I've completed worksheets; I'm written and rewritten and rewritten again. 

No matter what, I come to the same conclusion: I suck at writing subject lines. And that's ok. 

I can hem and haw over a subject line, or title, for hours potentially. I debate over how to perfectly sum up what I've written. Then, I have to take into account everything else: what will interest people? What will get the most clicks? Or opens? I can debate for hours. I can download all the ebooks and read all the articles. I can do as much as I can to avoid actually hitting send or publish. 

But the truth is: a subject line is just a subject line. You can do everything right and still not get as many opens as you wanted. There is no perfect formula to the perfect subject line or title.  Sometimes, something works and you have no idea why. Sometimes, something just clearly does not jive and you won't know why. 

That's ok. 

We want to believe that marketing can be brought down to pure math, that you can determine everything by numbers. But when you combine the power of words with the rigidity of math, it's never going to be perfect; add in the subjectivity of the average human and it's never going to make 100% sense. We can only know the basics of what works and even that is iffy sometimes. 

I'm always going to suck a little bit at writing subject lines and titles, mostly because I get overwhelmed at how important they are. And that's ok. It's ok to not be perfect at everything (as tough as it is to admit). It's also ok that sometimes subject lines flop, despite killer content; it's ok that sometimes you need to A/B test, tweak a title once it's published, or experiment. 

It doesn't have to be perfect from the get-go. Take the pressure off and allow yourself to experiment and find what works for you and your audience. But don't get too set on any one method or style: it will probably change tomorrow. 

What I'm Reading: April 2016

Ages and ages ago, I used to do weekly link round ups of what I've been reading and enjoying on the internet. I think it's time for this practice to return--especially as I spend more and more time curating content for my personal life and my professional life. Here's what's been on my (internet) plate lately! 

Got any good links or great reads for me? Share on Twitter

Social Media Isn't Scary (I Promise)

Some people intuitively "get" social media.

And of course, some don't. 

Funny enough, I would actually consider myself in the second group. Inherently, I'm not a person who enjoys bragging (or does it well), nor am I inherently charismatic. 

The parts of social media that I "get" tend to be the nitty gritty: collecting statistics; basic scheduling tips and tricks; the importance of visual content; and analytics. And all that I've learned from years of using social media on my own and through working in social media for a year.  

The number one thing I've heard from friends who also work in the industry is this: "social media is intimidating!" or "I don't understand what I'm doing wrong on social media..."

I don't claim to have all the answers... but sometimes, I think the solution to the problems many people have with social media is incredibly simple. 

Social media isn't scary... and it isn't complicated either. 

Social media is incredibly easy. That isn't to say that it's "easy" to get followers or to make sales--that's actually quite complicated. But social media itself is easy and it doesn't have to be scary, time consuming, or intimidating. 

Good social media requires a few things: 

  • A routine, 
  • Dedication, 
  • And specific attention to analytics and results.

Social media isn't time consuming.

When I was training realtors on using social media, the number one argument and complaint I got was, "But I don't have time!"

Social media can seem daunting because it seems like you'd have to spend hours on social media: posting, reading, responding. That just isn't the case. It'd be great if we all have 5-6 hours a day to dedicate to social media (and how fun too!), but none of us do--even social media professionals. 

As I said, social media requires a routine and dedication to that routine. The advice I gave to realtors was this: take 10 minutes at the start and end of everyday to check your social media accounts (whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn). Use those 10 minutes to like anything, RT a few tweets, and Favorite any articles you want to post yourself. On a weekend morning, you can take an hour, tops, to repost articles, write content, or create a timeline of content you want to share. 

It sounds easy, right? It is. It just takes time management, dedication, and a strict routine--things that entrepreneurs are supposed to have anyway, right? 

Social media requires strategy. 

Whether you're running a lifestyle or fashion blog or starting your own business, having a social media strategy is important. As I've written in the past, this is something I struggle with personally (it's hard to draw the line between personal social media and public!). Adhering to a strategy--and not deviating, despite what you might want--is incredibly important. Knowing the times to post, how to interpret analytics, and what kind of content your audience favors is daunting, but by creating a strategy, you can keep an eye on all of those details--and succeed.

Need help creating a strategy for your social media? I can help.