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! 

How to Plan Social Media for Your Blog (Without Going Crazy)

plan social media for blog

Writing and planning social media is, actually, kind of what I do for a living, as a content marketing coordinator. Social media is something I love and am very passionate about. But when it comes to my actual social media channels, I feel a bit like a cat in a sack. I just struggle. Give me a brand or business and I can plan, write, create assets, and schedule like a beast. 

Ask me to schedule a few tweets for my own blog (brand? business? What is this thing I'm doing?) and it's like pulling teeth. 

For a few months, I was very intense about scheduling social media: I posted several scheduled tweets a day, made graphics, wrote posts for Facebook. I got burnt out very fast. I'm not willing to pay for a scheduling software and I hate Hootsuite. Buffer is my favorite social media scheduling site, but if you want to schedule over 10 posts, you need to upgrade to a paid account. 10 posts lasts about 2-3 days on Twitter; for Facebook, that covers an entire week. So for Twitter, I was having to write and schedule every 2 or 3 days. 

Let me just say it: ugh. 

It's a lot of work and I found myself going a bit crazy. Here's what I decided to do instead of drive myself insane. 

1. Focus on just a few social media networks. 

I think Twitter works best as a casual network for me. I get more traffic if I just act like myself, instead of posting scheduled tweets to posts. Also, it's just more fun. The social media networks I put the most energy and planning into are Pinterest and Instagram. That cuts out the stress of posting on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram everyday. I do try to post on Facebook once a week, but rarely do I meet that goal. I get almost no traffic there! 

2. Do what works for you. 

When it comes to Instagram, it can feel a bit like a game. However, I find that I get the best followers & engagement when I'm authentic. To me, that includes: 

  • posting cute, candid stuff in my stories
  • writing longer captions 
  • creating graphics
  • not sticking to any one theme 

I do not like themed Instagrams, as a rule, but I am experimenting with using stock photos recently. Mostly because by the time I remember to take photos, it's 8pm at night and there is no light. That's just what works for me; others don't love it! That's ok. 

3. Don't feel like you have to do what others do. 

This is important: you'll see some things that seem to be working for others, like scheduling the same tweet over... and over... and over day after day. 

That doesn't work for me. Because I get tired and bored and don't have that level of patience, I'll admit it. What works for me are the most passive forms of social media marketing: using images and graphics that are optimized for Pinterest, Instagram, and chatting on Twitter. That's what works for me. Minimal effort, maximum output! 

For Pinterest, I highly recommend group boards; I have three group boards that I pin 5 posts to every day. Alongside my usual daily Pinning, that's all I do. (Oh and make sure to pin your new posts to Pinterest! I always forget. Hashtag-expert, right?)

4. Keep a list of ideas. 

Throughout my day, I'll often have moments of, "this would be a great post!" Or I'll see something that I think would be a pretty photo. I keep a note on my phone where I write those ideas (it's very messy). Some of them I never actually go through with, but some I do. "Planning" for me is more about having a treasure trove of ideas that I can dip into when I know I need to post something of substance. 

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How to Write Better Instagram Captions

Instagram is a social media platform that I really struggle with. I don't like themes (expect a post on this soon) and I don't really get the need to make my house, or life, or child, or self, seem perfect. Sometimes, I feel really jealous over curated Instagram profiles because it just seems to take so much work

One of the most challenging parts of Instagram is writing captions. Seriously, captions. I can have a good photo and a good idea. But then I'm stuck, staring at that caption box. Like, what do I put here? What works? 

I gathered up a few resources to come up with a few ideas. Here they are. 

1. Write to engage. 

This is something I struggle with. When I post photos, I try to post something I think is funny or related to the photo. But on Instagram, when it comes to getting people's attention, there is a benefit to writing something that engages other people. This is a great post on doing just that

2. Be brief. 

Does this feel like it is at odds with that first point? A little bit. But here's the truth: it's possible to write engaging captions, without going on for sentences. I definitely try to keep my captions two sentences or less. Although I follow some great accounts (like my friend @poesyross) who use longer captions to great effect. For more about writing with brevity, click here

3. Make sure to edit. 

This goes without saying: before you hit post, make sure to proofread. I've definitely hit post before write as I notice a glaring, huge typo on my post. Oops. Not the most professional looking, for sure. For more on editing for length & more, click here

4. Use a quote. 

Here's the thing: sometimes, there just aren't words. You have a great photo. You know what time you need to post for maximum engagement. You have everything ready. Except words. Grab your favorite (related) quote, add a question, and post it with your favorite hashtags. Easy peasy. Pinterest is a great source for great quotes. Click here to view some

5 Must-Have Blogging Resources

I've been blogging since 2007, at the latest. You could say I was blogging before that, if we count Livejournal and Xanga. That's almost 10 years of solid blogging experience. Does that make me an expert? 

Who knows!

Over the years, I've tested and tried, loved and hated tons of blogging tools, from photo editing software to social media networks. Some tools (Lookbook and WIWT, anyone?) I've moved away from. But some, I just keep going back for more. 

Here are 5 things I think you'll love for blogging. 

1. Canva

Honestly, I could sing the praises of Canva all day, but I won't. (I wonder if they'll get annoyed with me on Twitter though!) What is Canva? It's an online resource you can use to make gorgeous graphic design content, from social media posts to hero images for blogs. I know, I know. A free online resource for that? It has to suck. But it doesn't! The fonts and free elements are amazing, and you can upload any image to use. It's the greatest tool available to marketers and bloggers on a budget. 

2. Free stock photos

I've written about free stock photos before. Stock photos are notoriously awful (seriously), but more and more excellent free resources are popping up. I know some bloggers had stock photos, and that's fine, but I think they can be a valuable resource for when you don't have time to do your own photography. (I know I never do anymore!) My favorite sites are Unsplash, Life of Pix, PicJumbo, and Gratisography. 

3. Hootsuite

This is one of the first things my blogger friends mention when they talk about must-have blogging tools: Hootsuite, that fancy-schmancy social media post scheduler. I've tried to use Hootsuite in my personal life--really! I have--and I have to confess: I just hate it. I just hate it, guys! It's so ugly! I hate the way it shortens links! But that being said: scheduling posts is an incredibly valuable tool that works for approximately 65% of bloggers. For the rest of us, we'd rather just set reminders and do it ourselves. There are other tools like Hootsuite out there, but Hootsuite is the most integrated with "big name" social media platforms. It's totally worth a try. 

4. Pinterest

I remember when Pinterest first started (back in December 2010, I believe--at least, that's when I signed up as a beta user!) and how strange it seemed. It took a while to figure out how to use it, but when I figured it out--it was magic. Pinterest is one of those platforms that emerges and fills a niche that we never even knew existed. The best part is that Pinterest is primarily a young, female platform: women between 16 and 40 make up most of the users. That's really cool because it makes marketing really easily. Are you a young woman running a lifestyle blog of any kind? Then you need Pinterest; you need to have options to pin your content to Pinterest; and you need to be optimizing Pinterest, like, yesterday. The returns on Pinterest are insane. Even with the limited amount of time I spend on Pinterest, approximately 40% of my traffic comes from Pinterest. 

5. iPhone

Ooh--I know when people see this one they're gonna wonder what in the world I'm talking about. Hear me out: the iPhone has completely changed the way we live our lives... which means it has completed changed blogging. I had a Blackberry Storm before I got my iPhone 4s in 2011. I never took pictures with it and I barely used it for Facebook. Texts and emails. That was it! But after I got my iPhone, everything changed. Suddenly, social media was more accessible than ever. Without iPhones, I don't think modern blogging would be what it is--and I would argue that a modern smartphone, like an iPhone or Android, is crucial for keeping up with social media, photography, and networking. 

What's your number one must-have when it comes to blogging? Share with me 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.

All About My New Blogging & Social Media Plan

You may have noticed how regularly I've been posting lately.

This isn't just out of boredom (although bed rest is certainly giving me a lot of time to plan and write). I recently decided to dedicate myself more fully to my blog, to writing, and to gaining freelance writing opportunities, as well as alternate forms of income. The main readers of my blog have, until this point, been my friends & family, as well as long-time blog friends and acquaintances.

Ultimately, I want to grow my readership... without jeopardizing the parts of my blog that I love (basically, being able to write about my life). I also want to start focusing on one of my little known passions: digital marketing strategy and planning, as well as content creation. You might have noticed a few posts of that variety recently. 

This is a somewhat sudden shift in content and it can be kind of jarring. I'm trying to bridge the gap between my two, often very different blog topics. Ultimately, I want my digital marketing content to relate to all people--small business owners, other bloggers, and my friends & family (to help them understand just what, exactly, it is that I do)--and I'm hoping I can accomplish that. 

Alongside these new style of posts, I'm trying to "clean up my act" on social media. For a long time, I've dithered on social media: sometimes I'm more serious, sometimes I'm a jokester, sometimes I forget Twitter even exists for a few days. The time has come for me to buckle down and be serious. You'll see noticeable changes in my Instagram and Twitter feed. (I was hoping to make changes to Instagram this week, but after being in the hospital, it felt strange to bounce right back to posting my pre-planned content!) 

This all goes hand-in-hand with taking blogging seriously again. For a long time, I couldn't take blogging seriously because I wasn't ready again. For a long time, my blog was my life and I received too much validation through it. This time, I want to use this blog to expand my career--which means I have to be just a little bit more serious. 

Just because the direction of my blog, and social media, is changing doesn't mean I'll cut out any of the things that make people like my blog to begin with. I still want to write about lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and blogging--but alongside those posts, I want to share my expertise when it comes to writing, content creation, staying creative, and building great strategy. 

3 Social Media Mistakes That Everyone Makes

It seems like everyone has something to say about social media.

Whether it's Facebook posts whining about the overuse of smart phones (pot, meet kettle) or a major magazine proclaiming millennials the "Me Generation" because of our love of selfies, social media is a hot topic. The effects of social media aren't just cultural. Social media has changed the way we do business, the way we buy products, and the way we talk about businesses and products. 

I've been playing around on social media since I was about 15 years old. I joined Myspace in 2005 when I was 16 and YouTube was just barely started. I've made a lot of mistakes on social media, but I've also learned a lot. At this point, social media--that is, sharing my life on a public platform and using it to grow a business, promote a blog, or share about a favorite product, is just another thing I do--is engrained in my day-to-day life. I can't imagine my world without it (and I would argue that it's not a crutch for anyone). 

When it comes to mistakes, we all make them. Here are three big ones.

1. Engaging in petty drama. 

A week ago, I decided to search the #35weeks hashtag on Instagram. (What can I say? I love comparing my pregnancy with others!) I came across a 17-year-old girl who is also 35 weeks pregnant--and had gotten into a spat on her most recently (hashtagged) picture. Instead of deleting a negative comment, she engaged--leading to a 20+ comment exchange with a complete stranger. While a 17-year-old on social media isn't someone to take our p's and q's from, I see this happening with big bloggers, and brands, too. It's easy to respond to a negative comment (that is written purely to be negative) with a snarky comment, but I promise, it won't help matters. If someone has a legitimate question, respond. But if they're just trying to get a rise out of you... trust me, don't do it. 

2. Not using hashtags or emojis... or overusing them.

Especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags and emojis can make or break a tweet. A picture's worth a thousand words, which means that emojis can massively up your character count! 

But that doesn't mean to load your captions or Tweets with as many hashtags and emojis as you can! This isn't about clickbait: keep your hashtags and emojis relevant and clever. Don't tack on popular hashtags just for the sake of it! We've all seen those pictures with a million hashtags underneath them... and you know we all think the same thing: lame. 

3. Not creating unique content. 

It can be easy, especially as a business, to get bogged down by social media. You might find yourself to simply curating content. That is, all you do is post links to other people's content on your Twitter or Facebook. While this is inherently valuable (and a nice thing to do), if you don't add your own content, you are dooming yourself to only act as a vehicle for other people. Take a few minutes each day to write a few Tweets or Facebook posts dedicated to your own topic or area of expertise. Ask questions and engage! 

On Instagram, make sure your captions also provide great content. A picture without an explanation might be pretty, but what does it matter to your followers? By providing great content, you can be more successful on a primarily visual platform. 

What's the funniest mistake you've ever made on social media? (One time, I accidentally sent a personal tweet via a professional Twitter page. Yikes!) Share with me on Twitter or Instagram