You'll notice when searching for any advice you can find about blogging and social media, the same themes will begin to emerge.
Actually, “theme” might be overstating it. The main thrust of every point is the same:
You should use social media to help promote your blog, bring in traffic, and increase engagement.
And… well, that’s pretty much it. Just a “use social media!”. There’s almost no other sphere in life in which people are just launched into an idea and do it flawlessly the first time. That’s why so many bloggers are making mistakes with their social media presence. As a result, they find themselves scrutinizing their stats and thinking: “but social media doesn’t work at all!” – when, of course, it does. They’ve just not managed to harness it correctly.
You can, of course, use social media as a kind of modern RSS reader. You post a link to a new post and then you’re out of there. Job done, box ticked. If you’re pushed for time, maybe that’s all you have the opportunity to do. However, if you really want to make the most of social media, then there are some mistakes that you should know to avoid.
Mistake #1: Not Engaging
Social media is a living, breathing hub of life. A collective thought process. A conversation that never stops. Let’s say you saw a couple of your friends talking in public, in person.
“The weather has been so rough recently,” one of them says.
“I know, it’s driving me mad,” the other continues, “in fact…”
“Hi!” You say, rushing over with a manic smile on your face. “Read my blog post!”
Yeah, it wouldn’t work. They would just look at you like you're crazy. You can’t just drop in every once in awhile with nothing but a link and expect to reap the rewards of the service. Be involved, join group chats. Ask questions, even just live-Tweet along with your favorite TV show. Be a person, not a robot, and people are more likely to hit follow – and subsequently, click through to your blog.
Mistake #2 – Not Using Hashtags On Social Media
Hashtags are a little passé these days and you may have stopped using them with personal social media. That’s fine. However, if you want to draw people to the work you’re producing, they’re the quickest and most productive way to do it. Especially on services like Instagram.
Getting spotted in the crowd is almost impossible without unleashing the power of the hashtag. So use as many as you can think of that are relevant to what you have posted; otherwise, it can be nearly impossible to stand out. Hashtags can make you shine in a sea of similar subjects.
Mistake #3: Forgetting About Online Security
In the desperate push to try and make social media work for your blog, you can forget about the basics of online security. If you’ve created pages on Facebook or put together a Twitter account in the of anticipation of traffic, it’s easy to overlook the basics. The reasons why you should secure your Facebook account are the same as they are for personal use: prevent being hacked, keep control of how others see you and protect personal information.
Never use the same password for your blog page as you would for a personal account. And for that matter – have a page specifically for your blog. Try and keep your personal social media separate from your blog. Otherwise, you could end up with both your business and your personal life compromised at the same time. Something that no one wants.
Mistake #4 – Buying Followers
If your follower numbers are meager, it can be tempting to buy a few thousand followers for a very low cost. You see it as a quick boost that improves the look of your social media and might help catch the attention of PRs.
Don’t do it. Those followers are useless to you and, what’s more, they’re also easily identified if someone peers closer at your stats. These followers aren’t real; they’re bot accounts. Not people who are genuinely going to be interested in what you’re publishing. They’re not going to click through to your blog or enrich it in any possible way.
The only thing that’s going to be improved is the numbers themselves. Thinking that might be enough to impress people? Well, it won’t if they run a search and see the sudden spike in followers that is indicative of them having been bought. There’s literally no benefit here.
Work on organic engagement rather than wasting money on a “service” that could very well damage your reputation. It might mean you start small, but when you grow, it will be genuine.