You know how I said that you can boost your blog traffic with just one thing? Well, this month I decided to really put my little theory to the test. Maybe it’s the teacher in me. I am always trying to look at a problem from multiple angles. Any blogger will tell you that the goal is to drive traffic to your site, but there are so many ways to do this. Which is the best?
I love to write, but this whole social media thing is not exactly my area of expertise. However, I do love being “social” and I am very visual, so I love anything with pictures. Through trial and error, I am learning which platforms are the best (and worst) for driving traffic to the blog and developing true engagement. What works for me may not work for you, but you can absolutely take advantage of all of the things I have learned the hard way!
The Best and Worst Social Media Platforms for Blogging
*The following includes affiliate links to Tailwind and FYTO. There is no additional cost to you for using my link, but I may earn a small commission should you decide to invest in these services. All opinions are 100% my own.
The Best: Pinterest
I have not even been blogging a year yet, but it did not take me very long to figure out that Pinterest is my BFF. First of all, I love Pinterest in general. It is my go-to for recipes, style tips, and parenting hacks. Clearly, I am not alone. Who doesn’t love Pinterest? Even my husband created an account and has completed three Pinterest DIY projects just this week!
It definitely helps to already be engaged on my favorite platform, but it still requires quite a bit of work. Pinterest is not exactly “social media”. Yes, you can follow other pinners and be followed, but really Pinterest is a search engine. Thus, the goal is to allow your potential readers to easily find you by searching for the topics you blog about.
Step One: Create a Pinterest Business Account
This is as easy as a click of a button. I was able to convert my personal Pinterest account to a business account with one click. Then, I simply verified my website by following a few steps to add a meta tag to my site. Click here for full instructions.
Now that you have a business account, you want your potential followers to recognize your brand. Add a great headshot as your profile picture and create board covers using your blog’s signature color or style to create a cohesive look. I created all of my board covers in Canva. It was super easy and free!
Step Two: Create Your Pins
I create all of my pins in Canva. One it is free. You may have to pay for photos or clip art at $1 a pop from time to time. I use my own quality photos whenever possible, but I do not mind spending a dollar here and there to create an eye-catching pin.
Canva has all different templates to create pins, infographics, Facebook, and Instagram posts. I even created my media kit in Canva! I use many of their templates as a starting point and then put my own spin on it. You are also able to save all of your preferred colors and fonts for easy customization.
Once you create your pins and add them to your blog post, do not forget to edit your description to include all of those wonderful SEO keywords. Remember, Pinterest is a search engine and those keywords are how you will be found!
Step Three: Get Pinning!
I use two different services to schedule my pins. There are many different strategies for these awesome strategies, but I had to go with what made the most sense to me. So, I use Boardbooster to schedule my own pins and Tailwind to schedule everyone else’s pins.
Boardbooster is perfect for scheduling my own pins all I did is set up my source board (my designated board just for my blog) and list my target boards (a combination of my board and group boards). Boardbooster figures out exactly how, when, and where to pin all of my pins. You can also loop the pins to keep them in a rotation.
Boardbooster also has an awesome service called “Pin Doctor”. I use this service every so often to check my pins for missing or broken links. It costs one cent per pin to check. I just can’t help but think how awful it would be if someone loved my pin and then could not find my blog!
I use Tailwind to schedule everyone else’s pins because it is like one-stop shopping. Tailwind has their own version of group boards called Tailwind Tribes. Like joining group boards, this is a great place to share your pins, but you want to make sure you are doing your part. Through Tailwind I can schedule all of my fellow blogger’s pins to the exact boards of my choosing. I spend about an hour every Sunday setting it up and then I’m done for the week!
Another amazing feature of Tailwind is their use of analytics. Tailwind is the approved service by Pinterest, so it automatically pulls your analytics from them. But it also links with Google Analytics for even more valuable data! You can use this data to determine your top performing pins and the best times to post. This information is invaluable.
The Best (and Worst): Facebook
I have very mixed feelings about Facebook. There are aspects of using Facebook that I love more than anything and other features that drive me bananas!
The Best: Facebook Groups
I love my Facebook groups! As I mentioned in last month’s traffic report, I have found that devoting my energy to the groups within my niche is time well spent. Actively participating within Facebook groups is a large contributing force in driving traffic to my site. Not only that, I learn so much from all the other bloggers! All in all, I would be lost without my beloved groups!
Related: How to Find Your Perfect Niche
The Worst: Blog Facebook Page
Ugh. I continue to gain new followers to my Facebook page every month, which is great. Believe me, I cherish each and every one of you more than words can describe! But I am at a loss on how to effectively keep my beloved followers engaged.
I publish my recent blog posts, but I am also experimenting with posting funny videos and other articles within my niche. People seem to like it, but it’s like, “So what?” You know? I get it because I “like” a variety of posts by my fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs, but I am more likely to comment on their blog than their Facebook page. It just seems more authentic and less…sales-y. But maybe it’s just me!
You can also “boost posts” from your Facebook page to try to advertise your recent blog posts. This does cost money! I have dedicated three whole dollars a few times, just to try it out, and the results were nothing to get my dander up. One probably needs to spend more than $3 in advertising to see better results, but I did not find it to be worth any investment, at this time.
The Best (Occasionally): StumbleUpon
Plenty of bloggers love StumbleUpon because if your posts start getting “stumbled”, you will get quite a bit of traffic at once! It is totally cool to wake up and go “Whoa! Look at my page views!” When this happens, StumbleUpon could be your mysterious benefactor.
StumbleUpon acts like a personalized news feed service. You can search by topic and as you “like” or “thumbs up” pages, StumbleUpon will figure out related content to show you. This is great for bloggers because a potential reader may “stumble” across your blog and get hooked based on related content. You can add your own posts to StumbleUpon, but they seem to like when you share the posts of other people better.
In my experience, StumbleUpon is very hit and miss. However, to have a potential “hit” and expose your blog to loads of new readers is worth it. You can join StumbleUpon threads in Facebook groups or just spend some time on the site exploring!
The Mediocre: Twitter
The beauty of Twitter is its speed and efficiency. You can share your thoughts or your latest post and it can reach thousands, if not millions in seconds. The problem is that your precious tweet can get lost in a sea of other tweets!
Now, I am not the expert on Twitter, but I have been able to consistently grow my following month after month by doing a few key things.
Follow others in your niche
Retweet even more often
There are many programs to schedule your tweets to make your life easier and save you time. I use the setting in Boardbooster in which it posts to Twitter every time Boardbooster pins to one of my Pinterest boards. This is not the most efficient Twitter scheduler, I am sure, but it keeps me active on Twitter and gets my content out there. This is where having those beautiful images created in Canva comes in handy!
Ultimately, I do not receive a great deal of referral traffic from Twitter, but it is a fun and engaging way to interact with your social media following. Thus, I place Twitter somewhere in the middle of the best and worst social media platforms for driving blog traffic.
The Best (and Worst): Google Plus
The Best of Google Plus
I like Google Plus for the ability to link to Google search engines. Posting on Google Plus seems to help my ability to be found on Google search engines, which of course is a giant bonus.
Coschedule wrote this great article about the 10 Creative Ways to Use Google Plus with Your Blog. One of their suggestions is to embed your post on Google Plus. This little trick allows not only your post to be embedded but the conversation in your comments section. I have not tried this yet, but it seems to be a great way to boost engagement and get people talking about your blog post.
The Worst of Google Plus
Google Plus has all kind of what they call “Communities” that you can join. They are usually organized by topic, so you can join all kinds in your niche. For example, I joined several different parenting and blogging communities. However, constantly posting about your blog can be considered “smammy”, so you should treat these communities more like forums.
I am listing this aspect as the worst because, in order to truly drive traffic to your site using this feature of Google Plus, you would need to spend a lot of time in several different communities. There could be benefits in the long term, but I personally do not have the time to devote at the moment!
The Best(ish): Instagram
Although I am social media challenged in many ways, I did jump on the Instagram bandwagon early on for my personal use. Again, I am very visual and I love snapping photos and admiring the photos of others. However, my Instagram account was hacked…not once, but three times! So, I slammed the door on Instagram for quite some time
This month, I decided to give Instagram another try, but this time as a “business” account. I also upped security, so that I have to enter a unique login code every time I access the app. It is extra work, but worth my piece of mind.
Many bloggers love Instagram because it is so visual and a great way to interact with your audience. You know the saying, “A picture tells a thousand words”, well Instagram is the perfect example of this. Posting a fabulous picture of something related to your blog post is the perfect way to get people curious about your blog. For example, post a picture of a delicious dish that gets your audience’s mouths watering. Then, ask them to click on your blog’s link in your bio for the recipe.
The downside of this is that your audience may not click on that link. Unlike Pinterest, the direct link to your post is not readily accessible. Of course, we all want to find a way around this conundrum, so I am trying out a free trial of Link In Profile. Again, I just signed up, but the idea is that you placed your “Link In Profile”
Again, I just signed up, but the idea is that you placed your “Link In Profile” URL in the “website setting” in your Instagram profile. Then, you can add your unique URL to the specific blog post that matches your picture on the site. You can also add a title and description. So, when someone clicks the link in your profile, it will take them to a landing page where they can click on the direct link to each of your blog posts that correspond to your Instagram posts.
This sounds great, but I am going to give it a try for the next month to see how it goes and keep you all posted! After the 1-month free trial, it is $9.99 per month, so we will see if it is worth the money.
For now, I love being back on Instagram sharing pictures and checking out everyone else’s amazing photos. It inspires me to be more creative and a better photographer, if nothing else!
Result: The Best and Worst Social Media Platforms (Ranked)
1. Pinterest (Hands Down #1!)
2. Facebook (For the Facebook Groups)
3. Instagram (For the potential)
4. Stumble Upon (For the possibility of a great day)
5. Tied: Twitter (For the potential of reaching a large audience)
5. Tied: Google Plus (For the search engine capability)
How to Grow Your Social Media Following
Social Media is everything right now and it is everywhere. So, how do you grow your following while ensuring that they are actually engaged in your content? This is the tricky part! Numbers do not really mean anything if your followers are not actually engaged in what you have to say.
I like to think of it like this. You could throw a wild rager where there are tons of people, but nobody really knows each other and you never see the majority of party-goers after that one epic night. Or, you could throw an intimate dinner party where perfect strangers leave feeling like they have made friends for life and can’t help but to rave about the delicious food and beautiful decor. This is what I want for my blog. I want my readers to feel like they know me and each other and I want them to leave feeling like they gained something of value.
In order to further my network and bring faithful readers to my blog, I purchased Find Your Tribe Online. By gaining access to these wonderful Facebook groups and Pinterest Groups, I consistently invite visitors to my blog who are truly interested in my content. In turn, I visit numerous blogs that I genuinely admire and learn so much from. Whether you a veteran blogger or a newbie, I highly recommend checking out Jen Snyder’s products and courses. She is always updating, too! It is the gift that keeps on giving!
April Blog Traffic Results
My little experiment of testing out the various social media platforms was informative, but I did not meet all of my goals this month as a result. This can be disappointing, but I look at it more as a learning experience. This whole blogging gig is a work in progress!
April Traffic Goal Recap
Blog Page Views: 7,500 Nay! 5,638 Epic Fail!
Twitter Followers: 7,000 Yay! 7,167
Pinterest Followers: 3,000 Yay! 3,306
Facebook Page Likes: 700 Yay! 790
Write 10 Blog Posts Yay!
Figure out what to do with my media kit! Nay! It is a work in progress!
April Top Posts
I think it is interesting to note that only two of this month’s top performing posts were written this month. Reason #775 Pinterest is awesome…my pins are leading new readers to old posts!
Blog Page Views: 6,500
Twitter Followers: 7,500
Pinterest Followers: 3,500
Facebook Page Likes: 850
Instagram Followers: 500
Write 10 Blog Posts
Brainstorm Ideas for New Freebie for Subscribers