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Starting out as a blogger can be tough. You read about all the things you should be doing and it gets really confusing. You should be writing amazing content, you should be promoting that content, you should be posting regularly to social media, you should be focusing on the numbers (or you shouldn’t be focusing on the numbers… depending on who you ask), you should have a particular type of design, you should be engaging with others… there’s just so much.
One of the areas I found the most difficult was working out what social media sites to focus on to promote my blog. I felt like I needed to be everywhere… so I set up a Facebook page, an Instagram page, a Twitter account, a StumbleUpon account, a Pinterest account, a Google+ account, a LinkedIn account and that’s just the ones I can remember!
I spent so much time trying to keep up with all of these social media accounts that I ran out of time to focus on what was important – my blog. It wasn’t possible. But I held on to them all and I kept trying… until I stared burning out.
I knew I had to look at things differently. So I started thinking about my social media in the same way as I set out my displays when I was managing a jewellery store.
The most expensive items and the items that sold the best had the most ‘real estate’. That is, they took up the most space – they weren’t in a cluttered area, they were clear for everyone to see. They were the items that gave my store the greatest return.
So I applied the same principal to my social media accounts – I need to give the ones that were giving me the best return the most amount of time. And here’s how I worked it all out.
Check Your Numbers
If you have Google Analytics installed on your site (which you should have) you can easily see where it is your traffic is coming from. The main area we want to focus on here is the acquisition of your traffic.
Set your date range to include the last 3 months (to give a decent sample) and look at your overview. This will show you where all the traffic for your site has originated from.
For my site, the large majority of my traffic now comes from Pinterest. The next closest social media site is Facebook. When I first started this exercise it was very different with Pinterest barely hitting the radar and Facebook leading the referrals.
Keep in mind this is only one area to look at – sites like Instagram are difficult to track because they don’t allow links within your posts but can be essential in helping to build your brand.
Where does your niche hang out?
Generally speaking, when you start your blog, you should have a pretty good idea as to who you’re aiming your blog at. My business blog is certainly not aimed at online gamers, just as sites like The Daily Mark, a beauty and style blog, aren’t aimed at men who love fishing. It doesn’t have to be super narrow, it just has to be a general idea to start.
Now think about where those people would hang out. What social media sites would they use? Online gamers might use sites like Tumblr and Twitter more than they would Pinterest. Those interested in beauty and style feature heavily on Instagram.
Think about the top 4 sites you like to use. It might be sites you already use a lot. According to recent research the average American aged between 18 and 35 uses social media for 4.2 hours a day. Social media is huge and people are spending a lot of time there.
I chose my top 4 sites I’d like to use as being Facebook. Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Admittedly, when I initially started this my Pinterest following was quite small and I had little referrals from there but as I knew that was a social media channel my niche was using I wanted to make sure I had a presence on there.
Look at what is already working.
Social media isn’t just about driving traffic to your blog. It’s all about building a tribe, creating your brand and interacting with others.
Have a look at the social media channels you already use and look beyond the numbers. Which ones have the most interaction? Which sites are growing faster for you and which sites do you enjoy using?
If your following on Instagram is growing at a steady rate then it’s probably somewhere you want to stay, regardless of how much traffic it is converting for you. Likewise, if your Google+ account gets no interaction and you haven’t been added to someone’s circle in over a month then it’s probably a safe one to let go.
From all of this you will get a pretty clear idea of what sites you need to focus your attention and energy on. For me, I chose my top 4 and kept working with them. Yes I still have a presence on the others and drop in every now and then but for the large majority of my social media time, I spent it focusing on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
I also choose a particular social media site to focus on for a month at a time. During that month I will spend time strategizing and researching methods of growth and engagement and implementing them on my social media profile. This helps me to grow my accounts without feeling overwhelmed.
The social media channels you choose to focus on can vary greatly depending on your niche and your own interests. I’d love to know how you chose where to focus your energy and time and how it has worked for you. Leave your comments below with your favourite social media account handle so we can come and see what you’re up to.