Starting out on social media
So you are all set up with your site, happy with your blog name, have secured your domain and set up a basic blog that is ready to go. (If not then check out my guide ‘ Getting your food blog started’).
Its now time to set up accounts for your blog across various social media platforms. Note: Please don’t feel daunted and like you have to use every single platform out there!
I’d start with these four to begin with:
- A Facebook Page
Do your best to secure the name you want on all the social platforms you can think of, even if you are not sure you will use them (Tumblr, Linkedin, YouTube etc). This:
- Makes it easier for people to find you/stops confusion later
- If you later decide that you do want to use that social media platform you don’t need to worry that someone has taken your preferred username.
As much as you can, keep the names similar – For example mine are:
- Coriander Queen (Pinterest)
- Coriander Queen (Facebook Page)
- @Corianderqueen (Twitter)
- Coriander_Queen (Instagram)
You can have a different name to your handle (the thing starting with @) but your handle is how people will search you, tweet you etc – so make it as easy as possible for them to do so!
Add a profile photo to your accounts as quickly as you can, a blank image with a question mark never looks good! Try to keep them the same for all social media where possible as well, this will again make it easier for your readers to recognize and find you. Don’t use a random image from google or something random, you might not have the the rights to use it and it will make your account look fake/spammy. You don’t need a model pose, just something people can recognise you by.
Next up, find accounts that you like which share and post things related to your interests. See who other bloggers are following and check out their profiles. Like what you see? Retweet them. Comment on their posts. Follow them.
Build relationships, ask questions and get involved with the conversation – tweet brands you like, and find your voice. People will soon start to recognise and tweet you in return.
The question I see asked the most about social media is ‘How can I get more followers?’ Social media. The clue is in the name. Be social, be friendly, share, retweet, post links to other peoples recipes on your facebook page. There are no quick fixes here unless you are very well known already!
Try to show through your pages the kind of person you are, your likes and interests, behind the scenes etc. But stay focused, if you are a food blogger posting hundreds of fashion photos or photos of your kids that might be boring for your food focused followers. Share a few of these images and posts here and there and give people an insight rather then an album.
Don’t be tempted by those saying they can sell you followers – what is the point of having 2k followers who don’t interact with your posts?
At the end of the day this is what brands who might want to work with you will look at and want to know. What is your post reach? Do people look at your posts, share them, retweet them, comment on or like them?
I see people getting so frustrated by the fact that they don’t already have thousands of followers. But they have only been blogging for a few months! Everyone has to start somewhere, you can’t run before you can walk! It takes time to build connections with people and create a feed (Stream of information posted on social media) that people are interested in and want to look at. Also I know a few people who bought followers, Instagram did a big sweep of fake accounts and they lost hundreds of followers in a day. Ouch.
Don’t annoy people
Whatever you do, do not follow-unfollow-follow-unfollow-follow…. you see people doing this repeatedly. Its annoying, and sooner or later people will either ignore you or block you.
The same goes for pre-typed messages to someone when they follow you on twitter (‘Hi thanks for following! Check out my Instagram, Blog, Facebook etc etc profiles!‘ Erm no. Stop filling up my inbox, please and thank you.) Everyone knows you didn’t type it, its impersonal and its annoying!
Don’t just tweet or pin or post your own work, sharing other peoples posts and tweets is a good way to share other peoples blogs/products/images which you think your target audience might be interested in. People will then start to share yours in return – enabling you to reach new audiences and grow your following.
Sharing other peoples work
When sharing and posting other peoples work, make sure you link to the original post and tag the original author to show:
- You are not claiming that post as your own and lets people know who it belongs to.
- The author can then see you have shared their work and can say thank you!
Please please please don’t ever be tempted to post a full recipe (rather then a link to one) anywhere without permission from the original author. Always link and give credit where credit is due.
Just like this lovely tweet from @Cerikitchen:
— Ceri Jones (@CeriKitchen) March 30, 2016
Social Share Buttons
Once you have your social media accounts ready to go, it’s time to add social share buttons to your site. (Log in to your WordPress site, in the side menu of your dashboard go to Plugins, click ‘Add New’ then search.) You will find a whole variety of social media sharing plugins that can be adapted and customized for your blog.
Make sure you include at least one set of social media icons near the top of your website with links to your social media profiles.
Then a set of social share buttons for people to share your posts onto their own various social media platforms. You would be amazed at how many blogs and websites make sharing their content as difficult as they can by not having these buttons clearly visible.
There are plenty of scheduling apps out there, so you can schedule posts across your social media for all hours of the day without needing to be permanently glued to your laptop. I use Hootsuite, but there are plenty others you could use. With the abilty to schedule you can ensure your post has reach even when you are sleeping! (Try to make them personal and with your tone of voice, not many people want to follow a feed that is filled by a repetitive robot.)
Now you are ready, ready to play about with the layout of your social media profiles, and get researching, baking, following and photographing!
PHEW!! I really hope this post has helped you,