When I wrote about building your niche and a community around it, I stressed the importance of going where your readers are and engaging with them as much as possible. I wrote that and thought I had a pretty good idea that most of my readers/engagement comes from sending out RSS-to-email newsletters when there are new posts on the blog, but truthfully, I hadn't put a lot of effort into nurturing other social media outlets like Facebook & Pinterest. I took to Twitter easily and quickly, and have been pretty active there since 2009, and I like the engagement on twitter, but it never translated into a significant source of traffic for me.
Figuring Out Facebook
Since I focused so much on Twitter, I neglected Facebook – but also because I didn't “get” Facebook and didn't use it personally. I created pages for all my blogs several years ago, and set up the blogs to auto-post to Facebook (not good), but otherwise completely ignored it. I managed to attract a fair number of “likes” to my pages, but I didn't know what to do with them. About a month ago, I completely revamped the Facebook pages for my two main blogs and have been very active on both of them. I manually update the pages with new blog posts, share pictures from pages I like, post questions, answer comments, and have really enjoyed the increased interaction with my readers there.
BUT, I cannot say that increasing my interaction on Facebook has translated into more traffic for my blogs. All it has done is increased followers and engagement ON FACEBOOK.
BUT, I cannot say that increasing my interaction on Facebook has translated into more traffic for my blogs. All it has done is increased followers and engagement ON FACEBOOK. I'm not altogether unsatisfied with that, but as I noticed on Twitter, engagement on social media sites tends to STAY on social media sites; readers who comment, or like posts on Facebook don't come to the blog and leave a comment. Facebook has more potential to turn into a significant source of referrals to the blog because of the reach and virality though, so I look forward to sticking with it to see how it progresses.
I also started using Instagram again. I was very active there in the beginning and built up a nice following, but when they changed their TOS, I stopped using it. Now that I'm back on Instagram I've slowed down a bit, but I love it for enticing readers who already follow your blog to visit the blog (I post outfit picture teasers there) for more information. I also like getting to see bits of my readers lives on Instagram and interacting there, but I don't expect it to lead to anything else.
Finally, I decided to devote more time to Pinterest. Ah…Pinterest. We've all heard how successful Pinterest has been for a lot of fashion bloggers in terms of traffic and affiliate commission (reward style is really easy to use with Pinterest), but I was a late adopter. A couple of months ago I decided to pin more and be more “active” on Pinterest to see if I could replicate other fashion bloggers' success. I did not. First, my personal outfit photos aren't pin-worthy, which takes away a huge potential source of referrals. Second, Pinterest just isn't my thing – if I see something I love online, I usually try to make a blog post around it instead of “pin it,” so I wasn't pinning as much.
The Real Results:
My goals were simple though: to see how much I could increase engagement.
In the months that I've been doing my “social media experiment” I have attracted new followers to my social media accounts, but haven't seen any increased referrals to the blogs, or income from affiliate commissions via Pinterest. My goals were simple though: to see how much I could increase engagement. I didn't have any specific numbers in mind; I was going to see where this took me and make a determination from there. Ultimately, I've decided that Pinterest is not worth much of my time, but I love interacting on Facebook, Instagram and on twitter whether or not it leads to traffic or income.
What can you take away from this?
- Try everything, but stick with what you love and comes naturally to you: don't force yourself to use what you don't enjoy, and don't just auto-post to have a presence; it doesn't get you anywhere (believe me! I know!) and your readers will see through it.
- Measure, measure, measure: define goals for your social media experiment, then pay attention to the stats that come with Facebook & Pinterest so you can determine if you're meeting your goals.
- If what you're doing doesn't lead to the results you want, don't abandon it completely, but don't spend a lot of valuable time on it: use analytics and your “gut feelings” to determine if it's worth the time/effort to spend on certain social media outlets
What has your experience been with using social media to increase traffic/referrals/engagement on your blogs? Have you had success?
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