Before starting Julia in Red, I was a blogger for three years at the now unpublished Miss Trend She and a digital and social media specialist for a fragrance company where I managed its many brands' social media marketing efforts and influencer outreach programs. I have also done similar work within the wholesale fashion and entertainment industries. Coming from both sides of the spectrum, I have learned many lessons about what makes a successful blog and brand, and how the two can combine to be powerful standouts across the Web.
Though there are more lessons to be learned in the ever-changing world of social media and digital marketing, these are just a few of the general, most effective tips I have distributed and utilized in my career as a blogger, social media marketer, digital influencer, editor, and writer. I know you will be able to benefit from them too, whether you're an upcoming or established blogger or new digital marketer. There is much to learn by experience and awareness of new trends and methods.
Though these tips are more so geared towards bloggers, they can also be valued from a behind-the-scenes digital marketing standpoint, as there is power in learning how both sides work, and how you can work together. It's my hope that these 10 tips will help you connect and collaborate more effectively, whether boosting your personal blog brand or external company brand.
1. Teach Yourself About Facebook Insights
If you're not already utilizing social media, it's about time you created a Facebook page for your blog, then checked out Facebook Insights, and become knowledgeable. Facebook Insights is very user-friendly and is easy to teach yourself about if you give it a chance. If you're really feeling unsure about it, look up a tutorial online. YouTube can be a teaching resource for you, in this case. Don't forget to invite all of your friends to like your page. Friends should be supportive of your efforts, and, from there, they can invite non-mutual friends to like your page.
2. Collaborate With Other Bloggers
There is power in teamwork! Whether you're planning to collaborate for a gorgeous Instagram-worthy photo shoot or co-interview for a post, collaborations should be treasured. While it's true bloggers are compared, it's important to not see yourself as competition, but feel inspired by each other instead. Focusing too much on other people's success will deter you from your own. Collaborating with photographers and tagging each other in your photos can also lead to more followers on your Instagram channels.
3. Take Advantage Of Giveaway Opportunities
There are many great giveaway chains on the Web, whether they're blog-centric, or Instagram-centric. A great channel to become involved is Oh My Gosh Beck! Becky hosts giveaways for bloggers to become a part of here for a small fee, sometimes offering discounts to new collaborators. Don't be afraid to invest in your blog. If you see an Instagram chain you're interested in becoming a part of in the future, direct message the host, and comment on the thread about your interest. It never hurts to ask! Keep a chart in Microsoft Office or Google Drive that documents your spend versus reward, such as if a brand asks you to promote their product. If you're serious about your content, you will see progress.
4. Know the Ins and Outs of Your Social Platforms
Decide which social media channels are most important to you for reaching your audience and expanding your own personal brand. If you're really not that into Pinterest, you don't have to be a part of it. (Though, I would recommend Pinterest if your primary goal is to sell product through your blog posts.) Focus on what makes your blog unique, and what helps you communicate your personality. Disingenuous content is easily recognizable to fans and brands. Authenticity is key. Don't forget to list these skills on your resume either. Knowledge of social media platforms is extremely valuable to today's employers. You can turn your side hustle into a full-time gig in many ways, so don't forget to expand yourself by expanding your resources. Don't be afraid to show people what you can do and how you do it. Confidence is power.
5. Focus on Your Niche
You can take inspiration from other bloggers, but don't forget to do you first! There is flattery and there is copying, and your audience wants to see content that is uniquely you, as do brands. Don't force yourself to try and be someone or something your not – this applies to many aspects of life. There is a way to balance your strategy between appealing to your audience while still being yourself. You should be wanting to appeal to an audience that appreciates your content for its individualistic value anyway. Remind yourself about why you started a blog in the first place. Why did you think you would make a good blogger and voice to the public? Or are you more focused on your amazing photography skills? Whatever it is, own it, and make no apologies for doing so!
6. Put Your Name Out There
Whether it's commenting on other blogs or submitting other works to other print or digital publications, there are a lot of great platforms to get your bio and links published on. Think about a publication that inspires you, and what type of content you'd like to see on it. If you've been a dedicated reader and have an inspired idea, why not write it down, pitch it, write it, and send? Go comment on the other blogs you like, too! A lot of comment sections ask you what your own website link is, so make sure to leave thoughtful commentary. Don't self-promote in the comments. That's a huge no-no. The same applies to other social media comment sections unless you're a part of a blogger network group that specifically asks you to do so in return for comments or likes, for example.
7. Join Blogger Networks
There are so many great networks for established or upcoming bloggers to be a part of, whether it's the Her Campus Blogger Network (InfluenceHer Collective), BlogLovin', HeartIFB, or else. Whatever you're writing about, these platforms offer communication and connections among your online peers. Don't be afraid to get really involved in online communities. You never know what other opportunities your involvement in them could lead to.
8. Utilize Photo Resources
If you don't have access to a photographer to help you take amazing beauty or outfit photographs, fret not. There are many free online stock photo websites that don't require attribution for select photographs. Try Pexels, Wikimedia, Pixabay, Unsplash, or Stock Snap. If they do require attribution, just remember to include the proper credits in your captions – no biggie. You can also utilize online graphic creating websites like Pixlr or Canva to develop things. Don't be afraid to invest in new technology. Upgrade your iphone, get an iphone-friendly tripod, and set up shop. You might learn some new skills along the way! I'd be more surprised if you didn't.
9. Participate in Brand Contests
If a brand you like is having a style Instagram contest, for example, for a chance at a company re-gram, go for it. It's always worth a try. Even if you don't get the direct connection you want, or see immediate results, you will build some new connections and see progress on the road to achieving your goal. Pay attention to your online stores or in-store catalog advertisements. Social media is a great marketing platform for brands (new and established) to get fans and influencers involved. Your professionalism and passion will undoubtedly scream influence. Go for gold! Why not you? In the meantime, you can post about the brands you like on your social networks. Tag labels in your outfit posts or beauty look, for example. I would advise including a #notsponsored tag if you're doing a fan-style post, as to not set yourself up to get in trouble with the FCC. That way, when you are able to collaborate through paid promotions with brands as you develop in your blogging career, including the #sponsored tag will elicit no confusion.
10. Be Consistent
Set goals for yourself to publish a set amount of times per week or month. Your audience can learn to expect and look forward to posts. Promote your links beforehand on social media, and post cute pics in between, whether they're quote posts you created in PhotoShop or outfit of the day style featurettes. People like to see your creative side glow. If you're unsure what you want to show off specifically, try new things until you hit your magic moment. You'll know what it is when it happens, and when you do find it, congratulations. You're on your way to even higher blogging success.