Social media and your blog in 2012

I would not have a blog without social media.

Well, that’s not quite true. I would HAVE a blog but I doubt whether I’d have that many readers.

I learned early on in this blogging game that we have numerous social media networks at our disposal to help us market our blogs and let others know what we’re putting on them. You know, in case someone might be actually interested in reading what we have to say.

Deciding which social media channels to embrace for your blog can be tricky. Especially as new ones pop up quicker than it takes to download an app to run it.

Do you jump on anything and everything new? Or do you sit back and wait and see how these new channels unfold?

Me, I’m guilty of the former. If it’s new and shiny, I’ll sign up, take a look-see, play around for a little bit, see if it excites me and watch my Google Analytic stats.

Stats aren’t just useful for tracking the NUMBER of visitors to your site and what they’re reading but they’re useful to see where they’re coming from.

Which sites are your top 5 referrers? And which of these are social media channels?

Facebook is number one for me. Followed by Twitter and StumbleUpon.

Which is really funny as I don’t really even know what I’m doing there … and if you Stumble should you Tumble?!

And I have more followers on Twitter than Facebook, yet Facebook sends more people to my blog. Twitter has been and continues to be a great national networker, bringing me blog connections I would not otherwise have made.

Read on for the networks to watch and use in 2012.

Lysander Follet iLike silver pendant

Lysander Follet iLike silver pendant

Facebook

Facebook is a very strange beast. Mostly because it changes so frequently and people way smarter than me try to out-smart Facebook’s news feed in an attempt to get their page’s updates flowing into more people’s news feeds.

I was a reluctant Facebook user but the stats don’t lie. So last year I decided to give my page a bit more love. I took off all automations and I started TALKING to my Facebook “likers”. And you know what? They talked back. I know, crazy stuff.

And for the past three months I’ve been hanging out with very rad and ace Pip Lincolne (Meet Me at Mikes) on the Facebook page for Justb. I’ve really noticed here how you can create a community with your Facebook page, a place where people love to come and hang out because they LIKE that they liked the page and they like that they like the other likers (still with me?).

If you’re still sceptical about the power of Facebook, then have a read of this post on a US blog I follow – J’s Everyday Fashion. J has built her blog entirely on Facebook.

I approach Facebook in a totally different way than any other blogger out there (that I’ve seen). I don’t treat Facebook as a follow-up to my blog, or a supporting material, I consider it to be a totally separate blogging platform. Some people use Blogger as a platform. Some people use WordPress. Others use Tumblr. I blog on Facebook.

Pinterest

Two weeks ago I flagged Instagram as the social media channel to watch but I should have also mentioned Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual feast. I liken it to being able to create virtual, ever-changing vision boards. The thing we want to buy, the dream houses we want to live in and the holidays we want to take. It’s certainly going to make it easy for me to spend that Lotto win, should it happen. But – and it’s a big but – an increasing number of blogs are getting more and more traffic heading their way via Pinterest. It’s a slower burner for me – coming in at number 39th in my blog referral list but I know of others who can cite Pinterest as their number one referrer.

BlogHer’s latest email newsletter is even dedicated to Pinterest. Here’s just one snippet:

Oddly enough, I find that I am getting almost as many hits on The Well-Read Wife from pinning my posts to Pinterest as I do from posting them to Twitter. At first I found this weird because I have over 2700 Twitter followers and only 57 Pinterest followers.

Instagram

I’m a little bit addicted to this one. It’s fun, it’s micro-blogging, it’s visual, it’s not as “noisy” as Twitter or Facebook. I use it on my phone and iPad but also my desktop using Instadesk. And I have my Instagram photos feeding into the sidebar of my blog using the WordPress Instapress plug-in. I haven’t been able to track any direct traffic to my blog from Instagram but at the moment I see this as a branding thing and I use it that way, to share photos from my life that my readers may be interested in. Participating in photo challenges also helps to keep that content varied.

If you’re a fashion blogger, have a read of Danimezza’s post this week. She’s got great tips on how to take outfit photos for Instagram:

The photos I posted when I started using Instagram were quite crude, kind of boring and lacked a bit of imagination. It’s only after a few months of watching, engaging and learning about instagram and outfit photos in general that I’ve picked up a few tricks to make your outfit photos as awesome as they should be and gain new followers and countless ‘likes’.

Tumblr

I asked a young fashion blogger if I needed to be on Tumblr (I joined last year but haven’t done anything with it) and she asked if I had young readers, I said, not so many, and she said I could leave Tumblr alone. This made me very happy because Stumbling and Tumblring confuse me. But they may not confuse you. They may be perfect for your blog.

Brands are certainly aware of Tumblr and this month sportswear giant Puma thought outside the box with Tumblr and Instagram in a recent online PR push:

In 2012 we will see an increase in this form of outreach, if only because blogs and apps continue to grow in popularity. By partnering with an influential voice on a platform like Instagram, a brand can drive more traffic to their account on that same platform, which otherwise might take weeks or even months to grow.

Google+

How are you going with Google+? Have you got a page for your blog? I have? I’m almost too embarrassed to give you the link but there it is. I jumped on board the Google+ Express Train when it first launched in a mad, look-see moment but it just hasn’t grabbed me. I’m sticking with it for a lot of reasons but mostly because it’s Google. Google kinda own the interwebs and you never know what might happen.

The people at Copyblogger agree:

Last week, Google announced Search, plus Your World, which is the merger of personalized search with social search, including the addition of relevant Google+ results. In other words, Google search results now more than ever send you to … Google.

So, did I lose you back at Facebook? Where do you hang out most on social media? Where are your readers hanging out? Work this out and you’ll be on the path to finding the happy medium between time spent on social networks and building your blog’s readership.

Let me know how it works for you.

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  • http://www.rosemaryjayne.com/ Rosemary Jayne

    I’m really enjoying Pinterest but at the moment I’m not pinning anything from my blog. Apart from the fact that I really need to start working on getting better images for things (ahem!) I want to make sure all my boards have a balance of content, and it’s not just me me me!
    I would have to say my main social media platform is probably Twitter – I interact with a wide range of people from just chatting to “shop talk”, but I get a lot of views and RTs too :)

  • http://www.prettyfluffy.com Serena

    I’m a bit overwhelmed with all of the social media options, so the majority of my sharing goes on at facebook and twitter.

    Although I have to say some of my biggest traffic has recently come from Pinterest. If you’re lucky enough to have something that strikes a chord and gets repinned it can lead a whole new audience to your blog. Plus a lot of people on Pinterest, while being into lifestyle, beauty etc may not be into blogs, so it’s a great way to ease into the blog world for some.

    Also I have started to use su.pr for my link shortener. Figure I’m using a link shortner, why not submit it to stumble upon at the same time!

    Thanks for another great article Nikki :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Great tip, Serena, re the link shortener and Pinterest is exactly what you say – lots of people there who are not necessarily reading blogs.

    • http://theaphroditechase.com Sarah @ The Aphrodite Chase

      I loved this post. I am with Serena on this – social media overwhelms me so much that I have seriosuly considerered (still am) hiring someone to do it all for me. I dont take pretty pictures so I dont think pinterest is for me either. Plus, if the blog was my only side thing I might find it a little easier, but it’s not. But I loved that you pointed most of the options out and gave me something to think about (some more).

      • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

        The overwhelm is scary sometimes. I would stick with one that you feel comfortable in and stick to a certain time and days you can devote to it.

  • http://lentilsforbreakfast.blogspot.com Jill

    Thanks for such an interesting, thoughtful post, Nikki. I don’t have a strong view . . . I’m still so new . . . my followers so few . . . (but received an invite to guest blog this weekend, yippee!). But this certainly has given my loads to think about. Where would we all be without you?! Jill

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Good luck with it Jill and see where YOU like to hang out, social media wise. Where does it feel comfortable for you? That’s a good starting point.

  • http://www.themummyautobiography.com Miss Pink

    I am adoring instagram and find it’s replaced Twitter for the thing I check first on my phone in the morning (while still in bed usually). You’re right, it’s very visual and because of that it’s quick, not noisy, I can just like away or tap out a quick comment if I have something to say.
    I try to limit my pinterest time because I really can get lost in that place for hours. Only I rarely pin. I should pin more. Just as soon as I get another 4 hours into my days.

    Try as I might, I cannot give Facebook love. It does not pull much of my stats at all, and I don’t like Facebook for myself personally, so using it for my blog comes hard to me. I have tried to interact on it more and made well intended vows to spend the week over there, but alas it never actually happens.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      It’s a good test isn’t it? What’s the first thing you check in the morning on your phone or iPad? The I don’t get out of bed without checking …. first test!

  • Penny

    Facebook is #1 for me but I believe that’s because I built a community through the working mums page first. The readers were there. Twitter is next then stumble upon. I have no idea what I’m doing there but it works!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki @ Styling You

      I’m with you … no idea what I’m doing with stumbleupon but it’s working!

  • http://www.brightandprecious.com/ Deb @ Bright & Precious

    What an interesting post! I’m definitely a Facebook person. Maybe because I’m not cool enough to engage heavily on Twitter… I just don’t get Twitter.. anyway, I use Facebook for following blogs and for promoting mine. I found it interesting that someone has built her blog on Facebook. I had never thought of that. I also didn’t realise (until I just read it here) that people get so much traffic from Pinterest. I am in two minds about Google+ , but I think I may have to get on board with it.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      I don’t think you have to be “cool” to engage on Twitter. I do like the chat element of it, that’s for sure.
      With regards to Pinterest, blogs like recipe blogs, craft blogs, hair blogs seem to get a lot of traction with their original how-to photos.

  • http://www.lastchancetraining.com.au Liz@LastChanceTraining

    Hi Nikki, I have to admit being completely flummoxed by Tumblr and Stumble Upon, but most of my referrals are coming from Facebook, then Twitter.

    I really love what you’ve done with the Just B site – and all the interaction that happens there – somehow you and Pip seem to really hit the mark with posts that really hit my buttons in a good way!

    Cheers
    Liz N

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Liz, Justb. has been great to work on. It’s different from what I do here which stretches me as a writer and a social media person. I like being stretched and I love our community over there.

  • http://www.tammilborn.com Tam

    I get a lot of readers from Facebook – and that’s just my personal page! I’ve only just created a page for my blog (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Around-Here/268724523193347 – for blatant advertising ;) so will be trying to get ‘likes’ over there – any tips for directing people to your Facebook page?

    Twitter is fun for socialising, but I get few referrals from there. I haven’t ventured over to Tumblr or Google+, purely because of time limitations!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Send them a message saying that you’ll be updating all things about your blog from that page from this time on and that you want to keep your profile for personal. It’s actually Facebook t&cs that that be the case. It’s also better for you to have the action all happening on a Facebook page as you can use the Insights function to get a great demographic breakdown of your readership.

  • http://bbeingcool.com B

    I have been always loved Facebook. I love the ‘Like’ button and I like sharing things.

    Lately, I have been trying to get into Twitter – which I have a love/hate relationship with. I have discovered bufferapp – which means I can ‘Tweet’ without being glued to the computer to tweet all the time. I do like the interactions and get a bit of a buzz {as you might recall} when I find that someone ‘big’ is following me.

    My favourite tool at the moment is Instagram. I really really like it. I have a friendly circle of people I ‘follow’ and really like the picture/short text thang. I like that to me it is kinda like a smoosh between Facebook and Twitter…

    Great post. Nice to get another perspective on how other people use social media.

    Mwah,
    B

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      I do love your word smoosh! And yes, I think that’s the appeal of Instagram for me – plus I’m a visual person, so love that aspect.

  • http://www.maidinaustralia.com Maid In Australia

    Oh dear, I got lost … sigh!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      LOL Bron … no need for sighing. You already do quite a bit of social media for your blog!

  • Fran

    Hi Nikki, Thanks for sharing more of you blogging thoughts and learnings. Usually I don’t look at the social media as an addition to blogging. With my work blogs I Facebook and twitter on both and pinterest for decorating heaven. It is an idea forum to share great images. I try do stories with a few pick loaded up at the same time. It is much faster than blogging , or building web pages, has a different audience and you can link back to you online shop by pinning items in the shop.

    Loving the instragram #Janphotoadayaday!

    Over the last few days I created a new FB page to go with my personal blog as I moved this to it’s own URL: http://www.travelgenee.com.
    Regards fran

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Oh congrats on the new blog URL – and yes #janphotoaday has been fun. I’m going to do February as well.

  • http://claireyhewitt.blogspot.com claireyhewitt

    I love Pinterest and have set up a work Pinterest account. So far I use it for images for myself to use, but over time I expect we will have a huge bank of images of all things baby and pregnancy.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Yes, Pinterest has been great as an image bank for my Justb. blogging.

  • http://www.alliandgenine.com Genine

    We have lots to learn!!!!
    So far Facebook is our biggest referrer – I have been playing with Twitter but need to spend more time there.
    We have signed up with most other social media areas but just don’t have the time yet to really work out what to do with them!
    Thanks again for a great article Nikki – we keep saying it, but you are a guru.
    Info much appreciated,

    Alli & Genine x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Genine xx It is a time factor but it’s just a matter of finding the balance of where your readers are hanging out with where YOU like hanging out and the time you have to devote to it. Best time for all of them is at night time!

  • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly exeter

    Hey Nikki

    1. Thank you for getting me on to Instagram – I love it SO much and like you, love that it is a little less noisy than twitter and Facebook (for now anyway!)
    2. What Instagram app do you use on iPad
    3. Thanks for yet another great bloggy post. Pinterest is an interesting one for me and one I am going to make a much bigger effort with this year! As for Stumbleupon – I wish I understood it- it is clearly powerful but it just keeps stumping me!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Kelly – I just use the iPhone app for Instagram on my iPad – you can x2 the size of the app (bottom right hand corner).

  • http://www.mdkaos.blogspot.com Jodie aka mummaducka

    I’m not that into social media, probably due to my employer having very strict social media guidelines. I am loving Instagram and have just started using twitter a bit(and have 1 follower- a relative, hahahahaha). Perhaps if it was more of a business to me I would create business pages, but my blog is just a personal interest/endeavour. Maybe one day I will grow it!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      You have two now! Your account is protected (is that to meet your guidelines?).

  • http://mumsblog-lisa.blogspot.com/ Lisa H

    I only use Twitter and Facebook, I don’t think I could cope with too much more than that. My Twitter connections are mostly people I’ve met through blogging, and Facebook is people I know personally. So I promote my blog to two separate groups and that works for me.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      I think it’s great that you know that and have it sussed for your audience and what works for you. That’s the key really to managing the social media beast!

  • http://www.greenteantoast.blogspot.com Anna @ greenteantoast

    Great post Nikki and some really great advice. So far I’m just on twitter, Instagram and then my blog. I intend to start a facebook page, but having managed brand pages for some time, I know that I want my approach to be right and this will take a little bit of planning. Once I’ve done that planning I’ll launch.
    Need to have a look at Stumbleupon and Pinterest sounds great, I’m just scared at how much time I’ll lose looking at all those lovely images!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Yes, Pinterest should come with a time-waster warning! And I think you’re starting out beautifully. You’re connecting in those channels and that would already be bringing people to your blog. My advice re Facebook is just to get on it (see Jacki’s usage statistic below)!

  • http://www.xtremelashes.com.au Louise Weston

    Hi Nikki,
    Thanks for your always easy to follow blog. I personally am a sit back and wait and see how these new channels unfold type of girl! Over the Australia Day period I picked up loads of feedback by doing a step by step ‘teaser’ if you like of an amazing Australia Day eyelash extension application in blue and red with Swarovski crystal highlights. I was happy with the results and interactions. I felt that the lead up gave followers a chance to comment where they haven’t before. I was concerned about the amount of posts I did over the two days but it gave me a chance to track insights and times that followers were logging in and they werev loving it. Turns out I need to do more work at night! I also learned that followers enjoy my inspirational posts and personal pics taken on my iphone so I need to look into Instagram and pininterest (which I have just signed up to). I also need to make my blog more interactive but I am having problems with spamming using wordpress.
    Thanks for making it easy to interact through your blog.

    Louise

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Louise – what a great experiment you did on Australia Day. This is just what everyone needs to do … Try new ways in social media and see what works. Night time is THE best time for interaction on Facebook and Twitter. And Instagram would be a perfect step for you. Re the blog and spam, if it’s WordPress, install the Akismet plugin or look at using the Disqus commenting system.

  • http://BusinessChic.com.au Cheryl from BusinessChic

    Hi Nikki,

    Another great post for bloggers!

    Facebook, google and Twitter are my biggest referrers however I’m still working out how to interact with my readers more and can see how Pinterest is another tool I need to focus on.

    I’m really fascinated by the blogger who blogs in Facebook, I can see how it’d work for her fashion blog as well as your readership as I find mums are sooo much more willing to engage on FB than my business market seem to be but then maybe I haven’t been asking the right questions?? Also I keep thinking I should be on LinkedIn more considering that’s where business people go to connect but have wondered whether LinkedIn’s average user who is a 40+ year old male would really be interested. Maybe it’s time for me to dive in and find out, thanks for stimulating some thoughts.

    Ps: thank you ever do kindly for telling me I could guest post here. The reason why I’ve taken so long to respond is because I’m scared. Eek! But i will harden up and try think of a piece to write for you if you’ll still have me! Cx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Cheryl – see Jacki’s comment below re number of people on Facebook. I think Pinterest could be huge for you – and Tumblr and Instagram (follow LeeOliviera to see how he does Instagram). Because your blog is visual and street-style fashion, it’s the kind of thing that gets lapped up on those networks. X

      • http://BusinessChic.com.au Cheryl from BusinessChic

        Thanks Nikki – You’re right as backed up by Jackie’s stats I do need to focus on Pinterest! I’ll certainly look up Lee Oliveira’s Instagram, very clever operator that one!

        Ps: just had a look at your Keeping it Real series. Clever and fabulous!

        • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

          Thanks Cheryl, there will be some worky ones creep into that series too … when I have to go out for meetings.

          • http://BusinessChic.com.au Cheryl from BusinessChic

            Now THAT is exciting!

            I’ve actually been trying to think of a way of sharing work outfits worn by stylish bloggers like yourself and Lady Smaggle (who shares FAB photos on her instagram). I will retweet and “like” posts but I’d love to do feature posts of sorts but need to work out whether it’s BusinessChic, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Pinterest! I’m thinking aloud here but based on Jacki’s stats, I’ll look at Pinterest first…can’t wait to see your outfits!:)

  • http://www.bestof3.com.au Jacki

    I think you’ve chosen your social platforms wisely. Facebook is a must for anything lifestyle in Australia, with some 98% of online Australians having an account and about 7million logging in DAILY!

    Pinterest and Tumblr have been sleeping giants for years that have finally gained momentum. Pinterest demographic is 80% women and skews older with more than half 25-44 years. Tumblr on the other hand is the teenage girls hangout of choice, and is the fastest growing social media in the world having tripled its traffic in the last 12 months.

    While you don’t see much real action on Google+ outside of digital industry/social media folk, brands can’t afford not to be there because of the impact on search (My boss did a recent blog post on this – see below).

    Great post and great choices Nikki!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Thanks Jacki! It’s because of your talk at the Beauty Directory Digital Event last year that I’ve changed the way I do Facebook – and it’s had a positive effect!

  • http://www.sequinsandsand.com.au Anita McLachaln

    Another post where I feel totally at home. Thanks Nikki.
    I love change so trying new things gives me a buzz. But…then I filter. FB: still a reluctant, unsure participant but so eager to improve. Twitter: was my fave until Pinterest showed up, now that’s my social media love. It’s the visual feast and ease of it all that I adore. It’s a way to express me in a way that I find easiest I guess…with pictures. Google+1…have just followed you, figured we could support eachother as we go. The more I play with it, the more I like it. I think it’s pretty intuitive.
    So…think I’ll continue to try them all then play where I’m the happiest.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki Parkinson

      Good plan, Anita. I would just suggest that you give Facebook more of a go for the major usage statistic that Jacki has included above. Especially as your business is online.

      • http://www.sequinsandsand.com.au Anita McLachaln

        Thanks Nikki. I really appreciate your comments and that you take the time to offer them. Gem. A:)