I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about social media and bloggers of late. I’ve been involved in a research project that has been exploring entrepreneurial journalism (innovative ways for journalism to be presented in the future), which includes bloggers, and I have been focusing on what makes them successful. It is of course no surprise that social media is a key ingredient. But it isn’t just that successful bloggers are active on social media – it’s how they are active. Through studying their habits, I’ve put together the below list of social media best practice. What do you think?
- Converse, don’t broadcast
Don’t be that dinner party guest. You know the one that just talks constantly about themselves and you can’t wait to get away from. The equivalent in social media is the person who just constantly pushes out links to their content and doesn’t engage with social media sphere in any other meaningful way. I would suggest that 80% of updates on platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be conversation not links to your posts.
- Be YOU
People read blogs for the people behind them. They want to connect with an individual – so share something of yourself – be 3-dimensional – include them in areas outside your ‘professional’ blogging space.
- Share interesting content (that isn’t your own)
A good conversationalist asks questions, remembers important information about friends and colleagues – the equivalent in the social media realm is sharing the content of others. Be known for sharing good quality content. Value add – tell people why it is interesting or useful – build your reputation and expertise by showing you are across your interest area or field.
- Join existing discussions/ groups
Quite often the community you as a blogger want to access already exists. Are there Facebook groups you can join? What about Hashtags on Twitter? For example I follow a weekly hastag #wjchat which is a chat for web journalists on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. PT.
- Read and comment on other blogs
I think we forget that blogs are actually a social media platform and as such are designed for conversation. A great way for you to join the blogging community is to read and comment on other blogs. Let people know you have interesting thoughts and ideas
- Blog about other blogs
If you take this the next step then find a blog post about an issue or area in your designated community. Use that as a launching pad to write a blog post that adds to the issue or debate. Make sure you of course link to the post and let people know which community you are associating yourself with.
- Invest in the platforms that matter
All good bloggers have a very exact picture of who their readers are – so where do they hang out? Using social media effectively takes time, so only invest in the platforms where you are most likely to reach the most people in your niche. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest? Start out with one or two and then when you master that, start to explore others.