Top Five Tips For Blogging Success

IMG_0671

The road to success is always paved with pot holes. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes, but if you know the right roads to take, you can bypass those potholes and have success without the hardship.

Take it from me. I learned the hard way! It is very easy to get lost on your way to the end game. I started out my career as a blogger simply reviewing products and begging PR firms to send me products. I did not realise that no one wants to read posts from someone bragging about how much free loot they managed to bag, not to mention that no one would even find that post. Turns out simply writing content and putting it online doesn’t mean it will automatically go viral if you don’t promote it (see our post on the best ways to share content here). As time went by, I soon learned how to perfect my blogging technique. Here are my Top Tips for Blogging Success to make your journey a little bit easier.

1 – Platform

Deciding which blogging platform to use can be tricky. However, it is an important decision to make! Changing your mind once you have established your blog can be very tricky and highly time consuming. There are two preferred platforms that bloggers use: WordPress and Blogger.

WordPress is a platform designed for more advanced users who may have experience in using plugins and HTML. The platform allows users to add more features into their blog and to incorporate downloadable features. WordPress itself is free to use, however you may need to buy a hosting package if you’d like a custom domain (Hostgator is popular amongst bloggers). Many of the plugins and templates are free to download and use, but there are premium paid for versions that provide more options.

Blogger on the other hand is a completely free platform which hosts your blog. The platform is open source and allows new users to design their blog at just the click of a few buttons. To add to this, the simple to use platform is also owned by Google which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

To summarise, if you know your way around the web and are pretty good with coding and would like customizable options, then WordPress could be the option for you. If you’re new to blogging or web design as a whole, and have limited to no budget, and prefer a more turn-key option then Blogger is likely to be your preferred option.

2 – Timing

IMG_0673

Timing your blog posts to publish on a specific day and time can prove to be successful with your visitors. Us humans are creatures of habit and so letting your visitors know that you will be posting new content on a certain day or time will encourage regular visitors to return at that time.

Timing your blog posts also helps you to target different time zones. For example, if you have a business in New York but think people in the UK will be interested in your content, then there’s a five hour time difference to take into consideration. Scheduling your blog post at 2pm UK time (9am New York) will mean New Yorkers will wake up to read it before work or whilst commuting, whereas the Brits will read it in either their lunch or coffee breaks. Scheduling is available on both WordPress and Blogger.

3 – Topics

Whether you’re a fashion blogger or a holistic therapist letting your visitors know about what you have to offer, it’s important you choose the right topics to not only attract new visitors but to keep those visitors on your blog.

Writing controversial posts may bring in a few visitors but in terms of gaining credibility for your business, it certainly won’t do much good. Many bloggers write about topics that answer a question. This provides information for your visitors and encourages them to browse around the rest of your blog. For example, if you have a Holistic Therapy business, try writing about the benefits of holistic therapy in comparison to other methods, or perhaps a blog post highlighting a specific ailment that holistic therapy has successfully treated. These areas are fairly non controversial and will provide useful information to those reading. By veering off topic, your visitors will become confused as to what your blog is actually about.

4 – Design

Keeping your blog simple and easy to navigate through is just as important as having any content at all. Ever visited a successful website that was full of graphics and a loud background with obnoxious writing? No, that’s because users don’t find a ‘busy’ blog, a ‘friendly’ website. Many Bloggers choose to stick to a white background and accentuate it with one or two colours in the navigation or sidebar and banner. Every blog has a decent amount of photography which in itself adds colour to the blog.

In terms of photography, ensure you make your photo’s large and clear without being overly edited. Don’t stretch the photos or you risk significantly reducing the picture quality. Aside from that, whether you choose to use a big fancy camera or a cell phone camera, your photo’s will be one of the main attractions of your blog.

5 – Social Media

IMG_0672

Promotion is key to blogging success which is something we have talked about previously here on Purely Social Media. Many people leave out promoting their content on social media or tweet about it once and think ‘that’ll do’, however the truth is that your blog will never reach the masses unless you shove it in people’s faces and let them know it exists.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms amongst bloggers and all can be managed using different platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer where you can schedule your social media updates in advance. Scheduling your social media updates means you can take the time to carefully plan what you wish to say in your status and creating links to be included. A good job is never a hurried one!

The value of social media to your blog or business is invaluable. All it takes is for someone popular to retweet something you’ve said and it can receive thousands of visitors overnight. For those of us who are not quite fortunate enough to have famous fans, social media is vital whether you have twenty or twenty thousand followers. One more person seeing your content is one more than you had before.

Finally for social media, it’s important to use your platforms to interact with your followers/visitors. Whether you have a blog or a shop, it’s useful for helping with any issues or customer services. If you interact with your followers, you gain trust in your website and business which will encourage returning visitors and customers.

Summary

These five tips will definitely steer you and your blog in the right direction without spending a single dollar. I could easily have written a dozen more things to help you on your way but having a successful blog won’t happen overnight and you certainly can’t learn everything there is to know about blogging overnight either (trust me, it’s taken me more than three years and I’m still learnng!)

Until next time, make sure you let us know your thoughts by commenting or by tweeting us @purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

purelysocialmedia

Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

Social Media for Professionals

Social Media for Professionals.

We hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and we want to thank everyone who follows us and engages with us! We recently received an email from a follower and thought it only appropriate to reply through a blog post. First off, we love answering your questions and helping you all find practical solutions to your social media marketing issues, so please keep the questions coming. Secondly, this is a great opportunity to discuss how professionals can effectively utilize social media to market their services and themselves. So lets jump right in:

Dear Purely Social Media,

I have been reading your blog for the last few months. Between yourself and several other bloggers on the subject of marketing in a hand held age, I have come to learn and utilize many of the “tricks” and “treats” available. I regress, I will be a new attorney come September. I plan to be a sole practitioner. Meaning I will be an entrepreneur with a law degree. Thus, I need to market myself as a small business (content, social media, traditional marketing) and market myself as a lawyer (trustworthy, competent, knowledgeable). I write you today to ask for specific advice, as both a sole proprietor and sole practitioner. How do I continue to grow my social media presence, while also building the trust to have these “followers” come to me when real life brings opportunity and misfortunes. I look forward to your words of wisdom, and will continue to be a avid reader and admirer of the information you graciously share.

Like many professionals you understand the power of social media, and you’re wise to want to use these platforms to market your future practice and your services; but it can be tricky executing this successfully. Let’s begin by looking at what social platforms you want to consider positioning yourself on. First and foremost, create an account for yourself on LinkedIn. If you have an account that exists, take the time to invest in completing it and making it look the best it can. You may want to consider hiring someone to do this for you or if you’re confident in your ability to complete this yourself then we would be more than happy to provide you with further assistance. Join LinkedIn groups for your profession that interest you, as they will provide you with support, useful information and an opportunity to network with other professionals in your industry. Remember that LinkedIn is the most formal of all the platforms, it is a great place to share your knowledge and establish yourself as a trustworthy and competent lawyer.

If you haven’t already done so, invest in some professional photos of yourself to utilize in your profiles and for social media ads. Aim for at least two looks, one professional and one casual. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words and these will be the first impression you make on potential clients, so invest in a professional photographer. Consider locations that speak to your personal interests, providing depth and texture to your photos. There is very little that is appealing about studio images, this should not be a shoot that is reminiscent of your middle school picture day nor should this be an expression of your artistic side. You are the main focus in these pictures.

If you’re not blogging, then you need to start. Once you open your practice and create your website, a blog will be one of the best ways to drive web traffic as well as improve your SEO. So establishing a blog now will allow you to begin to develop an audience and provides you with content for social media. You’re probably wondering at this point what you should discuss in your blog. Consider providing advice to future law students, such as what to expect, studying tips and online references. Discuss topics related to the area of law you plan on practicing, attempt to simplify laws and terms for non lawyers. Provide your insights or opinions on national and global trials. And openly share your successes and missteps as a small private practice. Aim to write in depth posts that provide readers with real insights and appropriately tag posts to ensure they can easily be found. Share your content on third party sites to increase it’s visibility and reach, such as:

Legal On Ramp, Reddit, Storify and StumbleUpon

Many blogs can now be easily customized; consider turning the landing page of your blog into an interactive resume. Feature images, videos, and content that allow people to get to know and trust you. Be sure to clean up your Facebook page removing everything and anything that could look bad to potential clients or future employers. Additional social sites that you should consider establishing accounts with, if you haven’t already, should be Google+ and Twitter. Once you have established your practice you should look to extend you presence to any or all of the following sites:

Yelp, Angie’s List, Law Link, and Martindale

Remember that Social Media is about trial and error. It will take some time to determine who your audience is and where they are. As you begin to establish yourself on Social Media. it will start to become apparent what works and what doesn’t work. Develop a strategy that is flexible and allows for your efforts on each platform to support each other. Do your homework, find accounts on each platform that you can model your efforts after. See what other lawyers are doing and determine what needs to be tweaked to suit you. Remember that clients are using Social Media, having a presence allows you to see what people are saying about you, engage with them and take control of your online presence.

Image via The Rainmaker Blog

Image via The Rainmaker Blog

As always we want to hear from you! So please be sure to email us, tweet us or simply leave a comment below!!