Social Media is a large and vital part of blogging, especially if you want to turn your blogging into a business. It is an easy, effective, and free way of connecting with like-minded people, building a community and promoting your writing and products. Yet, still being such a relatively new form of communication and connecting, many bloggers are confused by the number of options out there, which are best to use for what purpose and how to use the various platforms. So, Rahul from Rahul Digital and I have teamed up to bring you a 6-part series to help demystify the major social media networks and to help you make the most of your efforts using them.
We are kicking off the series with a subject that is close to my heart – branding your social media. In many ways this is the foundation of your networking and is every bit as important to social media as it is to your blog. Let’s discuss the hows and whys…
What’s My Name?
The name you use, or handle as it is often called, on your social media is super important. I get asked about handles a lot from people wanting to know if it is best to use their own name, or their blog name. In many ways it depends on your personal preferences, but there are some things to consider. Using your own name will instantly make your followers feel more connected to you. They will see your name and use your name and will begin to feel as though they are getting to know you. Which is a very good thing, especially if you have a personal blog or are trying to build a level of trust between you and your readers/followers. I use @AmandaFuller for all my social media networks, except one, as this makes it easy for people to find me and follow along
That said, there is a time and a place for using your blog’s name as your handle. Perhaps your blog is less personal and your name isn’t featured prominently anywhere. It makes sense then, for you to use your blog’s name rather than your own name. There are other instances where using your blog name is a better choice. For example, I use Kaleidoscope Blog as the name of my blog’s Facebook page. In this situation it makes more sense to use Kaleidoscope, rather than my name, as it is not my personal profile and it could get very confusing.
It might seem like a contradiction, but be as consistent with your handle names as you can. Try and find a name that you can use on all your social media networks so people learn and know how to tag and follow you easily, without having to search for you and double check what you are called on each platform. As mentioned above there may be situations in which this is difficult, but be as consistent as you can.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency is so important when it comes to branding your social media. As mentioned, keep the name you use consistent, but it is also wise to use the same profile photo/image for every network. Perhaps you want to use a photo of you, or maybe you would prefer to use your blog’s logo. Whichever you choose, make sure it makes sense with your handle name and keep it the same on Instagram, Facebook and every other network. You will also want to be consistent with your description and/or bio, so people have not doubt that it is you they are following. Background images, cover photos and other graphics should also be consistent not only with each social media platform, but also with your blog. Visually, your social media should be recognisable as being an extension of your blog and its design. All of this will help to reinforce your brand and the message you want to send out into the world.
A Little About Me
I don’t think I have met any blogger who finds writing About pages or Bios easy, but they are so vital as a tool to introduce yourself and what you are all about to new readers and followers. Every social media network provides you with a platform to reinforce your message. Take some time to sit down and craft a short bio that you can easily use on social media. Fill it with bucket-loads of your personality and use terms and phrases “you-isms” that you commonly find yourself using. Make sure you mention your blog by name, any skills you have, or services you offer, plus some fun or random facts about yourself. For example, my social media bio is “Amanda Fuller – Blogger at Kaleidoscope, designer and creative woman who simply loves beautiful things”. It’s short, simple, to-the-point and it leaves people knowing just enough of what they need to know about me. Once you have taken time to craft the perfect little bio, use it on every social media account you use. Again, be consistent.
Link Me Up
Take every opportunity you can to add in your blog’s URL. It should appear on every social media account you have, even on your personal Facebook profile and Google+ profile. Use anything and and everything you can to be driving traffic back to your blog and helping people recognise you.
Bloggers love the selfie! There’s so much that can be conveyed in a picture. If you choose to use a photo of yourself for your profile picture or avatar, make sure it clearly shows your face. It can still be artistic and beautiful, but so many times I have been trying to find a particular person on social media and I just can’t quite tell if it is them or not, as their picture doesn’t show their face. There have been times I have just given up looking for them – and they miss out on a new follower. If you wanting to be serious about your blogging, don’t use photos of your pets, or children or even just of a pretty flower. Like it or not, as a blogger your face is part of your brand, and people should see it everywhere you are. It’s even better if you use the same photo of you as appears on your blog. It all compiles together to start to build a strong and recognisable brand, and that, my friends is the whole point! Try to avoid changing your profile picture too frequently too, as this has the possibility of confusing people and they may unfollow you by mistake. Changing your profile picture 3 times a year a plenty, but feel free to mix it up with your cover images or background design as you like, just remember to keep it visually relating to your blog’s design!
Content, Content, Content!
Your social media branding isn’t limited to your profile picture, your cover photo and your bio, oh no, it’s much more than that! In fact, perhaps the biggest part of your social media branding is your content! What you are actually posting to Twitter and Pinterest is all connected to you, your blog and your brand. Be thoughtful about what you share, or more importantly what you don’t. It’s so easy to get caught up in social media and just share anything and everything that happens to you on a whim, but remember, the content you share on social media is just as important as what you share on your blog, so give it the same consideration. Share what is relevant to your blog’s niche, and add a little “behind the scenes” in there too. Yet, perhaps it might not be a good idea to be posting picture of your children in the tub, or you at that party that got a little out of hand – unless of course, that is the image you want to build into your brand. It’s always better to be safe, than sorry. As you are consistent (that word again) in what you share, the style of Facebook posts, the aesthetic of your Instagram pictures and the articles you +1 on Google+, your readers will begin to recognise content as yours before they even see who posted it. This is what you want! This is the ultimate goal with branding. You want to be instantly recognisable to the readers and followers you value so much as this, again, builds a sense of community and belonging among them, with you.
I hope that helps you set off on your way with social media by building a solid foundation on which to build your networks. Take some time this week to review the social media platforms you use and make the necessary tweaks to help put your best branded foot forward!