Blogging with the Pros – Using Social Media Effectively

When my oldest son graduated from our homeschool over 4 years ago, I started having thoughts about what I would do when my remaining 3 children graduated as well.  I’ve been a homeschool mom since 1996, and it’s been my “job” all those years, and I worried about what I could do once I no longer had that purpose.  I decided to start my Etsy shop, as a way to supplement our family’s income, then a year later, I began blogging.  Suddenly, I could foresee a future for myself, WHILE I was still home with my kids.

Building my online shop was fairly easy, and within a year, I was making a decent part-time income.  Then, I decided to start my blog, as an extension of my shop.  Over the last year, I’ve begun looking further down the road in my life, I decided that growing my blog needed to become a priority, because my online shop can be truly hard manual work, and I don’t want to continue doing that into retirement age.  So, why am I telling you this?  Because I know many of you are also bloggers who would like to grow your blogs as more than a hobby, or there are some of you out there who have thought of starting a blog.  As rewarding as it is, it is WORK.  It won’t grow overnight, and it won’t be easy.  There are thousands and thousands of blogs out there – within each type of niche, and getting discovered by readers is an huge challenge, and can be frustrating when you’ve worked so hard on your content, and want to share it with an reading audience.

For that reason, I’ve invited some bloggers who are not only amazingly talented, they have also been amazingly successful at growing their blogs, to give us insight into what it takes to grow a successful blog.

How to Grow Your Blog - Blogging With the Pros

The first blogger here to share, is Gail from My Repurposed Life to share social media for bloggers tips.  Gail is one of the very first bloggers I discovered, when I first discovered the world of blogs, and I’ve been following her ever since.  Her skills with power tools and wood never cease to amaze me, and her blog growth is nothing less than incredible.  At the moment, Gail has over 400,00 fans on Facebook, and growing larger as you read this, so I’ve asked her to share some of her best tips for growing your blog audience with social media.

social media tips

Welcome Gail and thanks for letting us glean from your experience!

Gail  My Gail @ Repurposed Life

Q – Please share how long you’ve been blogging, and why you decided to start a blog.
Gail – I have been blogging for five years.  I started my blog on a whim, because that’s the way I roll.  I am not a person who plans things. It’s a long standing joke in our family about how when we want something, we just jump in with both feet.   Because I had been in a message board group, I had a LOT of content and before and after photos.  I recommend that anyone who wants to start up a blog should have that as well.   I was able to post daily for a long time without running out of content. 

Q -Social media is changing all the time, and new ones keep popping up.  What’s your secret to managing them all, without spending your whole day doing it?

Facebook is my “go to” social media.  It comes natural to me, whereas I have to force myself to remember Instagram and Google+.  Twitter comes pretty easy to me as well for promoting posts and pins.  Speaking of pins, I am a lover of Pinterest.  For years I saved (bookmarked) tons of sites and links.  Pinterest helps me sort all of that especially as I get older, and more forgetful. 🙂

Which social media networks do you receive the most blog traffic from?

I had to check my analytics for this answer.  Even though I’m a numbers gal, I didn’t know this off the top of my head.  Facebook is the overwhelming winner with over 66%, with Pinterest coming in second with 30%.  The remainder is split pretty equally between Stumble, Blogger, WordPress and Google+.   How sad that Google+ is in last place.  That shows that I don’t show it enough love.  
To what do you attribute your incredible success on Facebook?
This time last year, My Repurposed Life on Facebook had about 20K fans.  Somehow I hit a wave with the powers that be at Facebook and surged to over 350K by February 2014.  Growth has slowed since then, but is still steady.   I don’t think there is a secret formula.  My best advice is to share great content every day with a balance of your content as well as  relative content from other sites.   To engage your Facebook audience, ask a question to get your fans involved. I find that if your fans don’t interact with your page, they won’t see your posts in their newsfeed.  

Q – Each social media network requires a different type of interaction.  Can you share some tips on how you interact with your followers on these networks.

Gail –FacebookI personally try to “like” each and every comment on my facebook page.  It’s my way of letting my friends know that I appreciate them taking the time to leave a comment or share something.  I have a Sunday Share Day each week on the MRL facebook page so others can share their projects and get some “likes” and “atta girls”.  We all like that little pat on the back, don’t we?  I schedule posts on Facebook that tie in with my blog for 4 AM EST.  I’ve been doing it like that for months and I find that it works for me.  I remove the snippet that facebook grabs and replace it with a picture.  Great before shots get the most hits to the blog.  Later in the day I may post the after picture and include the link and a “Pin it for later”  link as well.   Recently I’ve started using the #MyRepurposedLife to help my readers easily find my projects as opposed to the other projects I may share on Facebook.  The best advice I could give is to pull out some of that great OLD content and post it on Facebook for your readers.  I have 5+ years of projects, many were unseen because I posted them back in the day.  

Pinterest –  Pinterest changes almost as much as Facebook these days.  I enjoy using Pinterest to save projects that inspire me.  I haven’t gotten on board with any automatic Pinterest programs.  I still do it the old fashioned way.  I don’t schedule. 
G+ Google+ is more of a random share for me.   I try really hard to post current projects.  I also try to remember to post some of the older content as I post it to Facebook.  I don’t have as many followers on Googe+, so I don’t get near the interaction there.
TwitterI  use tweetdeck on my computer to keep up with twitter.  I have been known to schedule tweets.  I recommend that you not schedule tweets at the top of the hour.  I see those tweets come in like crazy at noon!   I once heard the lifespan of a tweet is 7 seconds.  At noon, it’s more like 1/2 of a second.   I generally don’t tweet much away from home.  It’s difficult from my “not so smart” android phone.  🙂
Instagram –  I’m not terribly active on Instagram.  The only bit of advice I can suggest is to share your instagram posts on Twitter and Facebook. I like to use Instagram when I’m out of town or away from home.   I forget to use it on a regular basis. 
Q – Any other tips you think would help a blogger who needs to jump start their blog growth?
Five more tips from Gail:
1) Name your photos with a short description.  Many times when I save photos for features on my blog (Catch as Catch Can-link party), the name of the photo is the default file name from the camera.  Nobody will ever search for  IMAGE0002.JPG.  Google searches are more relevant when you name your photos.
2) For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes don’t use a catchy title for your blog post.  Just as you should use a short description for your photos, you should do that for  your project with keywords that pertain to your blog post.
3) Be a good blog friend.  Visit other blogs and leave well meaning comments.
4) Put your blog on a schedule.  If you want to blog 3 times a week, go for it.  Just try to keep it consistent so your readers will know what to expect.
5) When/if you feature another blogger’s work, never use more than 2 photos and always link to their post, not their home page.  Down the road if someone wants to get the tutorial, don’t make them search the entire blog in question.
 Gail!  It’s been a pleasure and honor having you here!
Thank you so much Angie for asking me to participate in this new series. I  really feel honored to be asked.   I’m sure I’ve left out a lot of pertinent information.  After five years, I’m just sort of on auto pilot.  If anyone has any questions, they can leave it below in the comments or reach out to me personally.  I really am an open book, and willing to share what I’ve learned over the last 5 years. 
Part 2 of the Blogging with the Pros series can be found HERE.

Blogging with Funky Junk

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  1. Yay! Great seeing this post…and glad to know you’re going to be doing a series! I can’t imagine who else could top this. You opened with the BEST! I love seeing Gail all over the place.
    Great tips Gail

  2. great tips….I also feel it’s time to push my blog more, and I need all the tips and help I can get. lol

  3. This came at just the right time. I’m NOT a fb lover but have to get it going. This will be so helpful. Thanks ladies.

  4. As a new blogger I am always curious about how to grow my audience…There are lots of great tips here to help…Thanks so much!


  5. Oh Thank You So Much !! I too follow Gail. And look forward to your other guests. I want to start blogging so bad. But am just scared. I need to gain more social media skills and learn how to use them to my benefit. My goal is to blog about real life and tie it into my Etsy shop and how I find my treasures. And collect wine on the way. And I have already started taking pictures of possible blog topics. So I am trying but just not all there. Which describes me most days…
    Thank You. Barbara Ann

  6. Great series. Enjoyed reading insight into Gail’s blog. Look forward to future posts in this series.
    Have a great day, Angie.

    Mary @ Orphans With Makeup

  7. Love Gail. Thanks for having her share. I’m looking forward to getting more great tips from great bloggers. Thank you for doing this series Angie.

  8. Thank you for the insight! I just started a blog on wordpress and I am trying to find my way… It remind me of when my glasses fall off the nightstand AND I can’t reach the lamp. Visually impaired and in the dark. Ugh. Thanks for the help. 😉

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