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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Social Media September: The Ultimate Guide to Knowing How to Chill With Your Tribe, Shine Online, And STOP Wasting Your Time

Social Media E-Course on Networking for Bloggers

Let me start by reminding you that this is based on my professional opinion. I've learned a lot over the years about what's most effective for my blog, brand, and business. What works for me may not work for you, but I hope some of it does.

Today we're continuing our four months of free e-courses with lessons and homework on social media. This is a longer post that could have easily been an e-book instead but I'm feeling generous this season. Read on to learn about the six social networks you need to be on and how to use them based on if you want more followers, traffic, subscribers or sales. (Of course, I'm greedy so I want it all; but one thing at a time.)

I'm really excited to talk about this stuff though because I'm pretty sure you know by now that the internet is my biggest obsession next to my one-year-old son. The world of social networking is constantly changing so even though I've posted on the subject before, it's time to approach it with fresh eyes and learn some new discoveries.


THE 6 MOST INFLUENTIAL SOCIAL NETWORKS
(and how to use them)

PERISCOPE

This little app has taken the world by storm; at only 10 days old, it already had 1 million users -- and now that it's been 5 months, I can only imagine how much that number has grown. Periscope is unlike any other network in that you can watch live video and comment (almost like a webinar, or what I like to call free mini coaching sessions). It's helped double my weekly traffic in a short amount of time and gets you as close to face-to-face as you can get with your potential clients. In the 3 weeks that I've been using the app, I've built an audience of 91 loyal followers and 10,711 hearts.

Who uses it? Periscope is best for coaches, entrepreneurs, teachers and experts who want to share their learnings. But I've also seen it used for MOTD (Makeup Of The Day) posts and tutorials by fashion and beauty bloggers. It's even fun to show friends and family what you're up to (like a public FaceTime session).

When's the best time to post? Around mealtimes or right before bed -- 7am, 1pm, 7pm, 10pm.

How can I sign up? Download the app for free here. You can log in with Twitter or email.

The Best Social Media Platforms You Must Be Networking On

FACEBOOK (GROUPS)

The 'book has gotten a bad rap after changing their algorithms, but I'm not talkin' about pages here, people. I don't know when the site's groups got so popular, but they've been all the rage lately with bloggers, coaches and solopreneurs. These hidden gems hold a wealth of information and collaboration, bringing the blogosphere more traffic, readers, clients and friends.

Who uses it? Groups are best for badass bloggers like you who want to connect with other like-minded women whether you want to form friendships, create collaborations, find clients, or hire help.

When's the best time to post? They're pretty much always active, but especially so in the morning and evening (most likely before and after work).

How can I sign up? You can request to join pretty much any group as long as you have a Facebook account. However, some require you to sign up for an e-mail list or purchase a product first; normally, the moderator will let you know if you missed something. I tend to join lots of groups at a time and then figure out which ones are best for TLL. I've also opened my own group, Loudmouth Momtrepreneurs, though I've yet to do anything with it. Right now, I'm just enjoying everyone else's.




TWITTER

I've had Twitter since I started this blog back in December 2010, but recently it's become even more useful due to Twitter chats. We have our own bimonthly party under #liveloudly, but there are lots of others where you can meet bloggers and business owners in every niche. Even though the platform has become noisier than ever (like a hodgepodge of billboard ads), it's still the best way to send short updates, witty quips, and inspirational quotes to your readers. It's a must for bloggers and businesses alike.

Who uses it? Blog readers and news consumers, ages 25-54. (So basically everyone.)

When's the best time to post? Weekdays 9am, 1pm, 8pm. Weekends 1-3pm.

How can I sign up? Get it for free here using your phone number or email, or simply download the app.




GOOGLE+ (COMMUNITIES)

The blogosphere began to hate Facebook a couple years ago and quickly moved over to Google+, only to abandon that and head back to Facebook for the group feature. However, G+ still has its own variety of communities and users to explore. It's not as crowded as Facebook and not as quick as Twitter, so longer posts are more likely to be read and appreciated. And since it's owned by Google, everything you post can be pushed higher up in search results with the +1 feature, making it more likely for potential customers to find you.

Who uses it? Despite rumors of the network shutting down, 37% of social media users are still active on it (and they are mostly ages 18-24). The communities are run by bloggers, social media mavens and marketers. There are even communities specifically about other social networks and tips for using them.

When's the best time to post? 9am-11am. (Note: Mornings seem to be good for any network.)

How can I sign up? You automatically have Google+ if you have a Gmail account; otherwise, you can create one here.

BONUS! You'll get a list of my favorite Facebook groups and Google+ communities to network in tomorrow if you're on my email list (and if you're not, you can sign up here).




PINTEREST

For an infopreneur with more words than photos, visual platforms like Pinterest and IG may not be as helpful. However, pinning your posts is easy and could get you more exposure, so having a tastefully curated set of boards is not a bad idea. Creating clean and simple graphics with Canva will help you.

Who uses it? Mostly moms ages 25-34. Great for fashion, lifestyle, DIY and recipe bloggers.

When's the best time to post? 9am, 4pm, 11pm.

How can I sign up? You can log in with your Facebook account here or register your email.




INSTAGRAM

Out of all your social media accounts, this could be the one you spend the most time on if you're not careful. Choosing the right filter, researching the best hashtags, and of course arranging your office supplies in a perfect flat-lay on your desk can take a half hour.

The thing is, Instagram used to suck up most of my day... until I realized that I was earning $0 for my efforts. (Unfortunately for Lil Wayne, I'm not an Instagram model.) I still have two accounts -- one for personal use and the other for my coaching business -- but I only post once a day now, if that. I just don't have time to waste on something that doesn't bring me income. #sorrynotsorry

Who uses it? Mostly women ages 18-26. As with Pinterest, this is a perfect platform for fashion, beauty, lifestyle, DIY or recipe bloggers. If you sell a physical product, you can absolutely gain business by taking photos of your wares. I'm not in that line of work though, so it's mostly to keep in touch with my family, friends, followers and clients. I have no problem sharing a peek into my world, but it's not a priority.

When's the best time to post? Anytime from 8am-9pm.

How can I sign up? You can download the app here.

See how Instagram and Periscope will look on your phone below.




OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS
(you may or may not need these)

SNAPCHAT

This app is pretty popular among fashion and beauty businesses and bloggers. It allows you to send 1-10 second photo and video clips to your friends and fans before they're deleted forever. I've tried it before but haven't had a reason to use it for my business. You can download it for free here.

TUMBLR

Even though there hasn't been much buzz about it lately, Tumblr is still alive and thriving. It currently hosts 254 million blogs, though lots of bloggers use it as another social media platform instead of their blog hosting site. Most Tumblr accounts are comprised of photos, gifs, and commentary on those photos and gifs. Again, it's a more visual platform, usually used by fashionistas and photographers. Think of it as a digital scrapbook of stuff by you and others. You can sign up for free here.

YOUTUBE

Now that Periscope is all the rage, creating YouTube videos has become less of a necessity. Many bloggers are, instead, saving their Periscope videos and then uploading them to YouTube. Nothing beats commenting on live video and having a conversation right there, so instead of releasing a weekly YouTube video on Fridays, I've been 'scoping almost every day. However, it's still a great tool if you have high-quality camera equipment and want to produce more official-looking videos (I like Maya's).

LINKEDIN

Even though I have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, it's never done anything for my business. If you're looking for a new job, though, I've seen people use it as their resume and to find career opportunities. It's mostly used by corporations for recruiting purposes, so if you're a wantrepreneur set on starting your own business, it's obsolete (until you're looking to hire). You can log in with Facebook or email here.

VINE

Before IG added a filming feature, Vine burst on the scene with an innovative way to share looping, 6-second videos in categories like sports, music and comedy. Compilations of these mini films can easily be found on YouTube. Though I haven't seen any bloggers use it, the app still boasts over 400 million accounts.

I certainly enjoy watching some of these vids, even though I don't make my own. And no, I'm not going to geek out over the fact that the cutest/best Viner is following me on Twitter (it's okay, my fiancé agrees).


TIPS FOR GETTING MORE OUT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
(depending on what's most important to you)

How to get more FOLLOWERS...

It's easy to get more followers. The challenge is turning followers into traffic, then traffic into subscribers and subscribers into sales. Ideally, you want your followers to be directed to your blog so that they can subscribe to your newsletter and stay in the loop leading up to your next launch.

However, if your current followers aren't in your target market, or if you've tapped out your audience and are looking to grow, then you need to find new people who will want what you have. So, you need to search relevant keywords to find potential clients to follow and converse with. You need to offer links to extremely specific blog posts and make sure you're using appropriate hashtags. You need to like, favorite, retweet and regram others' posts (making sure they're consistent with your brand, of course). You need to be active in Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and Google+ communities.

Commenting on blogs doesn't work anymore. Social media is THE best way to invite people into your sales funnel. Take care of your followings and build them up organically and authentically. Form relationships, offer lots of value, be helpful and be nice. Who WON'T want to follow you at that point?


How to get more TRAFFIC...

First, sign up for a social media scheduling dashboard like Buffer, CoSchedule, TweetDeck or (my favorite) Hootsuite. I love Hootsuite because it's simple, affordable, and has an amazing AutoSchedule feature.

I recently realized that SO much of my time was being spent scheduling my social posts on certain days at certain times (like the ones mentioned above), but Hootsuite takes out all the work by scheduling your posts at the best times based on their statistics. You just pop in what you want to share, and BOOM. It's all set up for you. But what does this have to do with generating more traffic, you ask?

Well, you should obviously be sharing and promoting stuff by other bloggers (not just yourself) and you should be giving personal responses and having conversations; but for these scheduled posts, you can direct people straight to your site and opt-in.

Here are a few different types of blog posts you can share:
  • Archived posts
  • Most popular posts
  • Paid offerings
  • Lead magnet and opt-in page
  • About page
  • Freebies or resources page

Ideally, you need to be scheduling 3-5 of these on Twitter per day and 2-3 on Google+, Facebook and Pinterest (in addition to your most recent blog post). As far as groups and communities go, be sure to participate whenever there's a promo day, but besides that I'd recommend reading the rules before sharing your links. It sucks to be seen as a spammer, even if you're not trying to be.

Wondering about Periscope? Well, it's easy to refer viewers to your blog and newsletter. If they're taking the time to watch and comment, they'll probably want to see more. Mention the addy at the beginning, middle, and end if it's a longer 'scope. Peeps may pop in and out, and you want to make sure they get it (especially when it's something like the-loudmouth.com as opposed to theloudmouth.com, ahem).


How to get more SUBSCRIBERS...

Now that you've learned which social networks to use, how to use them, and how to drive traffic from them, you need to start grabbing email addresses. I never realized how important this was for my business until this year. My list grew by 25% within 10 days recently simply by employing some tactics I'd heard of (but wasn't totally sold on). I didn't want to be annoying or too sales-y, but then I realized that if you're selling something online, you can't hide. You can't be shy about it or you won't stand out from the crowd.

So, here are a few things you can have set up so that when your social media followers enter your blog, they'll fall in love and want to keep in touch:
  • Super high-quality blog posts with content upgrades
  • Multiple spots to sign up for your newsletter within your layout
  • An irresistable, helpful reward for subscribing to your list
  • A clean and catchy landing page or welcome mat
  • A short bio that clearly states how you can help your visitors

First impressions are everything, y'all. Think of it this way: 30 seconds from now, someone new might visit your blog. Is your site set up so that they won't want to miss any update from you in the future? What can you do to woo someone right off the bat? What can you offer?

You're freakin' amazing and unique and valuable to the world. Own it.


How to get more SALES...

If you are following all of the above steps -- growing a targeted audience, directing those people to your site, collecting emails for your list, and providing valuable information leading up to your launch -- then you will sell. How MUCH you will sell, however, depends on many different factors, including the price to value ratio and how specific the offering is to your readers' needs.

(And by the way, I want you to know that not every launch will be perfect, and not every product will be a slam dunk. That is totally fine and normal and you need to keep going. My first big program launch sold zero spots. My second, a few months later, sold 3. And this is good, because I don't want to be a one-hit wonder. You shouldn't either. Slow and steady, my friends.)

So, how do you get more sales? By continuing to test ideas with your audience and see what sticks. Keep practicing and experimenting. And when you find something that works, stick with that.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
(aka extra credit reading)

BLOG POSTS + ARTICLES

Content Upgrades to Help Grow Your Email List via xosarah.com
Twitter Chats for Creativepreneurs via kaylahollatz.com
How to Spread Positivity Through Social Media via thenectarcollective.com
How to Build Your Creative Tribe via braidcreative.com
How to Get Serious About Social Media via byregina.com
How Hootsuite Saved Me Hours of Work via the-loudmouth.com

E-BOOKS, E-COURSES, WORKBOOKS, PLANNERS

Hack Your Blog via jessicasays.com
Webinar Rockstar via femtrepreneur.co
Solopreneur Success Bundle via onewomanshop.com
Grow Your Blog Traffic With Social Media via byregina.com
The Badass Blog Planner via xosarah.com
The 30-Day Guide to Bolder Blogging via the-loudmouth.com


Social Media Scheduling Checklist for Bloggers

HOMEWORK TIME!
(you won't want to skip this part, promise)

I made you something. It's a checklist. I hope you like lists as much as I do.

You can download the pdf by clicking the image above. Feel free to print it out for each day of the week to make sure you're hitting the 6 most important networks. (I'll be using it myself, because Lord knows I'm forever forgetting something.) I'd love to see photos of it (at your perfectly arranged desk of course) with the hashtag #liveloudly on IG. You might even get featured. It'll be fun to see in action, don't you think?

Share with your friends, too, if you want. No pressure.

Now, get out there and socialize!
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