Blaugust 4 – Explore Social Networking Options as a Blogger

I’d planned to write about social networking even before my Spot of Mummery Twitter suddenly blew up unexpectedly (in a good way). But with a post going semi-viral and an influx of new followers, I feel that it makes this topic all the more relevant.

Like it or not, blogging and social networking go hand in hand. While WordPress.com has some social networking options built in (Reader), those who self host or host on other platforms have to spread the word about their writing the tried and true way.

I want to make three suggestions here:

1 – Explore and branch out into different social media networks. See what feels best and works best for you and dismiss the networks that don’t support your content strategy.

2 – Don’t overdo it! If you stretch yourself too thin, you can wear yourself out and your blogging can suffer for it.

3 – Keep in mind that social media networks are just that – a place to socially network. This means that you get back what you give. To get the best results, do more than just post your own links – engage with others (scary, I know), interact, and make friends with (some of) your followers.

Expanding Your Networking Horizons

There’s so many social networks out there now days, how can you know which one is going to be right for you and the audience you wish to speak to? Only one way, to be honest – go make an account and give it a try.

Spot of Mummery started out on Tumblr. While this is a blogging platform, it’s also primarily a social network and works as thus.

Just like with any platform, Tumblr makes choices I don’t always agree with or choices that stir up the ire of the userbase. Not to mention Tumblr doesn’t have the greatest reputation, despite the fact that the actual site is well-structured for the userbase. Add to that the fact that Tumblr’s audience is generally limited to a younger age group with specific interests.

For a number of years, Spot of Mummery was confined to Tumblr almost exclusively. When I finally decided to move the bulk of the content over to WordPress, it was time to begin exploring other ways to branch out in social media.

I’d created a Twitter account for this blog back in 2018 (when the whole Tumblr bans adult content fiasco started), but I hadn’t really tried to grow it beyond a small group of people I already knew. This past year, I started to put more effort towards meeting people on Twitter and discovered there’s much more variety in the type of folks you interact with there than there was on Tumblr.

Despite loving to take screenshots, I hadn’t really explored social media networks that focus on photos or art. Trying different places out, I learned that Pinterest and Flickr were not successful for game screens even when I tried to be social and interact with other folks to the best of my ability.

However, through exploration, I discovered there’s a thriving GPose FFXIV community on Instagram! I’d never used Instagram before, but I do now! I don’t have a ton of followers there, but my screenshots get some likes, and every now and then, I see someone has visited my blog from that site.

I tried a Facebook page for my blog, but it also didn’t really gain any traction. I’ve never been big into Facebook, so that could be a reason. I also noted that (back in the day) the Facebook page was ranking higher in Google search results than my actual blog (which I didn’t want), so I eventually took that down after experimenting for a few months.

And in this day and age, one can’t forget Discord as a social networking platform! Servers (like Blaugust) that allow you to advertise yourself and post your own stuff are helpful in spreading the word!

As for me, I’ve narrowed down my usage to:

  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Discord

My WordPress can auto-post to Tumblr and Twitter, and I already have an established group of folks I engage with on both – I’m purposely adding more reach to Twitter as it has now outgrown my Tumblr!

Instagram is something I have to update more manually, but it also adds to my blog in that there’s nice WordPress widgets to show your Instagram pictures on the sidebar.

Discord is something I’m trying to do more of lately. I have to be careful there because I know myself and I can easily get overwhelmed when it’s a chat platform.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Even when you do find a social network that you enjoy using, try experimenting with post and post types to see what seems to stick the best. The same goes for developing content for your blog!

For example: As much as I love to post music videos – I used to have a Fiddle Friday series on Tumblr – I’ve learned that these don’t get a lot of traction (for me) on my WordPress blog or social media. Even back on Tumblr, sometimes I got a comment or two, but they were usually not interacted with as much as images or other content. I was still stubborn and kept posting it until it just got to a point that it didn’t seem worth the time I was putting into the series.

So try things out. Mix things up. See what people seem to like and root out what they don’t comment or interact with. Do it several times over to get a feel for it – don’t discount something just because it didn’t work the first time.

A Few Last Thoughts

Once you find a social network you’re going to stick with, go out and read up on how to make the most of it. I’m not a social media expert by any means (my follower numbers can tell you that!), and I’m still learning something new every day. There are some dos and don’ts for each platform – become familiar with them, but don’t be confined by them.

Most importantly: Have fun.

If you’re not having fun, if you’re just overwhelmed, there’s no shame in taking a break from social networking. Sometimes taking a break can let you come back with fresh new ideas for your blog or your interactions. So if you’re not having fun, take a step back and figure out why.

I hope something in this post can be helpful to you! Best of luck!

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