Defining your social strategy & platform approach is key if you want to maintain your brand integrity.
There seems to be this overwhelming pressure, when a new platform launches, for every blogger to jump on board … just in case it’s the next big thing or the next opportunity to ‘make it’. I get it. I do. Today blogging is so wildly popular, and such a fast pace industry that keeping up and keeping on top feels like an absolute necessity if you’re ever going to make anything of your blogging business. But here’s the thing … the beauty of the blog and bloggers alike are that they’re unique, original and authentic, they have their own individual voice, tone and style that people love and come back to again and again. So if we’re being true to ourselves, shouldn’t the platforms we use be cherry picked and highly relevant, just like the content we produce for them?
When I work wiht brands from a consultancy point of view, developing their global or UK communications strategy, I tailor the approach based on their business goals, their audience and the bespoke strategy I’ve put in place for them. and i can assure you that my strategy is never to be everything, to everyone, everywhere.
But in my humble opinion this is what bloggers are risking doing … diluting their brand, their product and their integrity even, by trying to be everything, to everyone, and everywhere.
There is no right or wrong to blogging, so this isn’t about me telling you what to do, or that what you’re doing is wrong. It’s simply to say, don’t feel pressured to jump onto instagram stories just because it’s new, don’t feel pressure to expand your beautiful photography blog onto youtube, because that’s where the money is, don’t feel pressure to change your style and personality, just because right now on Instagram monochrome flatlays are hot property.
Your strategy for social, should be just as precious, bespoke and authentic as your blog and content itself.
DEFINE THE ROLE SOCIAL PLAY IN YOUR BLOG STRATEGY
Okay so the big questions, well how do I choose what to go on, how do I know what platforms are right for me, how do i balance staying ahead with staying true to myself, how do I know what has the biggest potential in the future? There’s lots to think about, and lots of factors that go into defining your brand strategy, and so to help you define yours (because I certainly won’t be telling you what to do), I thought i’d share three key questions that you should answer that will help define whats right for your blog, business and brand as well as a brief overview of the key social platforms out there:
Inspirational photography and short form videos designed to inspire and visually stimulate your audience, Instagram is great for building your brand image, driving engagement (comments and likes) & even raising your business profile. Hashtags allow you the potential to expand your organic reach even further.
Facebook is best for snack-able content (industry research shows 11 second video is your optimum) and traffic driving, whilst other social channels have taken over in popularity, Facebook still has enormous reach potential but research is starting to show that organic Facebook is dead. If you want to build reach, you need paid behind your content.
The secret weapon to many a successful blogger, whilst on the surface Pinterest is an image based sharing device, the reality is it’s so much more than that. A huge organic traffic driver with the potential to explode your content reach further than you can imagine when used well – SEO & rich informative content is just as important as a pin worthy image.
Whilst the commercial model for snapchat & the newly released Instagram stories is still in development, what there touchpoints do offer is a ‘reality’ check for bloggers and the chance for readers to engage a little more personally with you and your brand. Think of these channels as the behind the scenes that more often than not audiences would love to see.
Twitter as a platform is sort of the middle man between instagram and pinterest in my opinion; the chance to share your content and brand with a follower base who’s chosen to engage, but with the potential to unleash an audience beyond your fan base through hashtags and tagging, making it a great traffic driving tool as well as a platform to engage with your audience.
In reality, YouTube isn’t a social extension, it’s a publishing platform in it’s own right and I think that’s a distinction worth noting. The home of video content is now the destination of big screen worthy films, so if you’re adding youtube to your portfolio, do it with purpose … the reach potential is huge.
THREE QUESTIONS TO HELP DEFINE YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY
What is my content style?
First of all, rather than change who you are to fit the platforms available, start off by thinking about your own content style, defining your image, your tone, your personality, and which channels therefore fit your brand best. For example, are you chatty and spontaneous, and prefer regular content over more irregular quality content – perhaps snapchat or instagram stories would be a good brand extension for you? However if you are more editorial focused, with a brand build from inspirational and motivational content, with a strong eye for visuals – then touchpoints like instagram and pinterest probably fit your brand style well? There is no right or wrong, there’s also no limit to the number of channels you do use, but what is important is that you use channels that fit your brand.
Where is my audience?
And not just your brand, your audience too. By truly understanding your audience you are able to think a lot more strategically about the places and ways that you engage with them, if your audience tend to be slightly older and you see the bulk of your referrals coming through Facebook, then this might be an opportune platform for you to exploit and focus your content on. If you want to understand more about your audience and what they want from your brand and blog you can always ask. When I spoke to you guys it was clear that you were keen to see more outfits (hello outfit posts and pinterest boards) but also keen for me to venture onto snapchat … and so with that feedback I updated my social strategy and expanded into snapchat too (mediamarmalade).
What is my overall goal?
And finally, what’s your ultimate goal? Is it to grow your blog traffic, extend your audience and size, drive engagement numbers, share beautiful images, drive sales or gain business opportunities? Each site should have it’s own role within your overall blog strategy and your overall goals should help shape the platforms you want to use. Instagram for example has the added bonus of helping drive revenue from affiliates like Like To Know It, Pinterest is a great traffic source, twitter can be great for building your network.
By thinking about these three things you’ll gauge a good idea about what platforms will help you reach your desired audience, extend your own brand in the right way, and importantly help you achieve your goals and build your blog brand or business. You might only want to work with one or two, equally it might be important for you to be present across every channel … whatever it is, define your social strategy based on you, your blog and your goals. What social channels do you use and how do they fit with your overall blog and brand?