I’ve just finished my month as a Community Greeter for the Social Fabric / Collective Bias Community, and what a month it’s been!
The responsibility of a Community Greeter is to connect with new members through their community profiles, social channels and on their individual blogs. In welcoming almost 200 new members with a minimum of four channels each, I’ve looked at HUNDREDS of social media profiles and blogs over the last month. There is some absolutely amazing content out there and I am excited that I was able to connect with all of it in such a short period of time! In saying that, it also occurred to me that it might be a good idea to put together a checklist of social media basics – things that may have gotten overlooked or not thought of on your channels that you may want to go back and review now.
So here is my “Top 5 Social Media Best Practices for Bloggers”:
1. Have a profile picture. This is a must on all of your social channels. I want to get to know YOU – and that is difficult when I am looking at a picture of an egg, an abstract geometric design, a picture of your adorable dog, or nothing at all. Take a cute picture of yourself or better yet – have a professional headshot done. You can get a group of bloggers in your area together, approach a local photographer who’s interested in publicizing their business, and see if you can get a group rate (say $20 a person for two digital images). It’s worth the investment and makes you look like a professional!
2. Use Gravatar, and link it to the email address that you use for your blog or business. A lot of the commenting Plug-ins work with a Gravatar. It’s quick and easy, and looks more professional than a computer generated image.
3. Have a Facebook page for your blog, and make sure there is a catchy cover photo. A Facebook page for your blog is a great to promote your work (and your business or areas of expertise) outside of your immediate circle of friends. It’s not just for reposting your blog content. I share things related to my community and my industry, as well as my current posts and anything that I think would be relevant for my followers. If you have a Facebook page, you absolutely should have a cover photo. You can make one in PicMonkey if you can’t find a cute picture that you want to use (take a look at my Facebook page to see an example of one that I made this past weekend).
4. Make sure you social media buttons link to your accounts. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. There is nothing more disappointing than wanting to connect with someone on Twitter or Facebook, click on their adorable custom-made icons and being directed to your own accounts or get an error message. If you don’t have an account linked to a button, don’t have a button.
5. Take a critical eye to your blog. Blog design is almost as personal as naming your child. I get it. Everyone has their own perception of what they like and what works for them. But there are some basics that I feel are universal:
- Is it easy to read? From the font you’ve chosen to the layout of your posts, you’ll want to ask yourself if your blog is easy for people to navigate. Is it inviting? The more confusing it is to find information on your blog (even where the actual posts are), the less likely you are to retain traffic.
- Are your pictures clear, bright and Pinterest-worthy? There is nothing worse than dark, off-center, blurry pictures. We really want to SEE what you are trying to show us! Pictures in a recipe post should be so clear that they make me hungry!
- Is it easy to leave comments? This is a MUST in my opinion! If you want readers to engage with you, they need to be able to EASILY do this. I can’t tell you the number of blogs that I came across where I couldn’t find a place to leave a comment, those that required me to use two or three different spam filters, or that wanted me to go through a complicated log-in / sign-up process in order to comment. We all are concerned about spam, I understand. And we all want to know where our audience is coming from. But if we make it too difficult for people to engage, they will stop altogether and that’s not good for anyone. Take a look at your comment process and ask yourself if a non-blogger would find it too difficult. And then consider simplifying it.
- Is it working? Does everything load correctly? Are there error messages when you click on certain links within your blog? Is your button code working on other people’s site? Just like anything that you love and use frequently, your blog requires maintenance and checks. Once a month I check through all of the important links and comment features in my blog to make sure that everything is working the way I want it to.
And that’s it! Thank you so much to the Community Leaders at Social Fabric for selecting me as a Community Greeter – I really had a wonderful time getting to know all of the new members and looking at all of the fantastic blogs. I can’t wait to start working with everyone!
Is there something that YOU would have added to the “Top 5” list? I’d love to hear it!