To the casual web-surfer, I’m not sure it’s that easy to distinguish between a blog and a website. Sure there are many fashion and lifestyle ones that reflect the story and personality of their writer(s) and tech ones like mine tend to have more of a personal touch than the professional writer for a major site might want, or need, to offer.
What one learns on the other side of the glass divide, is that there is more to blogging than writing a post and then posting it. If you’ve ever posted on a blog, you’re now part of a community and engaging with that community is a vital and enjoyable part of making your blog a success.
As a hobbyist (with a full time day job), I use Twitter as my main social network of choice and one of the early lessons I learned was to tweet regularly. I obviously can’t post regularly enough to tweet about them all the time, so I tweet links to tech stories on other sites that I think my readers might like and perhaps offer comment where appropriate. These seem to go down pretty well, but I really wanted to spread the tweets through the day, rather than just sending a whole load out in the evenings as I find them.
This is where a service like Buffer can really help. Buffer allows you to set a schedule for your tweets and then you tweet via the Buffer app or website and it will then release them, as per that schedule. Simple!
Scheduling is as easy as setting up a recurring meeting in something like Microsoft Outlook.
I only post tweets on weekdays and there are six times of the day where a tweet in the queue gets fired. I’ve tried to pick natural break points in the day where people might be stopping what they’re doing, grabbing a drink and firing up the browser for a few minutes downtime.
I tend to read up on the tech stories of the day late at night (doesn’t help with sleep if there is anything really exciting going on!) and on the iPad and Android, I can simply ‘share’ an interesting post to the Buffer app - include a picture (or not) and it will be dropped into the next free slot in my schedule. Once the day schedule is filled, Buffer will simply start filling the slots for the next day along. Make sure you have enough slots to suit your frequency of posting, otherwise they’ll all miss their moment!!
I did initially worry that posting like this seems a bit, well cold. However you soon start to realise a lot of what goes on on Twitter is probably all happening by automation. But, so long as you engage promptly with those who respond directly, I think it’s a good way to put your thoughts, comments and links in front of people, at a time you think will be good for them to see.
Putting your tweets out at the right time is great, but how do you KNOW if it’s the right time?
That’s where Buffer’s analytics come in. For each tweet published via Buffer, you can see how many retweets, likes and clicks (if you included links) each tweet achieved. You can use this to experiment with subjects and times of day until you know you’re serving your audience as best as you can.
I’m a small time hobbyist, but I’ve gone from most tweets not generating any response (not necessarily bad, many people might read but not interact) to the majority generating 3-5 clicks and maybe a couple of likes.
Now if I include a few links back to my blog when I have some content to share, I can hope that a little bit of traffic will come my way from the users that share my interest in gadgets and find the links I put out there interesting.
There are a million ways to interact with your readers and so much advice on how to do it, but Buffer should definitely be in your social networking toolkit and there are a raft of additional tools for the professionals willing to invest and make it part of their social networking technical strategy. Fortunately for us hobbyists, it’s free, simple to use and available on your phone, tablet or computer ready when you are. See you on Twitter!