Of all the posts I’m writing this week (check out Blogging 101 and Blogging 102 here), this post is by far the most applicable to social media strategies for both established bloggers and newbie bloggers alike. Many of my blogger friends in Dallas rely on me when it comes to sharing the newest must-have social media tools for bloggers (and, in return, I lean heavily on their expertise for SEO and brand pitch help). So rest assured that these are some of the best social media analytics and engagement tools out there for bloggers.
A quick head’s up: most of the tools I share in this post cost money. A few are free, but the majority of the social media tools for bloggers in existence currently cost something if you want to use them to their fullest potential (but that “something” can be as little as $5 per month).
What I’m Wearing:
Dress: Ann Taylor, sold out (similar, similar, similar) / Hat: ASOS (under $20!) / Shoes: BP.
BAG: CULT GAIA (SIMILAR FOR LESS) / Earrings: identical pair / Rings: BaubleBar
My Favorite Social Media Tools for Bloggers
If you do nothing else in this post, sign up for Tailwind. There are both free and paid membership levels (actually a variety of paid membership options). I started at the free level but then quickly upgraded to a paid membership. At this time, I use Tailwind solely for Pinterest, but they also have product offerings for Instagram.
But what does Tailwind do?
In case you didn’t know, it is recommended that bloggers pin at least 50-100 times per day. That’s more time than any of us consistently have available on a daily basis. One of the advantages of using Tailwind is that you can actually schedule your pins ahead of time. I schedule about 15 new, unique pins per day using Tailwind.
The other main advantage of using Tailwind? Tailwind Tribes.
Tribes allow you to interact with and support other bloggers. In return, those bloggers interact with and support you and your Pinterest presence. To give you a real world example: in a Tailwind Tribe of about 150 people, I typically have anywhere between 2 and 7 shares on each Tribe pin submission. I currently have a little over 5000 Pinterest followers. Assuming the other bloggers in the Tribe have a comparable number of followers, that means that each pin I submit to my Tribe, after being shared by 2-7 other Tribe members, has a potential reach of 10,000-35,000 Pinterest users. You see how this quickly spirals into a crazy amount of people seeing my pin, saving my pin to their own boards, and – ideally – clicking through my pin to my site.
And that’s just for one pin. I add 15-20 pins to each of my Tailwind Tribes each week.
And now y’all know why I honestly think Tailwind is if not the top then at least one of the top social media tools for bloggers to use in existence.
I don’t solely use Tailwind to grow my Pinterest… though I do believe that the majority of my blog click throughs from Pinterest are due to Tailwind. But clicks aren’t everything. As a blogger, you’re judged by brands for sponsorships and collaborations based on a variety of components. One component is page views, another is engagement… but the one that brands tend to rely on the most (as it is the easiest for them to track) is your social media following.
So, while Tailwind is great for my engagement and page views, I only schedule about 15 pins per day on Tailwind so it’s not great for follower growth. That’s where BoardBooster comes into play.
BoardBooster allows me to auto-schedule content onto multiple boards and repin my existing pins, making it look like I’m constantly active on Pinterest and pinning new content. In fact I’m just reminding people of my existing content. By using BoardBooster, I’m able to pin (slash recycle my existing pins) almost 100 times each day. And, by the way, my strategy of using BoardBooster and Tailwind in tandem has led to an average follower growth of over 500 Pinterest followers per month.
Buffer and Hootsuite
Buffer and Hootsuite are two essentially interchangeable social media tools for bloggers. They’re both great for scheduling Twitter and Facebook (and, depending on the platform, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest)
I personally use Buffer… and I use the free version. I solely use Buffer for scheduling my Twitter posts. Included in the free version, I’m able to schedule up to 10 tweets at a time. As I try to average 4-5 tweets per day, I can schedule two days of Twitter in one sitting.
In Buffer, I’m also able to see a variety of useful metrics:
- Retweets per Tweet
- Likes per Tweet
- Mentions per Tweet
- Clicks per Tweet
- Total Potential Reach per Tweet (particularly useful if you get retweeted)
Of all of those metrics, the one to which I pay the most attention is the number of clicks. By analyzing the number of clicks, I’m able to track how people respond to my content in real time. Do my followers respond better to sale notification tweets with a general link to the website offering the sale with a variety of photos of products, or do they prefer a photo of only one product with a link that takes them directly to said products? Do they engage better with tweets meant to notify them about a sale versus ones that highlight free shipping days? By paying attention to this analysis, you can begin to tailor your tweets so you word them in a way that stays true to your voice while also maximizing follower engagement.
In case you were wondering, I use the built-in scheduler in Facebook Pages for my thrice daily Facebook posts. And only because I prefer the post editing interface within the publisher tool. I recommend playing around with the various options and finding what works for you.
If you’ve been thinking to yourself, “hmm… why are there no Instagram-focused tools on this list of social media tools for bloggers?” Well, calm down. Here you go.
Iconosquare is my go-to tool for analyzing my Instagram following and performance. Every morning, I receive an auto-generated email from Iconosquare with my stats from the previous day. My engagement percentage is broken down in terms of both likes and comments received. I’m also able to see how my following has changed from the previous day: what is the net change, how many followers did I lose, and how many followers did I gain?
Through the Iconosquare Pro online portal, I’m able to view exactly what times I should post for maximum follower engagement on a daily basis. I can even view these stats so I can easily interpret the best times for maximum likes or maximum comments.
Basically, it’s useful AF.
The entire Google suite of products is basically my lifesaver on a daily basis for the blog. I use Gmail for my email interface and I use Google Search to help refine my post titles (for SEO purposes). But let’s focus on Google Analytics and Google Sheets as those two are the tools I use most for social media purposes.
I use Google Sheets as my editorial calendar. It is hosted in the cloud, so my intern and I can refine posting schedules together in real time. I currently maintain separate three sheets that combine to create my editorial calendar. The first is my blog post calendar. I use this calendar to preplan my blog posts and photoshoots, to write ideas for posts, and to brainstorm looks. My second Google Sheet is used as a weekly Facebook Calendar. My intern and I refer to this calendar so we can determine the posting schedule for the week and what content she’ll be posting to my Facebook page each day. The third and final sheet is my sponsored post calendar, through which I can easily track due dates and various deliverables for my collaborations.
Basically all of the [free] organization.
Google Analytics is one of the most useful free tools available for bloggers. Through Google Analytics, I can analyze things like page views, unique visitors, and demographics at any time and over any period of time. But if you click through the pages upon pages of analytics, you eventually find Google Analytics’ social media analytics tool.
In that view, I’m able to see exactly how many page views for each period originated on my social media accounts. By each social media account. I can also see other analytics, so I can infer valuable insights.
For example, perhaps clickthroughs to my site from Pinterest tend to lead to more time on my site and more pages viewed on Glitter & Spice than those which originated on my Instagram. I can then use these analytics to tweak my social media strategy. In the example above, I might invest more time and resources into growing my Pinterest versus other social media accounts. This in turn might lead to increased clicks, page views, unique visitors, and engagement.
And there you have it: all of my favorite social media tools for bloggers. Together, these tools combine to give me the analytics and help necessary to execute on my social media strategy… A strategy I’m constantly tweaking based on my Google Analytics results and engagement.