There is no denying the power of social media and how it can impact small businesses. When I set up Russian Art and Culture in 2011 it was as a small and niche blog that I maintained at weekends whilst studying. I gradually built up a community of followers and started to attract big name advertisers on our website. It was through social media outlets that we increased traffic for the blog to such an extent that we have now moved into print publishing.
Social media has been instrumental in increasing our readership of academics, curators, researchers and members of the public. Our blog now publishes the best reviews, articles and news on Russian art, related exhibitions and interesting cultural events in the UK and around the world.
It is through social media that we have a direct link to our readership. Not only does it allow us to advertise the events that we promote, but readers can connect with us and send us their events for us to share. With the majority of our readership on either Facebook or Twitter, we use these links to interact, which creates an approachable, human side to our organisation.
People are now connected on a global scale and are constantly aware of others’ online activities. The advantages of ‘word of mouth’ advertising play a major role on social media. People trust the opinions of their peers, so a ‘Like’ on Facebook is a significant endorsement. Due to our observational habits on social media a new ‘Like’ will also attract the attention of friends and allows awareness to grow organically.
Here are my top tips for effective social media use for bloggers:
• Social media posts shouldn’t be too text heavy, images and graphics attract a great deal more attention.
• Engage as much as possible – keep it up to date and with plenty of information.
• Modify your posts to the type of social media platform you are using; Facebook and Twitter are used in different ways.
• Keep the quality of your posts to a high standard – don’t post absolutely everything.
• Build up a community before you use social media for advertising.
Proactively using social media is a huge benefit, but it is also important to consider your search engine optimisation. Tagging blog posts with appropriate key words will help your site to appear in Google search results. Using key words rather than numbers to label your images and key words for your website post titles will also contribute to Google search results.
If you are publishing content from another website, such as our event listings, your website will appear fairly low on the list of Google search results, so it is important to post unique content.
Data capture tools are invaluable in order to monitor how your website and social media outlets are being used. We use the free email and marketing distributor MailChimp, which allows us to view statistics on the open rate and click rate of our emails and campaigns.
Google Analytics is a free data capture tool which allows a better understanding of the demographics of our website visitors, and how they use the website. Through this tool we discovered that the most read pages on our website were our news page, jobs page, and articles page. This enabled us to develop and improve these areas with content. We also check our visitors’ location, and the ratio of new and returning visitors. Over 50% of our visitors to Russian Art and Culture have been referred through social media, which attests to the importance of keeping our social media updated and relevant. Using these data capture tools has really impacted on how we direct our information.
It is wise for any business, no matter the size, to invest in a strong media strategy in order to engage with readers and customers. Successfully taking advantage of these outlets will no doubt bring greater awareness and attention to your organisation. I would strongly recommend engaging as much as possible with social media, using data capture tools to monitor web traffic and modify accordingly, and considering your search engine optimisation.
PLEASE VOTE FOR US TO WIN THE UK BLOG AWARD FOR ARTS & CULTURE 2014!