My Social Media Report for April

April has been a great month for opportunities. I was included as one of the interviewed bloggers in an epic blog post over at TwelveSkip, How To Make Friends with Other Bloggers In Your Niche, written a few guest posts, and have had a lot of undercover talks for exciting things to come. Last month, I shared a social media report for the month of March, and want to continue to track the growth, along with the social wins and milestones that I’ve set for myself.

This month, I’ve written 10 posts (not including this one or yesterday’s vlog post). According to my SumoMe analytics, my most shared post this month was The Secret to Changing your Blogging Niche at 221 shares, and my least shared post this month was just posted this week, Practical Blogging Tips to Make Your Blog Better at 16 shares.

Squarespace has it a little different with How to Inexpensively Rock Social Media Like the Pros as the page with the most views, and like SumoMe, has Practical Blogging Tips to Make Your Blog Better with the least views.

I guess no one wants blogging tips, so I should stick with social media tips, secrets and niche talk?! On with the social media report!

My monthly social media report. It includes social media tips and changes I made to my social media strategy to seriously increase my social media following across all platforms! by @fillpraycloset

Twitter

March: 1,750 followers

April: 1,988 followers, +238 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • I’m still rockin’ my weekly Tweepi strategy.
  • Pauline Cabrera of TwelveSkip started sharing my posts. She’s got a massively faithful following on Twitter of 20,534 followers that are all huge fans of blogging + social media.
  • I moderated two twitter chats for The SITS Girls and think the difference here is that on my personal Twitter profile, I tagged a visually appealing image letting specific followers know that I was moderating. Of course, I already had a previous relationship with them. If you don’t and tag someone that’s just spam! During the Twitter chat, I kept note of those people that I was making a connection with, sent another tagged image and ask that we stay connected.

Instagram

March: 535

April: 648, +113 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • I shared my blog posts to Instagram. I can show you how to do that too!
  • I started using TakeOff. A sweet little app that gives you popular hashtags and the best times to post for your specific audience.
  • I also added morning posts and / or evening posts with motivational and inspirational quotes on them using InstaQuote. It’s so easy and who doesn’t want to wake up to some pep and a cuppa?
  • I also had a blog post promotion image reposted on, well I would love to tell ya, but apparently, Instagram doesn’t let you see beyond 80 notifications and now that Iconosquare is a paid web tool as of 10 minutes ago, I can’t thank the person that reposted my blog post on this blog post *hangs head in shame*.
  • This brings me to my most favorite highlight of social sharing this month, no it’s not that Buffer allows you to schedule pins, although that’s super exciting. It’s that one of my all-time fave social media personalities liked, commented, followed AND reposted one of my Instagram posts. I won’t say anything else and just leave this right here.

Wake up and be awesome. Make your day great! #instagood #inspiration #dftba #love #lovewhatyoudo #Hustle Repost from the delightful @fillpraycloset

A photo posted by Peg 📝 Social Media Author 📱 (@pegfitzpatrick) on

Why is that a huge deal? It confirms for me, that I’m on the right track, hustling the right way and playing in the right sandbox! It’s all about being sure to celebrate your wins, whatever they are to you, and this is definitely a win for me! Then, Peg Fitzpatrick’s bestie (see the big league players have them too!), Rebekah Radice, liked one of my Instagram posts! Sweet!

Another tip? For inspirational quotes, why not go to the experts and see how they hashtag? Of course, I’m talking about Simple Reminders. If you can’t think of a hashtag, scroll through their feed and pick ones that work for your quote. Now that’s stealing like an artist baby!

Pinterest

March: 1,465

April: 1,767, +302 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • I continue to pin live 10 times a day, and schedule via Tailwind 10 times a day.
  • I am also using a Beta program where I can input the RSS feeds of those blogs that I know rock solid pins and schedule directly within Tailwind as well.
  • Another great feature of Tailwind, while we’re on it? I can pin from my Instagram feed as well, directly through the application. I just clean up all the hashtags, tweak the description and I’m off and scheduling.
  • I still follow, like and comment on other pins and profiles, because Pinterest is a social platform too, remember? It’s not just all about what we want for our boards.

Facebook

March: 166

April: 226, +60 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • I continue to share links on the SITS Girls Facebook group where they have Facebook Fan page love days. Generally, I try to like between 3-5 Facebook posts for every link I drop.
  • I’ve also been pushing Instagram posts directly to my Facebook Fan page to mix things up.
  • I went into my Fan Page Settings and removed the “send a message” option. This leaves your fan page with a “share” button instead. Wouldn’t you rather have your page shared then receive another “Follow me” message?! I think so.

Google+

March: 3,346

April: 4,120, +774 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • As I committed to in the last post, I began +1, sharing and commenting more on Google+ both within the communities that I am a part of and moderate as well as just on the public feed.
  • I started sharing my inspirational quotes from Instagram in the morning and evening. It was a little more than just getting +1s on this approach. I just kinda wanted to spread the good will and wishes around, ya know?
  • I participated in two “circle shares” by Derek Dillon. What this means is a group of people are added to a circle, then shared. When you’re in the desktop version of Google+ you click “Add these people”. I have them in a “New Followers” Circle that I clean up frequently. How does that look? If they look spammy, or haven’t posted in a while, I remove them from my circles. Think of it like pruning a rosebush. You gotta keep rosebushes pruned for beautiful blooms, right?

E-mail subscribers

March: 120

April: 142, +22 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • It’s a little more of an increase from the month prior, so I’ll take it.
  • I’ve lost quite a few followers now that my niche has changed from more faith based to blogging + social media based. While most people would freak, I’m not.

Bloglovin’

March: 91

April: 104, +13 from the previous month

What did I do?

  • Not a whole lot, can’t you tell? I find Bloglovin’ to be a tricky thing. It’s a blog aggregator that some people use, much like I use Feedly. According to my Squarespace stats, there are 640 people that subscribe in some way via RSS aggregators. So let’s take that number! Actually, in all transparency here, that number fluctuates quite a bit. Yesterday it was at 795. Squarespace notes that “Subscribers” are: A breakdown of subscribers to every RSS feed on your site.

And the biggest reason for all of these social media boosts is my role as a Community Lead in the Spring into Social event that took place on The SITS Girls last week. I shared tips for Pinterest and Instagram while other bloggers covered YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It was a frenzy of following and getting to know other really committed bloggers. I highly suggest participating in a network. In fact, the linky still looks open for these challenges if you want to work on a platform or two. Just because it’s over, doesn’t mean you can’t still reach out, introduce yourself and make a connection.

Another tip! In writing those featured guest posts for The SITS Girls I also created a sister or teaser post on my blog to publish on the same day. Anyone who stopped by The SITS Girls, knew there were even more tips over at my place! Why not pick up on some of that 70,000+ subscriber web traffic, eh?

For example, at The SITS Girls, I wrote a post titled, What Is a Personal Brand? 



The “sister” post was shared on my blog the same day: How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately.



My post on The SITS Girls: How to Get Results from the Time You Spend on Social Media



Sister Post: 4 More Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media 



When you guest post, consider creating an epic blog post on your blog and asking that the blog you’re guest posting for add a link to your sister post to double your writing efforts! If you followed that, high five!

How did your social media go this month? What worked? What didn’t? What are you doing this weekend? Me? I’m presenting at a conference on, you guessed it, social media! Boom Daddy!

My monthly social media report. It includes social media tips and changes I made to my social media strategy to seriously increase my social media following across all platforms! by @fillpraycloset

This post contains an affiliate link. While this costs you el zilcho, it helps me to keep doin’ my thang. Thanks for supporting me!

Practical Blogging Tips to Make Your Blog Better

I check out a lot of blogs for many reasons, content curation, content creation + just to see what other people are doing so I can steal like an artist! I’ve been keeping notes (no, not in a spreadsheet) of blogs that get it right, wrong and almost wrong. We’ll go through the list, together as I share some practical blogging tips to make your blog better.

I love to share tips and tricks like the ones I am about to share with you. Be sure to sign up for my VIP list to receive exclusive tips that I don’t share with anyone else (or anywhere else, for that matter). You’ll also receive my top 7 tips for creating a successful online community, just for signing up. So many tips! Don’t you love it?!

Practical Blogging Tips to Make Your Blog Better I spend a lot of time reading other blogs to see how they work. I share blogging dont's with tips on how to fix your blog, make your blog better and get readers to share you all over social media by @faithfulsocial

Your header has to be captivating, but we don’t want to see the kitchen sink. 

My friend Rhonda blew my mind when she wrote this post about designing with the “Z’ in mind. This means that you want to help your readers natural eye movement on your home page. On my blog, for example, your eye will go to the header to read it, to the right where my profile picture is, to the first post at the top. Visit your blog right now as a new reader. Is your header clean, with a tagline that makes sense? Does it encapsulate who you are and what you’re about? If not, head to Canva and start working! 

How do I share you with my friends?

As a blogger, there’s nothing like social proof. There’s nothing like having a reader share your content with their friends and say “Hey, you need to check this out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to share a post and couldn’t figure out where they were on social media to tag them and let them know I loved what they were puttin’ down. I love Carrie’s free social media icons and recommend them all the time. She has every color social sharing set you could possibly imagine. An extra tip? Please have a friend check your links so they work! Don’t get caught out there with links that only go to the platform and not your profile, or even worse, broken links! Gasp!

You? Who are you? 

I hope you caught that Alice in Wonderland reference. If not, we just broke up. Many times I come across beautifully designed blogs with sumptuous colors and branding. They sweep me off of my feet, carry me to their “About Me” page and it’s like the wine wore off. You know what I mean? Make an about me page that draws your reader in and shares a little bit more than you would. A great example of this is Melissa Cassera’s “My Story” page. She covers business and party like no other. You just can’t stop reading. And who doesn’t want to pretend to be Babs and get their interview on?!

What all this stuff in your sidebar?

Ever scroll as you read at a desktop and get distracted by all the junk in someone’s sidebar? I know I do. If there are blogs that I just love, but I know they are sidebar junkie culprits, I read their stuff on Feedly. You may think this isn’t a big deal, but that’s another click to get me to share, comment and otherwise engage with your blog. Readers are busy, just like bloggers, make their lives easier and cut the crap!

  • Get rid of badges, unless you must have them (like your a contributor), awards, twitter timelines and the like. Why Twitter timelines? What if there’s something scrolling past on Twitter that’s attention grabbing? You guessed it, there they go, off to the shiny light on your twitter stream.
  • I do recommend an Instagram widget, link to an archive page, social platform buttons, a search bar, a Facebook Page Plugin (there’s a new one, in case you didn’t know!), and a Pinterest board widget that features your best stuff. You do have a “Best Of” board, right? 
  •  For more, check out this article by  Hubspot,  7 Things Your Blog’s Sidebar Can’t Live Without.
  • Remember that a lot of people are using their mobile phones to read your content, so they may never scroll down far enough to get to all the widgets in your sidebar anyway. I know that’s hard to hear, but the truth is hard. I never said otherwise.

I can’t see your images, shame. I’d love to pin them.

According to Expanded Ramblings, there are 70 million Pinterest users. To put 70 Million people into perspective, Pinterest has more people there than the country of France. And you’re gonna rock a thumbnail as your featured image? If I love to play on Pinterest, why would I pin your stuff? As a reader and social sharer, I want to provide stellar visual content to my followers on Pinterest and if your pushing a 200×200 pixel post, sorry babe. Peace out. Check out this recent post I wrote up on The SITS Girls for their recent Spring Into Social Media challenge for tips on how to use this powerful platform. As of this post, the linky for that challenge is open for the next 17 hours so get there and start sharing!

Where ya been?!

You know, those blogs that you can’t get enough of that don’t blog consistently? Listen, you don’t have to blog every day, or 3-5 times a week, or 2 times a week. You have to blog at a pace that you can handle. This makes your reader feel comfortable because they know what to expect. Just like any relationship, comfort leads to trust and that leads to faithful fans or money in your pocket if your selling a product. I always suggest coming up with the topics you feel comfortable writing about and consistently vary those topics so you are serving your audience in a way that’s authentic, consistent and fresh.

Need help on coming up with a content schedule? Head to Convince and Convert for How to Build a Content Calendar. You can also use the content calendar that I use, Trello. It’s amazing. Trello even gives you a step by step of how to use their tool to create a quick, easy and simple editorial calendar with due dates to keep you on track and consistent. 

Is time your issue? Believe me, I get it. I have little time and love all the shiny things! I recently found all kinds of time to write and blasted the shiny things using “News Feed Eradicator” for Facebook, a Chrome extension that gives me access to the groups I’m a part of, messages and the ability to post, but I don’t see the time suck that is the Newsfeed. What do I see? A motivational quote. That’s wassup!

So, that’s it. Are there any you’ve seen that you’d like to add? There’s a catch, you have to add a tip to fix it. Let’s help each other! I would love to read what you have to say in the comments! 

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Practical Blogging Tips to Make Your Blog Better I spend a lot of time reading other blogs to see how they work. I share blogging dont's with tips on how to fix your blog, make your blog better and get readers to share you all over social media by @faithfulsocial

This post contains an affiliate link. This costs you nada but helps keep the lights on around here. Thanks for your support!

 

How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately

Aside from getting your color scheme, fonts, and writing voice perfected, how how do you go about branding yourself across social media? Today, I share a post on The SITS Girls, “What Is A Personal Brand?” and share solid steps to solidify a personal brand. In this post, I will share how that looks, specifically on social media platforms.

I love to share tips like the ones I am about to share with you. Be sure to sign up for my VIP list to receive exclusive tips that I don’t share with anyone else (or anywhere else, for that matter). You’ll also receive my top 7 tips for creating a successful online community, just for signing up! So many tips!!

Branding is all anyone can talk about. You've heard about having a voice, and knowing what you'll write about, but do you know How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately? I go through Pinterest Branding, Twitter Branding, Facebook Branding and Instagram Branding to help share different facets of your blogging authority! by @faithfulsocial

A tip that I will share directly from my post on The SITS girls is this: if you have the opportunity to work on your blog or site before going live, try to ensure that your social media profile share the same handle. For example, I can be found on all platforms (except LinkedIn) @faithfulsocial. This makes it easy for the reader to be able to tag me. If they’re on Pinterest and can only remember my Twitter handle, that’s ok, because it’s the same on Pinterest and I’ll receive a notification.

Why is this important? You always want to know where you come up in the “conversation” so you can add to it, thank the reader for mentioning you, or respond and tease out any questions they may have about your content.

How better to explain the differences of each social media platform (and then some) with coffee? There are more platforms conveyed in the image than I’ll cover in this post, but you get the gist.

Branding is all anyone can talk about. You've heard about having a voice, and knowing what you'll write about, but do you know How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately? I go through Pinterest Branding, Twitter Branding, Facebook Branding and Instagram Branding to help share different facets of your blogging authority! by @faithfulsocial

Facebook is like Starbucks. Everyone is there to grab a cup, chat, see, be seen and hangout. With the algorithm changes you may not even be seen at all. I’ll be honest and say I am not having an easy go of it, but I haven’t paid for ads or boosted a post. It’s not that I couldn’t afford it, I just don’t want to. Maybe that’s not the smartest choice, but Facebook is more of an experiment for me. What I do find works from a reach perspective, is sharing viral content from my personal profile to my Fan Page. I leverage the “Facebook power” of the person or company that initially posted and share a funny quip or a call to action to engage readers (they do respond). The point for me, is to get people to know my personality on Facebook. I’m relaxed, have a sense of humor and share personal pictures from Instagram. Facebook will always be the casual platform for me, so I am sure to show that side of myself.

Twitter is the coffee vendor on the corner of 42nd and Park. It’s busy, and you may have to wait in line to get it, but if you know a guy, you can get a good cup o’Joe. Twitter can be intimidating even to people with a huge following. There are many conversations happening and most include hashtags, current events, or the same of a book, right?! How do you wade through that and get your name out there? I think of Twitter as the office water cooler. You have to spend some time there to get the regulars to know you. I find that attending twitter chats helps with that quite a bit.

Create a Twitter list for influencers you want to follow. You don’t even have to make this public, although you could and help others just starting out (your choice). I have twitter lists of people I follow that are my social media heroes and another list for anyone that I meet on The SITS Girls. Not to mention, when you add someone to a list, they receive a notification. Who doesn’t want to receive a notification that they are on The SITS Glitter list? It’s just a nice way of making the virtual world a more real one. Twitter lists can help you cull information for retweeting or just control by category, the content and conversation you want to join. It’s a little easier to jump in and add your two cents this way. Not to mention, it makes it easier for you to remember why you followed them in the first place.

You don’t have a lot of room to share who you are on your Twitter profile so make it count. “Cat lover, writer, soda enthusiast, ninja” won’t cut it. My profile shares just enough to give you the information you need and still be playful about it. I want to show that while I take social media seriously, I still know how to have fun.

Branding is all anyone can talk about. You've heard about having a voice, and knowing what you'll write about, but do you know How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately? I go through Pinterest Branding, Twitter Branding, Facebook Branding and Instagram Branding to help share different facets of your blogging authority! by @faithfulsocial

I also added my URL, but used a trackable bit.ly link that goes right to my About Me Page. Anyone that clicks on my link will get a real introduction to who I am, what I stand for and what I’m about. Other options are creating a landing page just for Twitter followers with a bit about you along with your most shared posts. You can then track what people are looking at when they get to their personalized Twitter page. I could probably house my vlogging series for Thoughts on Thursday there…hmmm. For more tools to use on Twitter, Peg Fitzpatrick just came out with a fresh post on 5 Tools Everyone on Twitter Should Be Using

Pinterest is the Nespresso Cafe (not the homemade stuff, although that’s good, but the actual bar in Manhattan). It’s the crème de la crème of image debauchery. If you take a look at my archive page, you’ll see a quick evolution in how the images are branded. That’s perfectly fine. I know that my visual brand will evolve over time and if I work quickly, my audience will recognize that it’s a work in progress. Because I don’t do this often, they are willing, to forgo my tweaks (that’s what I tell myself, anyway).

I changed all of my boards to play on the theme of “My Prayer Closet”. Examples are My Social Media Closet, My Blogging Closet and My Recipe Closet to name a few. The next step for me, is to break these boards down more by niche. For example, I’ll rework “My Social Media Closet” to be My Facebook Closet, My Twitter Closet, My Pinterest Closet and so on. This makes it easy for other pinners and potential referrers to and from my blog to get exactly what they’re looking for, quickly. 

This is where you definitely want two different fonts, one script and the other a sans (preferably). You can use the same font in your attention grabbing headline text or you can choose what I’ve done and mix it up. Include your url at the bottom of the pinnable image, which should be 735×1102 pixels. I’ve chosen to have a transparent square overlaid on my image, and then place the text over top. I did this so my text would pop more. If there is still an issue with seeing the text, I make the actual image slightly transparent, and that usually solves it. Some would say you should use the same transparency or photo filter in every image, and technically, I guess they’d be right. But I like to break the rules, because who started them anyway, right?



If Pinterest is the Nespresso, Instagram is the Juan Valdez coffee shop. Why? Because you get models, fashion designers, company brands (makes me think of Andy Warhol), people who are wrap fanatics (nothing against wrap fanatics, but I don’t follow them back. I can’t take the constant “I can help you be skinny, ask me how” posts, I like cake and sugar. Thanks), Etsy sellers and hobbyists, all sharing their content in sumptuously beautiful ways. If you’ve even been to the Juan Valdez coffee shop and take a look at their pastry case, you’ll know just why I made this comparison. Yum!

How to stand out? Hashtags help. I scream it from the rooftops that 11 hashtags is your sweet spot. I’ve been playing with TakeOff and kind of love it just for the hashtag feature it provides. Sometimes, this girl is too tired to research a hashtag on her own, so Takeoff helps with that. I just click and unclick those hashtags that are applicable to my image.

Another way to stand out is with photo filters. As I recently learned, my Instagram followers like Amaro, I’m partial to Crema and Aden which is a bummer. I’ll make my followers come around. An Instagram profile I am really loving is Jenna Guizar’s. This chick is committed. She optimized her feed for mobile readers, posting two personal images and one quote in beautiful calligraphy. When you scroll through her feed, the images are vertically laid on either side of the quote, or to the right, depending on where she is in her posting sequence. Regardless, it’s visually beautiful to scroll through, and not all that hard to do. But maybe don’t all bite her rhyme at once?

Branding is all anyone can talk about. You've heard about having a voice, and knowing what you'll write about, but do you know How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately? I go through Pinterest Branding, Twitter Branding, Facebook Branding and Instagram Branding to help share different facets of your blogging authority! by @faithfulsocial

Bottom line, stick to a photo filter, or none at all, be consistent. The key here is to be sure to use appropriate hashtags, post quality images, and not blurry shots of your cat, “Whiskers” chasing a laser light.

Still stumped? Head to my post over at The SITS Girls for more in depth tips on branding

And, you can visit these 4 posts that I have saved in my Pocket:

And of course, I have a Pinterest board for all things brand (you’re welcome)

How do you brand yourself on Social Media? Do you find one platform easier than the other? Let me know!

Have any questions on social media that you want answered? Ask me anything and I would LOVE to turn it into a post (I’ll even share your profiles as a thank you!)

Did you love this? Sign up to receive exclusive tips like these right in your inbox each week, every Friday!

Branding is all anyone can talk about. You've heard about having a voice, and knowing what you'll write about, but do you know How to Brand Yourself on Social Media Immediately? I go through Pinterest Branding, Twitter Branding, Facebook Branding and Instagram Branding to help share different facets of your blogging authority! by @faithfulsocial

The Secret To Changing Your Blogging Niche

What happens when you blog about one thing, and then change it up? What will your readers think? Should you keep on truckin’ with what they’re used to, or follow your passion, interests and what you’ve learned you have a knack for?

The Secret To Changing Your Blogging Niche. Are you thinking about changing your niche and afraid you'll lose subscribers? Don't be. I share why you can pivot your niche, change your niche and why it's still completely ok! by @fillpraycloset

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Sure you do. No doubt you’ve noticed that I have been on a social media + blogging frenzy with my posts and there are some that just ain’t feelin’ it. How do you know? You get the ol’unsubscribe emails. That would normally freak people out. As a blogger, I work hard to build my email list, creating freebies that I think are useful and sharing content that is helpful. So, am I freaking out?

The point is, if you’re on fire about it, and you’ve been true to yourself throughout the blogging journey, that’s all that matters. That’s the secret. Your passion. If you’re up in the middle of the night writing a post about how to rock social media inexpensively like the pro’s (like I was this week between 12AM and 4AM on Tuesday night, thank you very much. I prayed a couple of rosaries before and after the writing sesh, as always!), then you’re passionate about it. Everything starts with passion, even blogging.

This weekend, I am hosting another set of twitter chats with The SITS Girls, so if you can make it, I would LOVE to see you there. 

Share your favorite post of the week on their linky posted Saturday morning, and then hop on the twitter chat at 10AM EDT where we’ll be talking about the one  blogging nut you’ve yet to crack. Then on Monday night at 8PM EDT, we’ll talk about balancing blogging + motherhood/work/life. I would love to see you there.

Tomorrow, I’m up over at SITS again for the Spring Into Social challenge where I’ll tackle Instagram! This will be so much fun, and it has been all week. We’ve covered TwitterPinterest, and YouTube so far. Today, the challenge is Facebook! So if you’ve missed it and want to catch up, there’s still time to link up and meet people!  

I also wanted to let you know that your resident Latina <—that would be me, was interviewed along with 16 other bloggers by Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip.com (I know, let’s all commence freaking out + happy dancing) about how to make friends with others in your blogging niche. Do you think you have an idea of how I responded? I be you’ll be slightly surprised. Naaaah, you all know me. I’m all about the love.

Happy Thursday and please, visit the other vloggers linking up with Jen @ JVKomChronicles this week as we continue to get out of our comfort zones, because nothing exciting happens there, right? Right!

JVKom Chronicles

The Secret To Changing Your Blogging Niche. Are you thinking about changing your niche and afraid you'll lose subscribers? Don't be. I share why you can pivot your niche, change your niche and why it's still completely ok! by @fillpraycloset

How To Inexpensively Rock Social Media Like The Pros

Are you a baller on a budget? What I mean is, do you have limited time + money to put into blogging and social media? Me too. You’ve seen all of the available automation and scheduling applications and maybe our head spins at all the options, or maybe you just don’t know where to put your money for fear of not looking like a pro out there. In this post, I’ll share with you how I run my blog and social media using a strategic combination of free and paid apps totaling just $50 per month.

How to Inexpensively Rock Social Media Like the Pros. Sharing how I spend my money on a monthly basis using a strategic combination of paid and free apps by @fillpraycloset

Thinking strategically, it’s best to go with what works, tweaking as needed. Why re-create the wheel, right? 

I thought about where I like to spend most of my social media time + how my content can be displayed and shared in a way that would bring traffic back to my blog. This is the foundation on which I make most of my purchasing decisions.

Then I looked at my bank account. By that, I mean how much am I making from my blog. At the the time, (February 2015) zilch, to be exact. I don’t mind investing in my blog, I have plans, you see *insert evil laugh here*. Let’s rock social media like pro’s shall we?

Squarespace Price $20/month. Moving over to Squarespace costs me a lot of the $50 pie, but for me, it’s worth it. I just don’t have the time to deal with “under the hood stuff”. I could have saved $4 and get billed annually, but I’m a month-to-month gal. I love the ease of use, ability to add scripts for certain social sharing apps and the customer service is excellent. Just because they treat me like I am an expert “under the hood stuff” blogger.

SumoMe Price $0/month. Notice when you hover over images you are prompted to share it to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter? Or maybe you’ve noticed that if you highlight any text, you can also share to Twitter or Facebook? Hello scroll box for new subscribers and how are you social sharing buttons scrolling with you as you read? Yep, SumoMe does all of that for me with no money spent. That’s wassup.

Feedly Price $5/month. I curate and share content for myself and others and wanted all the bells and whistles that came with. My husband reads up on current events and politics in the morning, and I’m reading the latest in social media, marketing, advertising, blogging + design at night. Feeds with the upgraded plan refresh faster than unpaid, and I can easily share from my Feedly to other social media apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, IFTTT, Pinterest and Pocket.

Canva Price $0/month. I use my own images, or those you can find on Unsplash, MorgueFile, Wikipedia Public Domain Art, and even directly in Canva. I use this to create all of my branded images, with my style guide of fonts, colors, elements + image filters so I am literally making images for this blog in under 3 minutes. You can purchase premium elements at $1/element and I’ll do that very rarely. A dollar is a dollar.

Tailwind Price $15/month. Pinterest has always been a high referrer for me. Maybe it’s because I started this blog after being a secret Pinterest junkie for almost a year. A story for another time. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling tool with the most crazy analytics that when used with my social spreadsheet gets me to really dig deep and repin what works, and cut what isn’t working. I still use Pinterest without Tailwind because it will always be my favorite social platform, and there’s nothing like finding a gem in real time to pin!

Tailwind even spent a half hour on the phone with me (on the phone!) to ask me how I was liking their app, what I was struggling with and how I was using it <— see, right there, I knew that was the basis of their call. They get information from bloggers and tweak their product based on an aggregate compilation of data from users! But because I share everything, I told them about my crazy spreadsheet and Pinterest strategy from the Pinning Perfect class I just took that increased my referral traffic 10-15%! They actually said I was the most organized pinner they’d spoken to (little do they know.)

But because I shared, they enrolled me in a Beta test for a new feature + I got a tip that I’ll share with you. If you’re using Tailwind, you may have a hard time wrapping your head around how to ensure your current posts are shared to your boards and group boards upon publish. Manually schedule your blog posts pins on the day you need them, and then use the Tailwind extension to schedule anything else that you want to pin. This way when you use the “shuffle queue” feature, your scheduled content stays as you’ve scheduled it (kinda like Buffer and Hootsuite). Another sweet tip: You can make your pins inside the app because it’s integrated with Canva! Like a cherry on a sundae!

Hootsuite Price $0/month. We know that Hootsuite is my strong, burly, no funny business social media husband. He does all the heavy lifting as far as others content is concerned. Since I only get 100 posts for Buffer, my money is better spent sharing my own content there. I use Feedly as I am reading through pieces of content I think my Twitter audience would love and don’t have a limit as to how much I get to share. Combine that with the auto scheduling feature where it knows just the right time to share posts for maximum impact, and I’m golden.

Buffer Price $10/month. With the new scheduling feature I found, I am literally sharing my blog content within milliseconds according to my schedule (upon publish, 2 hours after, the next day, the next week and the next month). Not to mention, their suggested content is great. I know I can always scroll through there and find a good read. I also have a recipe set up with IFFFT to push all of my tweets into a Google spreadsheet. This means, I can extract those tweets that worked and push them back through (inspirational quotes, evergreen content, you get the drill). 

Pocket Price $0/month. When I find a piece of content that I know I will use later for a guest post, or to send to a client, I save it to Pocket and tag it. It’s so easy to forget that last bit, but it’s very important. I have links in there that I refer to all the time to include relevant data, quotes and methods. 

Co-Schedule Title Analyzer Price $0/month. Did you think that just because I wasn’t on WordPress, I wasn’t going to take advantage of all the freebies around their massively easy and integrated social sharing/blogging app?! Everyone is all cuckoo for cocoa puffs over the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer, even Co-Scheduler mentions it on this app (page? I can’t tell). What I love about this is I can plug in a title and get instant feedback on why it works, how to make it better and what it looks like in a Google Search. Hook your readers with your title, the rest will follow.

True, I can spend loads of time coming up with the perfect A+ title and I do, but there’s just something about getting a good grade that piques the eternal student in me. Go ahead, test my title. A+, baby.

Iconosquare Price $0/month I am able to comment, like and follow new people on Instagram from this desktop application. The statistics tab is shares charts and graphs of my most liked images, top tags, and even compares them to the ones I use, best times to post based on engagement, and best image filters for my audience. Now that I share my blog posts to Instagram, this is a super win-win. My audience likes the Amaro filter, are crazy for me when I post on Thursdays between 5PM – 9PM and should work more on getting comments so that means better call to action captions on my part. Who knew?

Want more analytics? Simply Measured gives you serious scoop on your Google+ profile page, Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and even social sharing back to your blog. Totally free, you just have to share a little blurb on your social media about them. Which is worth it (and I think that’s how they know it’s really you asking for all of this top secret information). These reports are not for the faint hearted or weak eyed, so don’t do what I did and try to glean information from your smart phone. Get up off the couch and check out your reports from your laptop.  If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Could I have added more to this list? Sure, we all know about IFTTT, TwitterFeed + JustUnfollow but I wanted to share new stuff. Will I consider adding more to my blog + social media budget? Of course and that’s always in the works, but for now, this works for me, your favorite baller on a budget. If you’re a baller on a budget, let me know!

How do you spend your money on social and blogging? I would love to hear how you make it happen on a shoestring in the comments.

How to Inexpensively Rock Social Media Like the Pros. Sharing how I spend my money on a monthly basis using a strategic combination of paid and free apps by @fillpraycloset

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