I'm sure this isn't what most people are expecting to read when they see a post update, but I feel this really does need sharing. It wasn't until my friend Elana from Room 334 enlightened me to the importance of networking as a blogger that I really truly understood it's value, which is what I'm here to write about.
Now I know that must seem silly. A blogger who doesn't have a handle on her networking? It sounds just as ridiculous as a pro-athlete that doesn't have a handle on their diet, or a doctor that doesn't have a handle on her people skills. At first, it doesn't seem like a HUGE deal. I mean, as long as a doctor knows how cure pneumonia and an athlete knows how to throw a ball, what harm is done? But once your eyes are opened that a doctor who can communicate with people and be empathetic or an athlete who can feed his body to make his performance that much more elite, you'll see that it's just as essential as the initial skill set- if not more.
A blogger who cannot utilize the resources of the internet will not make it very far. Rarely does it happen that a blogger with no networking skills make it beyond the level of sharing with friends and family on Facebook. Why? Because it doesn't matter how well your posts are written, how expertly your photos are taken, or how masterfully your blog layout is set up if no one knows about it.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and I'm not saying that it cannot be done. However, prime examples of bloggers with networking skills are those who don't have a fancy camera and who's HTML skills are elementary at best, yet still have 100+ comments per post and their follower count inches closer to the next thousandths milestone every day. Have you never wondered how they do it? The key is networking.
Sign up for all the websites you can. I know it may seem time consuming- that's because it is. I've been sitting at my laptop for about 2 hours reading "about us" pages and clicking "sign up" buttons. It also may seem overwhelming. In all that Internet space there are thousands of social media and networking websites, but there are a few that stand out and that seem to be reoccurring on many successful blogger's websites.
The Basics- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
These are the ones you probably have, but possibly aren't utilizing to their fullest potential.
On Facebook...make sure to connect it to your Blogger account- that will allow you to share your new posts right away so your fans can see them.
On Twitter...interact with people! There are multiple chats about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and tons of other topics happening daily, and don't be afraid to search hashtags to find new people to follow. Chances are that if you follow someone and drop them a DM saying how you found them and why you are following that they'll strike up a conversation and follow you back! Warning- make sure to keep things genuine. Nothing is more annoying than a copy-paste message about how "much i love your blog!"
On Instagram...don't be afraid to hashtag. That's how tons of people find different pictures and people to follow. Some of the most popular are #whatiworetoday (or #wiwt) or #ootd. Feel free to hashtag specific items, brands, or places in your photo, but hashtagging excessively can become annoying, so make sure it is relevant.
On Pinterest...I only recently started using this, but I realized that so many people use it as an inspiration for their outfits in the morning. Why not add my outfits to their inspiration pool?! "Pin" a photo of your outfit and link it back to your specific blog post featuring that photo.
The Next Level- BlogLovin, Lookbook, Chictopia, IFB, eTailPR
On Bloglovin'...it is essentially a way for bloggers to follow your blog on a different platform than GFC. I use it as a way to weed out my favorite bloggers from those that I read when I have a free afternoon. Providing that second option to your readers is always appreciated in case they prefer not to use GFC or use a format like Wordpress and don't have a Google Blogger account
On Lookbook/Chictopia...they are (at this point) the same thing to me. You can post your looks, classify what you are wearing, and people give you "Hypes" or "votes" based on the platform. You can always leave your URL under the photos and if they make the popular page, thousands of people will see it. The major difference is that Chictopia offers a point system that somehow earns you free times, though I haven't quite figured that all out yet.
On IFB...read the articles and interact! It is essentially a blog about blogging, and I find many of their articles to be quite helpful. They feature tips, funny observations, and ways to keep your sanity while blogging.
On eTailPR...I actually don't have any tips yet because I'm still waiting for my approval, but from what I've gathered is that it is essentially a database of credible bloggers that brands can use to find people to work with. What's not to like about that?! Plus, they review all candidates by hand, so it really feels official rather than a place someone will sign up and never open their account again.
Whew! That was a long one, but hopefully it helped. Had I seen a list like this when I first started blogging I think I would have had a bit more initial success and taken networking more seriously than I did. Do you have any tips I missed? Feel free to share them in the comments!