When people ask me occasionally about starting a travel blog and how they can succeed, I always hate telling them that social media is a big part to making everything work. We all have our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, but knowing how to use them can be a bit more of a challenge. It’s a constant struggle having an idea of how to market yourself through social media, but unfortunately, it’s become a huge part of being a travel blogger.
When I first started blogging, I kept hoping that I could keep my social media and my blog separate. I thought that maybe readers would just be interested in the content—that the two didn’t have to be connected. However, the more time I spent writing, the more I realized that most the people who would care subscribed to my posts on social media channels.
This meant deleting pictures of my dog and my daily coffee on Instagram, learning to use hashtags, and rebranding myself as a traveler. No one cared about my daily life—they wanted to see the most exciting parts of my travels and the places I had gone. It took hours to go through my social media pages and narrowing things down to what represented my brand and what I wanted to share with others.
It meant bothering others by posting my newest blog post, any announcements relating to partnerships that I signed with, and things I found exciting. I felt guilty clogging up Facebook feeds, but with the way blogging works, I had no choice and realized that if people really didn’t want to see what I was writing, they could change the settings on their accounts. Facebook has become more of a promotional tool for me than a way to connect with friends (though I do that too).
It’s not enough just to write great posts filled with travel information and beautiful photos. While that will be what attracts readers over the long run (and the reason they keep coming back), they need to find a way to get there first. Social media serves as that conduit to attract readers initially. And if the message you share on social media is inconsistent, you aren’t going to have a steady stream of people visiting your blog.
Social media also takes up a lot of time. That was one thing I didn’t realize when I starting to promote myself. In fact, I spend more time scheduling my social media posts than I do writing. Promotion has taken over the majority of my time—and much of that has to do with how I show off posts on social media. I don’t like spending hours on Later when I could be traveling, reading, or pretty much doing anything else, but social media and Instagram is a big part of how I share any announcements with readers and work with companies.
So how do you put together a solid posting plan for social media? First, always bring it back to what you are writing and why. Who do you want to read your blog? From there, you’ll want to craft social media posts and campaigns around that. My main readership is ethical, environmentally-conscious travelers who like adventure. So I post a lot of content about ethical travel and how we can be more conscious about our footprint on the world on our adventures. People have come to expect that, so a picture of my dog (no matter how cute) doesn’t fit.
Social media has become such a necessary evil for travel bloggers, and I still have a lot to learn. Things are always changing, and we’re always looking to find the best way to promote what we believe in as travelers.
How do you brand yourself on social media so your readers know what to expect? Any tips for newbies?