Anybody else ever have a lightbulb moment to write about your current thoughts but have that feeling that you’re not going to execute it in the way you want to? Yep, that is me *raises hand*. For the last week, I’ve been thinking about my blog in-depth every day. My poor little corner of the internet was neglected most of last year, although I had some bursts of inspiration that led me to write. It was a space online I didn’t think I would ever revive but, early in 2018 I had such a desire to write and share my passion of books that I kickstarted What Amy Did with a new focus. I was motivated, dedicated and back in love with my hobby. Sadly, I had a major health setback in early March that put my whole life on hold. I’ve only just started to blog regularly again in the last few weeks, but instead of my mind being filled with inspiration, the reality is that it has been pretty puzzled. Your girl had only been out of the blogging games for a few months but, it feels like something has changed.
I’ve given an opinion or two about the blogging community before on this blog. It’s no secret that with the change in algorithms on certain apps, the rise of YouTube and the oversaturated blogging industry, standing out can be a tough thing to do. So often we see advice by other bloggers on how to run a successful blog, career tips and ways to drive traffic to your blog but right now, with the current climate in the blogging world, it doesn’t seem like these posts can actually pay off. Things are changing, and I’m finding myself having to do the most important thing we rarely do – consult with my audience. I think we all in our mind know who read or follow us – the likes of Google Analytics helps give that breakdown. You see the kind of accounts that engage with your content but, I’ve never actually given those who follow me the chance to let me know what their preferences are when it comes to blogging/social media. The reason why I’ve never done this before, and I’m positive other people will feel the same, is because we have this mentality of staying true to ourselves and doing what works for us, but I’ve recently learned that having that outlook has done my blog and social media presence more harm than good.
What prompted this thought process was Twitter. I thought Twitter was my homegirl, my most popular platform and the one that I engaged with people most on but the reality is, my engagement was tanking. There was zero growth, hardly any clicks of links I’d shared but sadly, people were seeing my tweets – they just didn’t feel compelled to learn more, reply or give it a little red heart. I felt like I was failing, struggling to understand where I was going wrong because everything I was doing worked before. I soon discovered by just sitting and observing others that self-promo on Twitter isn’t as heavily done as it used to be. Sure, there are a handful of people I follow who schedule tweets every hour of the day but the majority of promotion is done once or twice, and that seems to be it. For me, it was clear that my audience just weren’t engaging with the self-promotional tweets as much as before.
Bizarrely, while everyone else seems to be open about their Instagram engagement being virtually non-existent, mine is steadily growing. Don’t get me wrong it is not like I gain 500 followers a day but I am steadily gaining a handful per week, getting roughly the same number of likes per picture and, the best part – having my followers chat to me. It is so refreshing to have a conversation with someone over your content. Whether it be a comment chain under my new post, replies to my stories or simply just DMs – it feels so nice to be connecting with people. It is one of the big reasons why I started my #bookstagram – it allows me to share my love of books with likeminded people and I do feel that sense of fitting into a blogging community, something I’ve openly said I haven’t before. When I studied my traffic, it was clear that the majority came from Instagram. This was a massive surprise as Instagram was never a huge traffic driver for me before. Something had changed. How people where disgesting my content had been switched up.
I decided to take to Instagram to share my frustration over my lack of engagement on Twitter via a poll in my stories. I asked my followers if they put effort into one platform or as many as possible and surprisingly, over 80% said they focus on their most popular. I wasn’t entirely surprised by the results, but it got me thinking, am I duplicating everything I do when the reality is, I only have one strong audience on one social media platform? Am I putting too much energy and focus into Twitter when it seems to be a wasted effort?
Any digital marketing guru will tell you to try and be present on them all, but I’m finding myself growing tired of doing that. Of course, I’m not going to neglect Twitter and just focus on my Instagram, but I feel like I’ve put too much pressure on myself to throw myself back into the world of blogging when the reality is, my strategy this time around has to be totally different. It has also made me realise just how quickly things change in the world of blogging and social media and how imperative it is to keep up with what the people who follow you want. Having that insight is more important than ever, and I do feel like I’ve benefited so much from posing some questions to those who follow me because now, I’m in a position to know what works and what doesn’t. I no longer feel the need to buffer 20 tweets. I don’t feel I need to have a super strict blogging schedule – instead, I now put much more focus onto the platform that works for me and get the balance of growing on there but not neglecting my other channels. Blogging can be hard work. Managing multiple accounts and shouting loud about yourself at times can be so disappointing when you don’t see the pay off but now, I’m taking my foot off the gas and plan to continue, when needed, to go right to the source rather than trying to get my head around stats and get myself disappointed when they aren’t as great as I hoped. Nine times out of ten, there is a reason why. The addition of polls on social media means you can pose these questions without having to go around everyone individually. It is a tool I’m glad we have access to because I now have a different approach to how I ‘market’ myself online. I’m not a brand, but sometimes, you have to treat yourself like one.
As expected, this post has turned into a giant ramble, but I hope someone out there gets it. Sometimes we are so blindsided by the fact that we need to be so present and keep up content wise with our peers – or competition as others would say. It might seem like that is what we need to ‘survive’ in blogging nowadays, but the truth is, we just need to make sure we understand our audience more than ever. Sometimes, going to them directly is the only way to get out of a slump or to understand why a strategy is doing well or failing miserably. I don’t mean bombard your followers with questions 24/7, but I’ve found so much value in doing a few a month to help me understand where I need to put all my time and energy. Blogging is hard slog, especially when you work full time, so having that insight is key in helping me plan or create content that I know isn’t going to make me feel like it was a waste of my valuable time. Have you felt a change in the blogging world? Do you often consult with your followers/viewers? If you’ve made sense of this ramble, I’d love to hear your thoughts below, or you can tweet/IG me at @amysbookshelf. Thanks for reading!