Welcome to Social Media Sunday, a monthly series where we discuss various social media and blogging topics. If you've been following along the last few months, we've talked about how to increase engagement on Facebook, what NOT to do on Twitter, I offered a free blog planner download, shared with you my blog stats, and my favorite blogging resources. Look for future posts in the coming months on how to grow your following using Pinterest and Instagram.
There are some unspoken rules of blogging etiquette, so I thought for this month's Social Media Sunday, I would speak of them. A lot of these rules aren't really rules, per se, more like common courtesy.
Remember my first rule of blogging and social media, Social MEdia is not all about ME. (I say that a lot, I know, but it is important.) Keep in mind that a a sizable portion of the bloggers who follow you, who comment on your blog, who share your content, are doing so because (at least on some level) they want you to do the same for them. It's more about them than it is about you.
A lot of these "rules" simply follow the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
There are a lot of blogger support groups on Facebook who host daily link love threads where the idea is to leave your link and, hence the name link love, give some love back to other links in the thread. It is considered bad practice to routinely leave your link but not return the love to other bloggers (i.e. link and run). I don't think it is necessary to comment on every blog in thread (sometimes those suckers get long), but for every link you leave, look for at least three other posts that genuinely interest you, and leave a thoughtful comment or share it on social media. Remember to "like" the comment in the thread so the blogger knows you gave love.
Although it is bad practice to leave a link and run, I think it might be worse to call-out a blogger you think has not returned any love. People are going to do what they want. They are only hurting themselves if they don't return link love, because people eventually will catch on and stop supporting them in the threads. There is also a chance that you could be wrong. It happened to me. I liked a comment in a thread where someone asked people to follow their Facebook page. I did like the page from my personal Facebook page, but apparently Facebook did not show this person that I did it right away, and they tried to call me out for liking the comment in the thread but not liking the Facebook page. This only annoyed me and I unfollowed the page, so she lost a follower. Oh, the blogger drama! You can't force people to follow the rules. If someone is not playing fair, make a mental note and move on.
When leaving a link in a link love thread and asking people to share, ask yourself, is this sharable content? If you have a health and fitness blog, but write up a nice little post about your fifth grader's birthday party, that is great for you and your audience who may be interested in reading about these things, but it is not necessarily something that you should be asking someone else to share. I personally don't share every single blog post that I write in link love, just the ones that are most important to me. I think it is OK to do so, as long as your content has some value to people outside your regular readers and you are routinely returning the love.
There should be no pressure to share or comment on something that you don't agree with, believe in, or otherwise wouldn't naturally support. If someone shares a blog (or pin or tweet) on cloth baby diapers, this is not inline with my lifestyle, blog or audience, and it is not something I would share. That's OK. Look for things that are a natural fit for your audience, there is plenty of it out there.
If another blogger comments on your blog post, you should respond to the comment on your post and try to visit their blog and return a comment or a social media share. If a blog post has a lot of comments, but zero responses from the blogger, it gives the impression of a disengaged blogger. I understand that we are all busy and if you get a lot of comments, you might not be able to return a comment every single time. However, you should at least make an honest effort and catch up on the blogs who are supporting yours, especially the people who repeatedly leave comments. On the other hand, if you don't have something meaningful to add, it may be better not to say anything at all. I had someone leave a comment on my blog that said "I don't run and I don't like dogs, but nice post." I appreciate the effort to leave a comment, but honestly, if you have absolutely no interest in what I am writing, then it is not necessary to leave a comment. No hard feelings. I am also a firm believer that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Focus your time and energies on things you care about and where you can leave a positive mark.
Blog Hops//Link Parties
If you add your link to a link party you should provide a link back to the host(s) of the link party in your blog post. They took the time to host, they are likely paying for the link service, and they are helping you drive traffic to your blog, the least you can do is link back.
Once you leave a link in a link party, it is also good practice to visit and leave a comment (or share) on a few of the other links. You don't have to visit every single post, but visit a few and leave comments, because if everyone follows these rules, you'll get more views and comments on your post too.
Social Media Shares
If someone shares my content on Twitter, I'll try to look through their feed and see if there is something that I can share that makes sense for my audience. If someone gives my Facebook page a shout out, I'll try to return the favor. Across all social media channels, I'll make an effort to return the favor when someone helps me and generally try to give more than I take. It will eventually come back around to you.
I didn't mention any of the spoken rules of blogging etiquette, like don't steal pictures or content from the Internet or bad mouth other bloggers. Did I miss anything? Are there any other unspoken rules of blogging etiquette? It's all common sense, right? Or as my husband likes to say...uncommon sense
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p.s. Happy mother's day to all the mother runners and the fur baby mommies out there! Whether you are a mommy or celebrating your own momma today, I hope you have a great day.
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