Social media can be both brilliant and frustrating in equal measure. With so many platforms to juggle, it is hard to know sometimes where to devote your efforts. Do you focus on one, or give each platform the same level of attention? In this new Talking Social Media series we chat to successful influencers to find out how they manage their social media.
This month we’ve interviewed Sarah, from A Spoonful of Vanilla
What social media platforms do you have, and which is your most popular in terms of follower numbers and overall engagement?
I have an Instagram and Twitter account. I also have a Facebook page dedicated to my blog and of course Pinterest. I have recently started a TikTok and YouTube Account too. My most popular account is my Instagram account in which I have 3073 followers at the time of writing this, although for overall engagement my most popular social media account is Twitter. I have fewer followers on Twitter (1344 at the time of writing this), but I have far more engagement here than I do on Instagram.
How long did it take you to grow this channel to what it is today?
I have been working on my channels since I started my blog. When I first started my Instagram, I had 0 followers and I have been working hard since to grow my following and engagement. My Twitter account has grown quite a lot too; I had a personal Twitter account and I had around 600 followers when I started my blog, so I decided to just keep it and turn it into a Twitter account for my blog – so although this has grown it hasn’t grown as much as my Instagram account.
What is your fastest growing platform?
My fastest growing platform is Instagram. I started it with 0 followers when I first started my blog just over a year ago and now have over 3000 followers. I sometimes wish I could grow it faster but then I look back at where I started compared to where I am now, and all the work is worth it.
How long do you spend interacting on social media? How often do you post to your channels?
Oh gosh, erm, I’m not 100% sure to be honest. I do spend a lot of time on social media each day and I try to interact as much as I can. I typically don’t schedule a block of time to do this for example spending 30 minutes per day doing this. I normally just interact when I am on the apps so this could be first thing in the morning, last thing at night or when I am on breaks in work.
I post to my channels every weekday and normally one day over the weekend. The amount I post depends on the social media channel. I normally will post once to my Instagram feed and then use the Stories feature throughout the day. For Twitter, I normally schedule between 3-10 promotional tweets per day and then I will also send Tweets during the day when I have something to say.
Do you use hashtags? How many per post?
I only use hashtags on Instagram. It is a great way for more people to find your content. I normally use between 25–30 (30 is the maximum you can post) on Instagram. It can be difficult to judge though. I normally post first thing in the morning when there are more people using the app before they go to work, when they have first woken up, but I have also found that this is a time where less people are posting so it means that my images stay at the top of the hashtag search for longer.
Do you post quotes/memes on your social media? How successful is this to increasing your followers and engagement?
This is something I only really do on Twitter. I tend not to post any quotes or memes on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, unless it is in my Instagram stories. I tend not to get too much interaction and engagement when I post them, but I suppose it totally depends on the message and the individual quote or meme.
Have you any tips for established accounts to increase follower numbers?
There are a few things I do which have helped me to increase follower numbers. One of the simplest things is to reply to all comments, I see so many posts that people have commented on, and the original poster just seems to ignore the comments. It is just a little disheartening that someone has taken the time to comment on your content and not to receive any sort of reply.
Another tip is to start conversations. Whether this is tweeting a question or opinion or asking someone a question. You could also ask questions in your captions to encourage your followers to reply and start a conversation.
My final tip for increasing follower numbers on social media is promoting your accounts on other social media accounts. So, for example I will regularly post about my Instagram and Facebook page on Twitter and I will mention my Twitter and Facebook page on Instagram. This way people who are following me on one social media channel can then follow me on others that they might not have realised I had.
Have you any tips for increasing engagement with your followers?
So, as well as everything above there are a few other things I try and do to increase my engagement. For Instagram this includes posting interactive stories, where I maybe ask a question or include a poll or ask for suggestions; these can be super popular, and I always seem to get a lot of views. Another way I increase engagement on Instagram is by posting reels. In these I normally show the process of making a recipe and appeal to a wider audience. It also allows people to comment and message me to ask questions and can show them how easy or simple a recipe is.
Do you use apps for picture editing? What ones do you recommend?
Photo editing is something that I am awful at. I have never really managed to get the hang of it so the only thing I use to edit photos is the editing software on my iPhone.
If you use scheduling software, which ones?
I do. I use Buffer to schedule my Tweets, Instagram, and Facebook posts. There are quite a few different scheduling softwares out there and I tried a few including Planoly, Tailwind and Later but Buffer was the only one I found I really liked. They have a free version which is what I started with, and this lets you schedule up to 10 posts for every account. I now pay for the Premium Plan which lets me schedule an unlimited number of posts. It also lets me add in the first comment on Instagram.
For Pinterest I used to use Tailwind to schedule pins but now I use the scheduling feature on Pinterest instead I just find it so much easier and simpler to use.
Do you run giveaways on your social media channels?
This is something I have been dying to do for such a long time. I love a good giveaway, but I just haven’t had the chance yet. I’m not sure what is holding me back I think it is just the worry that no one will enter! Giveaways can be a great way to increase your following especially if all the entrants have to follow you but having done a little research on giveaways I have found that you tend to lose these followers after the giveaway has ended. However, I suppose the benefit of losing some followers is that the ones who continue to follow you are interested in what you are posting.
Can you share with us your 3 favourite social media influencers, and tell us why?
My three favourite social media influencers (in no particular order) are:
If you haven’t come across Lady Berry Cupcakes oh my goodness, you need to go and check her out right now! Lady Berry creates the most insanely cute fondant cupcakes toppers and cake decorations, including afternoon tea miniature cupcake decorations, teddy bears, mermaids and water scenes complete with miniature villa, turtles, and palm trees.
I wish I could explain more how amazing Lady Berry Cupcakes is but I don’t think I would do her justice – you really need to check her out.
Don’t Go Bacon My Heart is an account I have only found recently but it has quickly become one of my favourites. Chris makes some of the most delicious looking comfort food I have ever seen!
From Bacon Grilled Cheese Roll ups to Kicked Up Cowboy Burgers Chris has recipes to suit every taste and every mood.
One of my favourite baking accounts is My Kitchen Drawer. I have followed Alex for a while now and she posts the yummiest looking desserts including Banana Bread Ice Cream and I can confirm her Jammy Dodger Babka Recipe is the most amazing Babka I think I have ever made.
What has been your most successful social media post in terms of likes/shares and engagement?
My most successful post was for my Biscoff Drip Cake. On Instagram it received over 150 likes which is the most one of my posts has ever received. It also reached over 1400 accounts 44% of which weren’t following me at the time I posted it.
I have to admit I was quite surprised that this was my most popular posts on social media as it wasn’t the first time I had posted this recipe. I’m not 100% sure why it did so well; there has been a lot of love and obsession for Biscoff over the last few years and it isn’t the first time I have posted a Biscoff recipe either.
I have been doing a lot more research around hashtags and I changed the time I was posting to earlier in the morning, so I guess my research is paying off.
What one piece of advice would you give to new influencers starting out?
One piece of advice I would give to new influencers is to have fun and follow people that make you feel good about yourself. Okay, that is two pieces of advice, sorry! Post what you want when you want on social media don’t be too worried about the perfect time the perfect photos etc. have fun with the images you are sharing or the stories you are telling.
Follow people who you can engage with and whose content you love. Social Media has been criticised so much for affecting our mental health and I have tried for such a long time to only follow people whose content I actually enjoy. For example, I won’t follow anyone from Love Island just because my friends do, because I know I will probably end up obsessing about how “perfect” their life seems and that isn’t going to make me feel good about myself. We all know no one’s life is perfect but when we are constantly bombarded with beautiful pictures of beautiful people and beautiful things it makes us question our own life and wondering why it isn’t like that 24/7, so I just don’t bother following them in the first place.
Also, don’t be scared to use the unfollow and block button, if someone is posting things that you don’t like or sending you horrid/spammy messages/comments. Life is far too short to get yourself down about them, just delete and block them there and then and move on. I know it may not be as easy as that, but it gets so much easier to ignore and delete the content you aren’t enjoying and find yourself a community of content that you love.
That ended up being three pieces of advice, sorry!
If you could only pick one social media channel, which would it be and why?
I feel like I have mentioned Instagram a lot in this interview but to be honest my favourite social media channel is Twitter. I just find the people on there are so much more supportive and I have made so many friends through Twitter. Also, I can post anything on there, my thoughts, feelings, funny stories, life updates etc. compare with Instagram where I would need to share a photo alongside it.