Learning and using social media more - Facebook and Google Plus

I'm currently making a concerted effort to explore and use social media more as part of trying to grow my blog.

My personal use of social media

I don't use social media much personally - I do have a Facebook account, but have never posted on it very much.  I'm not really sure why - perhaps it's (and I hate to say this because it makes me sound and feel old) an age or generational thing.  The idea of protecting your privacy - the perceived danger of posting pictures of yourself and your family online.

It's when I hear people talking about this 'fear' of the internet, that makes me realise that I don't want to be someone who is afraid of moving ahead with the times and technology.  It's far better to get involved in advances and change and understand them, than to stick your head in the sand and hope they'll go away.  I ask myself why is it ok to have my picture in the paper - but not put it on my blog?
I've decided it's time to take my head out of the sand!

So what am I doing in terms of social media for my blogging?

 I've recently added a photo of me to this blog and my social media sites, and have had a great response from saying it's nice to know the face behind the blog - and who they are talking to!

Google Plus
Last week I posted about what I've learnt about Google Plus.
I'm really enjoying what I've found over there - and am now on it daily - finding new people, sites and ideas.  There are some great discussions going on and I'm particularly enjoying that I've found more of a community around the topic of my second blog - 
Be Our Best.

On that post about Google Plus I mentioned that I'd claimed Google authorship on my blogs - which I understand all goes towards helping your blog in search ranking. One result of this, that took a few days to take effect was that my photo now show up in search results too:

Both for this blog....
(I did a quick Google search to check)

And my other one..

It's good to see this now working - and hopefully this will help bring more traffic - as apparently people are more likely to click on links that come up with these author photos than those that don't!

I'm making a concerted effort to use my Facebook page more - adding photos and snippets of my daily life, interesting pictures and articles I find, and interacting with others there too.

I've also been learning about Facebook. I've particularly been using Social Media Examiner to find information, which seems really good 
I really knew very little about Facebook. I had my blog's page up and running and added my blog posts to it, but I didn't even have a cover photo (when I discovered this I looked around all the other pages I visit - and it seems I was the last to know about cover pictures!!)

Anyway - I've created and added a cover picture, added and email sign up 'tab' , and generally spent more time daily exploring and interacting.

Oh and I've also managed to link my Instagram account to my Facebook page, which has made it much easier to share photos too!

Reflections so far

I do feel like I've learnt a lot about Google Plus and Facebook over these past few weeks and definitely feel more comfortable using them now.

So having learnt the basics, set up my accounts with all the photos and extras etc, and feel like I am using social media;  I feel like it's time to try to focus more on 

HOW to use them to the advantage of my blogs.

Do you use social media to bring traffic to your blog? What have you found effective? Do you have any tips to share? I'd love to hear any advice!

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