Tag Archives: Social media

Blogging Basics: Keeping track of your Social Media followers

A few months ago I set myself the challenge of reaching 20k social media followers across the board by 2017. I was around 4k short by that point and I knew the only way to effectively track my numbers was on an Excel spreadsheet. I created a very basic spreadsheet and on the 1st of each month I update it with my numbers.

We all know that the essence of social media is the SOCIAL bit. I’m not going to give you any wise words about how to magically increase your social media followers overnight. But the best way to grow your numbers on social media is to always to engage and be engaging with your followers. It’s as simple and as hard work as that. 

My spreadsheet which you can download HERE is really basic and therefore very simple to use. I’ve included all the social media channels I use and can think of. If there’s one on there you don’t use, just put a zero in that box and it will ignore it. If I’ve missed any, please message me or leave a comment and I’ll update the spreadsheet.

I’ve set the spreadsheet up so that it will add up your numbers and give you a total number of followers. This will also appear in the chart below. I like seeing my numbers rising on a chart. I’m a very visual person so a rising graph always pleases me.

You might like to set yourself a target for the year. See how many followers you’ve got on New Years Day and then give yourself a target to work for. It could be an across the board total figure you’re working towards, or maybe you want to get to 10k followers on Instagram in 2017. Whatever your social media followers target for 2017, tracking your progress is the first step to success.

Blogging: Keeping track of your Social Media followers

How to add a StumbleUpon Sharing Button to your WordPress blog

Do you have a StumbleUpon Sharing Button on your blog? If not, you probably need one. It’s a great way for your readers to share your content and share the love.

A couple of years ago when I was setting up my blog I added the usual sharing buttons which would appear at the bottom of each blog post. Back then StumbleUpon was one of the standard buttons and I added it to the others not really knowing what it was. Of course these days blog posts are being Stumbled all over the place, and it’s a great way to pick up traffic.

Imagine my horror (not really horror, I might’ve tutted) when friend and blogger, Colette from We’re going on an adventure pointed out that my StumbleUpon sharing button wasn’t there and she had to manually Stumble my post. 

My first port of call was to Google it. It appeared I was not alone in wondering what had happened to the StumbleUpon sharing button. It seems that the button used http which causes mixed-content warnings and sometimes fails completely on https sites. WordPress.com does not support http anymore and as StumbleUpon won’t move to https WordPress just did away with the button.

I knew it couldn’t be that hard to make a StumbleUpon button, so I figured it out so you don’t have to. 

How to add a StumbleUpon Sharing Button to your WordPress blog

  1. Go into your WordPress dashboard. 
  2. Go to Settings – Sharing.
  3. Scroll down  and click on  “Add a new service”.
  4. In the Service Name box type “StumbleUpon”.
  5. In the Sharing URL box type – http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=%post_url%&title=%post_title%
  6. In the Icon URL box add the following code – http://hodgepodgedays.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/tiny-stumble.png
  7. Click on “Create Share Button”, the button should appear, then you just drag it down to the “Enabled Services” section.

Your StumbleUpon sharing button should now be working perfectly.

The icon URL will depend on what you which icon you want to use. I just used the standard StumbleUpon icon and resized it to 16px by 16px, uploaded it to my media library and used the URL from that (which I posted above, you’re free to use my URL or upload and use your own).

StumbleUpon Sharing Button

Click on “Add new service”

StumbleUpon Sharing Button

Fill this out, use the information I gave you above

StumbleUpon Sharing Button

Look at my beautiful StumbleUpon sharing button!

Got it? Clear as mud? It’s easy, seriously if I can figure it out you’ll be fine. Feel free to ask me if you get stuck (you won’t).

Now go forth and Stumble, hopefully starting with this blog post (hint).

How to add a StumbleUpon Sharing Button to your WordPress blog

Click here for more blogging tutorials.

Win 1 of 5 copies of Virtually Me – an online safety book for kids

A survey from Action for Children recently found that almost one in four parents struggle to ‘get their children off devices’, which is a scary thought, as parents are now thinking ‘do my children spend too much time online’?

Books such as ‘Virtually Me’ are trying to ensure that young people remain safe online; with the rise in the number of teenagers affected by cyber-bullying, it’s a must-have for any teen.

Virtually Me, written by Emma Clarke (published by Identity Withheld), is aimed at young people aged 10 – 14 years and strives to help them figure out their own personal policy about how to handle social media and digital devices.

virtually me

The book is completely non-judgmental; it never tells the reader what to do and should make them laugh as a bonus. There are plenty of activity pages to get them to think about different aspects of their online lives.

  • Public v private – what’s the difference? What should definitely, always be private?
  • Social media – does it matter how many friends and followers you have? How do you feel when you’re waiting for notifications?
  • Safety – how do you stay safe online?
  • Challenges – creative challenges to get readers to use the internet in inspiring, surprising ways.
  • What you gonna do? – moral dilemmas we often face on social media.

By the end of the book, the young readers will be ready to create their own manifesto for online (and offline) life.

virtually me

The internet is a wonderful, intoxicating, uncensored playground full of tantalising clickbait, but as we know, it has its dark side. For young people, the internet is an alluring place full of possibilities. It’s also full of other, less wonderful stuff. Virtually Me makes young people more aware of this, without putting them off using technology all together.

Young people need help navigating their way through the online world – Virtually Me can help them do just that.

Win 1 of 5 copies of Virtually Me

I am giving five lucky winners the chance to win a copy of Virtually Me. If you’d like to enter this great giveaway, simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below – and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only.
2. There is no cash alternative offered.
3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above. Please ensure you leave some contact details or I will not be able to contact you if you win.
4. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries. The winner will receive 1 of 5 copies of ‘Virtually Me’.
5. The competition will close on 27th January 2016.
6. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
7. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winners, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
8. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this competition.

Parenting is hard… but it’s temporary

Yesterday my over-tired 4 year old spent most of the afternoon screaming and crying. He was in a foul mood and was really hard to be around. Together my husband and I spent the long hours until bedtime tagteaming him. Trying to gently entertain him, soothe him and keep him happy. He was hard work, and we felt every second of those six hellish tantrummy hours we endured before he went to bed.

But you know what. I didn’t bitch about him to a soul. I didn’t go on Twitter and call him a dick and do the old #freetoagoodhome hashtag, I didn’t post a *sad face* Facebook status update and I didn’t instagram him mid-meltdown. Because I have so much respect for this little human being I carried around, birthed and have lovingly nurtured up to this point.

I get that we all use social media to vent. I know this because I vent all over it. I get that sometimes it helps to post a little ranty status update about the little person who loves you unconditionally and relies on you for 100% of their care and attention. I get it. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever publicly been a bit nasty about my own child, I might’ve been, but it seems quite unlike me.

Parenting is bloody hard. Bloody hard. You’re knackered. All. The. Time. You lack the freedom you had pre-children, you can’t do what you want, when you want. Money is tight, there is rainbow covered crap all over your once tastefully decorated house and you have to take a personal interest in the bowel movements of another human. It is hard and it is gross. I get it.

I think we’ve all seen those “reasons my son is crying” memes. The ones where it says “he’s crying because I wouldn’t let him lick fire” and stuff like that. There was a counter meme which struck a chord with me. My son is crying because he’s tried. My son is crying because he’s confused by what’s going on. My son is crying because he has no frame of reference for this new experience he’s having and is clearly terrified of. Yes. Nailed it.

My child is not being difficult just to piss me off, or stop me watching my favourite TV programme, he is crying and being difficult because for him life is all new, confusing, difficult, stressful, whatever. My son doesn’t need me losing my temper with him for this, he needs me to understand that having a tantrum, for most of the time at the very least is evidence of the gap between his existing skills, experience and knowledge and what is happening to him right here, right now.

What he doesn’t need is to look back when he’s old enough, scroll through my tweets or Facebook posts and see for himself how hateful I was towards him. Parenting isn’t easy, I don’t think I ever gloss over it. When I started blogging it was in a way an online diary which we could look back on as a family, or when I’m gone, warty bits and all.

It goes back to the old saying “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Be real, be honest, be truthful, but don’t be a dick. After all, this child you’re bitching about now will be picking out your retirement home soon enough. Parenting is hard, but the actual child rearing bit is comparatively short and they’ll be off to uni before you know it. It’s hard, but temporary. So be nice.

parenting is hard

I love that boys face, and I’ve grown to love all the rainbow coloured crap that moved in when he did.

I had a Twitter copycat

A funny thing happened to me over the weekend. In an idle moment I went to search my Twitter username “HodgePodgeDays“, it’s something I do occasionally just to see if anything comes up that I haven’t been directly @’d in. As I got to the end of the username another account flashed up with  my logo, so I clicked on it and found my account had been cloned. They’d stolen my logo, the background which includes a picture of my four year old son and my bio which reads “Lifestyle & Parent Blogger, Copywriter, Writer for Hire & Occasional PR”, and my Twitter name was almost identical, with just a couple of the letters transposed – I was livid!

twitter copycat

Naturally I had a bit of a panic. Who would do this and why? For what nefarious reason have they done this? Some suggested it was to blag “free” things from PRs using a similar name, maybe it was to send spam to people, maybe there was another reason. I’ll never really find out. I’ve spent over two years building my Twitter profile, making friends and establishing myself as a blogger and they were attempting to capitalise on this. I was angry.

I checked out the Twitter support page and filled out a report, citing that someone was impersonating my account. They sent me back this email…

twitter copycat

Before Twitter would even look at my report they needed government issued photo ID and evidence that HodgePodgeDays was me. It seemed a bit of a faff, but I sent them a copy of my passport, a screenshot of my blog dashboard, a screenshot of my domain registration, a screenshot of the copycat account and a screenshot of my Twitter account. I sent this off on Sunday afternoon as requested.

I then spent several days checking occasionally to see if the copycat account was still there. It was. The bloggers in the North West Bloggers group were brilliant, some reported the account as spam, I think most checked to see if they’d been copied too, a few found that they had and reported it to Twitter too.

Twitter had given me a report number, but for the life of me I couldn’t find a way to check the status of my report – which I think is a bit of a flaw in the system. In the meantime friends continued to report the account on my behalf as spam and I began to lose what little faith I had in Twitter to do the right thing.

This afternoon I finally got an email from Twitter, they’d suspended the account, specifically for being a spam account, which seems a bit odd, but at least it’s been removed.

twitter copycat

Going forward I’m going to be more aware that this kind of thing happens, I never really expected it to happen to me. I think it’s made me more aware and I’ll be looking out for copycat accounts on behalf of my fellow bloggers from now on.

It was a faff and a worry, but hopefully that’s the last of it. Keep your eyes peeled folks – there’s a copycat about!

Is it worth paying to promote your posts on Facebook?

Back in March this year I conduced a little experiment with Facebook. Dear old Facebook had been imploring me for months to try paying to “boost my posts”. I have a little over 2000 people who like my Facebook page and routinely everything I post on these gets very little attention, this is largely due to the algorithms Facebook uses to limit the content people liking pages will see and also to encourage page owners to put their hand in their pocket.

I was running a lovely little competition to win a limited edition print of a cartoon, it was a great prize but for some reason my competition wasn’t as popular as I hoped it would be. I looked at the stats on Facebook, it had been shared to only 67 people out of around 2000 followers. That’s pretty depressing. So I decided to see if paying for Facebook advertising was really worth it.

I paid £3 to boost my post over three days, ok so that is pretty cheap, but I didn’t want to go in high and waste my money.

Facebook advertising

The Facebook advertising ran for 3 days and apparently over those three days paying for it meant that it showed up a fairly impressive 1,152 times in peoples timelines. Am I impressed though? No. Why not? I hear you ask, well firstly it showed up in my own timeline several times each day, which just felt a little spammy for my liking, and it was my post!

Also, I’m not convinced by the accuracy of their stats which seemed to suddenly rocket in the final hours of day three, so I suspected a bit of creative accounting had taken  place to make the Facebook advertising seem more effectual than it actually was, though I can’t prove it, it’s just a hunch.

What else didn’t float my boat? Well my advert had 1,219 “impressions” in total and it only had 7 clicks. Firstly the idea of impressions makes me mad, I don’t really want Facebook to show the same thing to the same person 10 times, I want more people to see it once, twice tops. And 7 clicks? Really? I suspect at least half of those were before I’d boosted the post in the first place.

My rationale for boosting my post and buying some Facebook advertising was to generate additional clicks on the link and more entries into the competition I was hosting. I wasn’t looking to increase my page likes, but that would’ve been nice too. Generating just 7 clicks and no engagement or interaction was beyond disappointing.

My conclusion: I paid £3 for 7 clicks to my blog which seems pretty darn expensive. I also felt like Facebook had maybe spammed some people on my behalf, which could potentially lead them to unfollow or unlike my page, which is the very opposite of what you want to happen. Would I boost a post again? It’s unlikely. Unless they iron out the spaminess, sort out the accuracy of their statistics and do something to improve click throughs etc, it’s probably just a big old waste of my money.

Have you used Facebook advertising? Have you had great success and have I just been unlucky?

How I made Twitter less annoying

I’ve been on twitter for over five years now, I’ve previously blogged that it’s been a life saver to me. It’s a social network with the emphasis on SOCIAL. I’ve made more true friends on there than I dare to count, it’s fabulous, but it’s also pretty annoying at times.

It’s the Internet, so you do get complete loonies, perverts and trolls, usually I wear my big girl pants and deal with these pretty well, by rising above it; throwing a snarky tweet at them; having a whinge or just plain blocking them. Blocking is always a last resort for me, so if I’ve blocked you, you really have crossed a line that can never be uncrossed.

A few weeks ago I updated the twitter app on my iPad and it finally gave me the feature I’ve been waiting for, the ability to mute people. Why not just unfollow or block them you ask, I don’t want to, maybe I like the person but not their constant rubbish tweets, maybe I still want to tweet with them but I don’t want them clogging my timeline all the time. The twitter mute button has massively changed my experience for the better.

I have a three strikes and you’re out policy when it comes to twitter, this is a new thing, made up by me, but it works.

Step one: you’re annoying me, I make a mental note that this is your first warning. You might be tweeting annoying stuff, too many selfies, lots of retweets about the same thing, maybe you tweet every single detail of your monotonous day without irony or humour. Any of those (and more) can put you on a warning.

Step two: oh you’ve done it, you’ve irritated me again with your stupid retweets. I immediately turn off your retweets, I no longer have to see every single retweet you do about sausages, street food, football bantz or “inspirational” quotes, this may or may not be your salvation. It’s worth noting at this stage that retweeting praise and #FFs may also put you in this category. It’s also worth noting that I sometimes do those things too, but I usually put myself on the naughty step and consider what I’ve done.

Step three: agh! I’ve snapped, I cannot tolerate you on my timeline anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve waved my finger over that twitter mute button two or three times by now, this wasn’t an easy decision to make, but take solace in the fact you’ve been muted and not unfollowed or blocked, we’re still friends, it’s just that I don’t want to see or hear you and your stupid whiny voice ever again.

It’s like I’ve reclaimed my timeline, I can check twitter safe in the knowledge that I won’t be seeing whole rafts of annoying tweets from the same few accounts, it’s a delight. I never, ever fell out of love with twitter, but I did sometimes avoid it to stop me getting annoyed. So if twitter is getting you down, why not try my handy three step plan, it’s saving my social media sanity on a daily basis.

Twitter mute

Word of the Week 28/3/14

My Word of the Week this week is “Possibilities”. I feel at last I’m on the cusp of something different and special in my life.

My personal life seems generally positive. One of my best and closest friends has moved away, this is a great sadness to me and probably always will be. But I am blessed with lots of remarkably fantastic friends who will always be there for me. Plus I’ve met some really lovely people lately who will help take my life in the direction it needs to go in.

Possibilities

 

 

 

 

 

Work-wise this has been an interesting week. Yes I could do with tonnes more work, but what I’m doing I love. With my Social Media hat on I love working with the businesses that I do, the people are unrelentingly fantastic, so much fun and make work not seem like work. I’ve had a few new copywriting opportunities lately too. I want more, I need more, but I’m content to let it grow naturally. I’m not the type to be banging on doors asking for work.

So, in summary. This week has been full of possibilities. Long may that continue!

Giz a Job

copywritingThose of you who know me personally will know that this week I handed my notice in on my old job. I’d not enjoyed it for a long time, it was a huge source of anxiety for me and I’ve been off sick for nearly a year having operations and such like.

Being off for such along time forced me to re-evaluate my life. Some changes have been tough for me, some have been tough for my husband, but changes needed to be made, I just needed to grow a pair and get on with it. Hence the resignation.

What am I going to do? Well for a start I’m returning to my first love which is writing. I trained as a journalist 300 years ago, briefly worked as a journo, then taught creative writing for a long time. Lost my mojo and gave up on my dreams.

I’ve got my mojo back now, so I’m going to try and build up some work as a copywriter and blogger. I also run some social media accounts for local businesses and have done for a while now, so that too.

I have a very tiny amount of work at the moment because until my notice period is up (4th December) I can’t really chase work, but please think of me if you need a copywriter, someone to throw some words onto a page; manage a Twitter account; write and manage your email campaigns or just to blog about something fabulous. I’m your girl!

Please contact me for a chin wag about copywriting, go on you know you want to!