How many social media networks should sports bloggers be active on?

While things like search engine optimization and word of mouth are crucial to a sports blogger’s ultimate success, being an active social media participant will also help take your traffic to another level.

The big problem, though, is that there are countless social media networks available at our fingertips, and it’s tempting to be active on as many as possible. After all, any exposure is good exposure, right? That may be true, but just as it’s important to have a content strategy in place for your sports blog, it’s also important to have a social media strategy in place to follow along the way.

You don’t want to spread yourself too thin — especially at the beginning. It’s better to be really good in a few areas instead of just OK in a lot of areas. There’s nothing wrong with being active on a bunch of networks, but you’ll need to make a calculated decision over which ones you’d like to use to leverage your blog, which ones you want to keep private/personal, and which ones you’d like to mix and match.

Whether you’re on a bunch of networks or none at all, my experience has been that three networks in particular are good for the purposes of sports blogging: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Facebook

Once you have an active sports blog, it’s natural to think you also need a dedicated Facebook page for your blog, and that’s a good step to take. Create it, share content to it consistently, advertise it appropriately on your blog, and make sure you invite friends to like it while also spreading the word.

Since the organic reach of Facebook pages have tanked over the years, simply doing that isn’t enough. Coming up with a strategy for paid advertising is valuable, but for sports bloggers who don’t have a huge budget (or any at all), that’s not an option. In addition to sharing posts and content to your Facebook page, share those posts on your personal page so Facebook friends can see it — they’re more likely to see a post that way than seeing it organically through your page.

It’s also good to share content from other pages, like Bleacher Report, MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL, SB Nation, and other popular pages. This helps mix things up and allows you to not feel the pressure of constantly creating content.

Twitter

The lifespan of a tweet is extremely low (probably around 20 minutes or less). So, it’s not as if sharing an article you wrote on Twitter is going to bring in thousands of page views every single day (but it could if the right person sees and retweets it).

Although Twitter isn’t the most popular social media network, it seems to be awfully popular within the sports world. Think about how and when breaking news hits….where does it get posted on social media? Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram (all that much). It’s almost always on the Twitter machine.

With the practice of creating lists and setting up dashboards like TweetDeck, it’s easy to track your niche. Personally, Twitter is my favorite social media network because of all I can get from it. As a baseball writer, my TweetDeck is loaded with lists I created: one for baseball writers/reporters, another for baseball sites, yet another for statistics-based accounts, and one that’s specific to the New York Mets.

Lists are great because you can create them yourself, or if you’d rather just track certain hashtags, you can do that, too. It helps filter out a lot of the noise that’d come through on a normal timeline.

Instagram

I don’t consider myself a picture-first kind of person (my wife can attest to this), so while I do have an Instagram account, I don’t really use it for sports blogging purposes. A lot of bloggers and websites do because of the network’s capabilities. Not being able to share live links in individual posts is a bummer, but organic reach is much better than it is on Facebook.

Plus, it allows sports bloggers to get creative in other ways when it comes to editing pictures and documenting certain stories. The ability to go live and compile a story seems to be popular with athletes, giving them an avenue to talk directly to their fans. Even if you’re like me and don’t post a lot on Instagram, at least having an account is a great way to do some social listening while also looking for possible viral content to post on your sports blog.

Social media is supposed to help amplify your sports blog and content, not just be something else you need to get done each day. The goal should always be to work smarter, not harder. If you’re going to spend time on a social media network with the goal of promoting your blog, make sure it’s worthwhile. However, if you like being on a bunch of social media networks and can successfully manage a consistent presence on each, go for it! Everyone is different and can manage these things in their own special way. If you think it’s a valuable, then that’s what matters.

What’s most important is to know yourself and what you can handle. Don’t join a new network just because someone else said it would be good for you or your sports blog. There needs to be a plan in place for it to ultimately be successful — however you’d define that in this specific situation.