03 June 2014

Tech Tuesday: Social Media for Genealogy Analysis

Blogging is a great way to get the word out about your ancestors.  It is even better when your readers are 'cousins'!  How do you reach new readers and, hopefully, readers who are researching the same family members?  This was the question I posed to myself about a month ago, when I decided to analyze my blog and create a plan for better use of social media.  I am not a social media guru, so I went to an expert, my daughter, Kirsten. 

Kirsten is a Chicago based social media strategist and creative copywriter for a few national beauty brands.  I 'hired' her to come up with a social media analysis for me concerning my Journey to the Past blog.  I received eight pages of analysis on ways to expand my reach by using social media and blogging.

Kirsten's analysis has been very helpful and I am still implementing her ideas. Kirsten felt my blog was in pretty good shape and the keys to expanding my reach was going to come from a more integrated social media approach.  She suggested using all the platforms that fit right for me and posting content more frequently. What does this mean?

Kirsten broke her analysis down into parts that she felt would get me the best results.  Here are her suggestions, she had compliments too, which I haven't shared.
  • Blog  
    • Kirsten suggested I post more consistently.  I agree, this has been a struggle the past few months as I haven't been blogging as much as I would like.  
    • She suggested I add buttons/links to my social media sites.  I added Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ buttons to the left side of my blog home page.  Clicking on these icons will take you to my social media sites.  Check it out!  
    • Next, she suggested that I always share my new posts on my social media sites.  Good suggestion as I am not consistent with this either.
    • Renaming my images before I add them to my blog post was suggested so that the images will be searchable in google images.  Ex:  IMG 4510 should be replaced with Bruce Glover's Childhood Home Hazel Park Michigan Genealogy etc.
    • Lastly, she suggested I leverage guest bloggers.  Kirsten, you still owe me one!  If anyone would like to guest blog, just leave a comment.  I would be delighted to have you guest blog.
  • Facebook
    • Kirsten shared with me information on Facebook engagement and algorithms which bloggers probably don't think about, so it was good to try to understand how Facebook works for pages.
    • I have a Journey to the Past page.  (Please like me!) I wasn't using it very well and Kirsten helped me to make better use of it. I needed to add a cover photo, change my page type from a personal one to a writer, instead of a community.  I beefed up my about section, too.
    • Other suggestions included, posting my new blog posts every time, sharing links of genealogical interest, writing a blog post about my Facebook page, and posting my blog posts to my Fredricks Genealogy Group page, which I started and am the administrator for, when it applies to that family.
    • Add photo's to Facebook posts.  Posts with photo's get more engagement and do better in Facebook algorithms.  
    • Be funny!  I have a sense of humor, but I don't always show it in my writing.  This is something I will have to work on.
    • Comment on other pages and brands as my Journey to the Past page, not as myself.  I didn't know this was an option and had Kirsten walk me through it.
    • Aim for 2-3 posts a day.  I am doing this using Hootsuite, which I will talk about below.
  • Twitter
    • I have been using twitter since March of 2009.  Twitter and Facebook are the social media sites I am the most comfortable with.  One suggestion Kirsten had was to share photo's on twitter.
    • Additionally, to keep tweeting my new blog posts, and retweet things I find interesting in the genealogy field.  
    • You can find me on twitter @BrendaLeyndyke
  • Hootsuite
    • Implement Hootsuite.  I had an account, I just wasn't using it to its' full potential, sometimes not at all.
    • Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard.  Since Kirsten gave me a tutorial on it, I use it to schedule posts to twitter, facebook, and google+.  I monitor my twitter account for mentions, retweets and scheduled tweets.  Two Facebook sections are set up.  One for Journey to the Past and , one, for Fredricks Genealogy Group.  I can see my news feed, wall posts, stream posts, private messages and scheduled posts.  
  • Pinterest
    • Hello, my name is Brenda and I am addicted to Pinterest.  I love Pinterest.  I have 124 boards and counting.  I already had Genealogy themed boards, but wasn't using them as effectively for promoting my own blog posts.  Kirsten suggested I pin my blog posts to boards on Pinterest. Slowly, I have been going through my past blog posts and pinning them to Pinterest boards.  It is always fun to see what other boards my blog posts have been pinned to.
    • You can find my Pinterest board by clicking on Pinterest above, or searching for BrendaLeyndyke.
  • Instagram
    • I have an instagram account but I have been using it to see what my daughter, niece, son-in-law, etc have been sharing.  I don't even know if I have shared a picture, yet.
    • Kirsten suggested I start using it to leverage more engagement and to find a new audience.  
    • I haven't started to implement her instagram suggestions yet.  I left this icon off of my blog home page until I get it up and running, better.  
    • Kirsten even gave me post ideas for instagram and using hashtags, adding locations, and announcing new blogs.
This is a synopsis of the analysis Kirsten did for me.  She didn't want to accept any money, but I valued her expertise enough not to take advantage of her.  I sent her a Sephora gift card for all her hard work.

Have you ever done an in depth social media analysis of your blog and social media?  I can recommend a good analyst, Kirsten!  I learned so much from this experience.  I realized one thing while implementing Kirsten's suggestions.  It takes a lot more time than I thought it would.  Social Media and Genealogy seem to be a good fit.  I look forward to making new connections through my improved use of Social Media.


  1. What a helpful and informative post - good luck with all your adjustments!

  2. Thank you! I will have to write how it is going in a few weeks.