Do you love your blog community and do they love you? Will they follow you wherever you will lead them? The beauty of the Internet is the amazing reach your blog can tackle, but the frustration is a level of anonymity behind the pageviews. With busy schedules, active feedback from your readers can be elusive.
Pauline and I continue to struggle with understanding our community and are finding ways to strengthen the relationship we have with our readers and fellow bloggers. We’ve found some things that have worked and have made peace when some of our efforts yield cricket sounds for a response. We’re here today to share 5 ways to help build your awesome community. At the end of this post, we laying down a challenge, too.
Building an awesome Community is the 3rd C in the framework we’ve constructed around the Three C’s of Blog Success (Content, Consistency, Community). Over the last two weeks we have covered the 1st C of Content – 5 Tips for Finding Fresh Content, the 2nd C of Consistency – Top 5 Focus Areas for Consistency. Now it’s time for ‘5 Ways to Help Build Your Awesome Community’. LET’S GO!
1. Bring the Love
When you bring the love – remember that what you put out there, comes back to you. You will attract like-minded people who will become part of your community. This is your space, so you get to make the rules, and those who want to be part of your community will totally jive with that.
Bringing the love is all about writing and creating a blog post with the intention of delighting, educating, or inspiring your readers. Setting good intentions may sound a little corny – but I think it gets our minds in the right place for making the connections with the audience. If you are writing just to see your words on the screen as a soap box to stand on, the words may be more suited for a personal journal.
As an example, when Pauline creates crafts on our site, she loves the creative process and connection with her daughter Maggie, but she is also ecstatic when she hears other mothers connecting with their tweens through the craft ideas. Her intentions are to inspire and show others how fun crazy crafting can be and we’ve been fortunate to find readers who appreciate that being crafty is contagious.
2. Share the Love
Sharing the love includes sharing your voice across different platforms and sharing content beyond your own. Consider that on each social platform, you are most likely talking to a different type of audience and your voice will need to adjust. Your Facebook posts (more visually engaging and conversation building) will likely be different from your Twitter posts (quick entertainment). We not only feature our own craftiness and blog posts on our platforms, but we like just as much to celebrate and share other blogger’s posts or successes. There is definitely enough creativity to go around. If you follow our Facebook page, you will find tons of ideas from others that we are sharing, not just our own. (If you aren’t yet following our Facebook page – check us out!)
Speaking of Facebook, even though there is a constant struggle to figure out the latest and greatest algorithm and how to get your posts seen by more people, Facebook is still invaluable when it comes to Facebook groups. If you haven’t already, create a private group with your blogging friends that is always a safe and non-competitive/non-judgmental place. This safe place is perfect for asking for help, sharing successes, and asking the ‘
dumb‘ questions. We are also part of private Facebook groups for our brand ambassador affiliations and crafty teams. If you become part of a closed or private Facebook group, be sure to check the guidelines and honor them.
We also enjoy sharing creativity and love by submitting links on link parties (like Caffeinated Crafters) and by hosting our own group link party (Monday Funday). There are many link parties out there to enjoy for new inspiration as well as to participate in. Find one that is fun for you (remember the fun).
3. Respond Timely – but not Too Timely
You can also build an awesome community by responding to comments and mentions that someone to took the time to create. Comments are SO appreciated. For us, we like to monitor the comments before allowing to post and make a point to not let through any negative comments that don’t serve the community we are building. Also, even though we use Askimet for spam blocking, the spam bots keep getting smarter and we monitor against those comments as well.
While responding to any comments or tweets on a timely basis is a must, please don’t let it take it disrupt the flow of your day. I sometimes need an intervention if my phone and alerts are attached at my hip and I stop to immediately see and respond to the notifications. My concentration is broken from whatever I was in the middle of doing. Can you relate?
Tips to active responding:
- Block a specific (and constrained) time in the morning and afternoon/evening for monitoring and responding to comments
- Set Google Alerts up for any mentions of your blog name
- Set up IFTTT alerts for those critical mentions or comments you don’t want to miss even though it’s outside of your specifically blocked time
- Monitor mentions and direct messages in your Twitter stream through Hootsuite
- Set up a checklist for daily tracking (see next tip)
4. Focus on Quality not Quantity
It is natural to get obsessed by the number of Facebook-Instagram-Twitter-G+-Bloglovin-email-Pinterest followers you have. (Are you exhausted yet by thinking of the list?) Monitoring the numbers will continue to be important and the initial qualifier for any sponsor opportunities. One layer below the numbers, however, is to understand the quality of your followers.
Rather than just quantity, we like to think of cultivating our own awesome peeps or audience. You need to have a certain level of confidence in the quality of your material and not be offended someone unlikes your page or unsubscribe – seriously! The more you develop your voice, the more your true and loyal audience will follow. That’s a good argument about NEVER buying fans. It needs to happen organically. Ok, and if someone doesn’t like your content – Big Deal! You are providing a service and sharing your creativity and FREE CONTENT with good intentions (see above). If they don’t like it, there are plenty of places they can go. Remember, it’s free!
5. Set Goals and Measure Progress
In tip #4 – ‘Focus on Quality not Quantity’ we suggested not to obsess over the metrics (we are trying not to – even though it’s hard). Measuring your community, however, is relevant for tracking trends. I recommend going back to our first post on the Creative Blog Talk Series- Setting Mind-Blowing Blog Goals. We have a free Creative Blog Talk Goal Sheet Printable for a monthly goal sheet to track beginning and ending metrics. Shining a light on which metrics you may want to improve is the first step in creating the focus to make any necessary changes.
As you focus on your community and how often you are sharing the love through social channels, you can also use a tracking sheet to keep yourself on track. We have one that we use to check off the daily Facebook scheduling, tweets, and link party followups. Jess from Chaos and Love has also created a handy social media checklist.
Creative Blog Talk Community Challenge: What one thing can you do differently to build your awesome community? (Comment below.)
Thank you, our awesome community, for being here and reading us today. Do you have any tips to share on how you build your awesome community? Share below so we can all learn and grow.
As we continue our Creative Blog Talk Series – what would you like to see us tackle? Remember to add your name to the Creative Blog Talk Series form. We will continue the series here, but also send exclusive content directly to #CreativeBlogTalk subscribers. Sign up here for free.