The Art & Science Behind Building a Social Media & Blog Following
You’ve launched your business or cause, set up shop on Facebook, have a shiny new website and blog… now what?
Excited about what you bring to the world, you wait for people to find you, but soon realise that being social is a bit tricky when there’s an empty room, or worse, a room full of people who were paid to be there… or worse, well meaning family and friends, who, although they love you, will probably never buy from you.
Excitement gives way to frustration. You thought you were doing all the right things. You’ve spent a ton of money on your website but you’re struggling, and feel at a loss and helpless. What now? How do you get the word out about your business or cause?
If that describes you, I want to help.
There is an art to building a following. Below I share 10 tips to get you started.
1. Understand your perfect client (or reader) mindset
A lot of marketers find out demographics and basic lifestyle preferences and stop there. However, there is a lot more to building a buyer profile than geography, lifestyle and magazine readership. If you can get inside the head of you perfect client, you will be able to empathise with them, answer their questions and listen to their concerns. The great thing about concerns is that they are potential topics for podcast interviews, blog posts, videos and reports! Get the picture? You don’t necessarily need a specific “niche” but you do need to understand who will likely buy from you and why. Understanding their mindset is key.
2. Get to know influencers in your niche
Start by making lists of influencers you want to follow and monitor them. I did a podcast episode on how to get started with this here. Connecting with influencers is a lot easier than you think. I once asked Guy Kawasaki to be a guest on my podcast show. He said yes because, at the time, he was promoting Canva and I happened to email him back after he put a call out for help with his promotions. If you are monitoring influencers you can jump on opportunities to help and start building great relationships that could benefit you down the track. A quick note on this though. Never go into a new business relationship thinking about what’s in it for you. Be generous and caring and try to help out of the goodness of your heart. The rewards will come if you have the right take on things. I’ve since met Guy Kawasaki in real life and it was a great ice-breaker to be able to say: “I interviewed you on a podcast!”
3. Take time to observe
Observe what questions, issues and concerns come up for your perfect clients and their influencers. Find out what matters to them. What words do they use? Write them down.
4. Take note of where the gaps are
What isn’t being talked about but should be? What gaps can you fill with your content. There may be guest posting opportunities for you if you do your homework and look at what influencers in your niche aren’t already addressing (or aren’t addressing well).
5. Interact in conversations on influencer profiles, on Facebook Live sessions and on Twitter etc.
You can accelerate relationships by following influencers on Facebook Live and asking them questions on Twitter (that is, if they haven’t completely automated their Twitter accounts). If you’ve heard them on a podcast or read one of their blog posts, watched one of their videos, be sure to say so. People love being acknowledged.
6. Join groups your perfect clients would join as well as their influencers
Simply join the conversation and contribute value. It’s as simple as that. Good relationships take time. Don’t propose marriage on the first date! Take your time and get to know people. Only then will people start to trust you and see you as a go-to person.
7. Highlight influencers you’ve connected with in your content
The easiest way to do this is a “Top X” post. For instance, recently I mentioned Problogger’s Darren Rowse in a top blog post resources post and before I even thought to share the post with him, he had picked up on it and shared it on social media. I hadn’t mentioned him with any agenda in mind, so it was really lovely that he did that. I believe in praise where praise is due. I don’t mention influential people to curry favour. I mention them because they can potentially help my audience. If you try to manipulate influencers to do stuff, they will smell it a mile off. The good news is, you don’t need to. Just do things from the heart and good things will flow back to you in one way or another.
8. Share other people’s content and tag them when you do
Sharing other people’s content is a great way to show you care, get noticed and start connecting. Being altruistic and generous not only shows influencers that you are engaged with them but it shows your fans and followers that you are able to put their interests before your own and that is a winning strategy in the era of “know, like, trust”. Somebody once queried me on that approach but I pointed out that if a follower has an issue you can solve, they will most likely remember your generosity and come to you for help. I’ve seen this happen over and over again. It truly works!
9. Highlight and recognise active followers and subscribers
One of my strategies for building relationships with my community is to ask them if they’d be willing to be a case study on the blog, and we’re working on some awesome ones right now. I sometimes offer strategy help in exchange for a case study as it’s a good way to demonstrate how Writally works and help someone who is stuck at the same time. Another is to share my community members’ blog posts when they’ve used Writally to create them. I want to show them off! I’m super happy to see you writing awesome blog posts and creating content that helps you reach the right people. If I find out someone in my Facebook group has news, I’ll share it. Building community is about taking an interest in others, not just yourself.
10. Lastly, make it fun!
Brainstorm some themes and games you can add to your social posting schedule. Here are some examples to inspire you.
A new thing I’ve been working on that will help you with the above
Of course, there is a lot more to building a following than I can cover in this post. One of the things I have done lately to help you is put together a course that helps you identify your perfect client’s mindset, their sphere of influence (who they follow and what they read, watch and listen to), the questions and concerns that matter to them and how to research all of the above.
It’s called The Blogcrastination Obliterator Course and you’ll learn how to put together a highly targeted blog and social media strategy in 7 steps. Each module is easy to digest and you get plenty of support on the way via our Writally Facebook group. The course is based on the 12 Month Content Calendar Challenge I ran last year with 200 participants and also based on my indepth workshop on building an ideal client profile. If you need help with this, I invite you to check out the course on Teachable.