This is a guest post by Allison Boyer. Image credit attributed
You can find lots of bloggers who say quality fans are more important than your overall numbers. You can find even more bloggers constantly looking for new ways to boost their traffic numbers and social media followers.
Personally, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. If you have quality without quantity, you probably don’t have many readers beyond your mother. Focusing completely on quantity, on the other hand, can also be a problem, since they’re less likely to buy products from you, click your links, leave comments, or share your posts online.
Fortunately, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. You can successfully build your numbers and build and engaged audience at the same time using the following tips:
Following And Interacting With Your Fans
Sometimes, we all get stuck in our own social circles – and I’m not just talking about Google+ circles. On Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, it’s important to get out there and follow some of the people who show interest in your content. On your own blog, you can also show the love by replying to comments rather than leaving them hanging unanswered at the end of your posts. A single acknowledgement is all it takes to show someone you care that they took the time to check out your content, so you’ll build a more quality fanbase. But this is great for quantity too. People who look at your profiles or blog will see this interaction and be more likely to follow you as well. If you’re only replying to people in your inner circle, you come off as cliquey, so get out there and talk to new people.
Ask People For Their Advice
Everyone loves throwing in their two cents about a topic. Heck, I find myself commenting on blogs when I’m asked for an opinion even when I don’t feel super strongly about the topic at hand! You’ve probably heard that it’s good to ask a question at the end of a blog post so readers can weigh in with their opinion. I say, take it a step farther. Consider creating a blog post completely about a problem you’re having or that you see and don’t solve it. Ask your readers to help you solve it. (If you don’t want to do this on your blog, you can scale down a bit and pose the problem on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. When you ask readers for advice, they become part of the content creation. From a quality standpoint, you’re going to get more engagement, and because people like to share posts where they helped to create the content, you’ll see your numbers go up as well.
Create Good Link-bait
The term “linkbait” gets a bum rap sometimes, but I think this connotation is off base a little. You can write high-quality linkbait that both entices readers to click (good for quantity) and creates an engaging environment on your blog and social media profiles (good for quality). Don’t just create a list post. Create a list post filled with ideas that are brand new to your niche. Don’t just post something funny. Post something funny and poignant. Don’t just create a good headline. Create content under that headline that over-delivers on what the title promises.
Explore Other Types Of Content
I’m a writer through and through, which is why I love blogging so much, but whenever I branch out, my audience explodes with new, high-quality followers. Be a guest on someone’s podcast. Record a video interview. Create an infographic. When you explore types of content that you previously had not created on your blog, you take your ideas to people who otherwise would have never found you. Don’t miss out on these entire worlds of people just because you don’t like the sound of your voice or are afraid to be on camera.
Find New Outlets By Looking In Old Places
Contrary to popular belief, Digg isn’t dead. My significant other (who is not a blogger or social media professional) peruses this website daily to find cool content. And StumbleUpon? It’s still alive and kicking, even if we talk more about Pinterest these days. And don’t laugh, but remember MySpace? As of June 2012, that site still had 25 million active users, which might pale in comparison to Facebook’s gigantic audience but is still enough to make it one of the top 200 most popular site online. Now, MySpace and other old social networks aren’t right for every blogger, but don’t let your vision be so clouded by the shiny, sparkly new websites launching every day that you forget about old standbys. Depending on your niche, some of these places are goldmines of brand new people who otherwise would never have heard of your content. This opens your blog up to a brand new highly engaged group of people, so it’s great for both quality and quantity.
These tips, of course, aren’t the only way to build a community that is both large and engaged. If you’re looking for more great tips, check out Dino Dogan’s session, “How to Build a Community of Fanatics” live at NMX Las Vegas.