Putting the Social Back into Social Media: 40 Ways to Build a Loyal Audience

Putting the Social Back into Social Media: 40 Ways to Build a Loyal Audience

Reader Comments (65)

  1. Really great tips, Carol. I will certainly be using some of these tips, as i’m reaching a bit of a boundary in my Blog. I will soon have a new self published Blog and want to take it to new levels. I feel some of these tips will help


    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  2. Great list! I especially love the part about sending cookies. Another SEO (Jon Cooper from @PointBlankSEO) and I talked about this strategy, and I think it’s a really good one. A hand-written note with a couple of cookies shows real time and thought, and it can leave a real impression on someone.

    • I’ve actually done that, for people who help out a lot and sort of go above and beyond, in my own community, Freelance Writers Den. I love it — need to do more of it this year.

      • Ah..! So now I know I know what you meant. When I first read your post, I thought you must be joking to make the post light hearted. Surely, it is not feasible to send cookies to those who leave comments on your blog, like your page on Facebook or indeed your Twitter followers. Seeing your response however, I can see what you mean and that it is indeed not a joke. Sending cookies or chocolates or wine to those with whom you have partnered or worked closely with is a different question alltogether and I can see why it can work.

  3. I think #7 and #8 are great ideas. It’s a little give-and-take and can help turn your readers into loyal advocates. You want to have a relationship with your audience, not just stand on your soapbox shouting at them.

    • Those are two of the easiest strategies to do, too, Nick — you’re talking maybe 5 minutes a day. And it makes such a big difference in how readers relate to you. Now you’re not just one more blog they read — you’re the influential blogger who comments on their stuff, and shares it.

  4. For me the most interesting looks to send cookies to your reader πŸ™‚

    All in all I really like the advises provided.


  5. Many great ideas…. I am at a point of taking a new push for my blog of Botanical Beauties & Beasties / Eco Art and Storytelling. The Botanicals are Flower Folk, with art + tech and imagination. The motto is “Live Green/Live Kind.” #13 – do a guest blog…. I would be happy to- Any takers!?!!??? A blog that is for arts minded, ecology minded, or folks that would like a “bright spot” to their day would be grand! Email me and we can talk!
    Thanks in advance if you are interesting! Cheers – liz (www.botanicalbeautiesbeasties.com)

    • Hi Liz — I might love a guest post from you on an interesting take for my peeps. I’m on my IPhone now so it’s kind of hard to do a lot of messaging. But when I get back to my computer I’ll get to your site so I can email you. Fun. Fun. What a great idea!

  6. Great article, Carol. A couple of points that I’m planning to start using right away are #1 and #9. I think that giving readers credit by name not only reinforces to those individuals how important their time and input is, but it conveys that same message to the whole audience as well.


    • Don’t forget to give ’em a link back to their blog when you mention the idea they gave you πŸ˜‰ As they say at Sexy Bookmarks, sharing links IS caring.

  7. Really good tips, carol. Love the idea about creating a mastermind group with your blog readers and sending cookies to them.


  8. Hey Carol,

    You’ve provided some great food for thought here, and I couldn’t agree more. It always comes back to the point of serving your audience genuinely, however that might be. Answering questions, solving problems, joining discussions, etc. Be helpful early, often, and continuously will always make your audience stick around and deepen the connection.

    Thanks for sharing these tips!

  9. These are great tips! I am currently at a wall with our blog, the audience hasn’t been engaged for two years and undoing that has proven to be a difficult task. Are there any tips you can provide that might help bring them back in?

    • Umm…see points 1-40. I think this advice works just as well in revitalizing a stagnant blog where readers have become disengaged over time as it does for starting a new one.

      When’s the last time you took a poll, or asked your readers what their biggest problems are, or held a contest, or had an interesting guest poster on? Try it, you’ll like it πŸ˜‰

  10. These are really great tips. Listening to your readers needs is so important as well as giving them feedback on their own blogs, but of course, my favorite is sending cookies also!

  11. Carol-As always, you’ve given practical advice that you’ve proven works! Thanks for the pointers. If I had a crystal ball, I’d say a wise entrepreneur might want to open up a mail order cookie business right now to cash in on Tip #21–it seems to have struck a chord with readers.

  12. Nice post! I guess you didn’t have #23 in mind when writing this particular post – you’ve covered so much ground here that there’s really nothing left to add!

  13. Carol I enjoyed the post, but at the risk of being a little cynical isn’t this all motherhood and apple pie? These common sense tips make perfect sense. But there is a growing unspoken reality about content marketing – it takes a massive amount of time and effort. I would love to see some suggestions on how to artfully and tactfully automate relationship development when and where possible. Just a thought.

    • Tactfully automating your relationships? I feel warm and fuzzy and like I want to hang out with you now. πŸ˜‰

      I actually do suggest some automation above, like autoresponder e-courses. But automate tasks, not relationships.

      But my main point is building real relationships with readers actually IS a time-saver. It makes them raving fans and then they spread the word about your blog and keep your audience growing. Doesn’t that get you there faster?

      A lot of these tips to me don’t take any more time than what you’re already doing. You’re writing blog posts anyway — if the posts are designed to engage readers, you’ll build your relationships and get useful info on how to create products they want.

      Everyone is automating everything as they chase the dream of millions on autopilot…so I advocate going the other direction and building more personal relationships. It’s just what’s paid off like mad for me.

      • agreed good feedback. And always great to be reminded what the ‘social’ in social media is all about. And I cringe at suggesting automation as well. But there is a certain level of reality in building a network that, in the right hands, can leverage technology in order to automate some tasks.

        Make sense?

        Again, enjoyed the post!

        • I like Carol’s distinction — automate tasks, not relationships. Very smart.

          Some tools like autoresponders, podcasts, and Q&A sessions are terrific relationship builders and they scale beautifully. As your audience grows, you’ll need to keep looking at what’s working and what isn’t.

  14. Great list you’ve written here. As a blogger, you need to be social. Bloggers are meant to share their opinions with others – there needs to be that social aspect. If you’re not willing to provide it, then you’re not going to make it far. It’s that simple.

    You should be willing to take whatever means needed to reach out to your audience. It’ll pay off in the end.

  15. Your emails are extremely helpful and insightful particularly for a novice like me. You’re truly a guru in this business.

  16. Hi, Carol! =) insightful post..
    love how you open up the post. My blog’s a lonely place but still grateful I have few loyal commenters. The “Skype one of your readers” makes me think. It’s the great use of building relationship because you can talk to them face-to-face. sounds special, too.
    Bookmarked again. =)

  17. Hi Carol,

    This is a great list, thanks! Already do a few, but really need to put more of this into practice.

    I’ve sent thank you notes, but cookies! πŸ™‚ … You’re good.

    Also, I like to idea of letting the readers finish the blog post. That’s something I might have to experiment with, but love that idea.

    I’ll be hitting Skype hard in the coming weeks too. This article helps push me in that direction for sure.

    Thanks. Love this post, Carol.

  18. I love this post carol. I’ll be printing it out and working on one each week. I just know (!) doing that will be a huge boost for my blog. Thanks so much fir this great article.

    As James early said, I’ve never seen so many of these ideas all in one place.

    My favorite? After 9 months of faithfully writing one really meaty blog post per week, I think it’s time for me to have one guest post per month.

    Any takers? Who wants to do some guest posting? You could write about some of YOUR business challenges and how you solved them.

    Check out my website and email me through there. http://www.workvibrant.com

    And you don’t have to be a woman to write a guest post ; )

  19. Fantastic post. I too will be printing it out and keeping it on hand for when I’m working on my blog. I like the “real life” element in quite a few of your suggestions. It’s hard to be loyal to a blog. It’s easy to be enthusiastic about a person.

  20. I found this really interesting and useful. However, I have a gray area as far as replying to comments. Despite having Askimet installed as a plug-in on my WordPress site, I’m getting an increasing number of spam comments. Some are really difficult to decide whether they’re genuine or not. The URL’s link back to sites which aren’t relevant but as my blog is aimed towards helping new and small businesses (particularly for over 45 who may not have had a formal education in computing), surely I have to expect random links.

    • That’s very much a factor for us as well.

      Here’s my approach, for what it’s worth. If the comment adds value to the conversation, I approve it, as long as the link back isn’t to something dodgy. If the comment adds no value (all of those “great blog, I will be reading you again” comments), I trash it.

      We don’t reply to every comment, as you can see, but we do read them all and chime in when we feel moved.

      • This is where I love using the CommentLuv plug in, as it offers me the chance to simply remove their spam link. I’m getting more spammers where they do not list a URL but do have a link that CommenLuv picks up…which always seems to be for dentists in the UK lately.

        Spammers are definitely getting more clever and some are clearly paying real people to read posts and try to leave something coherent. If I think it has value I’ll just remove the link and leave it…but mostly the whole post gets removed.

  21. Carol – love these tips…and you obviously know of what you speak, seeing as you’ve got a great many responses here!
    I will be printing this list and posting it near my desk for quick reference. Mind if I ask your advice on #4?
    What’s your take on whom to follow? Everyone who follows you? We typically follow only those who are active participants in our twitterverse. And conversely, if we follow someone who does not return the favor within, say, 30 days, AND we find no value-add to following (i.e. they don’t post anything relevant to us), that’s a sign that it’s time to unfollow, as well. What do you think?
    Note: We’ve found that your #7 is dead-on. Our own blog views skyrocket every time we leave a thoughtful, relevant comment on someone else’s blog. This definitely works!
    Thanks for the great tips!

    • Personally, I follow people I want to learn from. I’m trying to create a tweetstream that will be full of valuable links of stuff I want to read and learn about.

      I think when you’re first starting out, following back can help you get acquainted, but like Sonia says, if you find they’re not saying anything interesting to you, I get rid of them.

      There’s a dynamic on Twitter that you become seen as a thought leader when you don’t have to follow a lot of people to get a lot of followers…so I always try to stay aware of that ratio.

  22. Great list, Carol. I’ve let my responses to my readers slip, and I need to get back on track with that. As well as add some of your suggestions here… Thank You!

  23. Thank you for sharing Carol! You gave tremendous insight. What I liked most about your post was this: being invested in your clients’ and followers social media is the best way to develop and strengthen the relationship. Simply for the fact that you are so distant from your reader, in terms of proximity, things can go stale rather quickly if you do not provide new content week in and week out. Although certain blogs stay very closely to a singular topic, it is nice to change things up every once and a while. Alongside doing this, being invested in their own social media outreach is a simple yet great idea that many of us overlook. Thank you for your post! If you have time, check out our website to read our blog and see some of our services http://heliosmm.com/phoenix-video-production/

  24. A great list of ideas. I do have a bit of an issue with #32, at least at face value. How often do you get a response to an email sent to ask why your other emails are unopened?

  25. I’ve saved this post in my favorite list. Thanks for sharing these tips and reminding us all that social media is all about communication, two-way that is.. and we have to be interested in people to make that connection work; not just treating social networking sites as some kind of a digital billboard. Cheers!

  26. Dear Carol,
    There is no doubt that this list is a very powerful tool for anyone who desires to build good public relationships in any business venture. It simply cuts across and to me its a great energizer. Thank you for the ideas well thought.

  27. Great article Carol. I’ll admit, I’m still ‘working up the nerve’ to attempt guest blogging. Reviewing ebooks – fabulous idea and one of my ‘takeaways’ from your post, cheers!

  28. I can’t remember where I’ve heard this from, but someone told me about this #1 car salesman who would send emails of “I Love You, Thank You” to his customers on occasions like Christmas and more. The weird thing was that he got an extremely high rate of sales! It does show that if you cultivate a good social following, your profitability also bursts through the roof.


    • Nothing weird there, witty — how many car salesmen tell you they love you? He took the relationship one step further and you can imagine how many people those customers referred to him.

      You know, years ago when I bought my first house, that agent sent us a little white board with a marker for taking notes on the fridge — every year. For about 15 years! What a great way to keep his name in front of us. We referred him a ton of people. He kept us on even after we moved to another city. And you know what? We came to consider him as a friend really, not a realtor. Masterful.

      He also was very successful, naturally.

  29. I really needed to read this post! I have known for a while that I was really lacking in this area and had a few thoughts of what I could do, but never did it. You had some great ideas here that I had never thought of for some reason. This was just the motivation I needed….thanks! πŸ™‚

  30. Great list. Thanks so much. I’m just starting out so I’ll be giving some of these a go. I’m not sure about #32 though.

  31. What I get from all 40 ideas here is a sense of generosity and recognizing it’s not all about me me me even though I’m blogging for my business. It’s like all aspects of building relationships — what are YOU about? I love the idea of sending cookies — just the idea of a personal note is novel these days.

  32. Great ideas, I’ll be using some of them for sure. I know I don’t do enough open ended questions, or responding to comments. My nemesis is the spot for people to leave a comment, like this one you use. So comments have to go to my email and then approved. It’s not very user friendly. I do get a ton of traffic but would love to have people comment on what they think and what they are listening to in the audio book world. Thanks for sharing such great tips. btw, found you from a RT, from Jinx Schwartz.

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