Looking for some effective (but free) ways to invite interaction on your blog? Find out how to use three different forums to build relationships and authentic engagement.
“Enter to Win Now!” the webpage blared at me in bold letters. A countdown timer showed how many days, hours, and minutes remained until my chance to enter would disappear forever.
My finger hovered over the enter button. I caught myself just in time. Did I really need the widget offered by the blogger? No, probably not. Did I really want to sign up for one more newsletter to clutter my inbox? Definitely not.
I’ve worked at decreasing my inbox clutter for the past year, and I only subscribe to a handful of emails from fellow bloggers. For the most part, I’d rather visit the blog than read an email.
I know I’ve read over and over again that bloggers can make effective use of giveaways and contests to grow their blogs. But I’ve tried it, and know it doesn’t work for most people. I don’t have a giant blog nor have I authored multiple best-selling books. No one ever sees me on TV, and my personality alone won’t bring visitors to my blog.
Those kinds of people may find success with giveaways. For average Janes like me, not so much. I’ve held four or five giveaways, and I can’t think of a single person who signed up and became a regular blog visitor.
Facebook ads? I tried those, too. I never spent very much money, but never found them effective for long-term blog growth. Maybe I don’t have the kind of money needed to invest to really make Facebook ads work for growing my blog.
What IS Effective for Growing a Blog (Without a Huge Budget)?
This list includes both free and paid things (mostly free).
But first of all, make sure you define what ‘blog growth’ means for you:
- Do you want more social proof? (pins, tweets, Facebook shares)
- Do you want more comments on your posts? (see this post)
- Do you want people to sign up for your email list? (don’t forget to analyze why)
- Do you want your google (or WordPress) numbers to increase?
- Do you want a combination of all of the above?
Once you define what you want, you’ll find it easier to decide which actions will actually work effectively. Today we’ll talk about social proof, an element of blog growth.
If You Want More Social Proof
1. For Pinterest
Make sure that you have an appealing Pinterest graphic on each post with the snippet included in all of the metadata places outlined in this post.
Clean up your Pinterest boards and join some community groups (or Tailwind—which has both free and paid options). Pin other people’s things at an equal or greater rate than you pin your own things. You can sign up for a free Pinterest class here.
Pinterest works as a search engine with a social component. In other words, many pinners will re-pin your pins if you belong to the same community or shared boards.
2. For Facebook
Share the post on your personal page, or in a group that allows sharing. If appropriate, tag someone in the comments (I rarely do this—only if I think the person would really love the post).
You could ask people to tag a friend who they think would enjoy the post, too. I have only done this once—I have a hard time asking for favors. Make sure you do this in the comments, not in your post itself. Facebook doesn’t like calls to action in the main post.
If you have a business page or group (not your personal page), you could schedule your post for sharing there, too. Make sure to share appropriate posts from other sources as well.
3. For Twitter
I make it a point to always tweet a post I read (although not everyone knows that I tweeted because they haven’t set it up on the backend so that their Twitter handle automatically attaches itself to their tweets). When someone shares one of my tweets, I always like it and reply with a thank you.
Make sure you have Click to Tweet or a similar plugin installed to make it easy for people to share on Twitter.
Follow people who follow you (unless they creep you out or obviously have no interest in what you tweet about). I use who.unfollowed.me (the free version), to keep my Twitter mess in line.
Some people think following someone, and then unfollowing them when they follow back gives them social proof (because they have more followers than people they follow.
Don’t fall for that. Just unfollow people who do this—they see Twitter as a status symbol, not an effective way to build authentic relationships. These people just want numbers and they don’t really care about me.
Now, Set Your Goals!
Choose one social proof metric and set out to build engagement using that one method. It helps if you add a free plug-in such as Shared Count to give you the little numbers next to the Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook symbols on your blog. After all, those numbers give you social proof that people visit.
If you have recently started your blogging journey, don’t bother with displaying the counts (you can always look on your blog stats to see if anyone visits from those forums).
If you choose Pinterest, spend 10-20 minutes a day pinning other people’s things, as well as your own. Make sure you set your own pins up for easy shareability.
If you choose Twitter, spend 10-20 minutes a day following people and tweeting to them. Tweet links to other people’s things more often than you tweet your own stuff.
If you choose Facebook, spend 10-20 minutes a day engaging with people authentically on Facebook. Ask questions in groups, encourage other people, schedule a few of your blog links and lots of other people’s links.
I have found these three tools very effective for building engagement and relationships with readers. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to endure through the tough times. Building a blog takes time and patience.So you started a blog. Now what? How to bring readers to your blog without paying for Facebook ads or hosting giveaways. #blogger #write28days Click To Tweet