Looking for community to help you grow your blog traffic? Keep these three etiquette tips in mind as you enter the wonderful world of blogging link-ups and Facebook groups.
Do You Remember Your First Comment?
I distinctly remember the first comment on a blog post I’d written. I couldn’t tell if the commenter spoke English as a second language, or just didn’t have a handle on his mother tongue. In retrospect, I think a bot had the pleasure of earning the first-time-commenter award.
Regardless, I carefully edited the comment so it made sense, and took great pride that someone, anyone, had read my post and cared enough to respond. I felt a sense of community that someone had cared enough to say something in response to the words I’d launched out into space.
My second community experiences happened through Twitter and Facebook. I remember the excitement of chatting with like-minded women who blogged. It felt like I had moved to a whole new level—and many of those ladies actually read my blog posts. At last! Real community.
And then a high-school classmate of mine posted a link to her blog on Facebook (I didn’t even know she had a blog) and it had a little “Five Minute Friday” logo in the corner. I read her post, then clicked on the little icon and discovered an entire, world-wide community of bloggers.
After participating for a few months, I discovered the Five-Minute Friday community had a Twitter party on Thursday nights, too. More community with more potential friends and readers. I had discovered beginning blogger’s heaven.
At a Twitter party in late September, someone asked if anyone planned on doing the #write31days challenge. I dove right into the challenge with little planning or forethought. When Tobi Sauers started a Facebook group called 31 Day Survivors/We’re Better Together, I jumped right in.
Community Two Ways
That Facebook group and the Five-Minute Friday crowd have formed the backbone of my blogging community for the past seven years. We’ve chatted with each other, prayed with each other, consoled each other, and bailed each other out. Sometimes we spend less time with our community, but they always welcome us back.
The women who started those two communities no longer play an active role in them. Kate Motaung took over the Five-Minute Friday gig, and Susan Chamberlain Shipe has led out the Facebook group for years. Members come and go, but we always know where we can go for help.
The keys to successful communities involve three things.
1. Show Up
You have to invest time with people in order to find community. You don’t have to spend hours each day, but you do need to show up and take part. Ask questions. Answer questions. Cheer each other on.
2. Link Up
The Five-Minute Friday link-up goes live after every Thursday night’s Twitter party. When Kate shares the prompt of the week, the party goes silent while everyone scrambles to write a post in five minutes. Then we link them up over at Kate’s place.
In the Facebook group, we have weekly or bi-weekly share threads where we can leave a link to a post we’ve written (or one that needs some love). Group members commit to visiting two other posts.
You get the drift—part of community building means we also visit and support each other. We don’t have to agree with what the other person writes about (one of the gals wrote about her life as a witch—not my usual focus ), but you do need to find something nice to say.
3. Keep Up
Keeping up doesn’t come easily—I confess I get behind during the busy months of my life. But link-up etiquette requires that you don’t just link and run. Stick around and visit at least two other posts—the person who linked up ahead of you, and the person who linked up after you.
Share their posts on social media. Ask questions in their comments section. Remember that all of us crave community and want someone to acknowledge our existence (someone other than a bot).
Community requires two-way interaction. Aim to give more than you take.Community requires two-way intraction. Aim to give more than you take. #blogger #community #write28days #fmfparty Click To Tweet
How to Find Link-ups and Community
In-Links publishes a searchable link-up directory to help you find link-ups to participate in. If you have a lot of time, you may want to join one link up each day of the week.
While tempted to link up all over the place, I don’t because I don’t have time to keep up with the courtesy visits on seven link-ups a week. Take the time to explore different link-ups. Maybe you’ll stumble across some wonderful bloggers who will eventually become friends.
Facebook also has great groups for community building. Search around and find one or two that fit your needs. Remember, if you want to find a community, find groups with guidelines and rules (those help keep the trolls and link-droppers out).
As you explore community, keep in mind what you’ve already learned about stats, intention, joy, making friends on social media, and the important numbers. Our next topic will cover revision—when is enough enough?