Struggling to get more followers for your blog? Ouch. Blogging is hard enough as it is without feeling like you’re talking into the void, so it’s easy to become a bit despondent if it seems like no-one’s listening. So how do you get more followers? It’s easy. You get to know your audience.
Whether your blog is B2C, B2B or B2-whoever-is-listening, the same rules apply. You're probably writing to reach a specific group of people, so the first thing to do is to think of them as precisely that – people. Human beings. Not faceless corporations; not mindless content consumers; not imaginary beings who only want to read exactly what you want to write. People. Got it?
Understand that and you’ll understand the need to – you guessed it – understand those people in more depth. This is where coming up with buyer personas (as they’re known in the biz) can be really helpful. What are ‘buyer personas’? Well, essentially they’re fictional, generalized representations of your ideal audience condensed into useful alliterative-named characters. We’ve written about what they are in more detail here, and we’d recommend having a read of that if you’ve not done so already. Once that’s done, download our buyer persona template – for free – to create your own.
Technically, creating your buyer personas is step one. But I’m gonna assume you’ve already done that, cause you're clever, so with that out of the way here’s your 5 step guide to getting more followers for your blog…
1. Get your socials correct.
Think about your audience. Firstly: they’re the kind of people who read blogs. What can we deduce from this? Well, they’re probably the kind of people who use social media, right? I don’t know about you, but I find most of my new blogs to read via social media, and I’m definitely not alone in this. In fact, it’s probably how you found this one. Right?
Think about which social media channels to be on. No point shouting about your DIY/Craft blog on Twitter 24/7 when the majority of your audience (i.e. your buyer persona) are busy over on Pinterest. No point broadcasting your latest blog post to your Facebook audience of family and friends, whilst potential clients are reading your competitor’s work over on Twitter. So – think about which channels your audience is using, and get on ‘em.
2. Watchu sayin’?
There are so many reasons why you could’ve started blogging, and it would be impossible for me to guess. You could be a budding author; you could be super nerdy about your topic; you could have just been told to set up ‘one of those blog things’ by your boss. Who knows. Either way, you’re doing it, and in order to keep doing it successfully you need to consider whether or not you’re doing it right.
In general, a successful blog is either aspirational or educational. In our industry, 9 times out of 10 what you need to be is educational. So think about the kinds of people you’d like to be following your blog. What specific problems do they have? What challenges? What are they likely to Google?
Know your personas, and you’ll know the answers to these questions. That way, you can start creating content that they’ll actually want to read.
3. Make sure you’re posting at the right time.
You’re confident you’re writing the correct blog posts for your audience, and you’re sharing them on social media in a way which is interesting and appealing to that audience. Yay. Well done you.
The only thing left to consider is timing. Posting the right content on the right channels won’t work at all if your intended audience isn’t seeing it - so how do you know when your audience is online? Well, you can start by deducing information from your personas. If your primary persona is a dad of two young kids, he’s probably not going to be on social in the early evening – but he may be online after bedtime stories. On the other hand, if they’re a student, you’re pretty much good for any time of day except at any point after 10pm.
Otherwise, you can have a look at tools like Google Analytics to see when people are on your site, or Followerwonk to see when they’re on social. If you’re still setting up your accounts then it’s worth testing different times of day to see what works, but if you’ve been doing this for a while then these tools should give you a pretty good insight into your audience activity.
4. Start reaching out.
What’s the definition of madness? According to Einstein, it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. As far as we’re concerned, it’s putting the same content in the same place and expecting a different audience.
So I’m sorry to say it guys, but it’s time to network. Don’t worry, I don’t mean making polite chit chat around a plate of ever-softening Doritos – but I do mean talking to people. Do you know any other companies (or even just people) with a blog vaguely similar to yours? Ask if they wouldn’t mind guest featuring some of your content, and offer to do the same in return. You’ll get in front of their audience, they’ll get in front of your audience, and you’ll both benefit from some tasty link-sharing Google juice in return. Everybody wins.
Think outside the box and consider how you can get in front of some new audiences simply by reaching out. Can you do a Q&A with someone influential? Could you retweet a few tweets from another company in the hopes they’ll do the same to you? Just remember to make sure their audience is aligned with your ideal target personas, or you’re wasting your time.
5. Start makin' it rain.
We don’t like telling you to spend money on anything, but we also don’t like giving you rubbish advice and, in all honesty, advertising on social media is pretty unparalleled in terms of getting you in front of the right audience. But the key is to be clever about it.
We see so many examples of people who’ve set up advertising campaigns on either Twitter or Facebook simply by writing a post, selecting ‘men and women in the UK’ as their parameters, chucking £20 behind it and expecting success to roll on in. Once in a blue moon this might just work. But nine times out of ten, it won’t.
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram – they all have excellent filtering systems to ensure that your ad only gets in front of the right audience. Have you ever checked out Facebook’s demographics? You can target your ad at all different kinds of specific groups – empty nesters, recent college grads, people who’ve just booked holidays… How do they even know?! Some Black Mirror type of thang right there.
But the question of how the Facebook overlords know our business isn’t our concern (for now). Use your personas to think about what kind of demographic your audience is in – what they’ll be interested in, what their hobbies are, what kind of pages they might already like – and then tailor your ads accordingly. Written a great blog about puppies recently that you know your audience will love? Great – create a Facebook advert linking to that post, targeted at men and women aged 25-50 who are dog owners, interested in dog grooming and have already liked the page Pets at Home. Job’s a good ‘un! Not only are you getting in front of the right audience, you’re also ensuring that none of that precious advertising budget goes to waste.
So that’s it! Your 5 step guide to getting more followers to your blog. Let us know how you get on, and for more tips and tricks on upping your social media game follow us @NoisyMonkey.
Oh, and you haven’t forgotten to download that content offer, have you?