Ever came to a blog that was so quiet you were sure it was even alive? No comments, no tweets; just sitting there, lonely and forgotten…
Yes, I know, I am sad for the blogger as well.
But you know what? It does not have to be that way.
People are sheep; where one goes, all follow. Don’t be too upset about me comparing you to a sheep; I am right there with you as well.
The moral of the post is this: if you want for people to listen to you and buy from you, you need to provide evidence of existing engagement on your blog.
Existing engagement encourages more engagement. And that, my friend, is what social scientists call Social Proof.
I do understand your dilemma though.
You have a new or fairly new blog that hasn’t quite developed a following yet.
So how are you to prove to your visitors that you are worthy of their attention? How do you get that initial push, that first comment, first tweet?
That’s where I come to the rescue. On a white horse and all.
My 10 Rules of Social Engagement to Follow:
1. Have Enough Posts
This one is rudimentary, but worth starting with, especially if you are running a brand new blog.
Make sure you have ENOUGH and QUALITY content on your blog first.
If I come to your blog to find just 2-3 blog posts, chances are I won’t stick around.
So make sure you have at least 10-15 posts before you open your blog for business.
2. Launch Without Comments
Don’t you think it’s very sad to come to a blog with 0 comments? It feels dead and unpopular.
And considering that the quantity of comments is what many newcomers will judge your blog by, this is an important issue to pay attention to.
If you blog is not getting much traffic or comments, post without comments first. As your traffic grows, you can always open the posts for discussion later.
How do you know when your blog has grown enough? As a guidance, I would wait till you get 200-300 unique visitors per day or 100 RSS subscribers.
3. Create Commenting Tribe
That’s right: take the matter of no comments into your own hands.
Create a group of like-minded peer blogs and start commenting on each other’s posts.
Everyone wins: every blog will get some traffic, social sharing, and comments right off the bat. As an added bonus, you will also learn from each other and create wonderful friendships and a strong support system.
Read more on how to create a tribe of your own:
4. Create More Retweets
Yes, we want to have social media sharing buttons on our blogs; otherwise, if the buttons are not there, no one will ever share your post, right?
However, once again 0 or even 1 retweet is a sad, sad number.
Here’s an easy way to create Twitter social proof though: have more than 1 Twitter account! Or more than 2, or even more than 3.
When I first started, I had (well, still technically do) 6 Twitter accounts.
Yes, Twitter will let you register as many account as you want as long as you use different email addresses for each. With free email platforms like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail that’s an easy thing to set up.
So all you do after you publish a new post is retweet it once (= 6 retweets show up in your Twitter share button) or twice ( = 12 Retweets) – I am sure you get the point.
Of course, if you want to use Twitter for more than just a platform for your blog post retweets, like driving quality targeted traffic to your blog, you should space your tweets by 3-4 hours and retweet other people’s content as well.
More great reading on the topic:
5. Create More Facebook Shares
It’s even easier to get more Facebook shares.
All you do here is find some existing niche tribes on Facebook (just search for “your keyword” plus the word “tribe”), join the fan pages, and start posting your links.
Of course, it’s good etiquette to not just spam the pages, but check out other posts as well. Who knows, you might actually learn a tip or two or even make a friend.
If you are to find 10 fan pages that will allow you to post your own link, that’s 10 automatic shares that will show up on your blog Facebook Share counter.
6. Join Niche Social Bookmarking Site
I am not talking about Digg or Reddit here. Join a smaller site where you have a chance to stand out, gain an audience, and make your way to become a power player.
Check out sites like BlogEngage.com, BizSugar.com, Blokube.com. There are many more, but these are the ones that come to my mind and that I use.
Add the site social share button after you feel you have established yourself in the community enough and your submissions are getting votes/shares.
7. Limit Choice of Social Sharing Buttons
Don’t ever display buttons that your readers aren’t using.
For instance, I noticed on my blog that I rarely get any Diggs. Since I am not an active Digg member and will never become anything close to a power player on that site, I simply removed that button from my blog.
Now I display 4 sharing buttons only: Twitter, Facebook, SERPd, and Blokube. (which reminds me I need to add BlogEngage button as well or Brian will soon have me for lunch).
8. Twitter Followers
I used to be impressed by the number of Twitter followers some bloggers have. Now I focus more on quality over quantity, but that’s another post altogether.
However, 200 Twitter followers would never impress me or your readers. So if your number is low (under 1000 I would say), don’t display any Twitter widgets in your sidebar.
As you may or may not know, increasing your Twitter followers is a very easy thing to do, as long as you know what you are doing. For instance, I can create a new Twitter account and have close to 2000 followers (conservatively speaking) within a week or so.
You might not gain a whole lot of Twitter traffic or loyal followers this way, but it will surely show some positive social proof in favor of you and your blog.
To learn more about using Twitter for your traffic generation, read this post:
9. Avoid Feedburner Counters
Once again, this very logical statement escapes the mind of many bloggers.
Why would you display your Feedburner counter if you have 10 readers? Or even a hundred?
I would personally wait till 1000.
Also, your RSS subscribers are not the only social proof you can display on your blog.
Take a look at how Naomi at IttyBiz.com is doing it:
Why is she displaying her monthly readers number in her header?
Because 24,002 sounds awfully impressive, probably more so than your RSS subscriber number.
10. Avoid Displaying Trackbacks
Spam trackbacks, that is.
In our day and age of overwhelming spam and autoblogs, almost all blogs receive their fair share of spam trackbacks.
However, displaying spam trackbacks (the ones that lead to autoblogs, affiliate blogs, link wheels, etc) for the sake of social proof alone might not be such a good idea, considering how much long-term damage for your search engine rankings you can create.
So just because it looks like a comment, a spam trackback should have no place on your blog.
Read more on the issue here:
Well, there you have it: 10 Rules of Social Engagement that will guarantee to increase your blog stickiness.
All that is left for you to do now is… well, take them or leave them. I hope you choose the former.
QUESTION: what other lack of social engagement issues will send you running away from a blog? What do you think a blogger can do to build that initial trust with their readers?