As bloggers, it can be easy to get stuck in the numbers game. We see a blogger with high numbers and we immediately assume that what they have to say is valuable and is well-received and respected. I’m currently looking at the twitter account of a blogger who has 37.3K followers on twitter. Do you hear me? That. is. a. crap-ton. of. followers. But most of her tweets only have 3-4 engagements. Roughly .008% of the people following her engage with any of her tweets. She DOES post a lot, but still.
For some people the numbers are REALLY important. For example, I’ve been working hard on trying to drive traffic to my blog. Would I like the comments? Yes. Comments to this blog are like applause to Tinkerbell; I need them to keep going. BUT. The thing I daily check for growth isn’t my comment number, it’s my Google Analytics. Well, more specifically my Google Adsense. I’m trying to create posts worth reading and engaging with WHILE convincing people to come look. It’s like being one of fifteen kids who built a volcano at a science fair. Yeah, there are tons of things that are basically the same but does their lava come infused with glitter? Mine is a little different, come look.
Numbers and influence aren’t necessarily the same thing. I was recently looking at someone’s Twitter and my first thought was…
Your twitter followers aren’t your fans.Your twitter followers aren't your fans. Click To Tweet
People don’t follow you (unless you’re like the Biebs or Ben Rector or something) because they’re fans of you. They follow you because you paid for them to do so in a giveaway, or they like your blog or think you’re funny or think you’re cool. That doesn’t make you a celebrity, it just makes you a human with a platform for strangers to connect with you. and to them you become a person of influence. How do we make sure we’re being responsible with our influence?
Five ways, people.
1. Be genuine.
I’ve been encouraging one of my mentors to start a blog for awhile now. She’s brilliant; very in touch with nutrition and very organic in how she lives, she home schools her brilliant little gingers and raises chickens. She finally decided what to blog about, and she was telling me about how she’d read an article about how the biggest appeal of blogs are the authenticity of the blogger. If you are completely honest with yourself on your blog, some people will love you (and really love you!) and you do run the risk of some people not being able to stand you, but who cares. You do you, and do it 100%.
2. Be a little mysterious.
You can be real and you can be protected at the same time. I’ve recently been going through a bit of a rough patch in my life, and I felt like people needed to be encouraged by it so I took to writing about it. Even though this is my little corner of the internet and I have free reign over what I write, I KNEW I needed to be discerning about it. I’m easy to get in touch with via social media. If people needed or wanted more details, I’m available to share them privately. That allows people the opportunity to connect on the personal stuff in a personal way, but still gives the person who stumbled upon your blog the opportunity to put your posts in context.
3. Be a builder.
There was a blogger that I used to LOVE. I thought she was the very best blogger in the world and I wanted to be just like her. So one day I bravely sent her a tweet that I’d been meaning to send for a very long time. Her response came across as being very harsh and dismissive. Guess who was no longer my favorite blogger? Here in blogland, we’re living in a bunch of cafeterias like the school in Mean Girls. There are cliques. and there are plastics. and you could be the “that skirt is so cute” Queen Bee or you could be the “that is the ugliest effing skirt I have ever seen” Queen Bee. Choose one. I vote the former. Don’t leave room for any of your social media interactions to be interpreted as tearing someone down. Only use words that build people up, ESPECIALLY if it’s in direct response to comments or engagements initiated by someone else.
4. Be engaging.
There are a few people I know in real life who boast about a large social media following who do not engage with people AT ALL. They’ve collected their followers by following other people, but they never engage. They never comment on other people’s instagram pictures or reply to tweets unless they’re mentioned or anything. It drives me insane. The best part of social media is the SOCIAL part. I had a coffee shop follow me on Instagram awhile ago. They hadn’t yet opened, but I decided to check out what they were about and I’ve been interacting a lot with them over the past few months and I’m SO excited for them to finally open. I had to step off my high horse and not pretend like they followed me because I am the coolest coffee drinker in the Portland area. You are not too good to interact with people who are interested in you. Unless you’re Justin Bieber, because I’ve been trying to get the Biebs to retweet me for years.
5. Be supportive.
This is something I’m currently working hard on right now. If you love someone’s blog post, share it. If you love their recipe, pin it. If you like their tweet, retweet it. Shout the praises of other people from the top of your lungs. Be known as a builder. Be known as a person who supports stuff, someone who people want to have on their side because you are excited for the things other people are doing. Be constantly on the lookout for who you can lift up. We all know how great it feels when someone shares our blog posts or retweets us or repins a pin that’s important to us. Be that person for other people.
This isn’t a formula for how to grow your realm of influence, mind you.
But in my experience, a lot of it recently, I’ve seen that when I use my small realm of social media to build, I receive more interaction and support because when it’s my turn to step up to bat, my team remembers how I cheered for them when it was their turn.
What do you think? How do you make the most of your social media influence?