Do you wish you were included in Follow Fridays?
Do you wish you had an online cheerleading community?
Do you wish people promoted your blog/work the same way they promote others?
It’s natural to feel despondent when you’ve psyched yourself to actually begin a blog…you’ve create a website, you’ve written from the heart, you’ve publicised it on social media then….well, nothing really comes of it!
So, you devour all the other blogs about how to build your online network and the advice across them all is to interact in order to grow your followers organically.
Except the thought of interacting online does not come easily to you! It’s beyond your realm of comfort to be an online Chatty Patty…you’re convinced you haven’t really got anything exciting to say and you certainly aren’t going to shout about the mundane minutiae of the everyday. Additionally, you don’t want to appear inauthentic by suddenly making the effort to interact with people when you’ve only ever ‘lurked’ or posted sporadically before.
Having anxiety means you over-analyse every aspect of situations like this – even in the virtual world. Having social anxiety means you’ve convinced yourself you have nothing of worth to contribute and if you ever dare to, you’ll probably end up annoying/insulting someone (or worse – several people)!
So, what can you do? Here are 5 steps to build your courage then, hopefully, your online community:
1. Curate your feeds. Focus on following those with similar interests/attributes to you. Don’t follow people simply because they’re a fellow blogger, or because everyone else is, or because they’ve got 25k followers so must be an expert yet they blog about something which holds absolutely no interest for you. Conversely, don’t dismiss someone because they’ve got a small following or their (brief!) bio doesn’t automatically align with yours. The best connections are often unexpected.
2. Start liking posts – set yourself a target (perhaps 10 per day?) – but only like posts which *truly* resonate with you. Perhaps retweet a few which will not only show your agreement/endorsement of that tweet, but will also appear on your own timeline and allow others to understand what you consider important too.
3. Once you are comfortable with liking posts, set yourself a target to actually reply to those tweeters who make a difference to YOU. Reply directly or embed their tweets within your own tweets. Remember – it’s got to be genuine!
4. Actively add to Twitter threads. The key word here is *actively* – it’s not enough to just post your blog link and expect 50 new followers instantly! Twitter threads are a great way to discover other new blogs and potentially like-minded bloggers to follow. Again, it’s the genuiness of the connections which are important, not the quantity.
5. Believe in yourself and your message. Be patient. It’s better to have 100 followers who genuinely ‘get’ you and connect with you than more who don’t. Social media can be a lonely place for the shallow.
However, I understand your frustration – growing followers may mean monetising your blog or living your freelance dream. You may be feeling envious of others who regularly announce ‘exciting’ emails/collaborations and/or affiliate sales or sponsorships. However, remember they were in your position once too – a newbie blogger (perhaps battling their own demons) trying to navigate their way in an unpredictable, virtual landscape.
Best of luck with *your* blog – I’ll be looking out for your own top tips post in the future!