I like to consider myself a friendly blogger. This could, of course, be a complete lie…but it’s my blog so I CAN LIVE IN MY DELUSIONS IF I WANT. But several people have accusingly thanked me for a) interacting with them, b) commenting on their blogs, c) following them on twitter, d) and being generally awesome. Why thank you.
I work very hard at being friendly on the internet for several reasons:
- When I was a newbie blogger I was ignored by a lot of “big blogs”. (Even though I was a dedicated follower and commented all. the. time.) It hurt my feelings. I swore if I ever took up wizardry and tricked people into liking my blog, then I would pay attention to them.
- I am a 99.6% introvert in real life. Why do you not see my face on the blog? Why am I never at book festivals? Why do I answer life-questions so infrequently? BECAUSE I AM A SOCIALLY ANXIOUS PERSON. Blogging is my outlet. It is my way to have friends without stress. So of course I want to talk to people. You are my friends, you wonderful pineapples.
- It is very very satisfying to get a lot of comments or twitter favourites or instagram hearts.
- I’m not even going to how selfishly number-orientated the above confession is. But it is satisfying. You have to admit. Because it makes your art feel appreciated.
- I want to be famous. Friendly people sometimes get famous. (They also get murdered too, so I’m cautious, don’t be worried.)
- I cannot make awesome tutorials or giveaway tons of books or tell you how to code your blog or write a blog planner or give writing advice — but I CAN GIVE YOU MY TIME. So I consider comment replies and avid social networking that my way to “give back”.
But I wasn’t always grand at social networking. (I don’t actually consider myself “grand” at it now? I just do my best and I’ve learnt a few things.) And today I want to share with you a) how attack people with friendship, and b) how that can grow your blog, and c) things you can do to start down this path of loveable violence.
And by “attack people with friendship” I mean “social network”. But the first sounds better.
Let’s have a DOs and DON’Ts list, shall we? I like lists. You like lists. There is no downside here.
NOTE: Just want to add in here that OBVIOUSLY I am not perfect at social networking. I often fail. But here is what I attempt to do and when I do fail….I just eat chocolate and try again later.
- DO MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW YOU EXIST. Because when you pop into the blogging world like a newly born catfish, nobody knows who you are. You can’t expect them to. And you can’t expect them to remember you instantly either. You need to be consistent on the internet. You need to occasionally stop and yell “HELLO MY NAME IS BEAN AND I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY”. Grand entrances are acceptable.
- DO REMEMBER THAT ALL BLOGGERS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Which means treat everyone like a potential friend. I tend to treat everyone like a long-lost friend, because it amuses me to shower them with all caps and virtual cake as welcome to my blog. (For some reason people keep coming back, though??? It’s weird.)
- DO BE EASY TO CONNECT WITH! And this means be approachable! Tell people you’re open for a conversation…by answering comments or tweets. Make sure it’s easy to comment on your blog. Do you have google+ comments only? You’re probably cutting off all the wordpress users. Do you have ridiculously hard captcha? You’re probably scaring off dyslexic people. Do you only answer your tweets every 12 days? You’re kinda ending a conversation before it starts.
- DO BE FEARLESS. And I don’t mean wearing a tee-shirt that says “I <3 PAPER FURY” and skydiving off the Eiffel Tower. Although I would be flattered. So long as you didn’t die. I mean, if you’re scared of participating in a blog hop, or commenting on a blog, or tweeting that Really Cool Blogger You Admire…DON’T BE. Half time the Really Cool Blogger is actually a dork and wants to screech about books with you. Ergo: this is me, always. Don’t be intimidated! BE A FEARLESS FISH.
- DO FIND A WAY TO GIVE TO YOUR FOLLOWERS. You could make them laugh (I find comedy wins a lot of favour…even if my version of “comedy” is so weird I scare myself sometimes) or you could encourage them or you could freely give blogging advice. But if you GIVE to people…they stick around and they trust your advice and you build a community.
- DO MAKE GOALS AND WORK TO ACHIEVE THEM. Not unrealistic goals like “make my followers love me so much they give me pizza” (although if you’re offering to give me pizza…). But if you want to network more…make a goal to visit one new blog every week. Make a goal to host a blog event. Team up with someone to do a blogging challenge. This promotes traffic and gets people talking and — IT’S FUN.
- DO GIVE ME PIZZA. I realise this contradicts the above. I am not sorry. (But also, honestly, people love to talk about food. My entire army is knit together with quality cake discussions.)
- DO TRADEMARK YOURSELF. People basically think of me when they read a book with cake in it. Is that power or WHAT?! (Basically mind control…but shhh, don’t tell them.) Become known for something and people will remember you. I know bloggers specifically for their photography, or for their motivational writing tweets, or for their dryly awesome sarcastic reviews. Trademark yourself. Hopefully my trademark is funny (slightly odd?) posts and cake. And dragons. And world dominating villainy.
- DO BE RANDOMLY NICE. It’s hard to remember to be randomly nice. I STRUGGLE. And then my randomly nice comments of “aw, you look like a pumpkin” get misinterpreted as something derogatory when I meant it as a nice comment. Hmmph. It costs you nothing to be nice. Remember that.
- DO KEEP UP THE SOCIAL NETWORKING. DON’T QUIT. If it doesn’t appear to be working, tweak your methods. but don’t just go “omg this sucks I’m out of here and moving in with the llamas”. Because it’s about CONSISTENCY remember?!? People need to see you around a lot and then they’ll remember you. And sometimes it takes a while to find people you connect easily with. But they’re there. I promise. Also if you just can’t click with someone…don’t force it. Not everyone is meant to be best buds.
- DO INCITE CONVERSATION. It’s like inciting a cake riot, but with less trampling and calmer cake. Send out questions in your blog posts. Ask for input on twitter. When you write a post…is the topic closed off? Or did you leave it open for questions and discussion? Do you make people feel safe about giving their opinions?
- DO ATTACK PEOPLE WITH FRIENDSHIP WHEN THEY SAY HELLO. This might scare them away. But it also might make them too scared to leave you. Ha! Ha! PERFECT! I like to comment on people’s blogs fiercely and show them my support. I shout at them happily in all caps whenever they do something awesome. I am that annoying friend in the background cheering you on and promising you cake if you achieve, okay? I’m 99% sure all my friends are too scared to leave.
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE OUTGOING TO NETWORK. Spoiler alert: I am not outgoing. I know you’re laughing at this right now, but guess what?! I am a shy turtle…but when I write online, I am safe and comfortable in my room. I choose to have a slightly shrieky, fangirly internet presence…but you can be serious or dryly sarcastic or poetic or anything you want to be. Just be what you choose. Be what makes you happy. Consistently. And you can be quiet and friendly, don’t doubt this.
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. If I can’t think of a good reply to a comment or a tweet…I come back later. I don’t pressure myself. Network at your own pace.
- WHICH LEADS TO…YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING. PERIOD. It’s okay to not be on all the social media sites. I see people beating themselves up for “neglecting facebook” or “forgetting to tweet”…and it’s kind of silly! I mean, if you WANT to tweet but keep forgetting: you should tweet. But if you hate tweeting and it’s awkward or overwhelming for you…whyyyyy are you doing it?!? Pick one or two social media networks and OWN THEM LIKE A QUEEN. (FYI: I am a twitter, instagram and goodreads fiend. I know that’s three. But I like a challenge.)
- DON’T BE A DERISIVE MELON FACE. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write controversial posts (you should! Debates are interesting and can be fun!) But it’s super off-putting when a person comes across like everything is attacking them or the woe-is-me attitude. Share your life struggles, YES. But not all the time. Write about a popular opinion you vehemently disagree with. But don’t make others feel attacked. Complain about rules or the world or a book — but balance it with positive posts. The trick here is — DON’T MAKE YOUR FOLLOWERS FEEL SNEERED AT.
- DON’T BUILD FRIENDSHIPS TO ASK FOR STUFF. This should be logical? But it happens to me a lot…and it’s a little frustrating. It’s okay to ask for stuff, of course! But please don’t let it be the sole reason you’re buddying up to a blogger.
- DON’T CRITIQUE A BLOGGER!! PLEASE. JUST DON’T. Although you can do this, of course, when a) they ask your opinion, and b) you know them super well and you’re best buds and you’d share the last sandwich on earth with them. But seriously, I’ve had people tell me that my blogging is annoying and irritating (why read my blog then, honestly? I is confused) or my reviews are dumb (“dumb” being a far nicer word than the ones they usually use on me)…and it kind of wrecks my day. Just because I have 2,000+ followers doesn’t mean I don’t see the comments. I DO. I’m pretty sure this goes for most internet people.
- DON’T COPY THE BLOGGERS YOU ADMIRE. This is sooo freaking hard. I DO KNOW. Because if you really want an awesome blog, you want to learn from the Greats, right?! But don’t copy. Because it sucks to work really hard on your blog and then visit someone else and see them replicating what you do. You are no longer special. You must think of another way to stand out. Cue exhaustion. But don’t stress if you’ve done this!! (I have done this when I was a delicate green newbie blogger.) This takes time. My blog didn’t become the blog you’re reading now until I’d been plodding away on the internet for 2.5 years. Write the blog you want to read. Write it in your way and it’ll be grand.
- DON’T TREAT PEOPLE LIKE SUPER HUMANS. Because spoiler alert: no one is. This means don’t be scared of them, but also don’t expect everything of them. And if someone appears to be “ignoring” you, just realise it might not ALWAYS be the case! They might be busy. Or their pet python might’ve swallowed them and they’re a bit tied up right now. Be realistic about expectations on yourself and on others.