FAQ: Gaining Followers

It’s official-I’m finally back for a Frequently Asked Questions post! I know you guys thought I abandoned this, but now that I’ve cleared my schedule a bit I’m able to give this feature the time and dedication I need to make it worthwhile. I stated in the last post that I’d be discussing growing your followers, as this was the #3 most popular question I’ve received, so here we are! Please keep in mind that the suggestions I’m making and the examples I give are what have worked for me; you may have to tailor things a bit to find out what works best for you and that’s ok. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have below in the comments if there’s something I didn’t clear up or need to explain further; I’m also open to others sharing their suggestions of what has worked well for them in the past too! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH FELLOW BLOGGERS/READERS:

Everything in this post will be under the umbrella of that single piece of advice; the “big secret” to growing your blog is really no secret at all. I can guarantee that almost any major blogger you see started from a little platform and gained momentum through patience, consistent hard work, and networking with their peers. As bloggers, we are as varied as the type of books we read, and when we can connect with those who share similar sub-genre interests it gives us a feeling of encouragement that spurs on growth. Promoting your blog amongst other bloggers is important; there is no competition and these chums will be your most valuable way of growing your viewer audience. I’d like to first discuss the ways I use various social media to promote my blog, although please do not limit yourself to only the ones I discuss below. Afterward I’ll be discussing a few other ways to grow your viewership as well and you can decide which ones work for your schedule and budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACEBOOK:

Honestly I don’t utilize FB as much as other bloggers do, as it wasn’t the most productive use of my time in the beginning and I feel like it’s so late in the game to start now. A good number of bloggers have found success in creating their own Facebook page for their blog where they auto-share their latest posts onto that page instead of using their personal page to do so. The way that I incorporate Facebook is through the many book related groups I am a part of. TBC on Facebook, Book Connectors, Great Thoughts Great Readers, and a myriad of book blogging groups are just a few examples of the places I’ve been able to build connections and friendships with many other bloggers, readers, and authors along the way. Some of these groups allow you to post your reviews and blog posts in the group for others to view and share while others focus on just general conversation around books with no self promotion. Always make sure and read a group’s rules and objectives before you post in their group, but in those that allow you to do so, share your posts!

TWITTER:

Twitter is one of my favorite ways to promote my blog, because it’s quick and easy, but widely underused by many bloggers. By now you should be utilizing the Publicize feature if you have a WordPress blog (if you use Blogger or another platform I’m not sure what the equivalent is but I know it’s there) where you can set you posts to auto-publish to the social media accounts you choose to connect there. You may have to play around with times to figure out what works best for you; I try to set my posts to publish around 3am eastern time, as it hits the UK folks while I’m still sleeping and then waves over to the US folks afterward while keeping a steady flow of traffic going while I’m checking out other blogs with my morning coffee. This works both ways; if you expect people to share your posts to their followers its crucial that you show the same level of support in return. Am I able to share the posts of every blogger I follow every single day? Absolutely not, and no one expects you to. I simply try to rotate around and share what I can when I can. I cannot express how important fellow bloggers’ support is; each time your post is shared its reaching their entire following which means more exposure for you. It also means you are creating valuable friendships with others in the same boat as you who can pass on wisdom from their own experiences. I’d be lost without my blogging buds!

*I’d like to add a side note here… There are some people who push the notion of finding as many users as possible and following them all, then after about a week they use an app to unfollow all those who don’t follow back. While this may be a quick fix to getting a few extra followers, it is no alternative to building the lasting relationships and support you need long term for blogging. By all means, follow any and every user that interests you or that you’re interested in connecting with, but doing this to a mass number of users solely for a “follow back” will not replace the hard work for steady growth that you’re more likely to retain. 

INSTAGRAM:

Instagram is the tool that is used in the widest of varieties, as it is completely tailored to what you want it to be. There are no bounds to the creativity you can use here, so I’m just going to touch on some of the ways I choose to use mine and add in some suggestions of what I’ve seen work for other bloggers as well. It helps to find your own unique style of pictures that you like to post and have a somewhat steady theme to them. Coffee shops, outdoor scenery (everyone knows I love my lake pictures!), and indoor shoots with bookish props are all extremely popular. Many of the high ranking bloggers use professional cameras and a slew of props for their photos; if, like me, you can’t afford to use anything but your phone and Mother Nature, then make sure and edit your photos using the Instagram app or another app of your choosing before posting. I personally use Instagram solely because I’m already there and I like to keep things simple. All you do is pull up the picture and instead of choosing a filter, click edit and play around with all the options there. I like to edit the lighting, sharpness, and saturation on my pictures to make them look a little nicer, but I am no professional and my pictures are simply just a hobby. If you are looking for more interaction on your posts (I.E. Likes and Comments), timing is apparently everything with the new algorithm. I read an article HERE that I found extremely helpful in suggesting timing and hashtag usage. I’m planning on doing a future FAQ post regarding BOOKSTAGRAM, so if you have any further questions on this feel free to suggest below so I can add it to the next post.

GOODREADS:

I just wanted to touch briefly on Goodreads, as it seems to not be discussed in depth in the blogging community. For those who are unfamiliar with my story, I actually got my start on Goodreads by reviewing books for NetGalley there. My blog didn’t come along until almost a full year later and probably never would have happened without the support I found there. Connecting with other readers and reviewers on Goodreads is a fantastic way to cultivate a following, because once you’ve connected with a blogger there, they are usually apt to follow you on all forms of social media and are looking to create that symbiotic relationship of mutual support as well. I joined a few groups in my early days there and made some friendships that are still some of my most valued book relationships today. Those folks are usually the first I go to when I need a fresh set of eyes to view something and I’d be lost without them! (I’m looking at you Christine and Amy!) Goodreads has been my outlet that has kept reading and reviewing fun for me; my intentions for starting a blog and reviewing books was due to my desire to create conversation around the books we were reading and I find it easiest to do there. I’ve also established multiple publishing contacts (my very first one was from a publicist at Penguin who found my profile there), so just remember you never know who is watching.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS:

I’ve found a few other ways to create growth in following and traffic to your site are to offer giveaways on your blog, vary your types of posts, and taking any opportunity a fellow blogger offers to feature you on their blog. Publishers like to offer books up to be raffled off on blogs, but if you are still creating those contacts and growing your initial numbers, some authors are very generous with offering their books and that may be the route to go. While it can get expensive, the occasional giveaway funded by yourself can be well worth what you spend if it’s done on occasion, just make sure you specify which countries can enter or choose to giveaway a giftcard that caters internationally (such as Book Depository or variations of Amazon’s website). As funny as it sounds, book reviews tend to produce the lowest number of views on blogs (as a general rule), so varying the types of posts you feature may work to your advantage. I’ve created some of my own (such as FAQ, Cover Love, Officially Obsessed, Mini Review Monday), or you can borrow from popular features that others have created (such as WWW Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesday, It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?); just make sure you always give credit to the original curator and use the appropriate hashtags. Many bloggers have a regular feature where they create a post that interviews a fellow blogger; anytime you are invited to do so or see an open invitation looking for bloggers take advantage of it!

I apologize for making this post so long, but I hope this gave the briefest overview of some constructive ways to grow your viewership for the long term. Don’t get discouraged if your blog isn’t growing in numbers as quickly as you’d like; if you keep putting in quality posts and networking with others in the community that growth will come and give you the pay off you’re looking for. My next post is going to pertain to the various types of posts that seem to do well on blogs and further tips for promoting your features. Following that, I’m planning on going ahead with the Bookstagram feature and would love suggestions of where I should take this series after that happens. Happy Thursday readers; wishing you all a relaxing and restful upcoming weekend! Until next time, happy reading! ❤

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About The Suspense Is Thrilling Me

Chelsea is a happily married mother of two who's love of mysteries can be traced back to her first Nancy Drew experience. When not reading and writing book reviews, she likes to drink wine in her jammies and pretend that she exercises.
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40 Responses to FAQ: Gaining Followers

  1. This is fantastic! I am not sure if I have told you how much I enjoy this feature, but I feel it will be a huge help for many. I am terrible with my FB and Instagram. They have the least followers, but I feel I could do more with Instagram if I had the time to invest. Currently GR and Twitter seem to fit well for me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sarahwestbrooksmith says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s given me so much to “chew on.” Such a good reminder that building relationships is key. Thanks again for generously sharing your learnings and talents!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: 7/14 |

  4. Hi Chelsea! I feel like I know you! I’ve followed your reviews on GR (we have similar genre tastes!) and I listened to you when Anne Bogle had you as a guest. You inspired me to start my blog and it has honestly been the most fun (even though my numbers are sad!!) Thanks so much for your input on the blogosphere- I’ve loved reading your posts on the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Richard says:

    Wonderful post and some great tis!
    You have just got yourself a new follower 😊 and I can see that there are bloggers that I know follow you ad have commented so this must be an amazing blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annie says:

    As always, super useful! I struggle with Instagram followers, ugh. For the blog Im quite happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JanilleNG says:

    This is an excellent post, Chelsea, and I really appreciate all of your tips!

    I recently got more active following reviewers and connecting with fellow book lovers on Goodreads (yourself included — sooo glad I “met” you there!) and it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in the last few years. It makes me so invigorated to read and write reviews when I see what other readers are up to, and it is such a lovely medium to get to know people through. And Twitter, like you said, is just so easy through WordPress.

    All of your tips are spot-on and I am really looking forward to reading your thoughts on the types of posts you find most popular.

    I’m so glad I had a chance to check out your actual blog, and I look forward to reading more of your posts! xox 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jennanicolee says:

    Well, welcome back 🙂 What a wonderful post! I’m SLOWLY getting better with the whole blogging thing ha-ha! It’s hard because I want to read EVERYONE’S posts but I follow so many peeps I have no time to read it all, so I have to pick and choose ha-ha. I love sharing other peoples stuff and try really hard to rotate so I share everyone’s stuff. That’s all I do on Twitter though…not really a big fan ha-ha! Instagram is where I think I am going to put my focus, since I love book photography! Honestly though, thank you for such a great and insightful post! I see myself blogging for a while to come so the more pointers the better! 🙂 The best part of blogging so far is actually connecting with all you guys in the book blogging community! I have met such wonderful people and even started fun things like buddy reading and what not! I hope to continue with fun things like that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dsteenrod says:

    You have some great tips! I am a new blogger myself so this was most definitely helpful. My blog is approximately 2 weeks old at this point so this post couldn’t come at a better time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TeacherofYA says:

    I know a girl who I used to be close to who uses the app to do that on Twitter. We don’t talk anymore bc she was always saying stuff publicly to bring me down. I think she was in constant competition with me, and that’s nothing I signed up for, you know? I blocked her and have no more contact, but it was all about the free books for her and nothing else.
    When I see someone talk about her in the community, which isn’t often but it happens (she LOVES buddy reads), I still cringe. She even asked my male friend Kester if he only got pics taken with female authors bc he didn’t have as many pics with male authors. She asked this ON HIS BLOG, of course. 🙄🤦‍♀️
    So the follower thing bugs me. It really does. It’s not all about meaningless numbers and pubs will see that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg! That’s terrible! And I completely agree; my goal in writing this post was hopefully to portray that gaining followers will get you nowhere long term and only alienate you from those in the community. I hate those dumb apps and wish they didn’t exist! I agree that publishers see this and know what’s up.

      Like

  11. This is a great post Chelsea! I’m not on Facebook and I’ve decided to be ok about that, I don’t think I’d use it like Twitter and Instagram which I really like. Thanks for the Instagram edit tip and the timing link, I’ll be checking that out…I had no idea timing mattered on IG! I find that I enjoy varying my posts and you’re right, reviews get the least views unless it’s a blockbuster new release. My Throwback Thursday is the most popular post consistently on my blog. Also agree about Goodreads, it’s such a fun place to interact!

    Like

  12. Great tips, Chelsea! Twitter/Insta are definitely the ones I use most frequently as well. They seem to be the most relevant platforms for the book community. And GR of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am the worst at Facebook. I have to step up my game!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. AUTOCORRECT!!! 😂😂😂 that was supposed to say DIANA! Sorry about that!

    Like

  15. Diana says:

    Great, informative post Chelsea. I wish I knew some of these tips when I first started blogging . Like the first one, I didn’t use to interact with other bloggers until last year and blogging became so much fun after that and the follows increased. I like what you said about varying posts, I don’t get why reviews are not so popular but you are totally right about that. I am new on Instagram and I do love your pics. They are all amazing with the background and the mugs. Thanks for sharing the tips and I like forward to your next post on Bookstagram.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Holly says:

    Love this post! I definitely don’t use Goodreads as much as I should… I usually use it more as a record-keeping tool and forget that it’s a form of social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post! I was lamenting the fact the other day that my follower count keeps going up but the likes, etc seems to stay the same, I was probably moaning more than lamenting, male = moaning.😂

    I think posts like this are important as lots of bloggers, especially newer ones seem to think that they should gain 1,000’s of followers, etc in a matter of days and then get jaded when it doesn’t happen. Particularly when they don’t put any effort in. But, followers aren’t everything and it all takes efforts. I guess as long as you enjoy what you do and make your blog your own that’s the most important thing.

    Eurgh, Instagram, I shudder whenever I see that mentioned as my photo taking sucks, if I ever joined my photos would make everyone’s eyes bleed with there awfulness.😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly Drew I was feeling the same way! It’s much harder to grow your interaction from readers as anyone can click a follow button and fall off after that. I actually found that once I started including more of the posts I’d desired to write instead of a heaping pile of book reviews that my interactions started increasing as well. So for me, I’m not sure if finding my niche was part of it as well or what; maybe I wasn’t initially including enough options for readers to interact.

      I would love to see you on Instagram and I don’t believe your photos are rubbish for a minute!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I agree, finding your niche definitely improves the amount of interaction and comments, etc. When I post one of my sarcastic foul mouthed rants/posts the amount of comments, etc is crazy compared to normal for reviews!😂

        That’s very true, it just confuses me that people click the follow button and then vanish, no likes, comments, nothing.

        Ha, if I ever join Instagram I shall remember that sentence!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post! I was late to joining Twitter but I love it, it’s such and so easy to use! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great post. I try not to get fixated on adding followers, just do my own thing with my blog and if others like it, that’s good. However I really Iove your focus on being part of the blogging community – that has been one of the big pluses of blogging for me. I think people tend to overlook Goodreads as a way to reach out to other book lovers. Also, I’ve been blogging for around 9 months now but it’s taken me until a few days ago to add my blog address to my profile on Amazon. Any thoughts on other channels – Pinterest, Bloglovin, LinkedIn…?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh I’m so glad you mentioned that Cathy as I had forgotten about Amazon! However, I was planning on including that as part of my next post since this one was already turning into a miniature novel. 😂 Great advice there and thank you for adding! I personally have not used Pinterest or Linked in for my blog and have only used Bloglovin to follow some of the blogs that aren’t WordPress oriented, so I’m hoping maybe someone else can jump in with advice there as I’m unfamiliar.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too! I used LinkedIn when I was working but I’d never thought of it as a channel for book blogging until I saw it mentioned it somewhere. I can imagine its use if you’re in the book promotion business. Not sure how many of my old business links would be interested in my book reviews, lol. Bloglovin’ – the same as you and not sure I’ve picked up many new followers there. I have a feeling I’m just following many of the same blogs I already follow via WordPress! Pinterest seems a bit like it would take a lot of work creating graphics & editing photos – not sure how much traffic it would drive to a book blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Great tips 🙂 I don’t mind my number of followers, but I love the Twitter interactions, and I’ve learned to appreciate Facebook xD

    Liked by 1 person

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