I see some people say that numbers aren’t important, its engagement. I don’t necessarily agree entirely as if you look at every single, well almost every single opportunity that comes up, it asks for guess what “good” numbers. Of course the term “good” and “high” differ by brands, location, blogger, etc. so that makes it even more difficult.
We are humans and that’s how we measure things; that’s why we do Top 10 Lists as we want to know the best in any category.
It’s the high numbers that sometimes get your foot in the door, then the engagement comes. Not usually low numbers with good engagement. It could happen, but not usually. Don’t fool yourselves.
And this does vary by region. I was in Asia at ITB Asia and almost every brand I met the first conversation was what are your numbers. And unless it was five figures, you’d typically be overlooked. As a matter of fact; I got turned down for some stays and I know others who got the same comps as they had higher numbers. Which is fine, just letting you know how it seems to be in that part of the world. Your experience may differ of course.
Brands want awareness so they look at really large numbers to get this. This is why celebrities get paid so much money to make appearances; they have mass appeal.
I know I’ve been overlooked many times as my social media numbers are not as high as the brands want; great engagement though. Now don’t go crazy now, I did say this is not the case every time :-).
So what do you do then if you have “lower” numbers?
Build your brand and your audience.
And whatever you do, as tempting as it may be, do not buy or cultivate the numbers as that only ends in one way; disaster!
Some people are lucky and their brands are built quickly; for others it takes time and a boatload of work.
Don’t be disheartened though, just keep at it. Here are some ways to get your numbers up in a random order:
1). Use Facebook Ads to target your audience. Yes, this will cost you, but you should invest some money in your business. Here you can choose the exact audience you want to Like your page or subscribe to your newsletter, etc. Head over to Facebook.com/ads to get started. I also did a piece on Facebook Ads here.
2). Create a sticky item on your site that brings users back. Do a survey and find out what is it that your users want and if you can build it for them. It maybe a place to check off a bucket list or do some kind of calculation; maybe a calculation to figure out how much money to take on a trip to a European city as opposed to a trip to an Asian city. You can use free tools such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey to create these surveys. And hire coders from places like Upwork.com.
3). Have a competition and give away something in which your audience has interest. Have them do something to increase your numbers; e.g. have them Like your Facebook page, or follow you on twitter or Instagram. There is a tool called King Sumo from the Sumome folks that works really well. It does cost, but again, you need to invest in your business
4). Concentrate on one metric/social media at a time. Don’t try to be everywhere every time, yet. Yes, Snapchat is getting big now, but is that where your audience lies? Find your social media niche and work it. For me, that is primarily Facebook, so I spend more efforts there. Instagram is growing, but not as much as Facebook, so I try to concentrate there. What I’ve noticed is that if you are big in one media and then move to another it works better as your fans will follow you wherever you are as they like YOU.
5). Start a newsletter and create an opt-in bribe that your readers would pay for, but give it away for free. The bribe does not have to be lengthy, but it has to be something with which your audience resonates. So maybe a checklist for packing for a ski trip, or a five tips to get upgraded on the next flight or ten of your best photos. You know your audience, give them what they want. There are many newsletter engines out there; I use Convertkit and Aweber, but there’s Mailchimp, Madmimi, Drip and at the highend, Ontraport, Infusionsoft. And there are many, many more. Start small and as you build your list ensure that it pays for itself by looking for sponsors or companies of which to become Affiliates. The key to finding a good email product is to ensure that you can tag and segment your list. By this I mean, put list members in categories so you can tailor emails to them. So for example, you may have a beginner category for travelers or golfers, skiers. This way you can send them information that’s appropriate. It increases your open and click through rates and makes your readers happier. I’ve found that Convertkit does that really well.
6). Do a guest post. I know that many of you “don’t work for free,” but a guest post is a good way to introduce yourself to a new audience and pick up some followers. Shoot for larger publications as they will give you the best bang for your buck, well time. Have a game plan, so ensure you have similar articles on the site so users can stay longer when they come. Also the link in your bio should perhaps go to a special page for those readers so they feel special. Be different.
7). Speak at a conference or in your local community; this will show you as an authority and open up a whole new audience to your brand. Look at Meetup.com and find some local event. There are also local Social Media Days in lots of cities. People need to know who you are and what you are about.
8). You could even have a piece of content and in order for them to receive it they have to tweet to unlock it. Here are some plugins you can use.
9). Whatever you do, do it well and then some! Write quality content, teach, give, take great photos, make enchanting videos, entertain, give. Invest your time in the business.
10). Be You. No one else can. This is hard since we always want to emulate others with large numbers. But we can’t get there unless we are us. It’s much harder now to build a brand from scratch. And its not as easy to build a twitter following as it was when twitter started 10 years and two days ago. But if you are you and are likable that goes a long way.
11). Be different. Look at what’s going on in your niche and try to be a little different; sometimes that’s all it takes to breakthrough the clutter. Don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve failed many times and still trying new things. When you fail, its good as you now know what does not work.
12). Market yourself. I can take a lot of blame for this one as I’m not good at this. But I’m taking steps to fix that and you can too. It does not take much to make it all happen. Get yourself out there and show yourself as an authority. Many of the tips in this piece can go a long way to help. And sometimes you just have to take a stance on something and go with it.
13). Hone your craft. If you aren’t good at what you do, no one will follow you on social media. It’s that simple. So take time to be good at what you do. If that means taking online courses, then do it. Attending seminars then do it. Maybe a class at a local community college. Do it.
14). Be patient. It takes time, unless you are lucky:-). Usually it does not happen overnight. And sometimes you have to spend your own money. I think I remember Lee Abbamonte saying at a conference that he used his own money to visit all the countries in the world, then he got noticed and now he gets paid to travel. So be patient and have fun doing it. It may not happen right away, but it will.
These are but a few of the items that you can do to get your numbers to the levels where you will start to be noticed.
What say you? What have you done to increase your numbers? If you currently have “high” numbers or are building your numbers? How did it all work for you initially?
And if you are a Brand who thinks I’m all wet, let me know as well. Are you numbers focussed? Honestly, what do you look for if the blogger does not have “high” numbers?