By Sarah Mock
If you are a blogger like I am, you spend a large portion of your day in the glow of your computer screen.
From time to time, I escape to my kitchen or craft table to create, photograph, and occasionally royally mess up a blog post.
Sharing drinks and conversation with real breathing people face-to-face is a rarity for me, and blogging from behind a screen can be, well, lonely.
There are opportunities to solidify personal relationships at conferences and other industry events, but they are hardly an everyday occurrence.
For many bloggers, social media isn’t just a way to promote our latest blog posts.
It’s an opportunity to forge meaningful personal relationships with other bloggers, support one another in learning, and build community.
Here are some of my tips for building community online with other bloggers using some of the most popular social media platforms.
Retweet with a comment: Don’t just randomly retweet links and tweets. Provide valuable context to every share. ENGAGE with the person on the other end of the handle and explain WHY or WHAT you liked about the tweet.
Ask: Asking questions starts conversations. Conversations lead to relationships. Relationships lead to community, and communities support their members.
Party on! Join a Twitter party. Twitter parties are a great ways of learning, engaging, and interacting with other Twitter users in a casual and relaxed format.
They’re a little different from Twitter chats and tend to be more free-flowing, but can be great opportunities to partner and network with established bloggers in your niche around a single event.
Chat it up: Start (or join!) a weekly twitter chat with a common theme. Keep a regular time and day of the week for the chat, and have fun with it. Are you a food blogger? Food can be the central theme, but change the focus week to week. For example, the topic one week can be tips for leading a more healthy lifestyle with cooking, and the next, techniques for photographing food well for blog posts.
Involve your community to source upcoming topics and promote them in a blog post. If you tweet it, they will join.
Group Boards: Create a group board and encourage other pinners to contribute their own pins. By allowing others to contribute to a group board, you are widening the pool of fabulous pins, putting them in from of more eyes, and increasing the reach of your own content. Collaborative pinboards help forge connections with your fellow bloggers. You’ll never know where a partnership might come from!
Embed: Embed a group board in a relevant blog post, and involve your audience. Help them help you create content. The more contributors that do the same will widen your reach and encourage repinning. Repinning means more reach and more traffic.
Start a Group: Invite other bloggers to a private Facebook group for the purpose of supporting each other. Declare the group a safe place to ask questions without judgment, get feedback on new post ideas, and otherwise inspire each other through encouragement. Facebook groups are almost like miniature forums to discuss and debate.
Start threads: Conversations need to start somewhere.
A good example is a thread with open call for comments. Ask your fellow bloggers to share and comment on your posts, and return the favor. If your blog is monetized by selling ad space, extra traffic is never a bad thing.
Be diverse: When inviting bloggers to a Facebook Group, get diverse. A group made up of food, frugality, parenting, and social activism bloggers is going to be much more interesting (with potentially larger reach) than a group comprised entirely of food bloggers.
What tips can you add on relationship building?