Every year summer brings with it a noticeable drop in social media traffic as people recharge their batteries and cut down on screen time. With that comes an unavoidable attrition of your community whether in terms of growth rate or engagement. So here's ten ways to kick start your community.
1. GET PERSONAL: Every blog should offer a level of intimacy that the blogger is comfortable with. At the same time, loyal readers like to get to know you a little better so offer them a peek behind the curtain, such as a tour of your office, a video about what you're thinking about, or start sharing more photos on a regular basis so they get to know you even better.
2. MIX IT UP: As a blogger it's very easy to get set in your ways but your community likes variety. So start doing video posts if you haven't before, launch a contest, or reach out to them and ask your readers what they would like to see.
3. STEAL FROM THE BEST: Successful bloggers with large and consistently engaged communities are doing something right. So explore their blog and the pattern of their posts. These demonstrate effective strategies that you could use but remember to be specific to your audience and there as no one strategy fits all communities.
4. GET INTENSE: If you're in the habit of positing once or three times a week, try a blast of content where you post every day and capture the interest of people outside your usual pattern of posting. Plus that density of great information will capture more interest as well.
5. SEEK OUT NEW SOURCES: Every time your feel stale or unsure what to write about, looking at new research is a great way to get inspired. A few suggestions include Edelman, Cone, Dachis and Altimeter, all of whom do fantastic research that gets the brain firing.
6. DIVE DOWN A WORM HOLE: It's easy to get stuck on certain topics and also to offer the same level of investigation. So why not do a deep dive on a topic for a week that will establish newfound authority for you and new readers?
7. REDESIGN: Every blogger gets tired of the look of their own site and it's no different for your readers. So why not revive your interest and theirs but redesigning your site to make it feel more current and improve the reader experience.
8. GUEST POST: One of the smartest ways to engage new readers is to cross-pollinate your community with others. So contact other bloggers you respect and offer to write a guest post for them. If you do a great job appropriate to that blog's theme, you attract new readers very quickly.
9. EXPLORE NEW PLATFORMS: Many of us blog and then focus on sharing those posts on Facebook or Twitter. But why not shift your focus to Google+ or LinkedIn for a period and build out your profile on new platforms? It's amazing what a shift in focus can achieve.
10. SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT: Without doubt many of your loyal readers would be thrilled to have a chance to write something for your blog. So why not open up the conversation and invite readers to suggest topics they would like to write about. This will attract their readers and also bring a fresh voice to the conversation you generate.
As with anything social, it's always a case of trial and error and seeing what works for your audience. There is no harm in trying and exploring new strategies will revive your interest in blogging as well. So as the sun sets on summer, let's get going and reward our communities interest with great content, new themes and fresh voices.
What other strategies have worked for you? What have I forgotten?
[Image: Flickr user themichaelsmith]
Reprinted from SimonMainwaring.com
Simon Mainwaring is a branding consultant, advertising creative director, blogger, speaker, and author of the recently released We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World. A former Nike creative at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, and worldwide creative director for Motorola at Ogilvy, he now consults for brands and creative companies that are re-inventing their industries and enabling positive change. Follow him at SimonMainwaring.com or on Twitter @SimonMainwaring.