Example

I was looking through my timeline on Facebook yesterday when I noticed something interesting.

Within my timeline, there was a poll by a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook that read, “I am cleaning up my Facebook friends…let me know if you would like to stay?” Seems simple enough. This girl just wanted to clean up her Facebook account like many of us do from time to time. She saw the poll feature, thought it would be an efficient way to get the job done making sure she didn’t de-friend anyone she wasn’t supposed to…and she put up the poll.

However, she forgot the most powerful aspect of the new polling feature in Facebook…people that are not friends with you see if one of their friends answered the poll.

Facebook Polls - How To Use Them

Every time one of her 247 friends answered the poll, it showed up in their timeline to all of their friends who could also answer. Her one innocent poll went viral on Facebook to get over 3,242,283 votes, 136,650 followers of the poll and over 199,200 comments. I don’t think that is what she had in mind when she asked the simple question!

The Power Of Facebook Polls

Now…while this example provides a bit of humor, it does illustrate a very important point. The Facebook polling feature can be very powerful when growing your brand for your Facebook fan page.

Inviting user opinion and interaction is an incredible tool for building a following. Luckily, with the Facebook polling feature, you can get in front of the eyes of new, potential Facebook fans by asking your current followers to check a simple box to a simple question.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been testing out the polling feature within Facebook on the Bike198 Facebook fan page and I have noticed several things that will help you gain more followers and get more people to interact with your questions.

4 Facebook Poll Tips For Success
  1. Ask Polarizing Questions – You need to ask questions that people within your niche have a definite and passionate answer about. What are things that people argue about most in forums and to each other within your niche? Those are prime questions to ask on Facebook polls as your potential voters will be passionate about answering. If you ask bland, boring questions…expect terrible results.
  2. Invite Your Friends To Answer – Once you are finished making the poll within Facebook, you can invite your friends to answer the question. Only invite those friends that would actually care to answer (I don’t ask my friends that don’t ride bikes as an example). That will get the ball rolling and get you on their timeline for exposure to people that you might not have been in front of before. Just like with the girl’s example above…it gets the ball rolling.
  3. Respond To Comments Left On Your Poll – If you are having people comment on the poll, respond to the comments to show you are approachable and to start the dialog that turns into long time readers and followers. You want these people to like your fan page and visit your blog. Like most things in online community building, that process does not stop after you hit publish. Interact with these new people just as if they left a comment on your blog.
  4. Don’t Allow For User Generated Answers – I have seen polls go wrong when the voters are able to submit their own answers. What you end up with is a bunch of 1 vote answers that are pretty much the same and that discourages people from voting due to the massive amount of choices. Put up the available answers and lock it from there.

As long as you keep those key suggestions in mind, you can grow your fan base and bring more readers to your blog.

In my opinion, the Facebook poll feature is one of the most powerful tools available to fan page owners as we continue to try to grow that following. The viral nature built into the feature is the easiest way to get your brand in front of your fan base’s friends without being a spamming pain in the ass.

 

Building a group of loyal followers to your blog is probably one of the most difficult aspects of blogging. You might be pulling plenty of one-time readers, or have a small group of loyal blog watchers, but how do you build that into a bevy of diehard fanatics? Many bloggers ponder that question as they publish posts that draw but a handful of comments, or review their daily statistics with hopeful expectations that are quickly dashed by the cruel hand of blogging reality. To help you keep a quality core of loyal readers returning to your blog, here are some tips you might find helpful.

1. Build A Community

Building a community is often easier said than done, but if you can draw likeminded and loyal readers to your blog (friends, family, co-workers, etc.) you can start a strong core of followers. Similar to the six-degrees of separation game, simply by word of mouth and friends knowing friends, this small core can often grow into a much larger group of loyal readers.

2. Invite Input

By inviting your readers’ input to various posts, you can make them feel as if their opinions are important. Not only can this build loyalty among your readers, but you might find some quite useful contributions and ideas along the way that can further your blog and posts.

3. Give Feedback

Inviting input from your readers only goes so far though. If followers continue to post comments that aren’t responded to, eventually even the most loyal of readers might hit the road in search of someone who is listening. Keep your readers feeling as if they are part of the group and that their thoughts are meaningful by providing feedback to their comments and queries.

4. Avoid Junk

There are few worse things to encounter on a blog site than a bunch of clutter and useless information. Scrolling down a page that seems to stretch endlessly through a string of posts and video clips can get old quick. By archiving old posts, keeping your clutter to a minimum, making your posts informative, and taking it easy on the videos and graphics that slow the loading of your blog’s page, you can keep loyal readers from ditching your site in favor of greener pastures.

5. Keep It Easy On The Eyes

Sure, sometimes we have a lot to say and want to get our ideas conveyed properly. However, excessively long posts can deter readers. Short posts, bolded points and topic headings, and bullet points or lists can make your blog and your ideas easier to understand to your followers.

6. Contests And Giveaways

It often doesn’t take much in the way of freebies to entice people to visit your blog. Holding weekly contests, free giveaways, and making use of similar promotional ideas can be a great way to build loyalty among your readership.

7. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

While this isn’t to say you should go posting pictures of half-nude models all over your blog, finding a picture of yourself that shows you in the best light possible might not hurt in building loyalty among your followers. Using a handsome picture of yourself that doesn’t include a spouse or child (unless it’s pertinent to the subject matter of your blog) can appeal to followers. Sure, while a personal relationship with you and one of your followers isn’t likely, how many men and women are disappointed when their favorite actor or actress gets married? The human mind works in funny ways and people thinking that you are handsome, single and available may appeal to certain readers and increase their loyalty.

8. Play The Field

When a reader invites you to check out their blog site, by doing so and responding to their invitation, you may gain their loyalty in the process. Visiting other blogs can also open up other avenues of advertising and increased traffic. You never know what networking through other blogs might bring you when it comes to loyal readership.

9. Create A Series

If you’ve written a post that turns out to be highly successful, it might be worth considering a follow up post or two along the same lines. If those posts hit with equal success, you might have stumbled across an idea that you could turn into a series of posts that will hook your readership and bring them back on a regular basis.

10. Leave Them Hanging

Sometimes a little suspense can go a long way in bringing an audience back for more. You don’t want to show your hand right off the bat. Pace yourself and your posts so that your readers want more. If you give them all the answers right away, why would they need to come back?

About the Author

Tom is a designer and writer based in the UK who works with a supplier of Epson printer ink, toner and printing accessories. You can stay up to date with his latest posts about design and art on their blog, CreativeCloud.

Image: by Steve Keys

For a blog to be truly successful within a given niche, it needs to be seen as an expert in that given field. You have heard it time and time again and as you look at the blogs you read on a daily basis…you perceive them as an expert in something related to the subject at hand. Positioning yourself as the expert in your field can be a difficult thing for new bloggers and bloggers looking to increase their readership. How in the world do we…as bloggers…position ourselves as the expert in our niche to be successful online? How do we capitalize on that same asset that successful bloggers are pulling from and seeing fantastic results?

The Insider Secret To Positioning Yourself As The Expert

I am going to let you in on a little secret that is going to make your life easier and your stress level decrease. The secret to positioning yourself as the expert is an easy one to conquer with the right mindset. The key…you are positioning your blog, website and online resource as the expert…not specifically you. Unless you are blogging under your name (and sometimes even then), your goal is to make your blog the expert…not necessarily you! Now that the weight is lifted off of your shoulders, doesn’t it seem like a lot easier task to accomplish? Your goal is to make your url an expert in your niche by providing valuable resources that instill confidence in your brand.

How Can I Make My Blog The Expert?

When I started Bike198.com originally, I knew there were a lot of resources and blogs online about mountain biking. Most of these blogs were centered around specific rides, geographical areas and personal experiences. While I wanted to inject myself into my blog with those aspects, I also wanted to create a resource that other riders could go to on a consistent basis and expect to find useful information that was universal to mountain biking. So…how did I do that and position my blog as the expert in my field at the same time?

  • How To Articles – One of the easiest ways to position your blog as the expert in your niche is to teach. By helping other people in your niche solve problems, you are creating a blog that becomes the “go-to” resource to get things done in your niche. You are also creating a relationship with your readers by providing solutions to their issues. Throughout all of my blogging, this is the #1 most successful way I have found to position yourself above the rest. The more you teach…the more success you will see.
  • Resources – Providing valuable resources is another way to increase your expert status online. Does your niche have a lot of  specific vocabulary that you could make a page on and feature on your site? How about a list of resources like I do with my Blogging Toolbox? Resources can be pages or articles that provide your readers with definition or outside information related to your niche. Much like how to articles, these resources provide an immense amount of value your readers and add points on the expert scale.
  • Reviews – Every niche has a set of products or services. By providing high-quality, honest reviews, you are creating another expert resource for your blog. Your opinion means something in a review and…while not everyone will agree with your opinion…your site naturally becomes an expert on everything related to your niche. Your readers will start to look to you for information to influence their buying decisions.
  • Bring In Bigger Experts Than You! – One of the biggest ways to position your blog as the expert blog in your niche is actually one of the least used methods among beginning bloggers. If you do not have the expertise to draw off of during your beginning stages, bring in people who do to help build up your street cred. By allowing guest posts or conducting interviews and podcasts, you are able to draw off of other people’s expertise in your field and make your blog the expert at the same time.

Positioning yourself as the expert in blogging is not all about your fingers unleashing the latest and greatest to the audience in your niche. It is about creating a valuable resource online through careful planning so that people will see your site as the go to site in your niche. You do not have to be the expert…your blog has to be the expert…remember that as you move forward and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

Image by Pete Prodoehl