Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of this day of love, I wanted to share some foolproof tips for romancing your readers. Enjoy!
1. Share Your Feelings – Be Honest
One of the most frequently asked questions by new social media converts is, "Should I give my honest opinion on something when I know it might cost me subscribers or customers?" They seem surprised when I say yes.
But let me tell you this – your ideal customer will be okay with your honesty. And a policy of honesty from the beginning saves you from having to do any embarrassing revelations down the road. Being honest from the beginning makes sure that whoever remains will be hopelessly devoted to you – the real you.
Besides – if you're trying so hard not to offend anyone, it's quite likely that you're also engaging no one as well. People can tell when you're not being yourself, and besides being dishonest, it's also kinda boring! <grin>
2. Express Your Interests Clearly
Just like it's confusing in a relationship when you can't ever figure out where someone's coming from, your audience wants to know that you'll provide the focused information you promised when they started reading your content.
Take the time to figure out what your unique value is and make sure that each piece of content you produce communicates this. Not only will your communication be more effective, but it will also help your audience enjoy the experience of reading your content. Don't be building a mystery; if they have to struggle to understand where you're coming from every day or every week, they're likely to go elsewhere.
3. Show Interest in Your Audience
In case you haven't figured it out yet, it's not all about you. It's not even a little bit about you, honestly. It's about your audience and how you can best provide value to them. Especially as your reader base grows, it can be tempting to buy your own hype, as an author friend of mine says. Don't do it.
Is your audience the sunshine of your life? Then make sure to keep finding ways to intentionally listen to your audience. Post a question and engage when your readers answer. (Incidentally, this isn't just a good way to romance your audience – it's a GREAT way to discover ideas for future content! Just sayin'!)
4. Make the Little Gestures that Show You Care
Show your readers your interest in them is more than a feeling!
It's not about sending your readers flowers and chocolates (well, if I'm your reader, you could)! But seriously – each person reading your content wants to feel important. It's something every person wants.
Find ways to acknowledge your readers. One of the simplest is to respond by name when someone comments on your blog or one of your platforms. It's so simple and so often overlooked.
There is serious power in talking to someone by name! It says that you've taken the time to get to know them a tiny bit on an individual level; they're not some nameless, faceless reader to you.
5. Learn to Listen
I mentioned listening as one of the ways you can show interest in your audience, but it's such an important skill that it deserves its own discussion.
Regularly look through your comments to see what your readers are saying. What types of posts get the most attention? Graphics? Humor? Inspiration? How-to? What specific topics do your readers want to know more about? It doesn't take survey software to do some informal analysis of your readers' preferences and tailor your content accordingly. In addition – using formal analysis tools (Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Jetpack, A/B testing on your e-mail autoresponder program, etc.) can also help you listen more closely to what your audience wants.
6. Regularly Say, "I Love You!"
How do you tell your audience that they matter to you? Make sure you take the time to regularly acknowledge how important your readers are. Because they are. If they're not there, you're not reaching anyone.
Do you have a commenter of the month program? Or a Facebook Fan of the week? Maybe a Pin-it-to-Win it contest? Are you regularly giving out information-based tools that are helpful to your particular audience? Find a way to regularly show your audience how much you appreciate their support, and you too will experience the power of love!
7. Spend Time Together
Your audience won't believe they're important to you if you're sporadic about posting on any of your channels. If they can't depend on you to post, they could easily decide they shouldn't count on you to provide quality service in a business relationship.
If you're not engaging your audience regularly (daily) on your social media channels, chances are they'll feel ignored. And over time, they'll return the favor and start ignoring you. Don't let them lose that lovin' feeling!
8. Celebrate the Special Moments You've Shared
Recognize the milestones in your online and offline presence. Did you just reach a milestone in your Twitter following? Celebrate good times! Consider a special graphic post to acknowledge it – and make that 10,000th follower feel extra special in the process. Have you been in business 1 full year? 5 years? Call attention to it. People love to celebrate, and if you share those special moments with them, they'll celebrate with you, expanding your reach even further!
9. Make the Choice to Stay Together
Relationships aren't always easy – and when the feelings fade, it's takes a choice to remain together for the long haul. In social media and content marketing, after the "shiny" wears off, it's easy to wonder why in the world you're doing it.
No one promised you a rose garden, and they didn't promise overnight success using social media marketing (just like any other form of marketing, honestly). You must choose to remain constant and faithful – posting on your established schedule even when you aren't feeling the love.
But – just ask any successful business owner or entrepreneur who has built strong business relationships with their customers. The disciplined habit of hanging in for the long haul will strengthen your relationship with your customers and help you experience a blossoming of those business relationships like never before.
What's your favorite way to romance your readers? Leave a comment below, and I hope you have a most lovely day!