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Overheard on #Blogchat: Peak Days (@abbisiler)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Understanding your blog’s analytics and using that info to grow your blog’s readership

Stats are the bane of my existence. I don’t like tracking them. I don’t like studying them. I just like to blog about topics that I find interesting and see what happens. I know that this is a total cop-ou and a disservice to readers, so I track stats anyway. But I don’t have to like it.

When talking about stats, what I find most helpful are real ways to take the numbers I’m seeing and apply them to be a better blogger. Something that I haven’t thought about:

@abbisiler If you blog daily, you can monitor which days are your peak days– post your ‘best’ or most ‘shareable’ content on those days!

This is one of the best blogging tips I’ve read in a long time, and I read a lot about blogging, so that’s not something I take lightly. I do that that applying this tip is not necessarily as easy as just looking for peaks and traffic spikes, but it is something that you can definitely apply to be a better blogger.

If you do any kind of research on “best days to post” at all, you’ll find that the overwhelming number of people who speak about the topic tell you that Tuesday morning is a golden time. There’s a number of reasons why they’re right in many respects – on Mondays, people are bogged down answering work-related emails, by Wednesday and Thursdays, there’s so much new info for the week online that stuff gets lost in the shuffle, and by Friday, a lot of people have checked out for the weekend or are desperately trying to finish work so they can leave their computer until Monday. Tuesday makes sense.

Well, for some bloggers. See, your target market might be different. Let’s say, for example, that your audience is comprised mostly of stay-at-home parents. For a mom or dad on the go, Tuesday morning isn’t necessarily a point that sticks out. They aren’t sitting at work, bored and looking for a way to entertain time between meetings or job tasks. They’re running after their kids because, presumably, the other parent is at work. For the stay-at-home parent, peak times might be at night, after the kids have gone to bed or on weekend when two parents are home and they get some free time away from the kids to read blog posts.

It’s all about analyzing your market, and I think that’s where @abbisiler‘s top comes in most handy. Your audience is represented by your stats, so it’s like getting information straight from the horse’s mouth.

Be careful, though, because peak times may be driven by outside influences. For example, let’s say that you only post once a week – on Wednesday afternoons. You can’t look at your stats and say, “Oh, hey, it is best to post most on Wednesday afternoons because that’s when I get the most hits.” No, you’re creating a situation to get the most hits at that specific time. If you posted every single day, the peak time would likely drastically change.

Be careful also to look at the big picture, not a single week. If a post you wrote is tweeted by someone influential, for example, you’re going to see a stats spike at that time. So, make sure you understand why stats spikes are happening when they’re happening. There could be a reason outside of just “audience preference.”

When you do find that sweet spot, make the most of it. Schedule posts to go up at that time, especially if you think the post has the potential to go viral. Make site announcements at that time. Email your list at that time. Launch a product at that time. you get the picture. When people are visiting your site most, make it shine.

I want to say a personal thanks to @abbisiler for this stats tip! It’s something I haven’t really considered, but am now going to give some thought.

Check out “Overheard on #Blogchat” here every Sunday to read about some of the most interesting tweets from participating bloggers.

How To Reach Out On Twitter

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Last week, I was talking about my personal Twitter philosophy with the posts The Problem with Follow Friday and Twitter: The Quality Versus Quantity Debate. One of the comments on the first post really struck a cord with me:

Hello Allison,

I like the suggestions here. I am new to blogging, social media and, specifically, Twitter, so the clarification on what Follow Friday is and how to improve it was welcomed.

The points that you make about getting to know the people you follow also struck me. I follow a number of people who write very engaging material that I enjoy reading about social media, internet marketing, blogging, etc., but I have never connected with them on a personal level. I hope that they don’t think I am only interested in boosting numbers by following them. I feel like I am a true follower of theirs, I just haven’t reached out and said hello because in the vast scheme of things I feel so insignificant compared to who they are and their popularity. Perhaps I should reconsider my thought process.

Thanks for the great article,
RhondaRanae

This is along the same lines as something I wrote about being nervous to meet people at NMX/BlogWorld. If you’ve never been to a conference before, it can be an overwhelming experience just because of all the things to do, let alone the people to meet. It can also be a bit intimidated by the “big names” who all seem to know one another well and who don’t know you at all. Who doesn’t want to be part of the cool kids’ club?

I think the same thing happens on Twitter. I follow some big names in my industry and in the Internet marketing industry, and it can be intimidating to reply to them on Twitter, since I look up to them and they don’t know me from any of their other 123908123809 followers. That’s okay – I don’t expect them to know every single blog reader or Twitter follower…but how do I break into their circle? Some days, I see Twitter conversations between a few people I really respect and I just want to stomp my foot and say, “Hey, guys! I’m interesting too! Be my friend!”

Luckily, Twitter actually does give you a way to do that…without seeming like a brat! This is the first time, in my opinion, that a social media network has been a “safe space” to meet people without feeling like a stalker. After all, Twitter is all about getting as many stalkers…erm, I mean followers…as you can. Most people encourage following them through Twitter buttons on their blogs. And really, I think most people want their followers to hold a conversation, not just listen to them talk.

I don’t think I’m saying anything here that you don’t know already. I think RhondaRanae hit the nail on the head with this line in particular: “…in the vast scheme of things I feel so insignificant compared to who they are and their popularity…”

So, if you’re feeling insignificant, what can you do to break that barrier and reach out?

  • Do more than retweet their links.

When a guy like Darren Rowse announces a new blog post on Twitter, hundreds of people retweet it. While I’m sure they appreciate the promotion, there’s no way they can go back and say thank you to everyone. There aren’t enough hours in the day. They get so many retweets, in fact, that those mentions because white noise. So do something more than just hitting the RT button. Rather than just a copy of their Tweet, send out you own promotion of the post you enjoyed. “This post really helped me figure out blog monetization *link*. Thanks @problogger!” They might still not have time to reply, but your retweets stand out as more genuine.

  • Tweet their links on your own.

If you find something on their site that you really enjoy, even if it is older post or episode, tell your followers. People like when you tweet things they’ve written, especially when you’re promoting a piece that isn’t currently getting a ton of attention. It’s a friendly wave, like “I like your site for real! I’m not just following the crowd and retweeting everything you say.”

  • Comment on a personal tweet.

Tweeters have two types of tweets – links and personal. It’s great to comment on the content they’re sharing, but if you really want to make friends, reply to some of their personal tweets as well. Like with comments on blog posts, make sure you’re adding to the conversation, not just saying, “I agree!” Give them a reason to want to reply back to you.

It’s tough to reach out, especially if you’re an introvert (which many of us are). I realize that, and I struggle with it myself. It’s especially hard to reach out and get nothing in return, but don’t take it too personally. If you’re persistent, your tweets will get through eventually and the big names in your industry will start to recognize your name. It doesn’t happen overnight.

One word of caution, though: Make friends unselfishly. Don’t use these tips because you want to be popular yourself. Use these tips because you legitimately like a person and look up to them. If your thought is, “Hm…if Chris Brogan gets to know me, he’ll retweet my links and I’ll be popular!” you have no respect from me. Of course we all want to make valuable connects with people who can help our businesses, but don’t abuse connections you make on Twitter. Friendship first, business second. Trust me, the links will come in time if you just focus on being a good friend.

Definitely take a moment to follow NMX on Twitter @NewMediaExpo if you aren’t already, and feel free to say hello via my personal Twitter Account as well, @allison_boyer.

Facebook Booms, MySpace Falls

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Facebook > Myspace Facebook, Hulu, Twitter, Bebo are all booming.  Every day, week and month the traffic numbers continue to steadily rise and their popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  One of the original founders of social networking, however, has done nothing but show a steady decline in traffic and popularity over the past few months…that’s right, MySpace is falling.

How far will it fall remains to be seen, but no longer is MySpace at the head of the social networking class.  According to a report done this month by research firm ComScore:

“…MySpace had 124 million unique monthly visitors in February. That means MySpace’s traffic for the month is down 2 percent overall…and remains in sharp contrast to Facebook, which increased its traffic by 16.6 percent to 276 million unique visitors in February. “

I suppose it doesn’t help that already this month two MySpace executives and their COO Amit Kapur announced that they would be leaving the company for an unnamed startup company.  While last year, Facebook and MySpace were head to head for traffic, Facebook officially overtook them in 2008 and literally hasn’t looked back since.

Is the fight over?  Is this the end of MySpace?  Maybe, but that remains to be seen.  Time will tell and until then, we’re not counting anyone out.  Neither should you.

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