Get in the Conversation
Everyone talks about “Social Media” and building a community. People see social media as a way to get noticed, to build a fan base, gather readers to their blog, fans to their band, listeners to their podcast. Join Facebook and MySpace. Twitter away with reckless abandon and get noticed. They’ll become a web celebrity.
But having an account on the web isn’t going to drive traffic to your site. You can’t be an outpost on the information super highway, you have to be in the traffic too.
There are already communities out their that share the same ideas as you. There are also already communities out there that need to hear your thoughts, your music, your voice. But they don’t want to be talked to, they want to be talked with.
Greg Willits of Rosary Army and host of The Catholics Next Door on Sirius Radio told me when he first got started podcasting, he would call in to other podcast’s hotlines and make comments. He was listening to what they had to say, giving his own unique take, getting in the conversation and at the same time getting his name out there as someone with something to say. It cost him nothing to do and, speaking as a podcaster, the host of the show loves it when you call in.
Same thing goes for blogs. Find blogs on the subjects you like and have something to say, then post in the comment section. Bloggers love it because comments help build their ratings with search engines, and you keep the conversation going.
It goes without saying, but being Captain Obvious I’ll say it. Always, always, always speak with love, kindness, and realize you are not talking to a computer but an actual person who wrote the article or other comment. Even when the trolls are out, be the civil one in the conversation. Believe me that will go a long way.
As a commenter, one tip for you. Check out Gravatar.com. Blogs such as SQPN, GregAndJennifer.com and even this one us Gravatar to show an avatar and link with your comments. You can use your image, band logo, or album art to help you grow your brand. People see your picture as they read the comments and that helps them connect you and your site to the conversation.
And Captain Obvious’s second tip is make the post meaningful. If you just run around the internet posting, “great conversation I posted something about that on my blog”, people see you’re not trying to get in the conversation, your just trolling for traffic. Be willing to share, and they will come.
Another great tool is Twitter. It’s like Instant Messenger for a crowd. I often keep a sidebar open on my browser and watch what people are doing during the day, and maybe drop my two cents in. (I’m CatholicRocker on Twitter) Again, it’s a conversation. There is nothing that can drive you crazy as being someone who posts all day, and never answers back when people post to you. Did I mention you can have conversations within conversations? You can direct a comment to someone, or even send a message privately. People post links to their blogs all the time, and it’s totally acceptable. But they also like to see you do more than use it as a press release service.
Those are just a few ways that you can get into the conversation. Do you have some other ideas? Share them in our comment section and let’s talk about them.
About the author...
the founder of CatholicJukebox.com, one of the largest websites dedicated to contemporary Catholic music. He is a husband, father of two boys and was the bassist for the Catholic band 1Body. George also works as a software engineer.