The number of visitors to your blog, much like the number of followers or “likes” you have, is a top line number. You wouldn’t measure the success of your catalog or direct mail offer by looking at how many names you had mailed to, yet many people celebrate their successes online by how many names they have accumulated online.
If you have 10,000 unique visitors each month to your blog, but you rarely get a comment on a post, a retweet or a like of your post, and your bounce rate is high, you may have an unrealistic view of your popularity.
Once you get people to visit, there are three things that can happen:
1. They take your bait but don’t like what they see when they get to your blog or read your newsletter and that will be the last you see of that person.
2. They like what they see but don’t make any effort to commit to you by subscribing, liking or following you. You may see them again if you keep churning out good content and they find you or the content gets shared.
3. They love what they see and commit on some level to come back. Now your job really begins. You’ll need to earn their trust and their interest and you’ll have to prove yourself regularly.
If you’re good enough to get those commitments and continue to do what is necessary to keep that person coming back, you will have accomplished something extraordinary. You will have created a relationship and brought in a new member of your community. What does that take? It requires you to provide content that is fascinating, that solves problems, inspires, teaches and makes people feel something for you.
Your top line numbers only tell part of the story. If you have 500 Twitter followers and 50 of them tweet your blog post, that’s engagement. That means they not only read it–they thought it was worthy of sharing with their followers. If you have 500 Facebook likes and you get 50 comments to a post, that’s a huge percentage. So don’t focus on the people who have thousands of visits and connections, focus on how your community shows their commitment to your content.
There was a famous blog post a couple of years ago called 1,000 True Fans written by Kevin Kelly, that addressed this idea. Copyblogger wrote a 20 step plan to get there. Although there has been controversy about that specific number, the concept is really the essence of social media and worth reminding yourself about when you are building your community.