October 2, 2014

Gaining Subscribers Through Social Media: Is It Possible?

Some bloggers use social media to boost traffic and draw links, but they write off the opportunity to gain subscribers through social media as being unrealistic. While it’s true that social media users are typically less likely to subscribe than the average blog visitor, it’s certainly not impossible and in fact can make a big difference to your overall subscriber count.

At my primary blog, social media provided the first significant exposure and I learned a few things about attracting subscribers through this experience. Here at Traffikd after launching the blog I’ve had very little time to do some of the promotion that I would like to do (like writing more guest posts like this one), so social media has accounted for a large percentage of the traffic so far, and subscriber growth for the most part has been ok.

If you’re interested in gaining subscribers from social media, here are a few tips:

1. Be consistent

Social media visitors are unlikely to subscribe the first time they come across your blog. If you consistently draw attention from social media websites these visitors will hopefully see your blog over and over again, and with each visit they will be more likely to subscribe. This is especially true if you target the same social media sites repeatedly. I can think of a few blogs that I subscribed to after seeing them several times through social media. Smashing Magazine is one example. When visitors keep seeing your blog they’ll wonder what they’re missing by not subscribing. After all, others must really like your blog or it wouldn’t be so popular with social media.

2. Target niche sites

Niche social media sites will provide you with a much higher quality of traffic, assuming your content is relevant to the audience. Since the audience is a better fit for your blog, it’s natural that they would be more likely to subscribe.

3. Keep your content relevant

Social media often tempts bloggers to stray off topic in order to become popular and draw attention and traffic. While this may boost your stats, content that isn’t consistent with the purpose of your blog will not do much to help your subscriber count, and if it does, those subscribers won’t stick around for very long.

4. Work on branding yourself

This partly corresponds with point #1, being consistent. With an effective social media plan, you can successfully brand your blog over a period of time. What do you want to be known for? Work on developing content that will attract social media users and help to brand yourself in the way that you want to be seen.

5. Be unique

It’s possible to get tons of traffic from social media by re-using the ideas of other bloggers, but it’s difficult to gain subscribers this way. Create something truly unique and you’ll see better results in terms of subscribers.

6. Point out some of your past work

If your blog contains older content that may appeal to these new visitors, which it probably does, try leading them towards that content. Anything additional that you can show them will help to build your credibility and it will prove that you’re worth the subscription. I’ve found that links within the body of the post are typically better for this purpose than links on the sidebar or anywhere else.

7. Mention an upcoming post

This is a strategy that I need to use myself. If you are anticipating significant results from social media for a specific post, why not mention an upcoming post that visitors may be interested in? Include a link to your feed and they may subscribe in order to see that upcoming post that they don’t want to miss.

8. Display your subscriber count if it’s high

When I come across a new blog this is often one of the first things I look for. In my opinion it shows what stage the blog is at (which reminds me, I need to add the feed count here). You can gain a great deal of credibility from new visitors with an impressive feed count.

What’s Your Opinion?

Have you been able to gain subscribers from social media sites? What have you found to work well?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

30 comments

  1. Nice tutorial.
    I love social marketing and its a great way to boost traffic.

  2. “Have you been able to gain subscribers from social media sites?”

    Nope.

    “What have you found to work well?”

    Nothing. Really. That must be just me, though. I should develop a social media plan or something like that, but I haven’t done it so far.

    Tip #7 is one that I’ll keep in mind because I can imagine how effective it can be.

    Tip #8 may certainly be useful. But from a reader’s perspective, it doesn’t seem that important to me. I know so many blogs that have way more subscribers than they deserve to. And I also know a plethora of valuable blogs that have a tiny subscriber base. So, while I admit that subscriber counts are important to many people, I don’t rely much on them, because I just don’t care.

    Now I’m off to read some of your older posts (tip #6 works indeed, as you can see).

  3. Nice post Steven. I will take this opportunity to ask you that what according to you is high subscriber count? I currently have 231 of them and waiting for it to cross 500. Do you think its the right strategy ?

  4. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I agree that the feed count isn’t always important, but I think it can help to show that you have some credibility.

    Abhijeet,
    I think you could post your subscriber count any time with that number. I’m in the same situation here and I haven’t yet decided when to show the count. I’m going to be making some changes to the design in the next month or two so I may just do it then. 500 would definitely be a nice number, but you may also get a boost by showing it earlier. On my primary blog I displayed the count when it reached 150 and I did see an increase in subscribers over the next few weeks that may have been helped by the feed count.

  5. I find that when an article does well in social media, my subscriber count makes an equivalent jump in the number of subscribers. When one particular article did well, I saw a jump from 250 to 600 subscribers over a couple days. I had over 20,000 hits over those two days as well from stumbleupon mostly and the rest were from dzone, del.icio.us, and designfloat.

  6. @ Abhijeet:

    Even though Steven has already given a great reply, I just want to give my personal opinion on the matter of showing your subscriber numbers. First, I think when you should show it depends on your goal for your blog. Specifically whether you plan to be a contender to be one of the top 20% blogs in your niche or would you just be happy being a good blogger in the top 50% of your niche. And second I think it depends on how much subscribers the top blogs in your niche have.

    Finally, the reason why I think these two things are important is because readers will inevitably draw conclusions by comparing your reader count and the top blogs in your niche’s reader count either consciously or unconsciously. If you are much lower, than they will slot you into just one of dozens of blogs that cover the topic, but if you are close or around the top 20%, then you will be considered one of the best blogs in that niche. That is just based on your reader count alone. While you might think people should read your content in order to determine how good your blog is, truth is people don’t have much time so they use the easiest method to make a quick comparison. The subscriber count is the quickest and easiest available.

    If you don’t supply a subscriber’s count, then the reader is forced to judge the merits of your blog based on the quality of your blog alone, which can be to your advantage especially if your subscriber’s count isn’t as high as the other top blogs. But if your subscriber’s count is high relative to other top blogs in your niche, then by all means display it. This will make the decision of subscribing much easier for people.

    I am opting to not display my subscriber’s count until I reach a number of subscribers that will put me in the top 20% for my niche. I hope that was helpful, perhaps Steven could talk more about it in a future post.

  7. Great tips and so relevant. Too often bloggers and others for that matter miss the obvious and simple when getting subscribers.

    Thanks!
    Maria :-)

  8. I totally agree with you! Those 8 points have worked very well for me!

  9. So far I haven’t been able to gain subscribers with social media. However my blog is still in the early stages. I use social media a lot and from my personal experience I have subscribed to blogs that I continually come across on social media sits. So my hope is that after people come across my blog a bunch of times I will start to see the subscribers.

  10. Привет! Случайно попал на Ваш блог. Я с Вами в чём то согласен, а в чём то нет. Время идёт и совсем скоро Новый год… Вот тут нашёл место, где можно написать письмо Деду Морозу. Мелочь а приятно, ведь скоро Новый год. Время когда наступает пора загадывать желания. Спасибо за блог.

  11. I am glad that the number of subscribers for my blog is increasing. I have tried all sorts of social media and I love SU the most.

  12. Great tips, right on the money :)

  13. What a great list! Will try to keep all this suggests in mind to boost my little blog :) Thank you for this :) Haven’t tried social media to achieve this yet but i think that the time has come now!

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