My Secret to Finding New Readers, Followers


I’m going to let you in on a little social media secret.

It’s one I’ve picked up while working as a media strategist for both my day-job, and as my own consultant (not to mention, building MY readership, as a writer).

It’s a very simple concept, really, but a difficult one for many to grasp. Are you ready? OK … here it is:

You need to find new readers or followers where THEY live—and not expect them to find you, anymore.

The Customer-Centric Business Model

Let me take a step back for a moment. Because really, this stems from a business model.

Businesses used to develop their strategies around them. If you wanted a new Verizon phone, you had to drive to the store. If you needed help with your new laptop, you called the tech support number.

If capitalism was a solar system, then the business was the sun, while customers were the planets.

But that’s all changed now. In today’s world of social media, the customer has become the sun. And if businesses want to survive, they’d better turn into planets.

So How Can YOU Become the Planets?

Here’s a tidbit of encouragement. You already know where your customers or readers live: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, Blogspot, etc.

  • If you’re an author, many of your target readers may live on Goodreads or Amazon.
  • If you’re a communications consultant, many potential clients probably follow ProBlogger.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

From a business perspective, if a customer has a complaint, they may no longer call the service line. Instead, they may post a “tweet.” If no one is listening and responding, then the customer may start a blog bashing the company. Which could attract OTHER upset customers, forming an angry online mob.

But that’s a whole other topic, on reputation management. My point is, if you want to build an online presence, you need to determine WHO your customer or reader is, and where they live.

Finding Your Reader

So, just how do you find this elusive goldmine? You need to start by listening. Just listening.

For example:

  • Use Twitter’s search function to type in a keyword related to your subject of interest. Are you a writer? Search “writing.” Are you a lawyer? Search “law.”
  • See what people are saying about these topics, as a collective.

Think of yourself as a CIA agent, gathering intelligence. And when you collect enough to understand what people need, you can start reaching out. @Reply to people’s questions on Twitter. Maybe write a blog post about a common concern.

And when you start understanding where your target readers live, make yourself available … there (i.e. become the planets).

About three months ago, I wrote a post for ProBlogger and linked back to my Twitter account, as well as my blog. That gained me several new blog subscribers and dozens of Twitter followers. And here’s the kicker:

They didn’t find me (even if they THINK they did). No, I found them. And you can too …

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12 thoughts on “My Secret to Finding New Readers, Followers

  1. I’ve seen that shift in business described before (or started to notice it myself), but this is the best explanation I’ve seen. I also love your tips for using Twitter – I just got into Twitter and so far find it a bit overwhelming, but applying your advice sounds both exciting and doable. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Thank you! What a compliment. 🙂 I’m so glad my Twitter tips have helped. If you have any other questions, or have any tricks you find work well, please keep in touch and let me know! I see you have QUITE a solid following on Twitter, so you are definitely doing something right. 😉

  2. Ciao Shari,

    I’ve referenced your blog several times when I was a beginner to the blogging world. Your advice has always made sense. Thanks for this great post. I’ve been my own CIA agent for some time, and if it wasn’t for the effort I put out first, I wouldn’t have the followers I have. Grazie. 🙂

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I’m so flattered! Thank you. What a compliment to know someone referenced your advice to help them build their own following. 🙂 I’m so happy you’ve begun finding your niche and building a following, congrats! The time committment is SO worth the investment, from my experience too.

  3. Yup, makes absolute sense. This is why it drives me crazy to get the auto-message from someone I follow on Twitter that says, “check out my blog or something like that.” In my mind I think, Um, why don’t YOU check out MY blog. Many of us have content to share. We can’t expect people to just drop by because we asked them to. The best thing to do is engage (respond to things on Twitter, comment on other blogs, etc). Nobody is entitled to an audience. Actually, I’m going to post about last sentence. Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! Nina, you are one of the people I’ve met that gets this, to the TEE. You have such a great following (better than mine 🙂 ), and I know it’s because you practice what you preach. I saw today you subscribed to my blog. Thank you! I just signed up for yours, too.

  4. I liked the way you used the planets, solar to make the reader enjoy reading the post. Recently I made lots of changes on my blog and it is like having very very very few readers at the moment.

    What I want to do is:

    1. Follow lot of people (and work with them) on Twitter who are after the same readers/customers as I am.

    2. Write blog posts every week.

    3. Never leave a site without commenting on posts that I liked.

    Thanks for this Shari.

    1. Thanks for reading Philos! And as I said on Facebook, it sounds as though you’re definitely on the right path. Keep going that route! I tell everyone I work with that building a social media presence is a time committment, but very worth it in the end! 🙂

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