One of the things I’m most proud of when it comes to this blog is the community behind it. I’ve always loved sharing recipes, thoughts, style, beauty tutorials, and all that, but that means nothing if you don’t have a community to interact with and to share for. Obviously this takes time in the early days (or years, in my case) of blogging. Eventually, though, if you work your ass off, a community follows. It’s one of my biggest pieces of advice to girls who are wanting to start a blog: focus on community. Here’s how!
+ Don’t put everything into Instagram
I don’t own Instagram and because of that, my account could be gone tomorrow. That means my following, content, messages, everything. This is exactly why I don’t put all my eggs into the IG basket. If it were gone tomorrow, I’d still have my blog, Facebook group, and newsletters as a way to connect. I see a lot of young girls making this mistake and I’d highly suggest doing more than IG content.
+ Answer DMs
I hear SO many bloggers complain about DMs and I get it – it’s time-consuming and repetitive at times – but it is literally our job. I’d hate to be someone who is too good for DMs and connecting with people who are taking the time to follow me. I obviously miss DMs here and there but it’s a top priority for me.
+ Produce regular content on different channels
Similar to the Instagram suggestion from above, I’m a big believer in showing up on multiple platforms a day content-wise. I know some people only read the blog. Some people like to get their info via my newsletter (sign up here!), some on YouTube. The point is, think about all the different types of people following you. There are bound to be people who want to consume differently than others. Once you establish yourself on one platform, move to something else to gain a unique community there.
+ Facebook Group
Building out my Girls Only Facebook Group has been one of my favorite projects of the past year when I really started engaging. We’re up to almost 14K VIP members! It’s a group of likeminded girls sharing personal and LOL stories, advice, inspiration, and all things that fit into the Sivan Ayla aesthetic. Like DMs, I pop in there daily to interact, to share exclusive content, to give/ask advice, etc. It’s not only connecting me to you guys but connecting you to each other. Even if you have a small following, you’d be surprised how much people want to connect – especially now.
+ Meet IRL
We put together the + Lux Unfiltered Pop-Up so that I could meet you guys face-to-face and I’ve done a couple other public events. Never be too cool for meeting your community IRL! Yes, it might be kinda awkward at first – not going to lie – but it’s so important and I’m always glad I did it.
+ Give the people what they want
Pet peeve: When bloggers ask their community what they want to see 1x a week and then never actually produce that content (they just keep producing what they want). So when I do ask this a couple times a year, I make a HUGE list and then decide how I’ll share that content – whether on the blog, an IG live, a newsletter, whatever. I get in creative ruts just like everyone else and hearing directly from you, then delivering, feels good on both ends.
+ Keep things fresh
The blogging field is saturated but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed here. My team and I are always thinking of ways to engage the readers which is why we started doing Lookbooks and tipsy Lives. You guys wanted to see the Gift Guides more often so we brought those to you seasonally via Lookbooks. You wanted to see real talk between Paul and I so we’ve started opening up after too much rosé. Keep it fresh to keep people interested.
+ Don’t spam
Funny enough, you guys have been asking for more sale and product content so I’m working on doing that more regularly on LTK and in the FB group but I never want to spam. I don’t share things until I honestly have used and loved them (other than cute sale picks and round-ups, obviously), and I don’t overload my channels with product. I feel very strongly about producing content that feels resourceful without monetary value which is why you see topics like this covered!
I understand that bloggers need to push links out, it’s part of the way we make money, but you’ll lose people’s trust in an instant if all you do is push product – especially shit you wouldn’t actually use. Which brings me to…
+ Be real
100%!!!! To build a community, you need to show your real self because people will see through that shit real quick. Try not to work with brands that you don’t actually like (I know it’s hard in the beginning when you want that paycheck…I’ve been there!), show failures you go through, let someone know if you didn’t like a product, etc. No one wants to support someone who is fake AF, at least I don’t. I LOVE that my community is full of real-ass girls!
What’s your best tip for building community?