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social media how toSocial Media Examiner is officially one year old today!

In honor of this special day, I would like to help you grow your blog by sharing some tips we have learned over our last 12 months of explosive growth.

Before I share my tips, I would like to reveal the name of our mascot…

Our Mascot Is No Longer Nameless

Over the last few weeks we asked you (and your peers) to help us name our mascot.  Now that today is his first birthday, he finally deserves a name!

More than 500 names poured in, we narrowed down our top 5 favorites and then more than 650 people voted.

And the new name of our mascot is…  Well, you’ll need to watch this video to find out:

Congratulations to Dawn Barclay for suggesting the winning name!

Okay, so here are our tips for achieving successful blog growth…

#1: It’s All About Community

In the beginning, we had the mistaken notion that all that mattered was great content.  Don’t get me wrong, content is essential and always will be (see Tip #2).

Things really took off the moment we integrated our Facebook page into our blog.  Almost overnight, what I call “lurkers” (those people who read but don’t interact), came forward en masse.

At first they told us how much they appreciated our site.  But then they began to interact with each other, support one another and connect.  It was an amazing community that was building right in front of us.


This is a great example of community in action as readers are helping readers.

Here are some pointers when trying to build a community on your blog:

  • Set up a Facebook page and be sure to actively engage folks as they write on your wall.
  • Try to respond to as many comments on your blog posts as possible.
  • Create events on Facebook that encourage folks to come together, like Expert Fridays, virtual happy hours or other Facebook experiences.

When people who share a common interest can come together on your site, you’ll be one step closer to explosive blog growth.

#2: Great Content Is Essential

I believe outstanding content is essential to ongoing growth.  But great content tied to a great community is the key to explosive results.  In the beginning, you might need to get your great content on someone else’s platform to ultimately grow your own.

Before this blog, I was a regular contributor to Copyblogger.  Brian Clark’s amazing site helped me build up my prior blog and set the stage for Social Media Examiner.

I’ve also seen many folks who write for Social Media Examiner achieve amazing results (like book deals).  So, great content in front of the right audience is really critical.

Here are the key components to great content:

  • Your writing should be conversational and easy to read.
  • Use lots of subheads, bold text and visuals to accommodate skim readers.
  • Make sure each of your posts looks good to the eye.  If it looks appealing, people will consider reading it.
  • Work on a compelling opening… That means you should master the headline process and create alluring openings to all your posts.


Notice the way the headline and opening were crafted for this post…

#3: Go Beyond Just Text and Pictures

Great content doesn’t need to be limited to the written word.  We discovered that there are plenty of people who prefer to learn by watching or listening.  Try mixing up your media.

From the beginning we invested in video.  We took a camera crew with us to major trade shows and interviewed experts from big brands like Starbucks.

We also did recorded phone interviews with high-profile experts.  We transcribed the content and provided audio recordings.

This interview with Chris Brogan is one of many we did over the last year.

Here are a few video tips:

  • You don’t need a video crew. You can start out with a simple Flip video camera for on-site interviews.
  • Consider doing live video broadcasts.
  • Conversational video between two people is often more interesting than a talking head.

Here’s to Another Great Year!

Thank you so much for being an integral part of the Social Media Examiner growth story!  We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for faithful readers like you.

I don’t know what our second year has in store, but I’m excited to see what will unfold as we journey together through the social media jungle.

What are your thoughts about these tips? Do you have any to add? Please leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Tom

    Congratulations – Informative and light looking presentation – thanks for your great work

    Tom Whitney
    Malta

  • Thanks Tom

  • Happy Birthday!

  • SME is definitely one of my favorites sites. Whether it is content, presentation, elaboration, updates and even looks, SME takes the cake. Wish you all the luck and thanks for providing us wonderful contents.

    And Yes, I share my birthday with SME. 🙂

  • Happy birthday SME! It’s been great to see some of the faces of the people behind the scenes and your fans. And Scout is a great name!

  • Once again, happy birthday, happy anniversary and congratulations on an amazing year of success, Mike. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in the years to come…blog on!

  • Wiant

    Happy Birthday Scout!

  • drburt

    Happy Birthday SME. Great post as always. I assure you that second year will be even better that the first one. It is snow ball effect that you can’t stop. Keep up a good job.

  • Great post. I am a new blogger myself and I always look to Social Media Examiner for information. Here’s to another successful year and say hello to Scout for me.

  • Happy Birthday back to you! 🙂

  • Hi Danielle – Thanks for your loyal readership!

  • Denise – Thanks for being such a big part of our success!

  • Thanks for making us look good on film Jeff!

  • Thanks for your kind words. Let’s hope that snowball doesn’t melt! 🙂

  • Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for the information. I just started my own blog but am having trouble reaching viewers. The first step – its all about the community was exactly what I was missing.

    Oh, And Happy Birthday!

  • That’s a great read. I admit I am still wrapping my head about the Facebook part of my company’s social media strategy, and I am grateful for any tip I can find.

  • Happy Birthday to SME, Mike & team deserves clapping of appreciation. We (readers) could do lot because of you guys, in fact I learnt how to interact on Facebook Page and still learning.

    Have a great year ahead!!!

  • drburt

    The way you guys are rolling this snowball can only get bigger. I am on a 3rd month of my blog and not very well known like you guys, and I am gaining some nice traction. SME got twin turbo at this point – catch that 🙂

  • Thanks Brandon – Keep working at it!

  • Hey Gabriele – Take a look at this page and you’ll find a lot of useful Facebook advice. http://new-theme-socialmediaexaminer.pantheon.io/getting-started/

  • Appreciate your support Waqas!

  • Mike: Thanks for sharing that. SME’s growth has been remarkable and I think online events like SMSS10 and FBSS10 have contributed immensely. Congratulations and Happy Birthday/Anniversary. I’m sure I’ll be following you, Scout and your many talented guest bloggers for many years to come!

  • Really appreciate that Randy!

  • That’s great, now I have a lot to read in my weekend, thanks a lot 😉

  • Happy Birthday SocialMediaExaminer!! Congrats Mike to establishing one of the best Social Media Blogs on the web within a year. Impressive growth. Keep up the good work!

  • I have been so busy chasing my tail, writing a blog a day I have neglected the research and networking aspects of blogging. Thanks to some of the material you have published I am changing my approach. Many thanks for the input and inspiration.

  • I have to add experience in there as well, Michael, and that’s a positive reflection on both you and SME.

    In every case I’ve examined (great word, examined), successful bloggers have either found success elsewhere and adapted the principles of success to blogging, or have just ground away at it, building experience until success isn’t just imminent, but necessary.

  • Kevin, I’ve not been visiting you lately, but I suspect we may be in a similar state. What I’m doing is shifting focus to master another set of tools. I’ll keep doing that until everything finally meshes. And it will, I have no doubt. And sadly, it will be easy, once mastered!

  • Thanks for sharing your knowledge and creating such a dynamic site.

  • Barbara D Watkins

    So happy Scout has a name. His name’s nod to Harper Lee’s precocious character pays homage to his heritage! Best to you in your second year also. Love your tips!

  • AngieVanDenzen

    SME is definitely an inspiration! Thank you all so much for your useful and plentiful advice on all things social media! Happy Birthday & cheers to year 2!

    Angie VanDenzen
    Social Media Coordinator at Circus Communications

  • Happy Birthday and Congratulations! I’m looking forward to many more years to come!

    Deb 🙂

  • Happy birthday SME! Congrats Mike, Scout, and team for creating an awesome resource.

  • Michael you and your team have done a great job. Thanks for giving back as you grew, we loved having you on Breakthrough Business Strategies radio!

  • Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading you for the whole year I’ve been blogging. What a God-send you are! The information I’ve gathered here has always been fresh and amazing…thank you so much!

  • Clearing the hurdle of year one is a great benchmark. Thanks for the steady stream of valuable if not overwhelming information. You’re my insight into social media.

  • Love our daily email from SME! We learn something new everyday! It’s like going to Social Media School. We love our professors! Oh, and of course, Happy Birthday.

  • Happy Bithday!!!

  • I have a folder in which I save Social Media Examiner because you have so many easy-to-understand tips about social media. They are readable and your design draws you into the content. Thanks.

  • mortjac

    A great article. I’ve of course blogged it, and will try to learn. Thanks, and happy birthday. Sorry to not found you before 😉

  • @CynLee1801

    Thank God the identity crisis is over. Welcome Scout!!!
    Happy Birthday Social Media Examiner. I can’t express how much I’ve learned from you this past year. That’s the best gift ever!

  • alexasamuels

    I was really surprised SME has only been around 1 year. Michael, Cindy and team, congratulations on having one of the most successful and informative SM blogs out there. Here’s to another year – long may it last!

  • Roy

    Hey Social Media Examiner Team CONGRATS!! I’ve been a “lurker” for a little while now. Love the site and look forward to engaging more this year!

  • Why I think I can justify having a piece of cake today…. birthday cake of course!

  • Wow that’s incredible growth in a year – totally inspiring for bloggers like me. I love your catchy titles and consistently great content and I refer many people to your site as a result. You also break it down and make it really easy which is why at the Social Media Bootcamps I held I pointed to you guys as one of the best go to resources (outside of my personal coaching of course ;).

    Rock on – can’t wait to meet at BlogWorld

  • deb1221

    Congratulations Social Media Examiner on your first birthday.

    It’s not only a huge accomplishment to blog great content day in and day out, week after week, month after month–but your results are truly staggering!

    I think one of the things you also do incredibly well (and I just forwarded one of your emails to someone this weekend to demonstrate) is how when you sign up to receive notifications about social media examiner’s post via email, that the heading titles are always compelling and stand out from the crowd in the email in-box.

    e.g.
    From: Michael Stelzner-Social Media Examiner
    Subject: [SocialMediaExaminer] October 12, 2010, 3 Ways to Achieve Explosive Blog Growth

    Come on, who wouldn’t want to open that?!?

    Happy to be part of this rich community!

    Thanks again for great material.

    Best,
    Debbie Hemley

  • Happy Birthday! Amazing what you’ve done in a year, and delighted to have had a ringside seat!

  • Gina

    I would agree – this has become one of my favorite sites to check out on a regular basis and repost their stories online to share with others. Thanks SME for all your hard work and sharing with the community! I look forward to many more in the future!

  • Congratulations! Happy Birthday! This is one of my favorite sites and I often forward the articles on to my clients to support the argument…social media is an important component of a good marketing plan.

    I also receive the daily newsletter in my inbox and it is one of the newsletters I do not delete ‘out of the gate’. And the reason is this: I know that what comes through my inbox from you is valuable information I can use. Time and time again, this is the consistent, reliable message so I know what to expect. So it receives my attention. I really like how unspammy it is as well.

    Thanks,
    Janine
    Virtual Assistant

  • Happy birthday and thanks for the insightful post. I really need to get FB integrated in my stategy, i just use it at a personal level (family and close friends). Probably need to set one just for my blog?

    Anybody else come across this.
    Darragh

  • Happy birthday and thanks for the insightful post. I really need to get FB integrated in my stategy, i just use it at a personal level (family and close friends). Probably need to set one just for my blog?

    Anybody else come across this.
    Darragh

  • Shauna

    Great info! I’m a new VA so I’m eager to learn all I can about social media. Happy 1st birthday! Hope you’ll be able to say that to me soon 🙂

    Shauna
    Secretsecretary

  • Dave, when we run a blog we get sidelined by different pressures. Some of those pressures are down to family, some by those of us who have day jobs, some by what we think we want to write, some by what people expect. It’s a cauldron and it is so easy to get distracted,

    I am just so guilty to pushing on regardless and not thinking about plans, networking, scheduling, guest blogs, the whole shebang. I think I have come to the conclusion that to move forwards I need to stop. Think. Assess. Learn. Read. Re-Educate. Learn new skills. Stop chasing my ass.

    I think I’m falling in love with blogging again.

  • Congratulations Michael! You have a first rate site, packed with a ton of excellent content!

  • I love this site and you guys are always such an inspiration. We have learned so much and are having such great success because of it. I like how you keep it fresh and so simple. I don’t feel like i need to go anywhere else for knowledge as you have it all right here. Keep up the great work. Can’t believe you are only 1- I hope we can have the same story when we turn 1- Happy Birthday!

  • I need to definitely mix up our media more. I try to get video and pictures but it’s just too easy to shell out some text. Thanks for the tips.

    Happy birthday Social Media Examiner!

  • Hanne Lene

    happy birthday to sme and the newly monikered scout! looking forward to the continued adventures, which have been incredibly fruitful so far. a no brainer to go along for the ride.

  • Ah – the name is perfect! I love it! Happy Birthday and thanks for everything you share with us!! 🙂

  • Michael,
    Congratulations to you and all the staff at Social Media Examiner on your one year anniversary! You’ve helped me with your content and have made it engaging along the way. Wishing you all the best.

  • Terri L Maurer

    Wow! Can’t believe that SME is ‘only’ a year old. Very mature presentation (yes, even the cartoony Scout) of constant, high quality content. Invaluable to any business of any size. Congratulations on your very successful first year. Look forward to many more to come.

  • proussakis

    Happy Birtday, congratulations, keep up the exceptionally good work

  • Thanks for a great year of compelling content and being an inspiration to all of us. Hope to run into you later this week at BlogWorld.

    @MikeDMerrill
    President, Social Media Club of Dallas

  • Happy first year, great job

  • Nick

    Hi Michael, so here’s the point, after 40yrs in a myriad of businesses I would like to share my experiences. I have started a Blog post and have linked it to LinkedIn, Twitter, Triond, Articlebase and I send it out directly to people who I think might be interested. I ask them to Like, RT, and physically email. I get fantastic comments but I need more to grow. SO HOW DO I GET MORE . Cheers Nick

  • Happy birthday Scout, and congratulations Mike, Irene, Cindy and the rest of the gang.

  • I have tried the Facebook thing for my blog, and nothing. But after reading about the success you had with it, I’m going to have to go back and work on it some more. Thanks.

  • Our company blog is just getting started, thanks for the advice.

  • Dkosala82

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! great work Mike!

    Kosala from ceylonoutsourcing.com.

  • Oh, no! Y’all being around for a whole year?

    I just found out about y’all a while ago!

    Now I have to catch up with a year’s worth of content!

    Congratulations!

    Really Enjoying this because

    I have read the rest, now I am reading the best 🙂

  • Josh Emington

    Congratulations!

  • Happy Birthday and special greetings from Bulgaria, Michael:-)!

  • Ed Winders

    Happy birthday. I enjoy your content and the look of your blog. As we develop our men’s social organization I hope use your tips and advice. I’m impressed with your community building. Facebook integration will be critical for our success. Cheers!

  • Happy Birthday/Anniversary! Just want to say thanks for all of the great content and all of the hard work your team puts into such a successful blog. It is sincerely appreciated!

  • Thanks so much Angie

  • Thanks for sticking with us Donna

  • Thanks and I love Boston…

  • Thanks Jeannette, I took heat from friends saying we were too childish of a look for business… I knew better 🙂

  • Well thanks a million

  • It certainly has been a team effort. Thanks

  • Roy, congrats on your conversion to a non-lurked 🙂

  • Yummy 🙂

  • Thanks Natalie!

  • Thanks for being part of our community Debbie

  • Jay! You’ve also had an amazing ride my friend! See you at BlogWorld…

  • Thanks Janine!

  • Thanks Mike

  • Really appreciate it

  • Thanks so much Terri

  • Thanks Mike… by the way, I used to live in Plano 🙂

  • Hey Nick, we have so many articles that could help you here. Try searching on blogs, blogging and traffic in our search bar.

  • Dino, thanks for being our #1 fan and now a content contributor!

  • Thanks Ed

  • Thanks so much Dyle

  • Cathleenedgerly

    Congrats and looking forward to more valuable content from your posts! You have already helped me so much as a professional and I hope to continue using your helpful insights to improve our marketing and the future marketing efforts I may take up with other businesses!

  • Congratulations, Michael! Thanks for sharing the secrets behind your success and for sharing tips that all of us can use.

  • Great stuff you’re producing here every day. Congratulations! You’re on of the few news items I have marked for my Priority Inbox on GMail as a must read. Keep up the good work.

  • Great post, I am trying to get up the nerve to do video with my Flip cam!

  • Hi Kevin, I wouldn’t be so harsh on yourself. I think the simple act of writing daily blog posts consistently over a long period of time is a lesson all by itself. And some people need to focus on that in the beginning.

    But it’s true to really make your blog take off you need the social networking. I’ve heard of all different kinds of “formulas” in the last few years. I can’t remember where they came from, but I’ve heard that you should spend twice as much time networking and promoting your blog post as writing it. Three times as much time. And even ten times as much time. I guess it depends on the value your blog post has and whether it’s a long post or a short post.

    The one thing that really shocked me ages ago was hearing that some people aimed to make 100 one-on-one personal touches each day. So, emailing people who comment on your blog, saying something on Twitter or on Facebook etc.

    100 is hard for me to do – I don’t usually write short comments 🙂 But I tried it for a short while: the idea of aiming to connect with 100 different people each day and keeping tab. I never really reached more than 60-70 a day, but it certainly opened my eyes up to the different ways you can connect with your audience, the different reasons… and I think it’s an exercise in developing your social networking skills.

  • Dino, what Mike replied here is sooooo true. You’ve always been here and that’s much appreciated. So cool to have you writing now too.

  • Thnx Cindy. The thing I always liked about SME is the filtering process articles go though to make it into the view of SME readers. There is a rigorous vetting process and it shows with every post.

    So its easy being your No 1 fan 🙂

  • It’s definitely about engaging your community. Just showing up isn’t good enough…you need to join the conversation.

  • Here’s where you can meet the SME team:
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160213224007220&index=1

    But it’s best to RSVP and arrive early. There are lots of people listed, although I’m not sure how many will actually get up for a 7am breakfast on Friday.

  • Hi Cindy, Hounds of Hades! 100 one to one personal contacts a day! Maybe if I was surgically attached to my PC it might be achievable, but having a day job, no chance.

    I am off for a long weekend to a Scottish Castle so will have time to take a dispassionate look at how I blog and associated “stuff” and come back with some fresh views and ideas.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, it really is appreciated.

  • Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. Keep up the great work.

  • Congrats and Thank you for all your tips and tricks. I am looking forward to your second year of existence.

  • jeanricher

    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary. I truly enjoy all your posts!! …. all the way from Ottawa, ON

  • Wait wait wait. The article says you get explosive blog growth if you

    1. Foster community
    2. Publish great content and
    3. Offer video and audio not just text and pics

    Is that right?

  • Sandra

    Congratulations on your first birthday! You are doing a great job and I enjoy visiting your site. Look forward to many more years.

  • Hi Michael,

    You make great points. I really agree with what you say about community. That’s a great name and description for what happens when people start coming together around common interests. Your story about the growth of your Facebook page is a great example of that.

    Thanks for the good words.

    Steve DeVane

  • I’m not sure if anyones already mentioned this but i agree with everything this article talks about however the one glaring omission i see is how do you get that initial exposure that gets you in front of your target audience so they can see the amazing content you’re creating?

    Is there anyone doing a blog buddy service (i.e. i comment on yours you comment on mine to get some traffic going?) or blog spotlight service (each day a new blog gets exposed to a large community of watchers?)

    Any suggestions welcome!

  • Cassie

    I’m only a relatively new blogger and in the process of setting up a website, I am absorbing all of your great tips and general knowledge, writing it down to read again and help me in the pursuit of my goal.
    Thank you. If any of the readers are willing to give me any of their personal tips for setting up their business on line, I would be eternally grateful.

  • Those are three ways to get there, yes. But of course nothing in life is gauranteed, but that is how we got there

  • Thanks Steve

  • Jason, that’s where interviews with experts come in…

  • Cassie, be sure to check out our Getting Started link at the top of this page

  • You make great points.Congratulations

  • Great post. I’ll definitely be utilising some of these techniques on my blog.

    Many Thanks for sharing!

  • Great Content and great community around it is must for Blog Growth. Thanks for sharing your knowledge

  • Thanks for your solid advice!

    http://www.carczarconsulting.com

  • Thanks for the information. I just started my own blog but am having trouble reaching viewers

  • Great point.Very good video and theme.Thanks.

  • brianrobinson1

    Great tips to help maximize the effectiveness of your blog as well as how widely spread the blog will become ranked higher on search engines. The content of your blog is also very important. No one wants to read boring news, the content needs to be very effective as well to become a successful blog.

  • Thank you for this post. Very helpful.

  • Eric Knows

    Great article thanks! And congrats on the anniversary.

  • This is excellent advice for me as I’ve only recently started my own blog!! Will take this post to heart! thanks!

  • Looks like I’m a little late to the party, but I dig the back-to-basics approach. A lot of people who are new to the game appreciate these kinds of posts…

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