What is a Blogging Tribe? (Plus, How to Find Your Tribe)

Back in the day, when I had my old blog, I made a few blog friends — other bloggers who regularly read and commented on my site. I loved getting to know these women via the Internet, and I continue to follow the ones who are still around. I didn’t call them anything other than “blog friends,” though one of them used the term “blends,” which not surprisingly, didn’t catch on.

How to find your tribe. Tips for new bloggers on how to find a blogging tribe. Get to know other bloggers, promote your work, and share the love.

When I started Mommy Sanest, I researched — and I continue to research — how to be successful in this very crowded mommy blog space. And over and over, I keep seeing that to be successful, you must find your tribe.

Back in the aughts, this wasn’t a thing you set out to do (or at least, I didn’t). You stumbled across a blog, you read it, you liked it, you commented, they checked you out, they liked you, they commented, and ta da! Best Blogging Buddies Forever.

Now, according to every blogging resource everywhere, if you are a new blogger, you must find your tribe… like right this second. And, it makes sense that you can be more successful and feel more confident in your work if you have blog friends who dig your content, comment on a regular basis, and promote your stuff on social media.

I don’t know about you, but this near-hysterical directive to “GO FIND SOME BLOG FRIENDS, LOSER” is daunting. As a new blogger, how do you even start to “find your tribe”?

Well, I don’t have one, so grain of salt and all that, but I’m a little wary of this whole blogging tribe thing. But maybe that’s just because the word “tribe” makes it seem like there’s a group of people out there just waiting to lift me up and make my blog successful. I just have to find them… and make them like me. Easy, right?

The only problem with that plan is that I really believe that relationships with other bloggers need to happen authentically, so when I wander around the Internet attempting to find a tribe, it all feels forced and desperate and kind of like a horrible, virtual high school situation, and please.make.it.stop. For me, it’s more about connecting with individual bloggers in a way that makes sense.

Find Your Tribe: A Relatively Painless Plan for Beginning Bloggers to Make Connections with Other Bloggers

Figure out who you are. Finding your tribe and making blog friends come easier when you have a sense of what you’re trying to do. A lot of us jump into blogs and just start writing. While I know my content strategy on Mommy Sanest will continue to shift, taking a Mediabistro class forced me to write a blog business plan and think about the kind of content I want to share here. While my blog business plan is a working document, I’ve referred back to it several times because it laid the groundwork for answering big questions like, who am I, and why am I here? Answer these questions first, then worry about what the rest of the blogiverse is doing.

Find a blog spirit guide or two. There are a lot of bloggers out there (#understatement). And after rambling around the Internet for several years, I found two blogs/bloggers that really give me a sense of what I want to be when my blog grows up. Now these bloggers have zero idea who I am — I actually rarely comment on their sites. And, I’m not looking for them to be mentors; I’m just using their hard work and success to help me define where I’m (hopefully) going.

Seek out similar blogs. Good lord, I fell down the mommy blog rabbit hole the first few months I was doing this. There are just so many subcategories! It took awhile, but I’ve started to find other bloggers whose content is more similar to my own as well as bloggers who have been blogging about the same amount of time as I have and bloggers who seem to have reached a level of blogging success that is just a smidge ahead of where I am.

Using Feedly (or another RSS service), start a category of feeds called “Bloggers to Follow.” Yep, I literally put blogs into a category called Bloggers to Follow. These blogs have content that interests me, and I regularly feel I can add something to the conversation. I have eight blogs in this category. Keeping up with other people’s stuff can get overwhelming, so do yourself a favor and pick a few that you really, really like. Now granted I have about 50 other blogs in my Feedly, but I pay special attention to these five.

Put yourself out there. Did you find some bloggers and put them in your Feedly? Good! Go comment on their stuff; follow them on social channels; tell them how you came across their site. If they are newer bloggers, they are likely looking for a tribe just like you are and will be happy to return the love.

Follow a blogger who blogs about blogging. I just wanted to see how many times I could use the word “blog” in that sentence. Seriously though, these bloggers know their stuff, and it’s easy to find one whose voice and style appeals to you. Keep an eye out for a site that helps foster a blogging/writing community. Often, they’ll have blogging or social media challenges; opportunities for you to get your stuff out there; classes you can take about a specific topics; sometimes they’ll even have active Facebook groups. I like these four: SITS Girls, Blog Clarity, by Regina, and Beyond Your Blog.

Check out your commenters. You already know that you should respond to your commenters. Take it a step further, and go see who they are. Chances are if someone felt moved to comment on your stuff, their content might be interesting to you. Go find out. Maybe it will be a relationship made in blog heaven.

Be authentic. It’s nice to think that you can go around commenting on every post that comes your way, but if you’re not feeling it, you’re not going to come off as sincere. That doesn’t mean that “How to Sew Your Pet Ferret a Christmas Mumu” isn’t a totally valid and interesting post for the right audience, it just means that you’re not the right audience. If I can’t think of a better comment than, “What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing,” (which basically makes it seem like clicking on my name will send you to a site for knockoff designer bags), I best be moving on.

Go to Facebook and search for blogging groups. They are there. Go find a few, hang back for awhile, then join in. It’s a great way to get your stuff in front of other bloggers, and you will definitely find some blogging soulmates in the mix.

Don’t take any of this too seriously. Remember that blogger you LOVED, and you gushed about her post in the comments section and never heard a peep back? Whatever. Keep following her if you like her stuff, but don’t spend time wondering why she gave you the cold shoulder. If someone seems disinterested in your interest in them, put your energy elsewhere, but don’t over-think it.

That’s pretty much where I’m at in my “find your tribe” journey. Do you find this process as daunting as I do? Or have you figured out an easy way to make blog friends? I’d love to hear other tips that have worked for you.

Already found your tribe (or not)? Then you probably need a content calendar for your blog.

How New Bloggers Can Grow on Facebook

This is pretty nitty gritty and probably interesting to approximately three of you, but based on the comments on my Business of Blogging post (hey, five comments is a pretty big deal for this new blogger), I figured it couldn’t hurt to put together a post about how to take advantage of the Bloggy Mom’s Friday Facebook Hop.

First of all, being a new blogger with big (or even medium-sized) dreams can be incredibly frustrating. Building an audience is a time-consuming and often confusing process. So unless you’re lucky enough to “go viral” within your first few months online (about the same odds as winning the lottery), you’re probably dealing with the same #NewBloggerProblems that I am.

There’s literally a million topics I could write about under this vast new blogger umbrella, but I’m going to focus on Facebook today. You already know that, as a new blogger, you’re supposed to have a presence and grow your fans and followers on approximately 75 different social media networks. With this in mind, you logged on to the Behemoth, Facebook, and set your blog up with a business page.

Check it off the list, right?

Not quite. This isn’t field of bloggy dreams, and even though you built it, they will probably not come unless you promote the shit out of it. So what do you do next?

If you’re like me, you invited your mom, your sister and your three BFFs to like it, or maybe you’re a bit bolder, and you sent the page to all of your personal friends, but either way, once you’ve hit up those connections for likes, it’s hard to know how to promote your page so that you’re reaching new people and getting new likes.

How New Bloggers Can Take Advantage of Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop

How new bloggers can increase Facebook likes by participating in Bloggy Moms Facebook Hop

As of Sunday evening, my Facebook page had 181 likes, which is not a ton, but I just published the page on October 10. It’s been up one month, and I haven’t even added the link to the social share buttons on my blog.

Let me break down those 180 likes: Because I have not (and do not plan to) send this page to everyone in my network, approximately 40 of those likes are direct connections of mine. A handful are people who were referred to the page by my friends. The rest are other bloggers. And of those, a big chunk comes from my participation in the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop every week.

How big of a difference does participating make for me? This week, my page received 48 likes from the Facebook Hop, and for me, that’s significant. It was my fourth time participating, and it was my biggest gain. I’ve also realized that there are things you can do to make your participation count even more.

How to Participate Without Really Trying

  1. From your personal account, go to the Bloggy Moms Network Facebook page and like it. Make sure the “Follow” option has a checkmark next to it. This means that Bloggy Moms posts will show up in your newsfeed.
  2. On Fridays, Bloggy Moms will post the Facebook hop. Even though I follow the page, I miss the post sometimes, so I set a reminder to check the page on Fridays.
  3. When the post appears, comment on the post with a link to your Facebook page. I type http://www.facebook.com/mommysanest into the comment box, and that’s it. You don’t need to write anything else. A preview of your page (the header and profile image) should pop up in the post. Do not remove the preview of the page! It allows people to quickly like your page, right there in the feed.
  4. Like other people’s pages. That’s why we’re here right? You can do this directly in the comment feed if you want to make it as quick and easy as possible. Like the page, and reply directly to their comment. Make sure you tag your page in the reply. I always reply with, “New like from @Mommy Sanest” (when you use the “@” sign on Facbeook, an option to select your page should appear). Another very important note: Like pages as yourself, not as your blog. If you want the page to appear in your feed when you switch to your blog’s page, then like as yourself AND your blog. Do not just like as your blog, as those likes will not count toward total likes.
  5. Watch the likes roll in. Typically there’s upwards of 200 blogs and small businesses that participate, and every week there are new ones. This is quid pro quo, and I typically like anyone that likes me. I sometimes skip some of the small businesses if the product isn’t something I am interested in, but if that person alerts me that they’ve liked my page, unless something were to strike me as offensive (nothing ever has), I like them back.

It’s that simple, but I know what you’re thinking…

Help! My feed is filled with posts from random blogs!

I think this is probably what stops people from liking 130 pages. But there’s a way to contain all of this blog action, and neatly organize it. As posts from blogs appear in my Facebook newsfeed, I go to the pages and uncheck the “Follow” option. This will remove them from my newsfeed. But gone doesn’t mean forgotten! I have included them all in a custom “Interests” list, which I can refer back to regularly. Here’s how you do that:

  1. From your newsfeed, scroll down the page until you see the “Interests” section on the left side of your page. Click “More.”
  2. Choose “+Add Interests,” then “+Create List.”
  3. The dialog box that opens should default to Pages on the left, showing all of the pages you have liked over the course of your life on Facebook. Start checking off the blog pages that you have liked. Once you’ve chosen all of the pages, click Next.
  4. Give the list a name, and decide if you want it to be a public list, a list your friends can see, or a private list. Mine is called “Mommy Blogs,” and I keep it private.
  5. You can access this list from the your newsfeed. You can also add to this list if you continue to participate.

The other option to like all of the pages as your page (Go to a page, choose the “…” button on the far right, and select “Like as your page.” Then the blog will show up in your page’s newsfeed.

Make Your Participation Really Count

As someone mentioned on my Business of Blogging post, it can seem pointless to participate in the blog hop when you see little action on your page’s posts after the fact. But here’s the deal with Facebook: To a degree (and this is an over-simplification) it is a numbers game.

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to suppress content from business pages. Have you ever posted something only to see that the post “reached” four people? This is how Facebook works. Facebook wants you to pay to boost that post and push it out to more people. But the more Facebook followers you have, the more people will initially see that post. The more people who see it, the more chances you have for someone to like or comment on the post. Every interaction with your post leads to it organically being pushed to more people, which in turn gives the post even more chances to be liked and commented on. Another thing to keep in mind, depending on the goals you have for your blog, the number of followers that you have on Facebook matters to companies that are looking for bloggers to partner with.

I’m guessing that, if you’re a new blogger, you’re probably making less than $1 a month from your blog and paying to boost a post on Facebook isn’t really in the budget yet. So how do you get more people from the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop to interact with your stuff or even get them to connect with you on other platforms? Basically, you have to interact with them.

I don’t go out of my way for every single blog, but if I see a page that strikes my fancy (you know, a kindred spirit who named their blog something like, “Mommy Wears Pajamas All Day” or “Making Mediocre Parenting Look Easy”), I will visit their page, leave a comment, and like a few items. If I love the name of someone’s blog, I often leave the comment, “Stopping by from @Mommy Sanest. I love the name of your blog!” It’s simple and it’s genuine.

Sometimes I don’t stop there. If I’m really intrigued, I actually go to their blog, and if they have their social buttons posted, I follow them on other platforms (typically Twitter or G+, sometimes Pinterest). If they are looking for followers on Facebook, chances are they are looking for followers on all platforms. If you’ve commented on their Facebook page and you’re using all the same handles, they will likely recognize your name and like or follow you back on these platforms as well.

Finally, every few days, I scroll through my “Mommy Blogs” Interests list, and like and/or comment on content that is interesting and worthwhile to me. By doing this, I know that at the very least, an extra like will boost someone’s posts to a wider audience. It’s Facebook karma, if you will, even if they aren’t completely connecting your name to your blog. You could also do this from your blog’s page (if you’ve liked the other page as both yourself and your blog), so that the other blogger begins to see your page.

Don’t Ignore Those Who Interact with You

When I’m interested in something a blogger posts on Facebook, I will comment on it. Now if I’m commenting on a page that has 7 million likes, I don’t expect a response. But if I’m commenting on a smaller blog,  it’s nice to get a response. Getting a response also means I’ll be more likely to interact again.

So if someone posts on your wall, comments on one of your posts, or sends you a message, respond! I know it takes some thought and time and seems like a very small thing when you have a lot on your to-do list, but this world is all about connections. It’s in your best interest to make an effort even if 99 out of 100 of these interactions end up feeling pointless. Eventually, one of these days, you’re going to make a connection that becomes meaningful for you and your work.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I’m Not a Mommy Blogger

I don’t speak for Bloggy Moms, obviously, but it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re specifically a “mommy blogger.” I see all kinds of blogs and small businesses participating in the Facebook hop, so you do you. Especially if you’re a health, fitness, DIY, crafting, or food blogger, I imagine you’ll get some traction through the Facebook hop.

The Bottom Line

In the last month (October 10-November 9), more than 20 percent of my traffic has come from Facebook. I do not post every single piece of content I write on Facebook, and I have almost three times the followers on Twitter, where I promote every post approximately 10 times. For me, it’s worth it to continue participating in the Facebook hop and putting in the effort. Look at your Google analytics, see what is driving traffic to your site and decide where your time is best spent.