How to Engage Your Readers and Subscribers

Encouraging engagement starts with reaching out to your readers

By Vocal TeamPublished about a year ago 4 min read
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Vocal is proud to be the network you chose for sharing your stories and finding your audience, but we know that engaging with that audience may not be second nature for you. With the help of these three strategies, you can bolster the connection between you and your audience to keep them coming back for more.

Encourage and respond to comments

The easiest way to generate comments is to prompt them with questions to your readers. This strategy is most appropriate for non-fiction, and we suggest you ask specific but open-ended questions to allow commenters to respond with their opinions.

For example, “What do you think? Comment below!” is vague and commenters may not know what to say. Instead, try: “Has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!” This version provides commenters with something specific to respond to but still leaves room for their own thoughts and stories.

Responding to comments regularly can encourage repeat commenters. Set aside some time after publication to read and reply to comments, and follow up periodically as new comments come in. Try to respond within a few days so you don’t leave anyone hanging.

Lastly, if a commenter gives you a thoughtful response, write a reply that shows the same level of effort. Making your readers feel respected and listened to will make them more likely to comment in the future, and may earn you subscriptions or tips down the line.

Engage with other creators

Vocal’s communities provide you with the opportunity to connect with other creators in the same ways you connect with your audience. When you engage with other Vocal creators, you open the door to new opportunities and friendships.

Just like when you talk to your readers, take the time to leave thoughtful comments on other creators’ stories. Commenting may lead a creator to check out your profile and can inspire other readers to respond, too.

Fostering relationships with other creators is an especially good idea for fiction authors and poets. Your fellow creators can provide invaluable feedback on your stories and give you advice based on their experiences.

Engage your followers on social media

Social media is an obvious tool for expanding and interacting with your audience, but you need to have a plan for it to be effective. Developing a connection to your followers and leveraging that into reads and subscriptions involves a few key steps:

Know your audience: Before you can reach your audience, you need to know who they might be. Think about who you want to reach with your stories, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What are they interested in?
  • Why are they reading my story? What do they want to get from it?
  • Where do they gather online?

Here’s an example audience profile: People who live in New York City interested in the history of the borough they live in, who may have their own stories to tell about how their neighborhoods have changed. They may spend time on borough-specific subreddits or historical Facebook groups.

You don’t need to develop an extensive profile—you’ll note we didn’t answer every question exactly—but putting yourself in your audience’s shoes will give you a strong starting point for your overall social media strategy.

Choose a platform: Using the information in your audience profile, determine which social media platforms your potential readers use for sharing the kinds of stories you create. Facebook groups, subreddits, Instagram, Twitter, and Discord or Mastodon servers all have unique styles of interaction that certain groups might prefer more.

If that sounds overwhelming, fear not—you don’t need to jump into a multi-platform marketing campaign as soon as you publish your first story. Finding the best place to reach your audience will probably take some research and experimentation, so don’t be afraid to take it slow.

You can also check out our guides for engaging your Twitter and Instagram followers for more specific advice. [Link: How to Bring Your Twitter Followers to Vocal][Link: How to Bring Your Instagram Followers to Vocal]

Follow the etiquette of your platform of choice: Every community has its own rules, whether it’s a Mastodon server or a subreddit. Rules against self-promotion are common, so make sure you know the rules before you start posting.

In general, it’s best to do more than just promote your work. Posting relevant content and participating in discussions on others’ posts shows that you have a stake in the community beyond what it can do for you.

When you do get the opportunity to show off your work, do it with your own personal flair—your audience wants to see that you’re a human being, not a marketing bot.

Keep a schedule: You may not publish a new story every week, but keeping a regular schedule of interacting with your audience will keep them engaged over time. For example, you can:

  • Ask your followers questions and chat with them in the comments on your social media posts
  • Post content relevant to your stories and interests
  • Post about your milestones

How often you should post ultimately depends on your platform of choice. Try starting out with one post per week so you can determine when your followers are most responsive and what’s appropriate for your platform without committing too much of your time.

Link to your Vocal profile: Add a link to your Vocal profile in your other social media profiles to make it easy for curious followers to find your work. You should also link back to your socials in your Vocal bio so your subscribers know where they can talk more and get updates on your life and work.

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Comments (21)

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  • Grace Isatayo 7 months ago

    Thank you so much. This is useful. I really want to know how I can start uploading my own stories and write ups, I am new to this community

  • Muhammad Aliabout a year ago

    Great tips on how to engage and expand your audience! I particularly appreciate the emphasis on thoughtful commenting and fostering relationships with other creators. It's easy to get caught up in promoting our own work, but taking the time to engage with others and provide valuable feedback can lead to mutually beneficial collaborations and a stronger sense of community.

  • Dylan about a year ago

    Thank you! This is very helpful as I grow my following!

  • Stevi-Lee Alverabout a year ago

    Hi everyone, I'm new here. Check out this short story of mine and let's connect: https://vocal.media/humans/the-lovers-we-lose

  • TLCP Creationsabout a year ago

    Thank you very much for this! :)

  • SHANMUGA PRIYA Cabout a year ago

    Nice.Thank you for the guidance.

  • Amir Hossainabout a year ago

    That's excellent advice!

  • Gobi Munusamyabout a year ago

    nice

  • Dawn Earnshawabout a year ago

    Yes real helpful engaging the audience? Who are they? Etc good thinking 🤔 I will use this ; thank you.

  • Sarahmarie Specht-Birdabout a year ago

    This was really helpful. Thank you! Social media does not come naturally to me, and promoting my work feels weird and overwhelming to me, so it was great to get some specific tips.

  • Manikanda Ramanabout a year ago

    It's Wondering my mind

  • Tyler Simmonds about a year ago

    Love this. Engaging with readers is important. Rather you like what they say or not.

  • Winner grace!!about a year ago

    super

  • Alex H Mittelman about a year ago

    If anyone’s reading this, please read one of my stories! I’d love to know if anyone’s “been in a similar situation” to the story and what they did about it!

  • Sughran Khushiabout a year ago

    Please read my story how to write a fiction story about time traveler how can i grow in this platform share some tips and tricks.

  • Cheryl E Prestonabout a year ago

    it sounds good in theory but there are more negative commenters out there that you don't want to engage with. They troll writers all over social media.

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a year ago

    Good information

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    A lot of this is just basic good manners. It would be wonderful if this was widely practiced on Vocal. I notice there are cliques on here of people in the same Facebook groups, and they will only engage with one another. That’s super strange. Vocal is supposed to be a community itself.

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    I leave comments on other stories more than I respond to comments on my own. I need to change that. Thank you for the actionable tips 👍

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