It’s probably safe to say that if you’re creating any kind of content and you’re using social media (even minimally), you have, at some point, used social media to promote your content. We’ve all done this. After all, social media is a great way to spread the word about what you’re doing. It’s also a great way to attract new fans, followers, and potential customers.
In short, there’s really no reason not to.
Of course, social media marketing comes with its own set of problems – as does anything, really. For one, you have to be careful that you aren’t over-promoting yourself, lest you just turn into the self-obsessed noise that everyone ignores. That’s certainly not a good way to build business, much less a dedicated readership.
Along with that, you don’t want to be too aggressive. Once you have a taste of success in terms of marketing your content or sharing news about your business via social media, it’s easy to say, “let’s keep doing that, but with more intensity and more frequency.” Maybe you’ve obtained more followers or seen your blog traffic spike since you’ve been sharing on social channels. When it works, it’s admittedly difficult to consider doing anything else.
But there is such thing as too much of a good thing, and sometimes you need someone to pull your hands away from the keyboard and nicely but firmly tell you to look at what you’re doing. Sometimes, the constant marketing can actually be a detriment and take away from your success.
Let me give you an example. Recently, across various social channels, I’ve had several people send me links to something they thought I should read. That doesn’t really sound like a problem, right? But I took issue with it.
First of all, I didn’t know any of these people. When a friend or a trusted source sends me something to read, I generally check it out. When a friend or a trusted source tweets out links to content, I know what kind of material they generally read, so I know the kind of quality to expect. But when someone who hasn’t even tried to establish a relationship with me sends me something and says, “I think you’ll like this,” I get kind of suspicious. Sometimes I even get a little irritated. We’ve never spoken. How do you know anything about my preferences except perhaps in the broadest of senses?
Next, in an effort to make these messages seem personalized and therefore not spammy, sometimes the person will agree with a point that I’ve made or laugh at some joke that I haven’t told. They’ll create some message that looks like they’re talking to me. Some of them are really good, too.
And then I’ll check and they’ve sent the same message with the same link to fifty other people. That cheapens the excitement of having someone new talk to me and eliminates my interest in what they have to say.
But still, I’ll always check really fast to satisfy my own curiosity: did the person sending this link to me also create the content? I have never received a message like this that hasn’t been self-promotional. It seems to always be someone trying, rather desperately, to get people to read his or her work.
In short, yes. You want to get your message out to a targeted group of people. But don’t turn into a spammer for it. It’s all very shady and disingenuous. It won’t make people trust you, and if they don’t trust you, they’re not going to read your content. As harsh as this sounds, many of them won’t even take you seriously.
It’s okay to be bold with your social media efforts. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of self-promotion as long as you’re balancing it out by promoting others, as well. But keep yourself in check. Instead of bombarding someone with links to content that you think they should read, take the time to get to know that person. Learn about who they are beyond the avatar. Then share your content and ask for shares, retweets, comments, and so forth – if they feel so inclined.
Remember that begging is not attractive. It’s so easy to get carried away with social media, especially when we’re just getting started and we’re eager to build a following. Trust yourself. If your content is quality, it will speak for itself. It will attract readers and keep them coming back for more, and you won’t have to Twitter-bomb or Facebook-spam an entire population of targeted readers.
I want you, oh, Social Sharer of Content, to be genuinely interested in getting to know me instead of curious as to what I can do for you. I have a good sense of humor and I’m a compendium of useless-but-interesting music trivia. I think you’d really like me! So please don’t make me (or anyone else) feel like you’re using me as a social media tool.
photo credit: social implications