Either way, getting people to respond to, forward, follow, favorite, share, like, note, retweet, pin, post, or otherwise promote your content can seem ten times as arduous as creating it in the first place.
If you ever feel like you’re sending blogs out into an abyss of faceless indifference, it’s time to start targeting your social media.
Your Best Facebook Friend
For targeted Facebook posts, tagging is your new best friend. Tagging is linking to someone’s personal or company Facebook page by putting the @ symbol before it. While Facebook tends to restrict tagging from business pages, it’s fair game on your personal timeline. Use it. The people you tag can always decide whether to pass along your info, but they are far more inclined to do so if they are directly invoked in your post. Most of the time, they will even appreciate the gesture.
Want to tell people about the etiquette book you have coming out? Don’t just post the oh-so-vague:
Just found out that my etiquette book, “Posh and Proper,” will be available at the end of this week! So excited that that my book will finally see the world! Thanks, everyone, who helped make it happen.
Sure, that says a lot about your feelings, but it does nothing for promotion. Instead, target specific people (or, even better, businesses) who helped you get to this point. Tag your editor and your friend who helped you brainstorm. Attach a photo of the cover art and thank the designer.
Make it sound organic, not just a litany of names:
So excited that my etiquette book, “Posh and Proper,” will go on sale May 31 from Publish Here Press. Thanks to Jane Doe for this gorgeous cover art and John Smith, editor extraordinaire. Couldn’t have done it w/o my BFF, Katie. Spread the word!
It is likely that everyone mentioned here will share your post with their professional, and some personal, contacts: the publisher and editor for sales, the cover designer to display her work, and Katie because she’s your best friend.
True, many of these people—especially Katie—would probably share anyway if they knew about the post and its importance. By tagging everyone, you tip off that: 1) the post exists, and 2) they should share it. This directive is fine for the back pocket, as is the paid “Boost Post” feature, used wisely.
Hold the Hashtags
When it comes to tweeting, it’s easy to get distracted by hashtags. While niche hashtags that still get some traffic and truly have something in common with your content might do the trick, they can also distract from your main link, where you want to drive everyone.
True, hashtags can get your tweet more views, but more often than not, they just position your tweet in another glutted, anonymous region of the twittersphere, where no one knows or cares who you are.
Instead, as with Facebook, mention someone by name (again, using @, followed by their handle). While you have to be more sparing with your acknowledgements due to character limit and readability, people (or businesses!) mentioned will often retweet your message, favorite it, respond, or even follow you if they haven’t already. So, you can use this to simultaneously expand your network.
For this reason, it can be helpful to mention people who simply have similar interests to the topic you are tweeting about—especially those who follow or are followed by lots of people. Those with heaps of followers will give you tons of views if they re-tweet your message. And those who follow a lot of people are more likely to follow you, too. A good candidate is someone who has both. You can find these people by using advanced search tools, browsing bios, or looking at the third-party contacts of your current likeminded Twitter contacts.
Twitter is less personal than Facebook (i.e. you can “follow” Barack Obama, but he is probably not your Facebook friend) and also more focused on the exponential returns of sharing. The combination of these factors make it more tailored toward promotional reciprocity. As always, be sure to return the favor!
Remember The Cardinal Rule
Of course, targeted promotion is not exempt from the granddaddy of all social media protocol: Don’t. Overdo. It. Whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter, remember to tag sparingly, use only 20% of your posts for promotion, and let the network take it from there. More than two-thirds of social media users have dropped someone because they post too frequently.
It may not work every time, but be patient. You can change up your game, but don’t abandon targeted sharing.
Kimberly C. Steele is a freelance writer and small-press publisher living in Philadelphia and New York. When she’s not working, writing short stories, or reading manuscripts, she is researching the next big trends in copywriting and trying to understand tech blogs.