Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So, You Think You Want to Promote, Huh?

Promoting yourself.

It seems like such an easy thing to do. With all these social networking sites, giveaways, support groups, and of course, your own genius, you should have hundreds of followers by next Wednesday if you just work hard enough, right?

Wrong. It has nothing to do with how hard you work. (Okay, a little bit to do with that, meaning, you actually have to post and spend time on your various sites.) And, little known fact, if you actually work too hard, in the wrong ways, you'll actually get yourself banned or suspended from the sites you're trying to grow.

Before we get into specifics, let's get your basic outline ready. (If you don't think you need do. Many, many people forget their original promotion goals as they start down this path.)

So, here's the way to promote yourself, and build your audience organically. Remember, you want them to like you, not be annoyed by your existence.

1: Determine what you are promoting.

This is important. It seems silly. Duh, Ninette, I'm promoting my books / blog / online store / ebay business / whatever. Yes, you are. Don't forget it. Each has a different purpose, and will need to be promoted in different ways toward the end of your journey. Write it down. What are you promoting?

2: Use a multitude of platforms.

Each site has its own unique audience, and there are posts, pictures, and memes that will be wildly popular on some, but fail miserably on others. (Don't worry, we're coming back to this after three).

3: Post a variety of content.

 - Ecards have worked very, very well for me, memes that you've created--please, do not lift memes from other people. You want people to like you. You do not want to fool them into thinking you're something you are not, and plus, don't you feel squidgy taking someone else's work? I bet you're funnier / more genuine / more informative than them anyway.

How to do this? Take a picture of something, or use a free meme generator. Slap the photo into paint, and caption it. Then upload it to your wall...with your branding. The goal is for people to share your content from your page, everyone to love it and come flocking to you. (This does, sometimes, work. Last week I went from 350 likes to 1180 likes on Facebook. From one card.)

Post recipes with amazing pictures (that you took). Or crafts that you can do easily. Or photo-essays, voice-over comics. Post anything you want. Make some longwinded and some short and snappy. Have some lead with links to your blog / content / product, have some lead to your other networking sites to cross your audiences, and have some be the end product all by themselves.

Variety in all forms.

DETOUR: Here is a list of sites you can use to promote and what types of posts work best on each:

Facebook: Ecards, small graphics, macros, status updates (use your status updates as a shareable item. Post funny, off-the-cuff updates. They circulate almost as fast as meme photos), blog links. Remember, people on Facebook are used to clicking on articles that lead them off-site. They will be more likely to click on your blog link than almost any other audience, excepting:

Twitter: Blog links work here, too, but if you want a successful Twitter account, you must play Twitter's game. Use the hashtags. Use them. And not as tags like you would on your blog, and not just for random stuff you are saying. Twitter is a conversation. Think of it as the Starbucks of the 1990s. The coffee shop where everyone is shouting to be heard, but everyone is too hip to shout. Yes. That. Find the trending hashtags, and see if you have anything to say. Say it. Don't link there unless it's relevant. The more intelligent 140-character statements you can make under a hashtag, the more you will be seen. Follow a lot of people whom you find interesting. Tweet at them only when you have something to say. You'll find that once you've built an organic following, people will be tweeting at you and forwarding your links because they are interested in you.

Tumblr: Best for gifs, macros, fandoms, quotes, youtube videos, etc. Tag all your posts so that people looking for women's issues, or romance, or books, or writing, can find it. They'll follow you, no doubt.

Your blog: Derp. Just put your posts here, and link to them where you can. After a certain number of posts, Google search engines pick you up and you'll see an uptick in traffic. Use pictures. That way those looking for images will stumble across your blog, too.

Here are some I don't get, but are a force: Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg, Instagram.

4: Share content from others freely with attribution.

Other bloggers will take notice of you eventually, and you broaden out your base by sharing original content from others. For instance, on my mommy blog Facebook, I post gardening, cooking and crafting pictures from other people from their page. People on my page appreciate being shown another page they might be interested in, and they appreciate that I'm diversifying my content for them (because I cannot post original crafts, cooking, or gardening. Trust that. I suck at them.)

5: Hop on hot topics:

You will get a lot of organic hits simply by saying something about a topic that is on the top of people's minds at the moment. Don't shy away from these. That's what the Twitter hash tags are for, after all. What is going on right now that people are interested in? Are you interested in it? Write about it. Engage other bloggers and journalists who have written about the same topic. Link to them in your post, debate with them on Facebook, tweet at them.

Remember the point is not to get mass amounts of followers who don't care. The point is to get the followers who do care, who will share--not because you asked them to, but because they find your stuff relevant and interesting--and to find the followers who are group influencers.

This is a series! I'll explain group influencers in one of the next rounds, along with more promotion tips.

Good luck!


  1. Great thoughts, just what I needed to get me thinking a bit bigger about promotion.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Great tips and now I am getting ideas :-)