A new member of my community here at ye olde blog, Juan Pablo Hurtado, asked a really good question in response to my last post, so I thought I would share it, and my answer, for everyone to see.
Juan asked how we can tell whether we are sharing or pushing, and how we can avoid pushing.
Great question, right?
Here’s my take on it, and we’ll see if you agree.
Show and Tell
Remember show and tell from when you were a kid? You’d stand up in front of your classmates and say, “Well, this is a very spiffy pencil that I got and it has feathers on it and it’s very pretty.” Okay, so you probably wouldn’t show and tell a pencil, but anyway, show and tell was not inherently about bragging per se, right? It was more about, “Well, here is this thing that I want to tell you about.”
If you want to make sure you are sharing in the world of Social Media but you’re not sure where that line of icky is, try to imagine you are standing in front of, well, everyone who follows you, and it’s show and tell time. If you have a new post up on your blog, say, “Hey, I have this information I’d like to share with you if you want.”
Ways to share
There are a lot of ways to share with this kind of tonality. A lot of it is just using your common sense. Here are some great ways to “show and tell” blog posts or other content without being pushy.
• If/when you tweet out your posts over a certain time period, try to vary how you present the information. Like anything, try to make it interesting and conversational. This has several benefits. First, it shows that you are not just broadcasting information but rather are legitimately trying to share. Second, for people who see your tweets on a regular basis, they won’t feel like they are experiencing deja vous all over again. Adapting how you share also allows you to evolve with the situation. For example, if you are getting a lot of good comments on a post, maybe tweet just that fact out instead of the name of your post.
• If you are engaged in a conversation and you just happened to write a post about that specific subject, mention that you have written on the topic and include a link to your post. Don’t press people to “go read now.” Just let it sit there. This logic holds true for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even, on occasion, in comment sections of other peoples’ blog posts. Use this last one sparingly though. Pointedly linking to one of your blog posts when on someone else’s site can be a bit like showing everyone pictures of your new house at someone’s house warming party.
• Perhaps the trickiest method of sharing is CCing someone or mentioning someone when you tweet out a post. If you have a genuine reason to do so, it can be nice. For example, when I wrote my blog promotion post, I wanted Dawn and Dan to know that I had mentioned them, so I CCd them on Twitter. However, if you CC or mention different people over and over again as you promote the post, and if there’s no mention of them in the post, that can start to rub people the wrong way. My personal preference is for someone to ask me directly, “Can you please help me promote my post.” This is often done via email or direct message.
What is being pushy?
So if all of the above could be categorized as sharing, what is pushing? Let’s go back to the show and tell scenario. Imagine that another kid is presenting his cute pencil. Suddenly, you storm out from the corner of the classroom and shove him out of the way. Then you calmly start talking about your pencil.
That’s being pushy.
So what is the online version of being a Kindergarten wrestler?
Think about what the opposites of the above actions would be. So, in other words:
• Send direct messages to 27 people with a link to your post, but do not otherwise speak to them (there’s that get to give again, right?)
• Pepper all of your comments with links to your latest 5 blog posts
• Promote other people but always tack on a link to your own content or project at the end
• Tweet your post half a dozen times, each time listing 6 or 7 people after the link (for no apparent reason)
I’ve seen a couple of scenarios recently where people have, in my opinion, crossed the line between sharing and being pushy. They are good people, so I am sure they are not meaning to be pushy. But that is what can happen. You can start to rub people the wrong way, and rather than confront you, people will just say, “Oh, man. That person. Well, I’m unfollowing, unfriending, unsubscribing, and uninterested.”
Did this help?
The difference between sharing and pushing information in the world of Social Media really gets to the crux of what we’ve been talking about this week – getting your information out, being nice about it, and giving as much feedback as you want to receive.
Do you see it differently? Any questions? Give a holler in the comments and let’s talk about it!
Image by Alan Rainbow. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Wia-Tirol