When you first start getting involved in Twitter and the blogosphere, it’s kind of like going to a new place for the first time. Everything is bright and shiny and new and exciting. It seems like everyone talks about “giving to get.” People who write really good stuff get the credit. It’s all a Polyanna could wish for.
As you stick with it longer, you start to see that people who have a lot of Twitter followers or a lot of blog activity tend to have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Actually, it’s kind of easy to learn about a lot of those tricks because people write about them on their blogs. I’ve come to recognize 10 ways that people seem to use successfully on a regular basis to grow their Social Media presence.
My problem is that personally, I don’t like doing any of them. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. It just means they’re out of my comfort zone. Here are those ten ways I’m talking about.
1. Posting links to blogs in chats: This is a great way to drive traffic to your blog, especially if you’re participating in #blogchat on Sunday nights. However, it just doesn’t seem natural to me to interject into a conversation, “by the way, check out this blog post I wrote about that.” I feel like chats are there for chatting, like a conversation. Do you bring a portfolio to a cocktail party? Maybe. It just seems weird to me.
2. Asking people to promote blog posts: I talked about this one in my post about how to get 25% of your readers to take an action on your blog. Asking a person with a lot of pull to tweet out your blog post can drive huge amounts of traffic to your blog, and may even introduce you to new people who want to subscribe to your blog. However, the big name is probably just acting out of a sense of obligation. Did they read the post before tweeting it out? Hard to say sometimes. I don’t feel comfortable asking people to promote my posts. I want to know that they really liked them, and I want them to pass on my posts to others because they think it’s worthwhile.
3. Arguing with a big name on Twitter: If you get into it with an influential person on Twitter, you’ll get a lot of attention because the person with pull will be using your name a lot. Personally, I’d rather be known for doing nice things.
4. “Calling out:” Similar to the arguing on Twitter, a lot of people “call out” big names in their blog posts. “Oh, so and so is such a sell-out.” Those kinds of posts. Again, this is a great way to drive traffic to your post, and you might even get a good ole flash mob in your comments section. Is that really what you want?
5. Super controversial blog posts: It’s pretty easy to be controversial online. You could write a post called, “Social Media is stupid.” You could write a post called, “I think shooting elephants is a good idea.” You’ll get a lot of traffic and a lot of comments. Do you really mean what you say, though? Do you want to be tied to that point of view forever?
6. Ultra-Personal posts: I wrote awhile back about how personal posts can be prickly. There is a difference between being personable and personal. Yes, writing about really personal stuff will probably get you a lot of traffic and comments and tweets. Do you want that information out there though? Do you want your boss or your clients reading about how you had anorexia when you were a teenager? Maybe you do. But it can be tricky.
7. Forgetting what it was like to be new: A lot of people comment that they like my posts because I try to avoid saying things like, “This will definitely work.” That’s because I remember all too well what it was like to be new to this online world. I read all of those “10 best ways” posts, and none of them worked for me. It made me feel like I was doing something wrong or missing a trick. I don’t want to make you feel that way anywhere in the online world where we meet up.
8. Swearing: Do I swear in the confines of my home? Yeah. Do I swear at a client meeting? Heck no. Therefore, I do not swear here. I am in the minority in this issue. If you put an f-bomb or two into your blog headline, you are sure to get a lot of traffic. If you call “BS” on something, you’ll probably do well. My take is generally that if you can’t get people to flock to the post because of the concept, you probably need to improve the post rather than writing like a sailor.
9. Retweeting anything I’m mentioned in: I have been very fortunate. A lot of people have mentioned me kindly in tweets or in blog posts. I am always torn about how to react to these events. A lot of people simply retweet the post or the tweet. “There, that gets my name out there and sends some awareness to the person.” But if all you do is retweet nice things about yourself, aren’t you really kind of out there like a peacock complimenting yourself? I tend to promote a post if the quality is good and then disclose, with gratitude, that I am mentioned. I simply say thank you to tweets. Would it help me get super-huge online if I retweeted that stuff? I dunno. It seems to work for lots of people.
10. Ignoring people who don’t have a lot of followers: Trey Pennington joked about this in his post about Klout awhile back. Make sure you don’t talk to people who only have a few followers because they won’t improve your Klout score at all. Unfortunately, I think some people really do think that’s a legit way to go about things. “You’re too small potatoes for me now. I don’t want to send my influence your way. Frankly, I love it when people who are trying to learn this game follow me as one of their first follows on Twitter. There are a lot of people to choose from, and they chose me.
So those are ten great tricks that I ignore at my own peril. How about you? Do you find success doing these things? Why am I wrong?
1st Image by Paul Brunskill. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bigdodaddy
2nd Image by Robert Aichinger. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/raichinger