When does social content promotion cross the line to become spam? One bright red line is when a user arrogantly pings other users. This post highlights content pitching worst practices and offers humility-based solutions that work.
Having just attended the vaunted #NMX conference (New Media Expo/blogworld), we were moved by how deeply magnanimous speakers and attendees were. Whether the content creator was a bootstrapping blogger or Hollywood bigwig video producer, those we met had their hands extended in true friendship…asking for nothing and offering brilliant information. NMX’s unselfish community provided stark contrast to a spammy Twitter content pitch we received today. Our team took it as continuing inspiration to be as altruistic as possible in our social content promotion tactics.
On the flight back to Minnesota, a blogger we don’t know cluttered our Twitter @ replies feed with gratuitous self-promotion. What? This blogger is bragging up their personal writing AND pinged @aimClear in Twitter as a tactic? Yucky! The ping was probably out of respect for aimClear’s reputation for promoting content with psychographic social distribution, hoping for some retweet love. Truly we appreciate that. Still, it’s such a good example of what not to do that we decided to share. We’ve redacted names, links and other identifiable information because we have no desire to out this person. We’re in no way passing judgement on the content which was being promoted, because we didn’t read it.
Settling down into the flight we had a closer look at the Twitter user’s profile and discovered that @aimClear was one of several folks this blogger pinged with @ replies. Moreover, this person rarely tweets or blogs and has a terrible following-to-followed ratio. There’s a more important lesson here than meets the eye.
- Check your pronouns. Avoid using “me,” “my,” “I,” and other self-centered words in social posts. Instead, say “We,” “Ours” and “Us.” It’s not impressive to blow your own horn in public. Let others say you’re great, unique, deep or whatever.
- Don’t ping other users unless there’s a darn good reason to do so.
- If you really want to ping someone in a social channel, it’s OK to reach out via Twitter and publicly use the @ sign. However, tread lightly. It’s easy to come off as spammy. Don’t tweet, “Hey aimClear YOU are featured in my blog post about “XYZ.” Instead, excerpt a thought-provoking sentence from the blog post (or even the blog headline) and include a social cc. Publicly tweet: ‘Why boldface bragging & pinging users can land you in hot water!” cc @aimClear. This is a slippery slope. Do a gut check. Will the user you’re pinging care? Really? Why?
- It’s even better to send a direct message if possible to alert that particular someone you’ve targeted that you’ve got content, in private. Send a DM to a pitch target in any channel where that person follows you. If your target does not follow you in any community, try the contact form on that person’s blog. Make your message magnanimous to offset the reality the correspondence is self-promotional. Research your target and include something publicly personal to illustrate you’ve done your homework: “Marty, I’ve been following you for years. I don’t want to be presumptuous but would be grateful for your feedback on my blog post, ‘XYZ.’ Hope you’re staying warm up there in Minnesota.”
Keep in mind subtleties matter. One blindly arrogant sentence in a pitch email can signal a recipient the person pitching is at least in some part clueless.
NMX’s generous community provided glaring contrast to an arrogant content pitch cluttering Twitter today. Let’s all take it as inspiration to be more selfless in our content promotion.
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