Tips to be more successful on social media with content promotion
I‘ve been promoting my children‘s book for 4 months now. I already wrote about the content marketing strategy in Content marketing: What is the best way to promote a book?
Although I‘m not in the content promotion for long, as a reader and author I can see room for improvement on other authors‘ SM profiles. So, hear me out, my intentions are good.
For my promotion channels, I chose email marketing, Facebook, and Instagram. Here are my insights about what works and what doesn‘t:
Email marketing – Don‘t write an email in 5 minutes
Because you can get more customers via emails than any other media. Because you have to keep those relationships thriving.
Instead, I would suggest these:
Bring REAL value to get their email addresses
Don‘t give people a crappy eBook about nothing in exchange for their personal data. If I see an eBook is a fiasco, I unsubscribe quickly. Everybody offers some products nowadays, there is so much content people can read for free. Surprise them by giving something they really need.
You can even offer it as a long-form content on your website. Then offer the readers to download it in PDF. People don‘t like to keep tabs open and get back to long content after 7 days. With an eBook, they can read it any time they like.
My value – an eBook about parenting with concrete psychologists’ advice. I quoted sources, added my own suggestions, created visuals, and did my best to format it properly in 2 languages. God, it took time to create it. But it‘s evergreen.
Don‘t spam people by writing every day
I once subscribed to a woman who claimed she earned tons of money in a short time. After her video “People ask me how I‘m always so happy“ (WTF?), I decided it was time to say goodbye.
Advice – don‘t send emails because it‘s time. Write when you really have something to say. Like 1 email a week.
Don‘t write long mails
I don‘t read anything that is more than 2 paragraphs long. I try to write the same length for my followers. I try to stick to 3 if I can‘t help myself. But sometimes it‘s 5 :/
Really bring value 2
Write something that your subscribers haven‘t seen on your social media profiles yet. Give them a little present no one gets but them.
Currently, I am giving parents coloring sheets with affirmations for kids (I‘m promoting a children‘s book about growing up). They are not excited about it but I‘m still experimenting.
Personalize but not in a predictable way
It‘s nice to put a recipient‘s name in an email but don‘t ALWAYS put it in salutation. And don‘t ALWAYS put it in the subject line. They can all see that it‘s a formula. It‘s not so personal then.
Don‘t end your email with “OK, guys“
If you started with personalized (Fname), you can‘t say “Thank you, everybody“ at the end.
Don‘t offer your courses every time you write something
it‘s spammy and salesy.
Don‘t stray away completely from the topic people subscribed to
If you offered them content about writing, don‘t talk about what you cook or travel. Since I talk to parents, I try to make every email useful by giving a piece of advice on parenting and life.
Simplify the process as much as possible
Sometimes it takes me more than an hour to write 1 simple email. I try to be succinct and engaging. And I have 2 lists of subscribers in my MailChimp since I write in both Serbian and English.
Don’t be like me.
Ask them to give you their feedback
Show them you really care about what they think. Create a relationship. And you will get fresh ideas to write about.
Don’t sell your subscribers’ addresses
Or exchange them with another blogger. It’s against the GPDR, strict European regulation on data protection and privacy. If only one member from your list is a European, you can get penalized.
I subscribed to only 1 guy from Medium. Recently I got an email from another Medium writer. I unsubscribed immediately.
I guess someone reported him by now.
Create a Facebook page that belongs to someone alive
If you want to be seen as a decent person, act like one. The same applies to social networks.
Find your mission first
Then you will get your tribe.
Simon Sinek says you will succeed if you show other people what you believe in (the famous Golden Circle and the core question Why?). They will recognize your beliefs and feel more connected with you. People have a need to grow and they appreciate the communication within the group.
I show my own values which other mothers recognize: child‘s development, healthy environment, wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, but also a few scientific facts and a realistic take on life.
Be a good host, don‘t have a Napoleon complex
I often see writers and vloggers posting just their own content. It takes time to post regularly by putting other people‘s stuff as well. And I guess they don’t want their audience to stray away from their page. For me, that‘s boring and self-promotional.
You are not Hemingway‘s publisher. Or Hemingway himself. No one is interested in you, people want a connection or to have fun. So, try to be a good host instead. Act like a human being.
Post something that doesn‘t belong to you
At least write a comment about somebody else’s work or a piece of news.
Quote credible sources. You don‘t have to put their link below the story, but at least put the name of the source.
For companies, it is advisable to have the 5:3:2 rule on what to post on social media (other people‘s 5 pieces of content : your 3 pieces that aren’t too salesy : your 2 pieces of personal fun content). I loosened it up a bit. Still, I post other people‘s content – I‘m a real person who believes in those ideas.
I also mix my translation skills with a marketer‘s storytelling – for example, I retell a text from a British or American source into Serbian as the hero‘s journey. Speaking of which…
Tell SHORT stories
Present them in an easily digestible way. This can be quite difficult and an opportunity to exercise your copywriting skills. Cut every extra word, make the paragraphs short and clear.
Use a plot and characters to make a point. Stories always go better than numbers. Statistics don‘t mean anything to people, they need something emotional they can relate to.
Mix educational and entertaining
I posted a comment on the Guardian‘s article about how much pollution comes from buying new clothes. I added emojis and a beautiful picture.
At that time I had about 100 Facebook followers. I shared the post on a local Zero Waste group. Take a look at the numbers for Engagement and Share below. This thing goes well.
Do spice it up with emojis, but don‘t overdo it
They make your posts more attractive and easily digestible. Sprinkle them through the text. 1-2 emojis per paragraph is enough.
Cut the fluff
People rarely read big chunks of text. 2-3 lines per paragraph is enough. Remember – white space.
Use hashtags below the text to attract new people
I‘m having a great time on my Facebook page. Moms don‘t read only about parenting, so I write posts about health, diet, and interesting trivia. In other words: air pollution, the connection between high IQ and mental problems, why wellness is fake, stool donors, etc.
Nevertheless, I focus on what my potential customers care about. I also post what can be in tune with my main message:
Life is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and rewarding.
And if you analyze hashtags of different posts, you will see they are often the same: #psychology, #parenting, #growingup, #health, #woman, etc.
Be careful not to spend 2-3 hours on one Facebook post
Like me. If I had the time, I would turn this into a portal. It‘s fun.
I translate a post, turn it into a story, find the right picture, polish it into perfection, and wrap it up with emojis and hashtags. It looks awesome. But I have to chill a bit with it.
I mean, look
They don‘t care about you if you‘re not useful to them
I see a mom vlogger talking about how her son is growing up so fast every day. She takes pictures of him and occasionally throws a quick recipe.
What differs her from the most successful mom vloggers is that she doesn‘t have the phrase to help or entertain others in her head. She just knows she has to post regularly and put a CTA question in the end: “And what do you think?“
Her son is special only to her, her friends, and her family.
You CAN be useful even in the parenting niche. Write about your challenges, what motivates and angers you, how you‘ve overcome problems your followers have…
Readers‘ respect and appreciation come with time. You really have to bring value and gain trust first. Post useful.
Be creative, play with the network, and post in different formats to get more engagement
- Post YOUR photos – show who you are and why you care about your cause. Also, images grab people‘s attention while scrolling more than text does,
- share your Instagram stories on Facebook – they have a big open rate,
- use quotations – because your readers want to look smart in front of others, so they are more likely to click LIKE. Just don‘t write those which everybody knows,
- post short videos – a social video gets 1200% more shares than text and images combined, according to crackitt.com. If you don‘t have one, share somebody else‘s if it is according to your values,
- post a music video in tune with your message (like I posted Sia‘s Snowman in December),
- create a gif in Canva and post it, etc.
Again, don‘t ever forget about your buyer persona‘s interest
You‘ll be tempted.
My most popular post was about biodegradable shopping bags. I shared it in a Zero Waste local community and it went viral. It reached over 26,000 people, engaged more than 6,000 of them, had 100 shares, and got me 30 – 40 new followers when I had only 80 of them.
However, I started thinking more and more about publishing zero-waste posts and then decided to stop with it. Not all moms are zero waste, not all zero-waste followers are parents of schoolchildren.
You don‘t have to ask a moronic “What do you think?“ just to have a CTA
If people find the post engaging, they will respond anyway. See what works, and then comment on newspaper articles and other people‘s art. Give your personal impressions about the latest news. And someone will react or say something.
Don‘t chase numbers. Quality wins over time
As I said in my most popular post How to write on Medium, I don‘t believe in 100K followers and churning content because it is often drab and low-quality. And I want the audience who know how to think for themselves.
Use current events to give a personal touch
It was the end of December, I made a zero-waste Christmas tree. It was a hit! I wrote about how to explain to your child that Santa doesn‘t exist. Many people read it.
You never know what will go well
I opened a Facebook group “Belgrade mama” and hesitated to invite my friends to join it FOR 6 MONTHS. I neither did anything similar nor did I want to bother my friends with my promotion.
Now I‘m still surprised how well people respond to a post of mine. And how they don‘t to another one.
And it amazes me that among the most popular ones are my blog posts. Such as Life is uncomfortable, unpredictable and rewarding below when I had less than 100 followers:
Enough about Facebook, let’s go to Instagram now.
Instagram – Don‘t post there everything you have on Facebook
Adapt to the platform
Have different content. Otherwise, you’ll be predictable and boring. Your followers may think you don’t care much about their user experience. Why should they follow you on both?
I gave up on posting every new piece on Instagram for now – people like the picture, but they rarely click to read the post on the website. I post only really important texts. If your audience is small and inactive, and you don‘t have much time, focus on the network with larger feedback (the famous Bull‘s eye).
But with so many switching Facebook for Instagram, it’s good to be present here.
Again, don‘t be too promotional
Don‘t post just your face and lovely body to make a point. If you aren‘t Kim Kardashian, you are again too self-absorbed. It doesn‘t look like personal branding if there is just you in every post. I mean, take a look at this beautiful Socrates.
Also, the golden rule 5:3:2 applies to Instagram as well. If you put only images of your blog posts, you are too promotional. No one is interested in that, not even your friends. But put a Paw Patrol lookout tower made of toilet paper, and a miracle happens! People want personal stories. They want to see your life. They want funny. They don’t want to be sold to.
Join the forces of Instagram and Facebook
When you boost a post on Facebook, it can also be shown on Instagram. I used this to promote my eBook on the problems of growing up.
For the time being, I post on Instagram once or twice a week. I don’t like to spam people with mediocre content just to remind them I exist.
This is how a part of my Instagram feed looks:
- Image No.1 – I swore to have no more sweets and white flour from tomorrow above pancakes, chocolate cookies pops, and a chocolate cake
- Image No.2 – My son’s book about blackbirds in Word (he is trying to copy my book Just a blackbird)
- Image No.3 – Jean-Paul Sartre on loneliness (promotes my post Loneliness vs. Solitude)
- Image No.4 – The cover of my children’s book Just a blackbird – The story about growing up (promotional)
- Image No.5 – My daughter’s drawing on Viber (don’t be afraid of socialism, parts of it are all over Europe)
- Image No.6 – A set of pictures from Corfu, Greece where we spent our summer vacation
As you can see, only 2 out of 6 photos are promotional,referring to my blog posts about growing up.
A few more tips on Instagram
- Use hashtags and strangers will come across your image: #pawpatrol #lookouttower #handcrafts.
- Share Instagram stories and posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.
- Use Highlights to keep the best stories here. This way they won’t disappear after 24 hours and they will engage your new followers.
- Edit Link in BIO regularly by posting a link to your latest article in it. Unfortunately, you can have only 1 clickable link on Instagram. Another example of trying to be not too much self-promotional:
- Image No.1 – I‘ve grown magic beans in my kitchen
- Image No.2 – me talking to a Christmas decoration
- Image No.3 – Christmas treats for kids from a relative who lives abroad
- Image No.4 – an image for my blog post about Santa
- Image No.5 – a low-waste Christmas tree our family made
- Image No.6 – we went to a restaurant and I tried delicious vegan burgers
They are all images connecting to parenting and family, with just 1 blog post about growing up (Santa).
As far as LinkedIn is concerned, I don’t publish there regularly because people aren‘t much interested in children’s problems. Also, I’m not a psychologist, so the problems of growing up are not my expertise.
I post only articles connected to digital marketing. Since I’m not active on that network, almost no one wants to like my articles, of course.
However, sometimes people from Medium look for me there. Or I appear in some job searches. And I’ve written a children’s book, which is something for an online writer. So, I put 3 copies of my book on my LinkedIn cover photo – just in case someone is interested in what I’m currently doing.
I’m planning to be more active there in the future because LinkedIn has a huge potential.
This is pretty much what I‘ve learned after 4 months of promoting my book on social media.
What is your experience with them? Do you have any advice about social networks? Let‘s keep in touch.