For bloggers, brands, curators and publishers who promote content on social media, it’s time set aside traditional methods of broadcast-style promotion. In a space that’s reserved primarily for social conversations, promotional broadcasts must adapt to the social environment if they’re to be accepted.
The Times Are A-Changin’
Communication has traditionally been split evenly between two very different methods: broadcasting and conversation. As broadcasters promoted the same static, one-directional content repetitively via radio and television, audiences engaged in dynamic, multi-directional conversation separately via phones, snail-mail and email. The two communication methods were separate and distinct.
Today, modern technology enables us to integrate broadcast promotion with conversation. Many call this phenomenon “social media.” A quick scroll through Facebook, Twitter and Google+ news feeds reveals a simultaneous mix of publishers repetitiously promoting content and users conversing with one-another. Look, for example, at this juxtaposition from my own Twitter feed:
Please note that, for this article, I use the term “promotion” to include self-published content as well as curated content (as is the case with Guy Kawasaki).
On social media platforms that are inherently conversational and social, repetitive promotions are increasingly prone to appearing spammy and humanless. For broadcasters, this is a problem.
Repetition is Necessary
This spammy nature has always lingered in the back of my mind as I scroll through my feeds each day, spotting the same articles promoted multiple times by the same authors. Social media and promotion “gurus” are infamous for this. Repetitive promotions seems to show a lack of respect for my personal feed space and limited attention. Most of all, repetitive promotions wreak of humanless automation.
Despite this, I began to engage in the same practice for Flames On Fifth Avenue itself, promoting and broadcasting my articles multiple times each day. From the perspective of a publisher, the benefits of repetitive promotions can be clear and irresistible: people are online at different times throughout the day, and the lifespan of the average tweet is only one hour (with an alleged half-life of only four minutes). Thus, in order for the maximum number of people to see the message, it’s necessary to broadcast the same content multiple times throughout the day, for a few days at a time. And for a website with an infrequent publishing schedule such as this one, repetitive promotion can appear even more necessary.
My reality check came when I was faced with this reply:
A fair question, and one that struck at the tension between repetitive promotion and conversation on social media. It got me thinking.
For pure broadcast mediums such as radio or television, repetition has always been accepted as necessary. CNN, NBC and every other news station repeat their stories multiple times each day. Television frequently airs reruns of past dramas and sitcoms, and repeats every commercial. Radios are infamous for playing the same hits dozens of times every day so that everyone gets a chance to hear them. It’s a necessity borne from the very nature of the medium: people are attentive to broadcasts at different times and on different days.
Understandably, there has been a bit of dispute around the practice of repetitive promotions on social media. Social media is for conversation and engagement; not faceless, repetitive promotion. For publishers and authors, this idea may be difficult to stomach.
But there is a solution. Repetitive broadcast promotion and conversation can and should coexist on social media. It simply requires promotion to become more conversational.
Conversationalize Your Broadcasts
On social media platforms that are inherently conversational, broadcast promotions should stray away from being as static and repetitive as they traditionally have been. A new approach to content promotion is needed — one that smoothly merges both broadcast and conversation.
- Promote underlying arguments. Don’t just post your new content’s headline, but draw attention to your content’s underlying arguments and main points as well.
- Summarize. Slate’s Facebook updates are a great example of this. When posting new articles, they provide a summary beyond the simple headline.
- Give credit. If you incorporate the ideas of someone else, then promote your content as a product of their ideas. Not only will they appreciate it, but you’ll build a relationship with them.
- For curation, add your personal thoughts. Often great content gets curated by multiple times, appearing repetitively in personal feeds. However, it’s these added thoughts that add to the larger conversation and make messages worthy of attention. Crister Delacruz and David Armano are especially good at this, and thus I keep them high on my shortlist.
- Invite feedback. Allow the conversation to grow and expand by requesting people to add their voices to the mix. It creates engagement while also promoting your content.
- Promote comments. Popular blog commenting systems such as Disqus and LiveFyre (used on this site) allow you to publish your blog comments to Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. This much-underused function allows audiences to see that others find the content intriguing enough to engage and build upon it.
It comes down to this simple solution: Promote your content beyond its basic, static headline. Conversationalizing your broadcasts combines the meaningfulness of organic conversation with the repetition of broadcast promotion. It allows followers and audiences to see different sides and aspects of your content, and become a part of the larger conversation.
The thing about integrated communications is that people use it for different purposes. Some use it to keep up with their favorite brands. Some use to keep up with their friends. Some use it to stay on top of the latest broadcasted news and headlines. But despite this, one thing cannot be forgotten: social media is inherently conversational.
Traditional broadcast promotion is becoming incompatible with social media. It’s a lesson that I plan to incorporate into my own content strategy. It’s time to conversationalize.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below by commenting on this article.
Linked in this Article
- Why You Should Repeat Tweets on Twitter – Business Info Guide – By Stephanie Chandler
- Replies and Retweets on Twitter – Sysomos, Inc.
- The half-life of a tweet – Social Impact – By David Leavitt
- Reviewz ‘n’ Tips – Frequent vs Infrequent Posting Schedule – By Daniel Sharkov
- Should you ever repeat the same tweets? – TweetSmarter – By Dave Larson
- Slate.com on Facebook
- Crister Delacruz on Twitter
- David Armano on Twitter