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Social Media’s Top Metric? Self-Promotion vs. Sharing

April 13, 2015 By John White | Write Comment

self promotion vs. sharing

Lately, I’ve received quite a few inquiries from my network on LinkedIn asking me similar questions to the ones below:

Why is my blog failing?

Why are my engagement levels so low?

What do I need to do to improve my effectiveness on social media?

Usually these folks are getting below 100 views on their posts and have low engagement levels from their audience. Many times they are good writers that produce great content. They are using good visuals throughout their posts. They are re-posting to other social media sites on a regular basis. Yet, their content is not getting viewed, shared, liked, or commented on.

When I get questions like these, one of the first things I look at is the person’s recent activity on LinkedIn and other social sites. There is almost always a disproportionate amount of self-promotion compared to the sharing of other’s content. In social media it cannot be all about ME! (Click on the hyperlink ME to view a relevant post about the “me generation” by John Meredith.) See what I did there? In order to receive engagement you must engage yourself. That means reading, sharing, commenting, and liking other people’s content. And sharing links to colleague’s and client’s past posts when their content is relevant can add value for your audience.

Don’t get me wrong, self-promotion is inherent to your success as a content creator, and to developing your personal brand. Self-promotion should be offset by a social sharing strategy that promotes others. I admit it! I do a lot of self-promotion of my blogs and other content. However, I have always believed in the concept of helping others first. When you share other people’s content, they will share yours. By sharing other’s blogs, posts, and photos online you are helping them become known for their area of expertise. They will no doubt return the favor to you.

Sharing other’s posts will help you get the engagement numbers you are seeking for your own posts. It may also get you publicly recognized by a thought leader and industry guru like it did for me. Recently, LinkedIn top Publisher, Huffington Post Contributor, and Senior Director of Marketing at Opia Talk, Melanie Curtin, commented on a thread we were both participating in and gave me a nice shout out that made my day:

@John: I love how supportive you are of other writers on here.

So, go ahead and check your own recent activity history on LinkedIn. To find it do this:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Move your cursor over the down arrow icon in the top section of your profile.
  3. Select View recent activity.

How does it look? Did you come out ahead on shares, or are you self-promoting too much? If you are self-promoting more than sharing, I recommend trying a 3×1 ratio for the next 30 days (3 shares, likes or comments on others’ posts for every 1 self-promotional post). Then let me know how it goes for you. My bet is that you will see a substantial increase in engagement and other social KPIs, like hits on your blog!

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About the Author: John White is the LinkedIn group owner of Publishers & Bloggers, Marketing Content Director at Social Business Strategies and CareerToolbox, a proud dad, MBA candidate, and a contributor to Dice.com. Please visit my profile to connect with me on LinkedIn and on Twitter @juanblanco76 and @CareerToolboxUS.

For the latest in personal branding via social media and career related content, check out other posts on our career blog at CareerToolbox here or join our LinkedIn Group.

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