A lot of people use social media in order to plug their stuff – videos, podcasts, articles… that’s one of the things it’s good for. However there are good and bad ways to go about doing this. Here are some things that are annoying as fuck and will get more people to ignore you and your content than help you with your self promotion, as well as some tips on good things to do to get your work in front of more eyeballs.
Don’t DM people asking them to check out your channel. This will get you unfollowed pretty much immediately. I’m not the only one who will do this. I know you want to get your name out there, but doing the equivalent of putting a flyer under someone’s windshield wiper blade isn’t a great way to go about it.
Further to this, don’t put people on the spot and ask them directly to watch your video or share it. This is just really bad manners. It depends on the personality of the person you’re approaching but this will make many people extremely uncomfortable. I’d love if more people gave my podcast a review, but imagine if I started DMing people who had never given me an indication they had listened to it and asking them to do it. It would put them in an awkward position where they’d have to: tell me they don’t listen to my podcast, lie, or just ignore me. So it’s awkward and shitty all around. Don’t put people in this position.
Don’t tag people in your images/links to your content. This is spam. Unless the person is involved in the content or has asked you to notify them when you release something new, it’s a bad thing to do. Any interactions others have with that tweet (favourites, retweets, reply-alls) will send anyone you’ve tagged a notification. Also, don’t try to get around the fact that someone has disabled the ability for you to tag them in pictures by tagging them in a follow-up tweet. Bad, bad, bad.
People are generally more likely to share the work of their friends, so making friends on social media is great (for many reasons). However, don’t try to force a friendship. Have some chill. I get a lot of people that will send me a private message for something that should really be a public comment (like “what’s your favourite game?”). Imagine being at a party and asking to talk to a relative stranger alone in another room just so you could make small talk with them. Weird, right? Don’t do this. Similarly, if you’re constantly replying to someone’s tweets and they don’t seem to be replying back or interacting in any way, maybe give it a rest. You can’t force a friendship.
But Pam! How will I get people to watch my stuff? Here are some good things to do.
Share links to your work on multiple platforms, multiple times. Share links to your stuff on Twitter at different times of the day so you have the most chance of catching all your followers. Use hashtags that will make them more likely to be seen by people who don’t follow you (eg. #retrogaming #gamersunite). Share on Facebook, Instagram, and whatever new apps the kids are using these days. Don’t overdo it – no one needs to see you share your video 20 times in 2 days, but get it out there a few times.
Be topical with your shares and don’t be afraid to share older content. If a new game in a series is announced and you’ve written or made a video about another game in that series in the past – share it again! It doesn’t matter that it’s older, people will have renewed interest in that game/topic and it could be a good introduction to your work.
Comment on other people’s work. I’ve subscribed to a lot of YouTube channels after seeing someone leave a well thought out comment on a video of mine. If someone’s video inspires you to make a video of your own in response, let them know. If you’ve done a video on a similar topic before, mention it. BUT! Don’t just drop links to your video/channel in comments without any context.
Turn on ad revenue (if you’re on YouTube). Even if you don’t care about money, Google definitely does. Want your videos to be recommended to people? Put on monitization – why would YouTube recommend or place them high in search results them if they’re not getting anything out of it?
Above all, just recognize that you’re not entitled to anyone’s time or attention, so don’t act like it. People only have so much capacity for discovering new content and plugging other people’s work.