Narrower is better for social sharing

If you’re a regular reader of this blog—or if you’ve read Financial Bloggingyou know that I’m a big fan of tightly defining your target audience when you sell your services. That’s also important when you want people to share your content, according to Jonah Berger in Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Berger says:

You might think that content that has a broader audience is more likely to be shared… In fact, narrower content may actually be more likely to be shared because it reminds people of a specific friend or family member and makes them feel compelled to pass it along.

So, you get a double benefit when you write great narrowly targeted content.

  1. You engage your readers more deeply, increasing the likelihood that they’ll become clients.
  2. You boost the likelihood that readers will share what you write.

Try it.

Should you read Contagious?

Contagious is an interesting read. It won’t give you many practical tips to make your content go viral. But it’ll deepen your understanding of the broader forces that make content catch on.

The book will reinforce your awareness of phenomena such as the power of emotions and stories to influence your readers.

Disclosure:  If you click on an Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I only link to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.

My suspicion about “best” lists

I’m grateful to be named occasionally to “best” lists that circulate via social media. I’m also a bit suspicious.

I imagine that many of the list creators are sincere. I get that sense, especially when they don’t describe me with a blurb drawn word for word from my website.

On the other hand, I suspect that some list creators are trolling for social media shares and “likes” by naming people with significant followings in their niches. As I write this, I have almost 13,000 Twitter followers. That’s not a huge following. However, it does add up the largest Twitter following for a blogger about financial writing.

Best lists as part of campaigns targeting influencers

I couldn’t find any articles that focus on using best lists to boost the creators’ social media influence. However, I found some related articles.

The Social Media Examiner blog discusses how to “How to Encourage Influencers to Share Your Content.” Its first recommendation? “Give influencers free publicity.” Here’s what it says under that heading:

Create content that gives a highly regarded brand or someone influential (and deserving) free publicity and they and/or their marketing people will be sure to share.

For example, Lagavulin was included as one of the top 10 scotch whiskies in this post. The post Lagavulin shared with the article generated more than 1,500 likes and 300 shares.

That sounds exactly like what some folks try to do with their best lists. However, this blogger seems to have taken a rigorous approach to compiling the list, saying “…we’ve collaborated with a team of whisky experts and distilleries to compile the following lists.” Also, by the time I looked at the whisky post, it was up to almost 10,000 shares. That suggests that it’s a quality list (though as a non-drinker of whisky, I don’t have an opinion on the topic).

It’s OK to target influencers

Please don’t get the sense that I don’t want you to target influencers. Heck, I target them myself, with techniques such as guest posts, retweets, Q&As, and commenting on their content.

But please do your targeting with integrity. I’ve written about an influencer-targeting that bugs me in Hey, loser, quit @ naming people to promote yourself.

Here are some articles that may give you some legitimate ways to target influencers:

I’m no extrovert, but I play one on social media and so can you

Social media works—especially for introverts. It works for me. It can work for you, too.

What a public presence says about an introvert

I thought about this when I saw my profile on Crystal, which says it can assess people’s personalities on the basis of their social media posts and other publicly available information that turns up in a Google search. Here’s what Crystal says about me:

Susan Weiner on Crystal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of the most social people in the room”? I don’t think so. If you’ve ever seen me in a real-life room of strangers, you’ve seen me standing over to the side with a fake smile, hoping that someone will come talk to me. By the way, if I were active on Crystal, my profile might become more accurate. The site adjusts your profile based on “confirmations” by you and your peers. You get a chance to click “thumbs down” or “thumbs up” on personality attributes displayed for you and other members of your network.

Why it’s easier for an introvert to play an extrovert on social media than in real life

On the other hand, I understand how I might come across as friendly and outgoing on social media. It’s so much easier to chat with people on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. These platforms remove some of the scary aspects of real-life conversations. This is a big benefit of social media for introverts.

Here is why interacting on social media is easier than interacting in real life for introverts like me:

  • It’s easy to approach anybody. You don’t have to push your way through a crowd to reach the people whom you’d like to meet. Just throw out their Twitter handle or use their name in a LinkedIn status update. If your targets are monitoring their social media presence and care about expanding their network, they are likely to see your post. They may even respond.
  • You don’t have to worry about being publicly snubbed. Have you ever  introduced yourself to a group at cocktail party or lunch, only to be ignored? It’s humiliating. Plus, if you picked the wrong table at a conference luncheon, you’re stuck silently eating, and possibly overeating to conceal your discomfort with activity. In contrast, on social media, it’s less painful if someone fails to respond to your comment on their tweet or LinkedIn Pulse post. You aren’t forced to view their non-response. Plus, the steady flow of social media updates mean this is less likely to be noticed by others.
  • You can expand your network without face-to-face contact. If you share valuable content and interact well with others on social media, your network will grow. As I write this post, my Twitter followers number close to 12,000. Can you imagine how painful it would be for an introvert to build that kind of network on a face-to-face basis? Plus, it would require a lot of travel if your network, like mine, is spread around the world.
  • You can always find someone to interact with, especially other introverts. As author Jenny Lawson says about introverts in Furiously Happy, “They’re often on their phones or computers so it’s like you’re with friends even when you’re alone.”
  • You avoid awkward departures from face-to-face conversations. As Mack Collier says in “Why introverts love Social Media“: “What do you do when you reach that point where the conversation has died, and you need to politely break it off?  I hate that!  But again, if I’m online, then I can leave and no one really knows.  So again, that awkward feeling is removed.” On a related note, you can avoid getting cornered by someone with whom you don’t wish to interact. Platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn let you block people from your content. You can also use privacy settings to manage who sees what. Of course, you may still find yourself in awkward situations on social media. If so, check out Blane Warrene’s suggestions in “Tackling Vitriol in Your Digital Spaces.”
  • You avoid exhaustion. For introverts, being around people all day can be exhausting. After I attend an all-day conference, I’m ready to crawl into a cave for a couple days. This happens to me even if I enjoy the conference and meet friendly people there.
  • You have time to think. Introverts like to think before they speak. Sometimes my husband gets mad at me because I don’t answer his questions right away. I’m not ignoring him; I’m mulling over my answers. Social media exchanges can happen quickly, particularly on Twitter. However, social media interactions typically allow more time for reflection.
  • You can show off the friendly person you’d like to be. I’d likely to be a person who comes across as friendly and warm. Even on social media, I could probably make my presence more friendly. However, I suspect that I come across much better on social media than in face-to-face meetings.

The marketing advantage of social media for introverts

The distance imposed by social media allows introverts—at least introverts like me—to relax and relate better to the people whom we meet online. It also gives our prospective clients a better idea of who we are. By the time they contact us about business opportunities, they may already feel that they know us. That makes them more inclined to do business with us. They will also have more realistic expectations for our work together. Except, perhaps, for the kind of in-real-life meetings we may have. But even then, we may do better because the social media interactions have made our new prospects more familiar to us, too.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about the benefits and drawbacks of social media. Is the rise of social media hard for extroverts to handle? I found an interesting quote about social media for extroverts in Ryan Dube’s “Introverts Love Facebook and Extroverts Hate It. Here’s Why.”:

Extroverts, on the other hand, often despise everything about Facebook. The facial cues, the back-and-forth banter and the physical contact are all missing. In fact, it’s often the extrovert who expounds upon the tragedy that social networks and smartphones are causing to society and interpersonal relationships.

Extroverts, do you struggle with social media?

My experiment blogging on LinkedIn

Have you noticed that you can blog on LinkedIn? At first, I told myself “I’ll never do that.” However, as I found myself clicking on posts by my connections, I realized that I should reconsider. Thus began my experiment blogging on LinkedIn. The results surprised me. I’ll share them with you. By the way, if you’d like to learn to write better blog posts, check out my financial blogging class.

In this post I discuss:

  • Why blog on LinkedIn?
  • Five types of content for blogging on LinkedIn
  • My results from blogging on LinkedIn
  • Tips for blogging on LinkedIn
  • Google and duplicate content on LinkedIn

Why blog on LinkedIn?

If you’re trying to influence people in the business world, LinkedIn is the single best place to find them. It has more than 400 million registered members—including more than 120 million in the United States—as I draft this post. Blogging on LinkedIn commands attention in the flow of LinkedIn status updates that members see.

LinkedIn notifications feature blog posts prominently

The LinkedIn notifications flag appears in the middle of this image.

Your LinkedIn posts show up in the flow that dominates your home page on LinkedIn. Also, when you click on the notifications flag in the upper right-hand corner of LinkedIn, LinkedIn posts figure prominently. In these locations, your posts may catch the attention of people who would never visit your blog or sign up for your newsletters. You can reach the eyes of people who can hire you, buy your products, or pass your name along to your prospects. That’s golden.

I take LinkedIn seriously because it has been a valuable source of traffic to my blog. One of my blog posts,  “‘CFA credential implies a standard of care not always upheld,’ says Forbes opinion piece” was shared more than 400 times after I posted a link to it in the CFA Institute Members group on LinkedIn. That was a big deal for me.

Speaking of website traffic, some people warn against posting on LinkedIn because it diverts traffic that might otherwise go to your website. I haven’t switched my blogging focus to LinkedIn. I’m keeping my Investment Writing blog going because I want people to visit my website and consider becoming clients. People who read posts on my blog are more likely than LinkedIn readers to check out my website pages on products/coaching, writing/editing, and speaking. I can also snare blog readers as subscribers to my newsletters. My opportunities to attract such actions by my readers are far fewer when I post on LinkedIn.

Another reason to not blog exclusively on LinkedIn is that you don’t control content on LinkedIn the way that you do when the content resides on your website. I know that first hand. I had a bad experience with LinkedIn’s Company Pages’ “Product & Services” tabs. I told my tale of woe in “Ouch, LinkedIn, why did you do that to me?” Partly as a result of getting burned by LinkedIn, I knew that I shouldn’t close my blog in favor of posting on LinkedIn.

Blogging on LinkedIn is a good complement to blogging on your website. Also, it’s a viable alternative if you don’t have the energy to maintain a blog on your website or if you want to test your ability to blog and to attract an audience.

Your choices for blogging on LinkedIn

You have several choices for the content you post when you blog on LinkedIn.

1. Original content

I rarely post completely original content on LinkedIn. I don’t have the oomph to boost my writing output. However, I make exceptions to share content that wouldn’t be appropriate on my Investment Writing blog.

For example, “Tell me YOUR opinion on this ‘high net worth’ controversy” isn’t a full-fledged blog post. Instead, it’s a request for my connections to answer a poll. I also shared this post in my monthly newsletter and via social media. The results of that poll provided color for a post on my real blog,”‘High net worth’ in your financial marketing.”

I agree with Stephanie Sammons, author of Linked to Influence. She says, “I’ve written a few original posts that exist only on LinkedIn because the topics didn’t necessarily fit with my core blog content.” Instead, she suggests republishing complete or partial posts from your main blog on LinkedIn.

However, it’s possible that Google may penalize content that appears in two places, for example, both on your blog and on LinkedIn, as I explain near the bottom of this post in “Google and duplicate content on LinkedIn.” I don’t think it’s a big concern. However, if it worries you, then emphasize original content in your LinkedIn blog posts.

2. Complete text of content posted on your non-LinkedIn blog

You can post content that originally appeared elsewhere on your LinkedIn blog. LinkedIn has no rules against this.

If you drop the complete text of a blog post—or even a rewritten version—into LinkedIn, you should include text saying that the post originally appeared on your blog. Link back to the original and include a call to action.

Linking back to the original introduces new people to people to your blog and reminds occasional blog readers that your blog exists.  Sammons suggests that you put this link at the top of your LinkedIn blog post. I agree that this makes it more likely that people will read your comment and to visit your blog. However, I’ve mostly put the links at the bottom of my LinkedIn posts so readers aren’t delayed from reaching content that offers value.

A call to action is important to entice readers to deepen their relationship with you. After all, you’re posting on LinkedIn because you want people to buy your services or products or to take some other sort of action. Here’s the call to action that I’m using in the run-up to the start of my financial blogging class:

For more tips like this, visit my Investment Writing blog. You’ll receive a FREE E-BOOK when you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter with helpful communications tips tailored to financial professionals.

Want to learn to blog better? Check out my class, “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Writing Class for Financial Advisors.”

3. Rewritten version of content posted on your non-LinkedIn blog

I don’t have the time and energy to rewrite content for LinkedIn. The most that I’ve done is to change the title and add two new sentences at the beginning of “My best tip for editors who proofread their own work,” which is based on “Why I love Adobe Acrobat Pro for proofreading.” However, if you have the ability to rewrite your content, it could help, as I discuss below in the section on “Google and duplicate content on LinkedIn.”

4. Intro with a link to content posted on your non-LinkedIn blog

To make my life easier, and to increase the likelihood that people will visit my blog, I prefer to post an introduction with a link to the rest of the post on my Investment Writing blog. The introduction can’t be too short. I want to prove to readers that I deliver value before I ask them to click through. “White paper marketing for investment, wealth management, and financial planning firms” is an example of such a post.

However, I tend to write short. Some of my posts feel too darned short for me to ask readers to click through to my blog. “Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition?” is an example of such a post.

Another factor to consider: Readers may be annoyed by your asking them to click to finish reading your post. I know I feel that way. To inspire people to click, you must convince them with your introduction on LinkedIn that they will find valuable information once they click.

5. Test or quiz format

I invited readers to test their sentence-shortening skills in “Teach yourself to write shorter” on LinkedIn. Here’s the test I gave them:

  1. Print out the list of sentences below.
  2. Write down what you see as the weakness in the sentence.
  3. Write a shorter version of the sentence.
  4. Compare your answers to mine, which I recorded in my blog post on “Can YOU simplify investment commentary better than this?

You could try a similar approach. You could ask a question and then direct your readers to a blog post for the answer. It could be something specific, such as “How much of your income can you save in an IRA in 2016?”

If you try the test, make it easy for your readers to find the answer. You might even say something like “Read paragraph three on my blog to find the answer.”

My results from blogging on LinkedIn

I had one utter failure. My one purely promotional post to LinkedIn gained way fewer views than any of my other posts. “June 22 WEBINAR: How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read” had only received 23 views by the time that I drafted this post. I guess the title was too overtly promotional. To attract more eyeballs on the piece, I should have used a title that stressed the benefits instead of the webinar. However, I didn’t want to lure readers with false promises.

Generally speaking, my LinkedIn posts have received about 120 to more than 350 views, according to LinkedIn’s analytics on Dec. 30, 2015.

My best tip for editors who proofread their own work” was a big winner. It gained 368 views, 41 likes, and 3 comments.

LinkedIn blog reader demographics for proofreading post

Demographics for PROOFREADING post

You may be surprised by my reaction to what looked like a success with 368 views. The knockout performance by my proofreading tip made me wonder if LinkedIn blogging was right for me. To understand why, look at the demographics of the post’s viewers, as reported by Linkedin (see the first Demographics of your readers image). Then, compare them with the demographics of my post on “How to make one quarterly letter fit clients at different levels of sophistication,” which received 134 views (see image below).

demographics of quarterly letter LinkedIn blog readers

Demographics for QUARTERLY LETTER post

My proofreading post won plenty of views, but it seems as if many of the readers didn’t belong to my target audience. Almost 70% were in higher education. That contrasted with my less popular quarterly client letter post which did well with people who might hire or refer me. with close to 80% in financial services or investment management. This made me wonder if blogging on LinkedIn is best for people who write about topics of interest to the broader public, instead of a niche. While mulling this over, I limited my blogging on LinkedIn to about one post per month.

However, since then I’ve decided that blogging on LinkedIn is worthwhile, as long as it doesn’t take much of my time. Recently I’ve noticed members of my target audience liking and commenting more, even on posts with fewer views. That interaction helps me to learn about the people in my niche.

On Dec. 31, 2015, my LinkedIn blog post on “Treasurys vs. Treasuries–Which is the right spelling?” was featured on LinkedIn Pulse in its “Writing and Editing” category. In the first three days it received 110 views, 15 likes, and 7 comments, despite the long holiday weekend and the esoteric topic. I especially appreciated the comments. However, that’s hardly “going viral.” Still, for the right post, Pulse can help. Snaring a spot on Pulse “can be the difference between getting a few hundred views on your article to getting tens of thousands of views,” says John White in “How to Get Your Article Featured on LinkedIn Pulse.”

You may be wondering, “Susan, have you gained any clients directly from blogging on LinkedIn?” Not yet, but until Dec. 2015 I’d averaged less than one LinkedIn blog post per month so it’s too soon to tell. However, it’s clear to me that my visibility on LinkedIn spurs prospects to contact me.

Tips for blogging on LinkedIn

Here are some tips for blogging on LinkedIn from my personal experience and preferences.

Use images in your LinkedIn blog posts. They’ll attract more views. Make sure the images are sized properly for the space. LinkedIn seeks images that are at least 700 x 400 pixels. (Note: I typically use smaller images because I can get them free from FreeDigitalPhotos.net. I think they look okay). If you want the text in your images to show up when your post is shared via social media, you need to focus your text in the middle of the image. Otherwise, you’ll end up with goofy-looking previews like what you see below in the image I created using Canva.

Preview of My best tip for editors who proofread their own work on LinkedIn blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

See how “Proofreading matters” got cut off  to become “freading mat” in the green box? Learn from my mistakes so your work looks professional from the beginning.

Tinker with your titles. I think my proofreading post did so well on LinkedIn partly because “My best tips for editors who proofread their own work” is a stronger title than my original title, “Why I love Adobe Acrobat for proofreading.” Perhaps you can come up with a new title that will give your article new life.

Respond to people who comment on your posts. The best practice is the same as when people respond to a post on your official company blog. It’s polite to respond. Plus, it encourages more interaction. As more people comment, your post gains more visibility across your commenters’ LinkedIn networks. Gaining exposure to their connections who don’t yet know you may be particularly valuable. Of course, as a financial professional, you must keep compliance constraints in mind. If you’re concerned about controlling other people’s comments that violate compliance rules, then you may prefer writing only on a corporate blog that you can moderate.

Spend more time promoting the content you post on your corporate blog than what you post on LinkedIn. After all, traffic to your website is typically more valuable than traffic to LinkedIn. I rarely tweet or promote my posts to LinkedIn, aside from linking to them in my monthly newsletter. The one exception is when I want people to respond to a poll that I post on LinkedIn.

Google and duplicate content on LinkedIn

Does Google penalize duplicate content? That’s a widely debated topic. If it were true, it would suggest that you shouldn’t post content from your blog on LinkedIn.

Google says on one of its Help pages that it’s mainly after bad guys who use duplicate content to deceive. Here’s what it says:

In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

A post on Search Engine Land quotes Matt Cutts of Google saying about duplicate content, “I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”

However, if you post the same content on your blog and LinkedIn, you run the risk that the LinkedIn version will rank higher in Google’s search results because Google rates LinkedIn more highly than your blog. That’s a shame because your original blog loses a chance to boost its domain authority, in other words, your ranking in search. By the way, if you’d like to learn how to build your domain authority through smart public relations, Gini Dietrich of the Spin Sucks blog is a great resource.

If you prefer to drive traffic to your website instead of LinkedIn, consider delaying the copying of your original blog post to LinkedIn. Let your post build its authority from links and social sharing before you post it to LinkedIn. I imagine this is why Stephanie Sammons suggests in her book, Linked to Influence, that you wait “at least a week before you republish a post from your blog to LinkedIn.”

I’ve been taking delaying tactics to an extreme. Having published about one thousand blog posts, I have plenty of oldies but goodies that I can update to share on LinkedIn. Most of my posts so far have been several years old. Posting on LinkedIn is a good way to get more mileage out of old posts.

What’s YOUR story about blogging on LinkedIn?

If you’re taking advantage of your ability to blog on LinkedIn, I’d like to hear about the lessons that you’ve learned. Please share your experiences.

Do you want to succeed as a financial blogger?

 

Thumbs up image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Boost Twitter exposure from your blog

I want to shake some financial bloggers and yell, “Why are you giving up Twitter exposure from your blog?”

That’s the reaction I have every time I click a “tweet this” link on a blog post and the auto-generated tweet fails to state the blogger’s Twitter name. That’s an example of “What NOT to do.” If someone visits your website and shares your blog post using this kind of auto-generated tweet, you’re not maximizing your benefit from their generosity.

Sure, your blog post will get some exposure from an auto-generated tweet that consists simply of TITLE plus LINK. However, the person who shares your content is unlikely to take the time to research your Twitter name and add it to the auto-generated tweet. As a result, you’re missing an opportunity to get Twitter exposure for your name and to pick up Twitter followers.

It’s true that a tweet reader could click through to your blog and then look around to find your Twitter name. But it’s not likely. In fact, the tweet reader who doesn’t navigate to your post may instead associate your blog post topic with the person who tweeted your link—instead of you. That’s a shame if you’re trying to build visibility for your investment, wealth management, or financial planning firm.

Boost your Twitter exposure by doing this

Here’s an example of what your auto-generated tweet should look like (yellow highlighting added by me):

Tweet that boosts Twitter exposure

My key point? The auto-generated tweet includes @susanweiner, my Twitter name. You can include your Twitter name automatically in tweets generated using your blog’s social sharing plug-in. That’s what I had my web guy set up. This expands my Twitter exposure without my doing any extra work.

Someone who sees “via @susanweiner” may click on my Twitter name to follow me. Even if they don’t take that action, my name may subtly register in their head so they start to recognize me as an expert on financial blogging.

If you’re a financial advisor who blogs about topics that interest potential clients, please make it as easy as possible for them to follow you on Twitter. More Twitter exposure boosts that likelihood that someday a prospect will contact you to learn more about your services. That’s what you want, right?

Check your sharing plug-in’s capability. Act now and enjoy better social media shares for years to come.

Hey, loser, quit @ naming people to promote yourself

I enjoy exchanging tweets with people. I’ve made friends and learned things from these exchanges. But I get annoyed when people repeatedly tweet at me only to promote themselves and content that they’ve written.

Here’s an example of what I dislike:

Hey @susanweiner, read our great blog post at http://…

Their using my Twitter name—my @name, @susanweiner—forces their tweet to my attention. I hate this. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I think you’ll know what I mean if you spend a lot of time on Twitter. When I look at these people’s Twitter timelines, they are filled with promotional tweets that differ only in the person whose Twitter name is mentioned.

I can forgive—and perhaps even enjoy—a one-time promotional tweet directed to @susanweiner. Perhaps there’s a link with some great content that’s perfect for me. But repeated tweets of the same self-promotional content that’s irrelevant to me? No, thanks.

This doesn’t mean that I’m against using Twitter to promote yourself. I do it all the time. However, I recommend that you tread lightly in @naming specific people if you’re not sure they’ll welcome your attention.

Thank you for @naming me in other cases

After I published this rant, I realized that I might scare those of you who use other people’s Twitter names in a good way.

Let me clarify. It is perfectly fine—and even desirable—for you to use a person’s Twitter name when you share something they’ve written or shared. It’s polite to give credit to people. I appreciate the many courteous people who do this for me.

Note: This post was updated and expanded on Oct. 30, 2015.

Our LinkedIn connection isn’t an invitation to spam

I don’t like it when anybody adds me to an ongoing e-newsletter distribution list without asking my permission—or at least warning me that my signing up for their freebie will add me to that list. If you’re doing that, please reconsider.

The newest variation on this may be people who add their new LinkedIn connections to email lists without permission. If you do this, you’re sending me spam. Please stop.

I’m thinking about this because of a recent experience. I felt fine when I received one email communication from a new LinkedIn connection with the subject line, “Thank you for connecting on LinkedIn.” I admired my connection for making the time to follow up. I was impressed that he took the time to create an attractively formatted email, including photographs, using an e-mail newsletter program. I even forwarded the email to a friend whom I thought might learn from how the man promoted his book in his email. This kind of email is fine with me, if it happens one time only. Indeed, I welcome genuine, personalized messages from people with whom I connect.

However, I felt angry when the connection repeated the same email one month later. I realized that he had added me to a newsletter list without my permission. I think this bothered me more than the average involuntary newsletter subscription because the sender reused the email he’d sent one month earlier. A message with new content might have shown more respect for my time.

By the way, if you add me to my newsletter without my permission, I may not unsubscribe, but I will implement an email rule that sends your message to a “Newsletter” folder. Your message never hits my main inbox.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How I’ve benefited from Twitter—and you can, too

Twitter didn’t appeal to me at all in the beginning. I asked, “How can I benefit from reading an overwhelming volume of one-liners?” But @BillWinterberg and my writer friends convinced me to try it. I’m glad I did.

Here are four ways I’ve benefited from Twitter.

1. New clients

Twitter has brought me new clients, directly and indirectly. Sometimes it was as easy as tweeting that I was looking for more paid speaking gigs. One of my followers responded to that tweet. Soon, I had another chapter of the Financial Planning Association as a client for “Writing Effective Emails.” I described my tweeting for clients process in my guest post, “Secrets of a speedy sale via Twitter,” on the Social Marketing Technology blog.

Sometimes the client cultivation process started with meeting someone new on Twitter, whom I might never have met otherwise. In one case, after trading occasional tweets, I met a Twitter friend in real life for a conversation that deepened our relationship. Eventually, I snared some work for that person’s firm.

2. Greater awareness

Twitter has boosted prospects’ awareness of me. I see that partly in an increased number of Twitter followers and newsletter subscribers since joining Twitter. My website’s Google Analytics statistics show that 24% of its visitors come from Twitter.

One prospect’s comment—“I see your name everywhere!”—made me think about how Twitter contributes, along with my blog and other social media.

Twitter has also spread the word about my new blog posts, books, presentations, and other services. I couldn’t have reached as many people prior to the arrival of social media.

3. New connections

I’ve met many new people through Twitter. While some are prospects, others are sources of new ideas or ways to solve problems.

I also enjoy the social side of Twitter. I can hop on briefly for a conversation and then hop off. That disrupts my workday less than hiking into Boston for a meeting or even chatting on the phone. Plus, the less immediate nature of Twitter exchanges is easier on an introvert like me.

4. Information

I find news I can use on Twitter. It’s a great way to get a sense of what people in my niches are buzzing about. Plus, sometimes I can ask a question and get a quick, authoritative answer from an expert.

Try Twitter, you may like it

Not convinced of Twitter’s merits? Consider the following steps to get the most out of it.

  1. Follow a diverse group of people. This means experts, colleagues, prospects, and friends.
  2. Don’t try to read every tweet. Avoid information overload using something like Hootsuite. Set up columns to monitor topics or groups of people of particular interest.
  3. Post links to original content to engage more readers. This is easy for bloggers. If you don’t write linkable content regularly, then share your own take on other people’s content when you link to it. This is how to establish your value in the eyes of other people on Twitter.
  4. Interact with others. Show that you’re not a robot. You have a personality.
  5. Don’t promote yourself relentlessly. That’s a quick way to lose followers. Guy Kawasaki says, “…promotion should be one out of 20 posts,” in “Talking tweets with author, media guru Guy Kawasaki.”

What’s worked for you?

I’m curious to learn about YOUR approach to Twitter.

Guest bloggers: 2014 in review

Looking for marketing and writing tips from diverse experts? Check out the posts from my 2014 guest bloggers listed below!

Blog

Marketing

Social Media

Writing

Tweet your quarterly investment commentary for more impact

“Second Quarter Market Update”—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this boring status update in my Twitter streams or on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+. You can attract more views, and get more people to click your links when you strengthen the status updates you share via social media. I have some tips for you.

1. Highlight your opinions, not the date

Everybody knows what quarter has just ended, but they don’t know your opinions about what drove the period’s returns or how you view the stock and bond markets’ future. This is why you should highlight your opinions with subject lines such as “3 reasons why stocks will continue to rise [LINK TO YOUR COMMENTARY].”

By the way, use a link shortener, such as bitly or the link shorteners in HootSuite, to make the best use of the limited character count available to you in status updates, especially Twitter.

2. Pose questions

People are curious. Take advantage of that by asking questions in your status updates. For example, “Which sectors are positioned to outperform for 2014? Read our views: [LINK TO YOUR COMMENTARY].”

3. Use images

Images increasingly drive social media engagement, even on Twitter. A powerful image will boost views and clicks. This may mean including two links in your tweets—one to the image and another to your commentary.

By the way, your logo or headshot photo doesn’t count as a compelling image. A graph or photo could work.

4. Link directly to your commentary

Many investment management firms force their social media readers to click twice to reach their commentary which lives on their websites as prettily formatted PDF documents. However, every time you ask readers to click, you risk losing them.

To avoid this risk, put your commentary—or at least a big chunk of the opening text on an ordinary web page.

5. Tweet more than once

Don’t expect one tweet to reach all of your target readers. Share your quarterly commentary more than once. Mix up your status updates, perhaps highlighting a key finding in one, but asking a question in another.

Your tips?

I’m curious to learn what works for you in getting readers from your social media status updates. Please join the conversation.

Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net