Some people mistake promotion for attraction. And some people mistake forums for publicity opportunities rather than conversation starters.
I thought of this when looking at a writer’s forum on LinkedIn, the networking site for various professions and employments. The moderator of the site had said that people in the forum shouldn’t use the forum to post links to their services, but to use the forum as a place for an exchange of ideas.
Some of the writers took offense at this, declaring that they wouldn’t post any longer on the forum. They seemed to misunderstand what the moderator was saying. She had specifically said that another part of the forum existed where writers could post links to their services, but this forum was for discussion, not sales.
Those writers who misunderstood what the moderator meant might also misunderstand the nature of building an online network of followers.
Since many people are creating platforms to attract an audience to their ideas, it’s worth repeating some of the basics.
- You want, above all, to be authentic. That is, you want to be part of the conversation rather than someone who looks at a conversation merely as a jumping-off point to talk about yourself.
- Look for blogs or newsletters in your field. This way, you’ll not only be able to identify with the writer (and the other people who comment), you’ll be able to offer your expertise.
- For every blog post you write, make three comments on other people’s blogs. This means that you will be actually reading what other people have to say (rather than living in a bubble of your own ideas) and be engaging with others, offering your genuine take on what’s being said.
- You don’t need to add your blog name or website. That’s because when you make a comment on a site, the site asks for your name. This is important: You are there to be part of a conversation, not an advertisement for yourself. The comment should never include a link to your blog post. Rather, the URL you provide should go back to the blog post you want to drive traffic to.
- Use your real name (or the name under which you write). Anonymity is for those online hooligans who insult others (you’ve seen comments like these). You are there to be part of a conversation, not to indulge in pettiness.
- For every blog post you write, you should write five other micro-blogs about what you’ve written. Put these micro-blogs (basically an encapsulation in about 25 words of what you’ve written) onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goggle+ and Reddit.
Remember, commenting on other blogs and social media sites should never be promotion It should always be conversational. You want to start and continue a conversation. It’s attraction, not promotion.
You’ll get noticed quite quickly.
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