Advice for someone looking to advance their career begins with asking for it. How will you get the promotion without asking for it? How will you get someone to pay their invoice without asking them to do it?
Little girls and boys are trained these days that you get what you ask for, and nothing falls into your lap without you requesting it. And in most cases, this is absolutely true–there are very few (I assume) company CEO’s that have risen to their position without some self-advocation, and asking for what they think they deserve.
In a culture so wired to succeed by pursuing goals like this, it can be a tricky adjustment for social media users to get used to the fact that they cannot directly ask for what they want (e.g. more followers, return on investment, e-commerce purchases, or fans to share what they post). Not only does it violate social media etiquette—it likely won’t work.
As Facebook has been forced to be more transparent about their newsfeed algorithms, something of note to marketers is that Facebook actually punishes pages that directly ask for likes or shares by making sure their post is seen by less people. Other no-nos include sharing the same link over and over, or baiting and switching by directing the click through to somewhere that doesn’t match your post description. Facebook is smart enough to sense this even if you ask in a photo, and you’ll watch reach drastically decline.
So, how do you ask your followers to like and share your posts and pages without actually saying it? Facebook checks out thousands of factors to determine how many people your posts will be shown to, and there’s no point in sabotaging yourself with consistent and direct self-promotion.
The key is to say it without saying it. In other words, don’t write in your body copy that followers should “share this post.” If you’ve shared the post from someone else with a large reach and follower base, Facebook will determine that the post is worthy of being shared with a significant audience. Instead of tweeting that someone should purchase an item from said link, link to another interesting piece of content on your website with easy access to a certain featured product or a click through to another landing page.
And if you’re there to add value and provide information to the lives and interests of your followers, there’s never a need to say you’ll “follow back” and never, ever say that you follow back in your profile description. The most effective way to ‘beat’ the algorithms is to have valuable, shareable content targeted towards your followers. When it’s good enough, you’ll never have to ask–because they’ll already be sharing it.
Image credit: CC by B Rosen