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How to Get People to Talk About Your Next Big Thing
Back in the late '90s my hobbies included downloading unreleased versions of underground dance tracks on Napster. (ssh...don't tell my cable company about my sketchy past...we've got enough bandwidth "relationship issues" as it is.)
I would leave the dial-up modem running all night so that one 3MB file *might* have fully downloaded by morning. I'd spend days searching and organizing my music files (you should have seen the jenga-like stack of burned CDs in the corner of my DC studio apartment...)
Now all I have to do is fire up Soundcloud and all the dance music I could ever want is at my fingertips.
The internet has made us all inherently lazy. And I'm here for it.
But if you're trying to promote your products and programs, how do you get people to take action when we can't even be bothered to scroll past the first few links on google?
A few years ago I used to run a site that fully relied on user-generated content (UGC). It always amazed me that people had NO IDEA how to promote their own stuff. They'd forget to send an image or a description. Or they'd send me some random link that had no mention of their product or service and I'd have to dig around to find the info to put on the site. And honestly, if I couldn't find it easily, I wouldn't include it.
That's why you've got to make it dead easy for people to share your stuff.
Last year I was lucky to work behind-the-scenes with Justin Michael Williams as he launched his major article and initiative - Ending Racism: How to Change the World in One Generation. Justin hustled to get the word out about the initiative by personally connecting with hundreds of friends and supporters - but he made it super EASY for people to share the important message.
Here's three ways you too can get the word out about your stuff:
Want people to promote something for you? Create swipe copy that people can simply cut and paste and use on their social media, newsletters and blog posts. The more ambitious folks will generally rewrite it in their own tone, but remember, most of us are lazy (and have a million other things to do). Copy + paste for the win. I like using a simple google doc for swipe copy - it's easily shared and opened (no matter if people are on a mobile device or their computer). I recommend writing shorter and longer versions of your copy (that way people can share more content in a newsletter or just use a shorter line for social).
Done for you graphics are everything. I make it a point to create shareable graphics for Instagram (both feed and stories) for client programs and products. And you can totally repurpose these for Facebook. (For big launches like online courses I'll often make Facebook specific sized graphics for banners or group page headers.)
For Justin's initiative we created two story versions (and two variants - one version for those who have the swipe up feature and one version for those folks that don't have that option). And we created a special feed graphic that people could fill out with their own name and share on their own feed (see image to the left).
Once people signed the pledge, they then received another image that they could share on their social media.
Quick tip: Instagram feed graphics are best created as squares (I usually make them 1080 x 1080 pixels) and Instagram story graphics are best sized at 1080 x 1920 pixels. Make sure to leave enough room at the top and bottom of your graphics if you want folks to be able to add their own copy or links.
Make sure you remind folks to tag YOU when they share your graphics - then you can repost what they've shared on your own feed and stories. This gives both of you a boost - it's a mutually beneficial way to introduce like-minded audiences to people and products you both respect and trust.
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