To promote your work on social media, ask friends to like or share, and send them a calendar invite

Because there’s so much noise on the internet, it takes an extremely loud one to stand out. In marketing, there’s a heuristic known as effective frequency, also less formally as the Rule of 7; in order for a person to commit to trying your product, they need to hear it at least 7 times. 

Given the greater amount of noise, whether that number is higher or not is irrelevant; the point stands that people need to hear about your product a lot more than once

For your best work, you’ll want to intentionally promote it; effectively, you want to create a marketing campaign around each piece of work. 

On social media, algorithms decide what content to show people on their feeds. One of the decision criteria these algorithms use is the amount of likes a post is getting in an initial time period; the more likes you get, the more likely it is the post will surface to more of your followers, or to people who don’t know about your work yet.

One industry technique to work with this algorithm on social media is to ask your friends to like your posts shortly after they go live. This used to be facilitated through a service called Thunderclap (Twitter also covers the term here), where friends could commit to posting your work via an automatic schedule. Social media platforms eventually took away Thunderclap’s ability to do that, which means you’ll need to do it manually.

Note: If the idea of asking friends or other people for help sounds terrible or blocks you in some way, and you want to work through it, check out Dr. Heidi Grant’s book, Reinforcements. Grant writes, “We should feel a little less uncomfortable when we have to ask for help. Though it might fill us with dread to have to ask, asking the right way actually opens up an opportunity for other people to feel really, really good about themselves and about us.”

Because thunderclaps require more effort, there’s also fewer of them. This is a meritocracy of communication and coordination, and the simple way to do this is:

  1. Write and finalize your social media content
  2. Set a day and time your content will go live, you can either schedule it or post it live (I prefer to schedule it at least a day or two in advance—it’s one less thing to do)
  3. Ask your friends, individually, for permission if they’d be interested in liking/sharing/replying to your work when it goes live in a day or two. the individual aspect of this is critical; your friend needs to know you need their help
  4. Send a calendar invite to all of them (and hide the guest list to protect privacy)
  5. On the day and time the content goes live, text each friend a reminder with a link to the post

A larger version of this is known as a marketing moment; it’ll involve more channels than social media, like press coverage, in-person events, co-branding partnerships, etc.

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