Promotion Commotion

VendorIn case you missed it (although I’m not sure you how you possibly could have, since I’ve been screaming it at the top of my lungs for a week and a half), I am currently running a crowdfunding campaign to cover printing and shipping costs on Advice for Beginners, a book that came about when I started asking children what advice they would give newborns about living a good life. So you can understand that promoting this campaign has been on my mind lately.

Having never run a crowdfunding campaign, or even tried to sell anything more interesting than peach pies with rugby ball crusts and “bruise” jam (‘Cause black- and blue-berries. Get it? Ha!), I wasn’t sure how to go about this. My presence on Twitter was fairly steady, but my Facebook page has been known to go neglected. Suddenly bombarding both with desperate, hourly pleas to throw money at me didn’t seem particularly classy. Fortunately for me, I surround myself with wise friends. After much brain pickin’s, I reached the following conclusions about that all important question:

How much is too much?

The general consensus seemed to be that two, maybe three, a day is the sweet spot. Once a day is fine, but won’t be seen by many. More than that just gets annoying.

Bookmark

This is a bookmark I made to hand to random people everywhere I go. So I can hassle folks in real life, too!

But between those few promo tweets (or posts, or whatever, depending on your venue of choice), be sure to reemphasize that you’re a living breathing person who isn’t there just to shove your product at anybody with a nickel. In a world where people are increasingly skilled at ignoring advertisements, interaction keeps you on people’s minds in a positive way. (You know, assuming positive interactions. Now may not be the time to go pick a fight with the rival team.)

Another thing that will make you less likely to be written off as annoying and tacky is perceived usefulness. Usefulness can be straight up utility, whether for the consumer or for the good cause you’re trying to support, but it can also be entertainment. Figure out exactly what it is that makes your product special- it will change lives, it will make you a better cook, it will keep your dog safe in a car wreck, you will laugh until you pee your pants- and center your pitch around that. If you can’t come up with what makes your product special, or don’t have it front and center in your pitch, then don’t expect anybody to bite.

Ideally, your promotions will be so wonderful, so interesting, so genius, that you can get others to spread them around for you. Retweets, mentions, shares, etc, are gold, spreading your reach to new audiences. You trumping your own horn is alright in small doses. Getting others to toot it for you is worlds better.

A few other things to consider:

Vary your pitch. Sending out the same ad, over and over and over, isn’t going to catch anyone’s attention. Sending out slightly different ads are more likely to pique the interest of a broader audience. Another thing to vary? Timing. Try to spread your promos over multiple time zones. Even though you live in Guatemala, there may be someone in Australia just dying for what you’re trying to sell.

Go easy on the hashtags. Nothing will make your tweets look more like irritating spam than a solid block of blue. Hashtags can be useful tools for specific searches, but nobody I talked to used them regularly, and then only when they knew exactly what they were searching for. Although one or two thoughtful and accurate hashtags can broaden the audience of the promo, an excess of hashtags tends to do more harm than good. (Same goes for all caps. Less is more.)

Be clear. This should go without saying, but if it isn’t crystal clear what the link leads to, people aren’t going to click on it. Make sure that it is perfectly obvious what you are promoting and where the link will take people, and for pity’s sake, no bait and switch.

Use images. 120 characters only gives you so much room to play. Add a link and you come up even shorter. But a picture says a thousand words. Even on platforms that don’t limit your posts, try attaching pictures, images of text excerpts, videos- anything that gets your message across in an engaging, easily digestible way.

Follow these tips and, at the end of your promotional campaign, you just might have a few friends left! Haha, but do remember that I’m no expert. If you can think of any tips that I’ve left off the list, please let us know in the comments below. Sharing is caring! And happy writing!

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