With all the social media venues these days, it can be difficult to know just how much self promotion you can get away with. Lately I´ve been coaching a few clients on using social media, and one of the most common questions that comes up is “How much can I promote my own business?”
We´ve all seen those business owners who tweet their deal every ten minutes throughout the day or those who have their “Now fiddling with my blog post . . . ” auto tweets or auto Facebook status. It´s annoying. I know I´ve unfollowed many people because of these. So just what is the limit?
The trick here is to make sure that you are actually forming relationships. If the only reason you get on Twitter is to say, “buy this” or “New product here”, no one will want to pay attention. If you are doing the same thing on Facebook, you´ll be “hidden” from your friends´ main page. On other networks like StumbleUpon and Digg, if you are promoting yourself too much, you could end up banned.
Social media is just that, social. It takes time, but it means forming relationships and actually networking with people. Think about it. If a stranger walks up to you on the street and says, “Hey, you know what´s awesome? This dish detergent. You should buy it.” would you even consider buying it? What if your best friend or your mom was talking to you one day and said, “Oh, remember how my hands were all dry from washing dishes? Well, I tried this detergent and it actually works like they say and check out my hands now!”, wouldn´t you be more inclined to take a second look? Same thing with social media . . . people who know you and trust you are going to be happy to check out what you´re doing and will be more likely to promote it to their friends and family, as well.
Despite this, I´m sure there are still people who want to know exactly how many times they can talk about their business on social media. Here´s a rough guideline.
Twitter: 5% of the time is usually ok. That means for every 20 tweets, one of them can be blatantly self-promotional. However, I frequently tweet things like “Working on some SEO articles for clients and wishing I had more coffee.” which is sort of promotional, but not intrusive since it is just an update.
Facebook: 10% of your status updates can probably be promotional, as long as you aren´t sending out promos every two seconds and filling up people´s home pages.
StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites: The generally accepted ratio is 1/10 or 15. Or, ten to fifteen stumbles of other people´s sites to every one of your own. More is even better.
There is a lot we can cover with social media, but I´d love to make it more relevant. What questions do you have about using social media to promote your business?