Miss Netiquette’s guide to shameless social media self-promotion

miss netiquettes guide to promoting yourself on social media without driving your friends insane nettiquette self promotion

The Internet is a wonderful if confusing world – and that’s why you sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction. Lucky for you, some of us spend far too much time online and logged in – and that wealth of experience translates into some social networking know-how. Consider Miss Netiquette (who you can reach at netiquette@digitaltrends.com) your guide to Web manners, and this week, she’s going to give you some tips on how you can promote yourself and your work online without driving everyone around you bananas. 

Social media is one of the best ways you can get the word out about things you’re working on, whether you’re an artist, writer, DJ, yoga teacher, small business owner, or graphic designer. Anyone working in a profession that requires seeking out clients or an audience can get a huge boost from successful social media engagement. Even people who just want to make sure their birthday party gets a solid turnout can use Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to spread the word and get bodies in a building. 

But you have to be careful. It’s really easy to alienate people instead of enticing them if you go overboard with the Facebook event invitations and the incessant tweeting about your upcoming show. The following questions highlight how difficult it is to be a non-obnoxious self-promoter. 

Dear Miss Netiquette: I’m doing a half-marathon to raise money for MS. I have a donation page set up, but so far only my parents and girlfriend have donated. I really want to do right by my team, but I don’t know how to solicit donations in a respectful way online. Any tips? 

Every Movember, I start to dread logging on Facebook because I get inundated with messages from well-intentioned, hirsute friends looking for fundraising help. It’s not that I don’t want to donate to a worthy charity, I just don’t even know how to begin choosing who I should donate to, and the whole thing stresses me out. So I think you’re wise to be hesitant about taking your fundraising efforts online. 

That said, there’s nothing wrong with putting it out there. You should share a link to the site with a quick update explaining what you’re doing, and say that you’d love for people to donate. You’ll probably get at least one friend to contribute, and as long as you make sure to personally thank whoever donates and you limit your posts about the fundraising to once a week or less, I doubt you’ll annoy people. I would avoid sending a direct message out to individual friends, because it puts pressure on them and may make them feel uncomfortable.

Maybe you can get away with directly asking a few close friends, but it’s always nicer to do so in a way that lets them know that there is actually no pressure, and you’re not just saying that to appear nonchalant. You could also post updates (sparingly!) showing photos of sights you see on your training runs (you best be training for this). Showing updates that demonstrate the effort you’re putting into the run could spur your buds to donate without directly hounding them about it. 

Dear Miss Netiquette: I’m a DJ and I just got a sweet Wednesday night gig, but part of the job is promoting the event. My bosses expect me to run the Facebook event invites and use whatever means necessary to fill the place. I don’t want to be that guy who invites everyone on his friend list, but I don’t know what else to do. 

OK, if you send mass invites you’re going to piss people off, but if it’s part of your job, it’s hard to get around. Do not send the invite to everyone on your friend list. Although it will be tedious, go through and create a list of people who you think would be reasonably interested in attending (leave off people from different cities, people who you know wouldn’t like it) and save the list. Only invite people on the list, and if anyone messages you and says they don’t want to get the invites, take them off that list! If you see some of your Facebook friends showing up, message them and ask them if they’d invite people to the event that they think would like it. That way you can grow the invite roster organically. 

Dear Miss Netiquette: My sister-in-law is a blogger and asked me to share some of her work on Twitter and Facebook. I’m actually not that into her writing but I’ve still shared a few of her articles just to be polite. Then she called me out on not sharing her stuff enough. And my wife got pissed at me when I said I didn’t want to turn into her sister’s spokesman. I don’t know how to get out of this situation. 

Your sister-in-law and your wife are being wack and unreasonable. You should not be expected to promote anyone else’s work. I suggest being honest (to a point) and saying that you just don’t like posting links that frequently and you’re not going to do it. You don’t have to come out and say you’re not crazy about her writing, just say you don’t like being expected to do unpaid promotions for her writing. 

Of course, if taking that route is going to create major tension, you might want to try to ameliorate your blogger-in-law and post another one of her stories, just to get her off your back. It depends on whether you value your principles or your peace more (and I wouldn’t blame you for choosing either one.) You could always set the privacy settings on the post so that only your sister-in-law and your wife can see it, thus tricking them into believing you’ve shared it with the world. Although, if they’re that mad about you not posting in the first place, I wouldn’t want to be in the area when they figured out how you rigged the settings. So you have a few options, though none super awesome. 

 Dear Miss Netiquette: Can I use #FollowFriday to encourage people to follow my other Twitter handle?  

If you want to annoy all your followers, yes. Otherwise, no. Why do you have two Twitter handles? Are you Anthony Weiner? 

Dear Miss Netiquette: I’m an aspiring model and I’ve been told that I should post lots of pictures of myself on Instagram and Facebook in order to get attention from modeling agents and scouts. Which website should I post my shots on? All of them? 

I know I just ragged on someone for having two Twitter accounts but if you’re really serious about this, make a professional Facebook page, Twitter feed, and an Instagram account devoted just to professional-level shots, so your regular friends don’t have to get bombarded with these promotional posts. Then you should follow the accounts of modeling agencies and more established models. As you build your fan base, make sure to engage with people when they comment on your pictures. I’d also resist posting anything too racy; you don’t want to get typecast. 

Social Media

Instagram says its A.I. can track down bullying in photos

Instagram is turning to artificial intelligence to help it root out bullying on its platform. Following similar efforts to target bullying in comments, the company now has systems capable of detecting bullying in photos, too.
Movies & TV

Peter Dinklage gets cryptic about two 'Game of Thrones' characters' fates

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable -- if you don't mind spoilers.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Social Media

Snapchat is using VR to let you step inside its new original shows

Tuning in to your favorite shows not enough? Snap Originals will allow viewers to set into a virtual set. The new exclusive shows debut today with three different shows. Snap Originals are vertical, short, and exclusive to the platform.
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?
Computing

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Mobile

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.