You create your own ShoutEm microblogging network, you invest some time tweaking it, you make custom design, you buy your own domain… and you wait. But you don’t see many users joining your network, and those who join don’t shout a lot. And you start asking yourself: “What am I doing wrong?”. You may not be doing anything wrong; perhaps you simply aren’t doing enough to promote your microblogging network. We’ve assembled 12 steps that you can take to promote your microblogging network. Read them and take action!
1. Engage your social networking friends
You probably have hundreds of Facebook friends, maybe even thousands Twitter followers, who knows how many friends on other social networks… why don’t you use them? As them to join your microblogging network and ask them to help you spread the word. You will be surprised by the results. Create a Facebook fan club for your microblogging network, and invite all your friends to join the group. Tweet about your social network, ask your followers to retweet and spread the word. Maybe you can even create a Twitter account for your microblogging network created on ShoutEm. There are also numerous other ways to use other social networks, like Ning, Orkut or StumbleUpon to promote your microblogging network. The important thing is: use your community!
2. Use your content
If you have something interesting posted on your network (for example, some interesting statistical data about Twitter usage in your country/region), post that data on other social media sites. For example, if your network is used by 80% student of some university (and we already wrote about possible usage of microblogging networks in education) and your network is a way students communicate with their colleagues and professors, spread the news about that. Post that info on Twitter, make a PR about it, send it to big social media sites, some bloggers… it might be interesting for them. One shout can make a difference.
3. Print the URL on your visit card
This one is very simple, print URL of your social network on your visit card. Whenever you give it to someone, you promote you microblogging network.
If your social network is about some region, or your hometown, maybe it might be worth investing some money and printing some posters, which you can put on bulletin boards. Or you can print A5 posters, and give it to random people on the street. You’d be surprised what a little offline promotion can do.
5. Give something away of value
Know your community niche? Maybe you’re an expert in blogging, insurance, web design… Why not write a short guide, turn it into a 10-page e-book and let your users download it for free? People like things that teach them how to be better at something, even more when it’s free.
Also, try to organize some kind of prize game. If you can invest some money in something valuable or interesting, then try to organize a prize game for all members of your microblogging network. This way you encourage them to spread the word among their friends, which can bring you more and more users. If your network in interesting, some of them might stay and participate in discussion. If you don’t have money, then try to find a sponsor. If you have a friend who has some product (book, software etc.) ask him to give it to your members, in exchange for maybe a link to his webpage.
6. Signatures! E-mail, forums…
You send e-mails and participate in other forums and communities, don’t you? Put your link in the signature and get people informed whenever you participate yourself. On social networks, inform others about conversations on your website. Tweet it sometimes, submit a link to Facebook. Don’t overdo it, just do it right!
While social media is taking off on the internet, don’t forget that people still live and meet in real life. Facilitate that and get some real life user meetups going. Twitter users around the world are organizing Tweetups. Geeks, from Toronto to Sydney, are organizing Barcamps. Find a venue, invite your users, have a beer and make your community stick.
8. Write a guest post on some high traffic blogs
Find some blogs who write about your niche. They have readers who are excellent candidates for your microblogging network, and who are most likely, willing to participate in your network. Select good subject to write about and offer it to a blogger, with a request to put your short bio at the end of your post, together with a link to your microblogging network. If he is interested (and many bloggers are interested in guest posts, especially if you’re an expert on some subject) write a good post (try to mention your microblogging network somewhere in the text) and an even better bio with a link to your network. This way you build online reputation in your niche and promote your network to surfers interested in your niche.
9. Paid marketing
This is also one of the possibilities; if you have some money to invest, of course. You can use Google AdWords, or any other paid-to-click systems. Try to have your link to your network on blog or website in your niche, because it will bring you more valuable surfers. Banners can also help.
10. Web directories
Submitting your microblogging network to web directories won’t move mountains, but it can help a little bit. Try to find as much web directories as you can, and spend some time to submit your microblogging network.
11. Other blogs
Follow blogs in your niche (actually, follow as much interesting blogs as you can) and write interesting and useful comments. This is also good way to build online reputation, and if you include your microblogging network URL along with your name and email address some surfers might visit your network.
it simple, stupid!
Maybe the easiest (or hardest, depends on how you look at it) way to promote your microblogging network is to make it interesting for your members. If you have network with interesting discussions, and if you, as network owner, invest a lot of time to keep those conversations going and if you regularly start new conversations, your members will be happy and they will spread the word. There is nothing better than happy users.
Have another idea how to promote a microblogging network? Please describe it in the comments.