Social Media | Sep 8, 2011 | 4 Comments

[ask for what you want]

When someone lands on your website, do you ask them to sign up for your email newsletter? When someone reads your blog, do you ask for a comment? When you want to grow your Facebook community, do you ask people to share your page? When you tweet about a cause, do you ask for an RT?

Don’t assume people know what do to. Ask for what you want.

I’ve heard this advice recently from Gini Dietrich, Dan Zarella, and Heather Mansfield, who are relatively “big names” in blogging and social media. They all say that you need to be explicit about what you want people to do with your content.

In fact, Dan bills himself as a social media scientist. He said he was surprised to learn that tweets that included words like “Please RT” actually got more retweets. This seems to fly in the face of commonsense, which says that being overly promotional turns people off.

So don’t just be promotional. When you ask people to share, retweet, donate, etc., make sure it’s for content that’s worth sharing: an important cause, a useful piece of information, a feel-good story.

In the end, it all comes down to the quality of the content–creating content that deserves to be shared.

If you liked this post, please comment, and then share it on Twitter, or Facebook, or email a friend with the link. Thanks!

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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


Timeless, brilliant advice Claire! I need to do more of this without feeling so bashful. Thanks!!


This is so appropriate. I feel like there are two types of people in this regard: those of us who feel like it’s bad manners to ask for something (if it has to do with ourselves), and those who promote themselves constantly but without adding the as you described to make people want to share. The trick is finding the right balance! Thanks for the inspiration.


Anne Janzer Reply:

Oops, I missed a word, I meant to say “without adding the value”… So, there’s a third, overlapping group of those of us who do not proofread our comments, apparently.


Claire Wagner Reply:

Welcome to the third group, Anne. I’m practically a charter member! Thanks for being here, irregardless of typos or grammatical errors. (hahahaha)


Anne Janzer


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