Tactically, there’s an infinite number of ways to promote via social media. But, when it comes to distributing content, there are just four categories of promotion that every technique fits under.
What are they? Which one should you use? Should you adopt a mix or stick to a single system? Find out in this week’s 5-Minute Whiteboard:
Howdy SparkToro fans, and welcome to another edition of 5-minute whiteboard. This week, we’re talking about how you distribute content on social media in order to earn business value for yourself, your company, or your clients. And there’s only four ways to do it. I’m gonna walk through these and then we’ll talk about which one you should potentially apply for your strategies and tactics that will result in the best ROI for you.
#1: Posts with direct links.
I post about x y z. I’ve got the blog post, maybe sitting on my website, maybe I have an article or whatever. And so I include the link.
This works fine on places like Twitter and LinkedIn (though both of these platforms reduce the reach of posts that contain links).
A direct-link post on Mastodon from Moz’s Dr. Pete Meyers
(note: Mastodon is one of the few networks that doesn’t punish links in posts)
It could even technically work in places like Reddit. They’re easy to follow, but the platforms hate these. Right?
Reddit doesn’t want you leaving Reddit. LinkedIn wants you to stay on LinkedIn, Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter.
You could see when Elon open sourced the algorithm earlier this year, right? Twitter specifically has a thing in their algo that devalues the visibility of posts with links. This also doesn’t work well on Instagram. It barely works on YouTube (technically there’s a video in the description or there could be a link in the video description, but it’s hard to pull off). TikTok; it doesn’t work. Snapchat; it doesn’t work, right? A bunch of places without link support in posts.
#2: Native content with no links
This is essentially saying rather than post a blog post or an article on my website, I’m gonna post the same content or the value of that content directly, natively into the platform where I’m sharing it. So I’m gonna make a YouTube video instead of a video I put on my site. I’m gonna make a thread on threads or BlueSky, Mastodon, or Twitter (X, whatever).
Amanda Natividad posts a native-content Tweet, likely earning more visibility than a tweeted link (but fewer visits & no attribution)
And that’s what I’m gonna put up as opposed to: “I’ll put something on my site.” And the idea here is that it’s easier to consume. It’s more likely to get that sort of viral spread.
Maybe it helps build brand association. Maybe you get more from your branding technically because people are on these platforms and getting them to your website is harder, but it’s really hard to get anyone to to an email capture. It’s incredibly hard to get them to come try your product. Getting a link over to your site is very difficult. Even if they do find your site later and, and get over there, it’s hard to attribute the ROI and impossible to do full attribution–full marketing attribution.
#3: The Zero-Click Teaser
It kind of sits in between these first two. I’ve created the content on my site or, you know, you’ve created on your site but you’re posting sort of semi natively in a non link content on the social platform for example, with a teaser video that mentions the content is available or a graphic image that mentions more graph are available on the site, but it doesn’t actually include the link. This is sort of the, LinkedIn, you know, link-in-the-comments trick or the Instagram link-in-bio trick or the Twitter, I’ll-post-a-thread. And then once it gets lots of traction, I’ll post the link below that thread, all those kinds of hacks. This really plays to the platform’s algorithms and what they prefer. But, you know, does it necessarily get all those visitors over to your site?
A Zero-Click teaser from me on LinkedIn
It’s tough to say, and it’s very difficult to execute well. This is this is probably the most challenging one to do well. Alright.
I’ll call this Follow-Bait, but you could also think of it as influencer centric content or platform centric content that’s designed to drive someone through a bio link over to your site.
And this is essentially, I’m trying to do an interesting thing consistently around a topic area, like “I made a million dollars with my X, Y, Z campaign. Here’s a breakdown of that.” And so people are like, “oh my god, a million dollars. I have to check it out.”
Humorist Geraldine DeRuiter shows why she’s a must-follow on Mastodon
A lot of what’s been termed “hustle bro content” that appears in many social networks, especially in B2B and influencer spaces, creator spaces, fits into this with the idea that there’s an implied desire to learn more about this person and so you will go to their profile and there you will find the link to their website. Does it maximize potential reach? Probably it does, right? Like this, this type of stuff is really all about playing to what we’re well on each platform: play to that algorithm, play to that audience.
It does also suffer from being very hard to measure and quite hard to execute well, especially execute well consistently. Can you come up with one or two of these sure? But, is this a strategic thing that you can do long term? I think some of the best sort of social media optimizing creators do this well. But, for a lot of other folks, for a lot of businesses, it’s a struggle.
So which one should you choose?
I don’t think just one.
I think in each case you should be thinking about what am I creating? Where does it fit well? Is it gonna be on is it gonna perform best on my site? Are people searching for it in Google? Therefore, I definitely want it on my site because I want them to come here. Am I maximizing impressions and branding and that’s my goal. Well, then probably I want maybe maybe the native content the zero click teaser content, probably the native content, actually, or even the follow bit type of content.
So it’s about applying the right tactic, the right method to the problem you’re trying to solve, which is true in all of marketing, but especially important in this current evolving era of how social media algorithms optimize and reward certain types of content and penalize others.