September 2, 2014

Should You Ask for Social Media Votes?

There are at least a few sensitive issues involving social media marketing. Submitting your own posts is one of them, and asking friends for votes is definitely another. If you’ve been around social media and blogging for a while, you’ve probably received a request from someone at some point to digg a submission or give a thumbs up on StumbleUpon.

Most social media sites provide an official feature to allow sharing of links (such as Digg’s shout system or StumbleUpon’s share feature). Those features certainly do get used, but many bloggers prefer to send an email (or IM) to a friend rather than using a share feature. The share functions are not always the most user-friendly, and legitimate requests can sometimes get lost in the spam. Plus, social media sites can track what links are shared this way, and they can adjust the algorithm, which makes a vote for a shared link less significant.

Some bloggers are hesitant to ask friends for a vote through an official share feature or by email. Some others will use one approach but not the other. Those who don’t share their own links with friends typically don’t do so because they feel like they’ll be annoying others, and in some cases this is true.

Through my first few months of blogging I never asked anyone for a social media vote, partly because I didn’t have much of a network at that point, and partly because I didn’t want to bother anyone. As I started building a network I also started getting emails from other bloggers requesting a vote. I realized that I was actually happy to help those who I liked and the content that I felt was worthy, so I figured that other bloggers may also feel the same way. Now I do request votes from friends (using official share features and email), and I regularly get requests from friends.

5 Tips for Sharing Links with Friends

1 – Don’t overkill

This can be difficult because we all have a different opinion of how much is too much. My rule of thumb is don’t send more requests to anyone than you would like to receive from them. Obviously, sending too many requests will hurt those friendships that you’ve developed and you’ll seem like you’re only interested in your own gain.

2 – Send to those that you have a real relationship with

With most social media sites it’s pretty easy to build up a big list of “friends” that don’t really know you, and you don’t know them. From my experience, your requests will be more effective and more welcome if you have a genuine relationship with others. I’m not saying you should never send a shout on Digg to all of your friends, but think about who you’re making requests to, and evaluate the relationship. Maybe they also send you links and you’re both fine with not having a real connection, but this won’t be the case with every social media user.

3 – Offer to return the favor

If you’re going to request votes from others, you should also be willing to vote for them when their content is worthy. If you’re requesting links and not willing to return the favor when it is justified, you will not be making too many long-term friends.

4 – Do it when it will make a difference

My advice is to save your requests for when they will have a significant impact. If getting 2 or 3 diggs to a submission isn’t going to make a real difference, wait until you have a submission that just needs a little final push. With this approach your requests will be more effective and it will keep you from going overboard requesting votes to every post.

5 – Promote only quality content

This should go without saying, but don’t ask others to vote for something that isn’t worthy of a vote. Most of us take some pride in what we vote for, so don’t put your friends in an awkward position where they want to help you, but they don’t want to vote for something that is sub-par. If you follow tip #4, this should be automatic.

What’s Your Opinion?

Do you get requests from your friends? If so, what’s your feeling on the situation, and do you also ask for votes on your own submissions? Do you prefer to use the official features on social media sites, or do you like to use email or IM?

About Steven Snell

Steven is a web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

13 comments

  1. Still in my early stages of blogging and never asked for a stumble or something. Just like you I’ll wait a bit and see what happens.

    And yeah, only share quality content and not every other post you write.

  2. I get burned out by the avalanche of shouts and stumble requests I get. I try to establish a relationship with the person outside of whatever social media site i know them through. I will instant message them in other ways to that the social media’s own IM system does not pick up on a request. that way it is submitted without being tainted. Or i might be overthinking things….

  3. I only ask if I think the article will blow up and go viral on social media sites. This helps push it to be promoted during the optimal times to submit a site to a social media site.

    Other than that, I make sure I vote and submit other people’s articles that I feel are high quality without them asking. Usually they will return the favor without me having to ask them later. Saves me the trouble.

  4. I think sometimes it is important to ask for the initial vote. Especially when you think you have a good piece of content that needs to be submitted and categorised properly. Sending it to someone you trust to do this can determine the fate of your content.

    Nick

  5. Dave,
    I ignore most of the shouts I get. I keep an eye out for a few friends that I actually know, but the rest I tend to ignore. I don’t like Digg’s shout system anyway. With SU I get 3 or 4 per day, and that’s fine with me.

    Vinh,
    That’s a good approach because it makes your requests more effective.

    Nick,
    Good point. The submission can make a really big difference.

  6. Hi, great post that really describe my struggle recently. StumbleUpon is now very smart in how they are no longer bring you traffic unless there are few new voters for your articles. Even those that got me 20-30 voters, no new voters, no big traffic.

    That really troubles me, and in some points I’m kind of hesitant to find help again. But I guess I’ll keep on asking, at least from my friends, I got some readership, and some comments back. And that really encourages me to blog further…

    One important point, don’t rely, and don’t put any bad meaning when they don’t give you the stumble you need. Learn to appreciate their limitation as well…

    I think that is really an impt point.

    Do you still the request still works? especially in SU? Please let me know your opinion.
    Thanks,
    Robert

  7. I would never ask anyone to vote any of my web pages up on sites like Digg, Newsvine or Stumbleupon. I like to think that if my content was worthwhile then I would be near the top in the first place, so I stick to my rules and improve my sites on a fair gauge.

    In a way getting your website on Digg isn’t that great. If you’re running CPC ads on your website then there’s little chance of a Digg user clicking, so all that bandwidth gone and a few cents earned isn’t my idea of success.

  8. I’m agree with Mike.. if my content worth it with fair judgment it will climb by itself.. but yet it still depends on individual everyone got their on opinion

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