Ok 2 ask friends to invite their friends to like your website's FB page?
March 2, 2014 11:31 PM   Subscribe

Social Media / General Etiquette: Acceptable to ask a friend to invite some of their Facebook friends to follow your artistic website’s Facebook page?

Some background: I’m a writer of literature. For a decade, I’ve been operating under the radar, periodically sharing my writings with a small number of friends and acquaintances, periodically trying to publish in literary journals and so on, and doing almost no self-promotion. Since I haven't yet published a novel with an established publisher, and since my writings hitherto have appeared in a sprinkling of relatively obscure publications, virtually no promotion has been done on my behalf.

For the last several years, some friends and acquaintances have persistently been encouraging me to jump into the digital age and establish a web presence, so that I can interact regularly with a readership, get some recognition, maybe make some income via donations (or possibly subscriptions), and potentially plant seeds for future publication.

After much trepidation, about four months ago, finally decided to take the proverbial plunge, and released a literary website (which I'd been designing and adding content to for some time). The website is a hybrid of a personal blog and a magazine, both showcasing some of my own writings, and featuring quality writings and other media by Contributors, articles, rare songs, videos, interviews, philosophy, psychology, dreams, and other quality items of the literary, philosophical, and artistic persuasions.

I tend to post several or more items-- including one or two pieces by Contributors-- weekly. Since releasing the site, I've also been posting 5-6 days a week once or twice a day (occasionally more) on FB, Google+, and Twitter, and occasionally some other social media sites. The posts are either pieces that appear on the site, or worthwhile (hopefully) things pertaining to the literary: illuminating, informative, poetic, comic, tragic, usefully irreverent, or captivatingly absurd.

So, edging towards the question... The amount of time it's taken to build and design the site, work with a developer to make significant changes, do research (I was pretty green when I started, and still am), put together posts from myself or contributors, curate compelling pieces, read (and sometimes edit) submissions, respond to voluminous emails, post on social media sites daily, etc, as well as the money it has taken to maintain and design the site, have been considerable, much more than anticipated. And it's beginning to feel that all of this work is almost not worth it without some semblance of a readership.

But an obstacle to gaining a readership I've run into: For a literary (or other artistic) site, FB, for good or ill, is currently pretty much the only game in town for getting posts seen regularly by an audience. Pretty recently, in order to increase revenue, FB changed its parameters such that only a small fraction of a ‘business'’ page’s followers will see a post when it is made, a fraction that is reduced further by FB now only showing “trending” posts at the top of the newsfeed by default.

As my site’s FB page currently has around 150 followers-- which I was able to get by inviting FB friends through my personal page, and through a few (tasteful) "mass" emails, one sent on my behalf by a close friend, to follow it-- this effectively translates into something like 1-5 people simply even seeing a new post when it is made in their newsfeed.

For the most part, it looks like the main ways I can get more people to subscribe to my site's FB page's posts are:
(a) By paying Facebook and running campaigns. But because the literary site makes no money yet (if it ever will), and I'm an impecunious writer, and because, apparently, from all I've read, FB campaigns are poor at reaching the right audience and the amount of "likes" one gets for the price is abysmal, this option does not really make sense.
(b) Ask some friends, acquaintances, and maybe Contributors to invite their friends who might be interested in the site to follow its FB page
(c) I realize that there are some other alternatives, such as handing out 'business cards,' or participating in literary events, or getting people onto the site through 'organic traffic' or 'paid traffic' and having them find the FB page this way, and so on. So far these options have not translated into any "followers" (boy, I don't love this word-- "subscribers" seems more dignified). Performing artists, such as musicians, or theater groups, or actors, for manifold reasons, seem to be able to leverage these alternatives much more to get a "following" than a writer is able to.

I likely wouldn't have thought of Option B myself had not a few acquaintances asked me to do this for their arts and business pages several months back. I thought their pages worthwhile, and so felt totally fine about doing this, and was glad to show love to their projects and help them promote themselves and maybe make some more income. After this a distant acquaintance, upon learning of the site, apropos nothing suggested she invite some of her friends to "like" its FB page, which was great (adding maybe 5-10 people, which some might say is trifling, but my feeling is that even one very engaged person makes a huge difference in the fabric of existence).

So I began to feel that this method of asking friends to ask their friends to like the page could be a viable way of enlarging its readership.
I've asked about a half dozen people so far (those I consider friends or close acquaintances, and one contributor), and have had extremely mixed results, so now don't know what to think.

One person seemed put off by the prospect and said they didn't feel comfortable doing it. Another, who it turns out has a 'huge following on Twitter,' and a considerable one on FB (which I had no idea about), actually seemed almost offended by the question.
Three people seemed totally casual about it and quite happy to do it (pretty much same as my response to the people who asked me).

One friend, a classical musician whom I've been showing support to for years and years, listening to many pieces by her, going to many of her performances over the years, listing her prominently at the top of the Friends (links) section of my website, and so on, seemed to ignore the email I sent her asking if she could do this. A few months passed, I realized she'd never responded, thought maybe the email simply fell through the cracks, and in another conversational email asked her a second time. And again-- no response. Likely signaling (as she responded to other emails) that she felt uncomfortable somehow about it.

A person I used to be closer friends with, another musician, sent an email asking if I'd feature his band's latest music video on the site (and, implicitly, in social media posts). I said I'd be glad to. And by the way, if he felt like it, as it would help him and other contributors get exposure, and as almost no one is looking at the posts now, could he show some love and invite some friends who might be interested to "like" the FB page. He disappeared as well. Sent him an email asking if he still wanted to run the video. Haven't heard back.

So-- now don't really know how to look at this. Pretty conflicted. Definitely don't want to over-impose on anyone or come off as uncouth, or selfish, or obnoxious. As I mentioned, I'm pretty green when it comes to social media, so it's possible I'm violating or stretching some sacrosanct code of conduct I'm not aware of (although, in the rapidly changing digital world, all but the most basic ethical codes seem to change rapidly), or that in general the request is ethically and socially much more to ask than I realize. Incidentally, one interesting observation: the people who seemed glad to do it (as well as the woman who volunteered apropos nothing) are Eastern European, European, and Latin American, whereas the ones who did not want to do it or disappeared are North American (USA). Not sure in this case if this indicates any pattern or is just random; not enough "data" to tell.

Any insights, suggestions, and so on would be much appreciated. Thanks!

[Note: Please, no very snarky, naysaying, or dismissive comments, as can sometimes happen on AskMeFi. Please, only constructive insights and suggestions. Thanks again.]
posted by cotesdurhone to Human Relations (44 answers total)
You are overthinking this. Some people are fine with doing this and others aren't. It's a difference in personal social media style. You are not violating any codes of conduct in asking the question. If people don't immediately say that they'd be happy to share your side, don't press the point.
posted by town of cats at 11:39 PM on March 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

Great answer, Town of Cats. Thank you. (One that has popped into my mind numerous times!)

However, I don't want to possibly offend people or leave a bad taste in their mouths.

So, to find out other perspectives, any other insights / suggestions from others would be appreciated.
posted by cotesdurhone at 11:43 PM on March 2, 2014

It is generally fine for you to ask, though some people will be annoyed and a lot of people will simply not respond. You're not violating an unwritten rule at all, but neither are they by ignoring the request. There's not really a way to get around that -- you will definitely annoy some people and there's basically no way to know in advance which people it will annoy.

One thing I will say, and I apologize if this comes off as snarky or dismissive, but if your manner of asking this favor is anywhere near as long-winded and stilted as this question, you're probably overwhelming people with the request. A status or simple message to your personal friends on FB that says "Hey, I'm trying to build up Likes for my page about my writing ( link ). I'd really appreciate it if you would consider sharing it with your friends and asking them to Like it if they, you know, actually like it." is probably all that's necessary.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:46 PM on March 2, 2014 [29 favorites]

As to your question itself, my guess is you'll get a range of answers here, just as you got a range of responses from the friends you've already asked. I don't know that there's a hard-and-fast rule, but I can tell you that for me personally, I wouldn't be all that interested in inviting my friends to like another random FB page. If I loved your FB page, then I might organically want to promote it on my feed or something, but if I haven't done that already, chances are it's something I "liked" out of obligation, and I'm not that interested in shilling it to my other friends. I'm a pretty stingy "liker," though, and really only like things that I truly want to get updates from--I'm sure other people use FB differently.

I really think you should be asking a different question, though. Your ultimate goal is to get more traffic on your site, so why are you concerning yourself so much with facebook, when, as you said, it's a terrible traffic driver? Even having ten times your fan page likes isn't going to bring you significant traffic. (I have a FB page for my blog that has over 25000 likes, and it's still just my fifth source of traffic.) I think your time and energy would be better spent figuring out other sources of traffic. Network with other bloggers who write about similar things, participate in forums, twitter chats, guest post...I don't really know your blogging scene, but there are lots of ways to start building community and getting your name out there. Facebook is just one tool, and a steadily declining tool at that.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 11:48 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, and one piece of advice I wish someone had told me when starting my own blog: have a newsletter sign-up from day one. Your mailing list can become your most valuable marketing tool and can be a big traffic driver. I didn't have one in the beginning and am kicking myself it took me so long to implement one.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 11:53 PM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I agree with Jacquilynne. Just ask. Do not come anywhere close to the verbosity you've employed here. You'll come off as pretentious and foolish. Just ask and deal with whatever happens after.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:06 AM on March 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would be a little annoyed if a friend asked me to spam my friends on their behalf. I would roll my eyes, and I wouldn't do it. I'd feel a bit awkward about telling my friend that, so I probably would pretend not to have seen the email unless directly asked about it.

I expect you got a worse response from the person with the larger following as they might have felt like you were taking advantage of their popularity. (Kind of like when one writer asks another if they'll pass a manuscript on to their agent).

I don't think there's a problem with putting a request on your facebook page though, rather than sending an email.
posted by lollusc at 12:07 AM on March 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

Thanks jacquilynne.

Yes, I realize my post is longwinded. When it comes to human relations questions put in writing, rather than asked in conversation, which is much easier, the tendency (or my tendency) is to give a lot of background information so as to avoid any confusion.

And, yes, thankfully, when asking, I've been mindful to be very brief about it, and have asked much in the same way as what you wrote.
posted by cotesdurhone at 12:08 AM on March 3, 2014

These are all insightful answers so far. Thanks everyone.

Yes, Bella Sebastian, I do send out an Email Digest every few weeks, and have a sign-up form on various parts of the site. Seemed natural for a literary site. So that's good.
posted by cotesdurhone at 12:13 AM on March 3, 2014

I'm not sure Facebook is the right forum for this approach and for what you are doing. I almost never encounter writing writing on FB unless it's though a link to a more established source. Otherwise I'm likely to interpret it as a personal/hobby thing.

Maybe pitch some things to existing online magazines? And then post those on FB, as well as linking them back to your blog?

I do sometimes 'like' and occasionally share 'recommended' pages if I admire whatever it is (and have seen it, and feel like it, I don't know), but the most involved interaction around that has been receiving a notification (with no message) saying 'so and so would like you to like this page'. I have also often ignored such notifications, and that doesn't reflect my feeling about the creator or the work, necessarily.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:18 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

It is safe to assume that anyone you asked who then goes radio silent about this request has given you your answer; "No and please don't ask me about it".

For the record I would either pretend I didn't see your request or give a vague "let me check it out", then do nothing. You can ask ONCE then drop it.
posted by saradarlin at 12:21 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, you should put a link to your site on your profile. I am sure I am not the only one who checked for one just to see how you write "in real life". And traffic is traffic right?
posted by saradarlin at 12:23 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Saradarlin, I've preferred to be incognito via AskMetafilter. Makes it easier to ask personal and difficult questions. Since I've been posting and commenting on the site on and off for years, maybe I'll post a link to the literary site via MetaFilter at some point in the future. As the crowd here is known for being, err, a bit blunt (not everyone of course), right now at 3:30 AM the prospect is a little too intimidating.

Objective as I can be about it, my fiction writing to date has tended to be succinct and eloquent. Philosophical writing has also been so at times, but at other times has been quite elaborate and meandering, somewhat akin to the writing styles of some 20th century philosophers. Unfortunately, occasionally it has been longwinded and convoluted, ever a risk with philosophy-- although sometimes it's better to grasp a concept in too many words than not at all. Poetry has, generally, been limpid. Personal correspondences-- the style has varied considerably depending on any number of factors. It's all ever a work in progress-- hopefully for the better.

Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by cotesdurhone at 12:46 AM on March 3, 2014

I do think that the request is socially more than you're realising, especially if the people you're asking are, as seems to be the case, public figures of a sort. It's one thing to encourage your friend to do their thing and try to connect with people who will appreciate said thing. It's another thing for someone who's presenting themselves as a brand (which is what people who are "successful" at social media are doing, generally, and definitely what musicians, etc, are doing) to link your stuff.

Linking something is an implicit endorsement, unless there's explicit commentary to the contrary. Your friend who has a dozen Facebook followers, etc, can link you and they're just a dude saying hey, this is a thing. Your friend who has 100k Twitter followers links you and they're effectively standing in the middle of the street with a microphone saying HEY HERE IS A THING. If you're doing the latter, especially if you're going to be linking [recced thing] to your professional brand, you're going to be pretty picky about who you link, if you link at all.
posted by MeghanC at 12:55 AM on March 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

[Cotesdurhone, Ask Metafilter is not meant to be a back-and-forth ongoing conversation space where you reply to everyone. You can relax and take in the answers, and just respond if there is a direct question you want to answer. Thanks. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:59 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

MeghanC. Thanks for this insight. This is likely what happened with the friend who has a large Twitter and FB following (although I didn't know this when I asked him).

As for the others, they don't have business pages/brands on FB and are just friends and close acquaintances with regular personal pages.

The classical musician doesn't have a "business" page, but I do think she has a lot of "friends" on FB, although I didn't check how many. The musician does have a FB page for his band-- just checked, fewer than 2,000 followers. The thing with these two is that I've been sharing their stuff in all sorts of ways and seeing their performances for years, so their apparent reticence surprised me.

And with that, must go to sleep. Thanks again everyone for your comments.
posted by cotesdurhone at 1:02 AM on March 3, 2014

Totally acceptable, also kinda annoying frankly as it is not at all uncommon and it's the equivalent of spam as not all of my friends would potentially be into the thing I'm being asked or asking them to like. Organic referrals, though rare, are far more likely to be genuine, and get genuine results.

Another note: this well be less profitable than you realise. I work in media and communications and I often see people mixing up viral success with audience building. Viral is truly easy come easy go, and very hard to get right. Those people won't stick around; they well be empty likes. To build an audience you do it slowly and surely. Register on other literary sites, leave genuine comments that have your username linked to your site. Etc etc.

Audience building is a lot of work, nearly as much work as content generating. When I worked as a freelance writer I saw many a good magazine with good content go down in flames because they forgot this.

It lacks the... pizzazz, but it's important. Do it the right way, and slowly your site will grow. Best of luck.
posted by smoke at 1:10 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

You ought to find other literary blogs, twitter accounts, forums, and message boards... and start to get active and trade links there. Your target audience is people who are actually into literature, not random friends-of-friends. You're more likely to find interested people in interest groups, be the groups online or local.

I, also, would feel mildly annoyed and and ignore the request if someone asked me to share their literary blog via my Facebook.

If you think that Facebook is the best way to get readers for your blog, you don't really understand social media.
posted by htid at 1:32 AM on March 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

I've been sharing their stuff in all sorts of ways and seeing their performances for years, so their apparent reticence surprised me.

The difference is that you've been sharing your friends' work because you enjoyed it. Now you're asking them to share your work in some kind of quid pro quo that they never agreed to enter.

I've seen this over and over in my years online, especially amongst creative types -- the idea that because you promoted somebody's work, they owe it to you to do the same. They don't. Believing that they do is an excellent way to make your prior acts look mercenary, like you only undertook them on the expectation that you were banking a future favour.

You did something nice for your friends. I'm sure they appreciated it. Don't try to attach strings, now, after the fact.

Can I tell you a small story?

When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a friend who was in her mid-forties. My friend told me something that's always stayed with me: Whenever you do something for somebody, expect nothing more than a "Thank you" in return. If you're going to be unhappy with just a "Thank you," you should reconsider doing it.

If you live your life that way, she said, your life will be much simpler.

She was right.
posted by Georgina at 1:34 AM on March 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

I would be very reluctant to ask my friends to like another friend's project. I barely can muster up the social media courage to plug my own projects. I would be more likely to share an event on my FB timeline, especially if I am planning to attend. I use Twitter much more loosely and regularly, and would be probably okay with sharing a friend's project even if I hadn't fully vetted it as something that should receive the final stamp of approval, something along the lines of "hey my buddy cotes just started a literary blog."

Also note that literary taste is often very narrow. I have friends (published!) whose writing I don't particularly enjoy but I still like to support them by buying books and sporadically tweeting out news from them. Is your site something along the lines of Guernica Mag or still more on the personal literary blog side of things? Your site may just be more niche that you suspect.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:39 AM on March 3, 2014

Performing artists, such as musicians, or theater groups, or actors, for manifold reasons, seem to be able to leverage these alternatives much more to get a "following" than a writer is able to.

Performers offer performances, i.e. events, that people can attend and incorporate into their social lives, and FB still plays a sometimes useful (but decreasing) role in organizing people's calendars.

I agree that the networking you do should be tightly related to your content and target audience, wherever it is online, and not so much focused on people who have access to audiences, but who do not have much to do with your area (on preview what htid said).

(Truthfully, I don't see that much activity on FB at all anymore, excluding people posting pictures of their kids. I don't know if this is location / language - specific.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:50 AM on March 3, 2014

Agreed that FB is a terrible way of doing this, even if it wouldn't annoy your friends. (Personally I hate being asked to spam my followers.)

If I were you, here's what I'd do instead:

Identify some blogs and web forums that are about the same kind of writing that you are into. Join them. Put the link to your website in your sig, but otherwise, don't go wild promoting it at first. Instead, interact with people and get to know them. Become part of a few communities. If there are contests or exchanges of work, participate in those. Get organically involved so that when you share what you do, it doesn't look like spam.

Sometimes write *about* other people's stuff. Write interesting, substantial reviews or commentary that then link to their sites, especially if the sites offer pingbacks. If you want to be cynical about this, focus on people with a lot of followers of their own.

Identify whether there are contests for your type of writing you could enter (ideally ones with cheap or free entry), or local workshops or conferences you could participate in. Again, this is partly about visibility and partly about making personal connections that will then grow into a network.

The point is -- you don't want to leverage your existing network of assorted social friends for this: a lot of them may not care about what you're doing and others may feel uncomfortable being asked for involvement. What you want is to construct a network of people who do similar things to you, with whom you can trade favors and who are much more likely to direct qualified traffic your way.
posted by shattersock at 2:11 AM on March 3, 2014

Honestly, as the years go by on Facebook, I'm unliking and hiding a whole lot of stuff. I ignore most requests to like pages. If somebody repeatedly asked me via e-mail to like their page, I would find it odd and probably not like the page unless it was super aligned with my interests. You have not heard back from these people because they do not want to do it. Repeated asking won't help.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:36 AM on March 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think it's OK to personally ask close friends to get the word out, along with an 'if you like this site, please share it with your friends!" request somewhere on your main page, but repeatedly asking people to 'share' something on social media, especially by some kind of push media (email, FB messages, etc) will alienate some percentage of your audience and probably won't accomplish much.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:41 AM on March 3, 2014

If I share your stuff with my friends on FB I'm not doing it for your benefit! I'm doing it because I think my friends will enjoy it.

I'll share a specific post or a specific video or performance or whatever that I think my friends will be into. It's important to me that the quality of the stuff I share is consistently high. If I find something that's not a) fantastic and b) directly relevant to the interests of my friends, then I won't share it.

I'm not going to share anyone's entire blog, and I'm certainly not going to try to persuade my friends to "like" something, because I'm basically hanging my reputation for providing cool stuff on your ability to continue providing consistently good material that is directly relevant to my friend group. Realistically, most of my friends are not going to be interested in all of your stuff.
posted by emilyw at 2:44 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can ask and it's fine, but frankly I think you will be much better off coming back next week and asking how to promote a busy blog with a small readership. You're going to need to link to the place in question to get answers, so consider a sock puppet account.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

The general guideline for asking people to like your Facebook page: ask once, ask briefly, ask politely, and expect to be ignored.

Facebook is not a particularly effective marketing tool in most cases, and I will usually take something less seriously if I'm asked to like it on Facebook. I agree with those who recommend focusing your efforts elsewhere.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:22 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, seems like you're overthinking this. Just ask people and don't be upset if they don't do it.

I think you're better served promoting the blog.

With the exception of lolcatz and George Takei, I don't see Facebook as a highly effective marketing tool anymore.
posted by kinetic at 3:51 AM on March 3, 2014

I do social media (among other things) for a living, and one pretty hard-and-fast rule is that asking people to share your page is wayyyyy less effective than encouraging them to share individual posts. People share interesting (to them!) content, they don't really share pages. By asking them to share your page, you're not only asking a favor, you're asking them to do something that's not exactly natural in this context.

If I share your stuff with my friends on FB I'm not doing it for your benefit! I'm doing it because I think my friends will enjoy it.

Ding ding ding. Here's the thing about social media - you may be using it to promote your own site, but no one else is there to promote your site. They are there for their own reasons: entertainment, connection, to look good, what have you. Sure, a few people who are really nice and like you as a person will share what you ask them to share. But unless you're giving people stuff that they truly find valuable, this approach will not get you very far. And in general, people don't find a lot of value in sharing a page - but they might find it in sharing a really great individual piece of content.

That's not to say you should necessarily send your friends emails asking them to share individual posts. But you can work on making your posts interesting and pithy (this is key!) and share them from your own personal account.

Also, I agree that sinking a ton of time into FB may not be the best investment for you right now, but that's for another question.
posted by lunasol at 4:54 AM on March 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

The length of each of your responses and the precision with which you make, qualify and restate your points seems to be at odds with your statement that you are succinct in at least some of your writing. So at least consider that you may overwhelm people with your requests.

Having said that there's nothing wrong with asking, as long as you do it in a way that means they can just ignore your request. Never follow up. Requests like that are the kind of unsolicited communication from friends/colleagues that you expect to get from time to time, note in passing, may decide to read in full and then either act on or ignore. To put people on the spot by following up with them later is a recipe for awkward conversations so don't do that.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:22 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's nothing wrong with asking, IMO. I've been sent requests from friends to like their friends' pages. If I think it's cool, I'll like it. If I don't, I won't. I don't see why anyone should be offended by you simply aksing them if they'd ask their friends to check out your page; they can just not do it if they don't want to.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 5:26 AM on March 3, 2014

I wouldn't mind being asked if it was a casual, low-pressure request that sent the message (not necessarily in these words): "Hey, if you're comfortable with it I'd really appreciate you passing along my page to your friends and asking them to consider Liking it. If you're not, I understand, no big deal.". I wouldn't have a problem with that and would either do it or else ignore the request but without feeling offended or bothered about being asked.

But if it's a higher-pressure type ask (less casual, sent to me individually rather than a big group, wordier, more desperate-sounding, implying or asking for a yes or no response) that makes me feel like I have to defend myself for saying no, I'd feel somewhat irritated about you asking in the first place, weird and awkward about saying no, and maybe less likely to say yes because I'd be feeling pressured into it rather than doing it as a favor for a friend.

(Note: this may depend on Ask vs Guess culture-- I am very much Guess-- but I expect you have a number of Guess friends even if many aren't.)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 8:20 AM on March 3, 2014

Ask versus Guess culture
posted by EmilyClimbs at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2014

There are a lot of facebook images - sayings, advice, jokes, blindingly obvious truisms, appeals to love of family, children, pets, etc.* - that add "Share/ Like this if you agree." Me, I make it a point not to share/ like anything that says that, but I'm probably deep in the minority. So, make really great posts, turn them into easily share-able images and at the bottom, put your web address, along with Please share/ like this to help me publicize my site. Thank you. Even cynical old me might consider shar-/liking it, if the content is really good. The more shares and likes you get, the more likely facebook is to display your statuses. (and the more valuable you account becomes, which is why there are all those requests.)

Also, your site is the Project of a Metafilter member, and you can put on on projects.metafilter.com, and you may get some good membership.

*blah, blah - share this if you love your rescue dog.
*blah, blah - share this if you have a son/ daughter you love.
*blah, blah - share this, unless you're a kitten-hating, UnAmerican, cancer-loving terrorist who masturbates to Justin Bieber.

posted by theora55 at 9:07 AM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Personally, I'm a little irritated when people just do the automatic "so-and-so suggests that you 'like' their page XYZ." I see it as someone expecting me to stand behind them on FB for publicity reasons without knowing anything about their business/product/organization. I'd respond more positively to someone actually posting "here is this facebook page for $thing which is really nifty because $reason and you should check it out."
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:15 AM on March 3, 2014

When I hear the word friend, I think of my real life friends -- and they are a very precious resource to me. I wouldn't sell them vitamins, make them sit through sales pitches in my living room, suggest they change their religious views, or coerce them to participate in my volunteer projects. Your website might or might not be around in a year, but real friendships can last a lifetime. I would encourage you to re-think what you are doing. Good luck!
posted by 99percentfake at 10:35 AM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, this question has gotten a lot of responses. Would like to address several of them:

Georgina, I never meant to imply a quid pro quo scenario to any of my friends, and concern over whether they possibly could take it this way is partly what caused me to post the question. I'm in wholehearted agreement with you about expecting only a "thank you" for doing something nice for someone; I actually don't even expect a thank you, although of course it is welcome.

As to why I went to see my friends' concerts, and shared their websites and other endeavors, etc, often it was because I genuinely enjoyed them and thought others would too. But sometimes I didn't think their projects were so great, and did so because they were my friends and I wanted to help them out. Friends do that for each other. This is why I was surprised when I asked the classical musician friend if she might recommend the page to some of her literary and artistic friends and it seemed like she didn't want to. The other musician friend contacted me first about featuring his work on the site, and I was careful to let him know there was no obligation. Actually phrased it almost verbatim as EmilyClimbs did.

99percentflake: In my book, friends do help each other out from time to time within reason; they wouldn't really be friends if they didn't. The examples you list are more of an imposition than what I'm talking about; I'd never ask any close friends to do any of these things (well, I might ask if they'd be interested in participating in a volunteer project, but certainly wouldn't coerce them).

EmilyClimbs, your link about Ask and Guess cultures is really interesting, and I think very relevant here. If we reduce people into these two cultures, I'm definitely of the "Ask" group, and prefer close friends to be very open about everything. If friends and partners cannot be open with one another, and often need to communicate in innuendoes, then the relationship becomes pretty compromised.

In the original post, to clarify for those who don't know the ins and outs of business pages on FB, I probably should have mentioned that FB specifically has a prominent field set up for friends to recommend friends' pages. One goes to the said page, clicks on "Invite Your Friends to Like This Page," selects the friends they want to invite, and these friends then get an email through FB saying 'So and so has invited you to like their friend's page X.' The process takes five minutes.

I occasionally receive emails through FB from people asking me to "like" their friends' pages, and unless the page seems very spammy, obnoxious, or irrelevant to me, I'm usually glad to do so. (But, of course, that's me, and others might think differently.) If the page starts posting too much irrelevant or unwanted stuff, I "Unfollow" it. (One can still "like" a page, but unfollow its feeds.)

Finally, other than Facebook and Google+, I'm not aware of any viable social media venues where one can post something with some substance (more than 140 characters, if one feels like it) to an audience once or more daily. As, for example, this blog which I really like does:
Or as this blog does:
ginandtacos.com // https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gin-and-Tacos/359134596676
If anyone knows of any other venues, would be glad to hear.

A lot of suggestions to digest here, some of them very good, and I'll certainly spend some time reading them closely. Thank you, friends
posted by cotesdurhone at 3:31 PM on March 3, 2014

Tumblr is a good place to (slowly) build an interest-specific audience. I follow fan fiction and poetry and social critique/theory - and those are mostly side interests to my primary community of urban planning. It helps to follow other Tumblrs and reblog or like posts of theirs, to begin to build up a sense of interconnectedness, I have a few hundred followers, mostly built through reblogs and tags.
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

As to why I went to see my friends' concerts, and shared their websites and other endeavors, etc, often it was because I genuinely enjoyed them and thought others would too. But sometimes I didn't think their projects were so great, and did so because they were my friends and I wanted to help them out. Friends do that for each other.

This is not universal. I frequently encourage my friends in their artistic pursuits even when their art is not to my taste or is such that I could never recommend it to anyone. This is because their art makes them happy and I want them to be happy even if their happiness lies in writing Manimal rock operas or knitting dolls shaped like famous assassins. I would never recommend something just because it was a friend's work - to me that would be a violation of my personal integrity.

I know nothing about your art and can't say why your friends seem to be reluctant to endorse it, but I wanted to point out that there are multiple ways to view an obligation to one's friends in relation to their art. One of those paths is to refuse to recommend artistic work based solely on a relationship to the artist.

Others have pointed out less indirect means to increase your work's profile - I think you should explore those options.
posted by winna at 4:25 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of the key hallmarks of Ask culture is that people can say no. Yes, it's okay to ask. No, there isn't any way to ask that guarantees that people will do what you want them to do.

Social media experts can give you some tips and tricks to get noticed. But they cannot turn your friends into your audience. Developing an audience is a different question. You asked your friends and you have their varied answers.
posted by Zen_warrior at 4:42 PM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Winna, to address your point-- If I felt up to it, I would go see a friend's performance even if it wasn't much to my taste or I thought it truly bad to support the friend.

Under certain circumstances, I would share a friend's website or project that I felt similarly about, although I wouldn't necessarily lavish glowing praise on it, merely share it.

For instance, I might post something on a relevant social media site or forum I use to the effect of: 'If you like this sort of thing, check out X website or project my friend just released.' Or I might share online or recommend a friend's Crowdfunding campaign, even though I don't necessarily think the project in question is great.

I do this because I want the friend to be happy and to move towards actualization in their unique way.

One must also take into account that, between the clearly good and bad, there is a nebulous middle ground of taste, and what might not appeal to me personally might really enrich someone else.

Zen_warrior: Yes. Saying 'no' is fine. The point of my question was to feel out whether asking is even appropriate in the first place.

Ok, apologies, will stop 'threadsitting.' This is the last reply. Feel free to nitpick at or excoriate anything I've written as you wish . . . And may blessings find you wherever you are
posted by cotesdurhone at 4:59 PM on March 3, 2014

I'd say it's OK, but probably not useful enough to risk doing since other people think it's not OK. I have a business page and I've invited every single friend I have to "Like" it, but I never ask them to promote it - I figure if I'm not compelling them to share my material or promote my page without me asking, then it's my problem.

If I share content on the page that I think a friend will either be particularly interested in or is connected to in some way (like I share a photo that they're in, or if I shared something that they had written), rather than ask them in return to share my page, I would tag them in the post. Tagging someone in a post can cause the post to show up in the news feeds of that person's friends without them needing to share the page themselves. Also, if you can get people to comment on your post, then it can also show up in their friends' feeds - so you can make a point of trying to ask people what their take is on what you've posted, or post something that will spark a little debate, or something like that, and you'll accomplish the same thing but without the peer pressure. I always make this very positive. Like, if I were sharing literary pieces that were written by a friend, I'd tag them by saying "Congratulations John Smith on getting this amazing piece published in the Atlantic Monthly!" or something like that. Hard for anyone to take offense at something like that.

If you manage to get multiple people to interact with your post, especially if they have some overlap in their friend groups, my experience is that these posts get seen by many more people.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:35 PM on March 3, 2014

No, I think it's not okay. It would be stressful and annoying for me to have a friend ask this; I would feel like they weren't savvy or understanding of how the art world works. Plus, having a random person like your page doesn't mean that they will contribute to your cause or enjoy your art in any meaningful way. High page likes don't mean post engagement. If your work is compelling enough, then everything else will follow. With writing, you need a larger platform to get your work out to more people. You may need a manager to help you get those placements. More page likes without content that moves people enough to 'like' on their own? What do you think those will do for you? Get good enough so you can get published before spamming people. Spend that effort on networking so you can get your work to where it needs to be.
posted by semaphore at 7:05 AM on March 4, 2014

Re: promoting your friends projects even if you aren't that interested in them...

But sometimes I didn't think their projects were so great, and did so because they were my friends and I wanted to help them out.

As someone who has friends who do this, all it encourages me to do is tune them out. I think, "friend X has no taste or point of view. They keep passing along all this subpar stuff that I'm not interested in. I should pay attention to them less in the future." Whereas when a friend only rarely posts about others' work it really means something when they say "check out my friend's band. It's crazy good!"
posted by MsMolly at 5:35 PM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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