Social Media etiquette for promoting a hobby project
August 26, 2014 9:40 AM   Subscribe

I've been online for a long while, but I'm a novice in social media as a venue for promoting my hobby project. I've dismissed twitter and tumblr as things I don't understand or aren't for me, but I'd like to promote my hobby site and interact with people who like similar things. How do I go about balancing promotion with reception? Tell me about following, re-tweeting and re-tumbling things. Thanks!

Additional context: I've set up a new blog to review and update a book on kooky/ weird culture and online resources that was written in 1995, in anticipation for its 20th anniversary. I'm not associated with the book, but I read it when it first came out and I was a huge fan, and I want to see how it fares.

The blog is currently hosted on Blogger, though I have my own webspace and a suitably weird domain that could be used for the project. I also signed up for a Twitter account, where I have followed a few of the people involved with the original book, and I've only tweeted about the few updates I've made to the blog. I was thinking of starting a tumblr account for this, too.

I know enough to find some folks with similar interests and see who their friends are, but I don't want to be That Guy who tries to shove their weird project out to people who don't know me, or inundate my friends and family with my weird little project, so I haven't used my Twitter account to follow family and friends (or MeFites). How do I strike that balance?
posted by filthy light thief to Human Relations (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'll just offer one anecdote. I share a hobby with a nice guy and we are also Facebook friends. But my available FB time is limited, so I had to "hide" or "unfollow" him (not sure of the difference) because he was posting all the time about unremarkable hobby things he had done, which might have been interesting for me to take part in, but were definitely not interesting just to read about. As a result, I no longer see either his hobby news or his personal news.

So, I'd suggest separating your hobby social media from your personal social media, so people will be able to block one (if they want) without blocking the other (if they want).

And also, have your posts focus on new developments in the hobby at large, rather than just your own hobby activities (if this applies).
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:04 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Get your friends to promote it instead of you. For some reason, that never seems like advertising to me.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:11 AM on August 26, 2014

The blog is currently hosted on Blogger, though I have my own webspace and a suitably weird domain that could be used for the project.

FYI: You can use your own domain name with blogger. I have two sites set up that way.

Also, if you haven't seen it, this old Ask of mine might be of interest: What is this crazy little thing called Twitter?
posted by Michele in California at 10:13 AM on August 26, 2014

Are there online forums to discuss this project?
Fellow hardcore fans?
Perhaps singing up, getting well known as a contributor there, then branching out to those other users' Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts would be more appropriate.
They would know you, they would like you, they would retweet, share and repost your musings.
See who else favorites, shares, retweets you, and follow THOSE folks.
This way you're only interacting with those who have shown an interest.
It's similar to Seth Godin's permission marketing, only different.

Good luck!
I love weird!
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 10:21 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas so far. If you're interested, my blog and tumblr are linked in my profile. The book is The Happy Mutant Handbook, which you can see is far from in demand.

There's not really a culture around it, as it is a broad overview of many things weird, wacky and fun. For more context, here's the table of contents (PDF).

Re: permission marketing, here's a recent article on the idea/book turning 15, which seems to be more focused on email and the like, but I could be mistaken.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 AM on August 26, 2014

I hate when people answer AskMe questions like "How do I do X with Y?" with "Don't do Y, do Z..." but after you find out what you need to about Twitter and Tumblr, you might want to look into Pinterest.
posted by Rykey at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a blog in a relatively niche area and related twitter and facebook accounts. These are separate from my personal accounts.

The key is to be engaged with the community, so your posts do not seem spammy or overly promotion heavy. I have set up the blog to automatically post new articles to facebook and twitter, but I also follow people who are in the same field and favorite, retweet or reply to their links if I find them interesting. This allows them to notice your project and reciprocate if they're interested in what you have to say. I also post links to articles or projects I find elsewhere if it's maybe not enough for me to write a whole post about. I've found that I get the most response on social media when I post my own random/idle thoughts on the subject, especially if it's an idea for a project I'm considering in the future. Being a real person behind the twitter account, responding to people and posting interesting stuff besides your own writing will be more effective than just pushing out your blog updates.

As far as adding family and friends, occasionally I cross post links to my blog posts on my personal social media accounts, but usually it's because I'm writing about a cool thing I found that I would naturally share on my own pages anyway. It's usually "Here's a cool thing I found along with what I wrote about it."

However, I made the decision to only invite people who I thought would be genuinely interested in my blog to like/follow my hobby social media accounts, which in effect meant my college friends who share my field of interest, some colleagues and a few other friends. Since I do occasionally post articles to my personal pages any other family/friends who may be interested that I may not have thought of can follow/like when they see those.
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2014

Also you should consider posting the blog to projects if you haven't already!
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:55 AM on August 26, 2014

I don't want to be That Guy who tries to shove their weird project out to people who don't know me

I do a lot of promotion for my hobby efforts over social media, and here's the deal: other people are on Twitter so they can follow others and be followed. So while you don't want to auto-follow a million people or anything, there is nothing wrong with following someone who you think would be interested in your stuff and you would like to hear what they have to say! They can always unfollow or not follow you in the first place if they're not interested. No harm, no foul.

I find that a lot of creative folks get stressed out about self-promotion, but as long as you're doing it in good faith you really shouldn't worry about it.

TwoWordReview has some great advice above, and I'd also suggest looking at people who are involved in your area of interest and looking at the lists of who follows them / who they follow. Follow anyone who seems interesting. Take part in Follow Friday (#FF) on Twitter, respond to people who post interesting things, and definitely definitely retweet links to other folks' blogs of a similar nature.
posted by jess at 1:04 PM on August 26, 2014

If you're going to use Tumblr for this, and you could, you should use it instead of Blogger not in addition to. Short kooky updates on weird stuff go over very well in that community. Follow a bunch of people on it and reblog things that fit in the context of your project. It's a heck of a lot easier for a cool piece of arty content to go viral on there than it is on Twitter. And I like the interface a lot more than Blogger's. You can set up a domain to point to your tumblr as well, though it's trickier. In short, use Tumblr.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:20 PM on August 26, 2014

Not social media, but I'm sure people reading BoingBoing would love to hear about it.
posted by pyro979 at 6:48 AM on August 27, 2014

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