How to ask someone to share something (without being annoying)

ask someone to share two women on steps

Got something cool to share with the world and want help promoting it? Here’s how to ask someone to share something (without being annoying).

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Maybe you’ve got an exciting event, a promotion, blog posts, or just a new product. You know that social media can be one of the best ways to get the word out there, but how do you ask someone to promote your stuff and share your content without appearing pushy?

Asking people for help can be difficult and awkward. It doesn’t have to be!

This article will discuss various ways to get people to share your content, blog posts, business articles, website, or the latest online creation.

Now I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re not already a key person of influence (but well on your way). Even if you are, you may get a new idea or two. So keep reading!

How to ask someone to share the wrong way!

Have you ever received a request from someone connected with you to help promote their cause, book, product, blog post, social media post, or latest project, but it felt all icky and weird?

Have you ever been the one asking for support from people to share YOUR project and wondered why they didn’t jump at the chance?

via GIPHY

If you’ve been in either situation, there was one crucial ingredient missing, which led to the experience being weird…

In recent years I’ve had multiple people sending me private messages on Facebook and Linkedin asking me to plug their stuff, but they just came across as inconsiderate self-promoters.

I’ve also had people send me emails asking me to add their blog post link to one of my articles. Here’s an example…

Screenshot of an actual email I received from a random stranger. (normally, I delete such emails. I kept this one to use as an example.)

I’ve seen examples of bad requests shared on Twitter, too, like this…

Don’t be that person!

So, where did they go wrong?

Well, there are effective ways to ask someone to share your content, and there are terrible ways to go about it.

Keep reading to learn all about how people share content and what approaches get a positive response more often than not.

How do you ask someone to share your project with their audience?

You need to ask them if they want to check out your project.

People typically like to share relevant news and ideas that:

  • Puts their cause, company, or brand in a good light,
  • Align with their values, and
  • Makes them look good.

Therefore you’re more likely to be successful if:

  • You have an interesting story to share
  • You’re a credible source of information
  • Your content is valuable and provides value to their audience
  • You have a great product or service that is worth talking about
  • Your brand aligns with their values and beliefs
  • The influencer has used your product or service and had a great experience
  • You are offering something of value to them, such as free products or money
  • They believe their audience would benefit from learning more about your work

So you’ve got to position your project as the best thing ever for THEIR image/mission/message so that they will want to share and promote it with their audience.

This way, you’re more likely to get them sharing not just because you asked but because THEY think it’s awesome too!

via GIPHY

Step 1: Understand what’s at stake (for the person you’re asking)

Remember those folks who sent me messages to promote their stuff? None of them mentioned how my plugging their stuff would be of any value to my community or me.

People generally protect their friends, family, customers, and community. As well as their social media feeds and email lists.

So if you’re going to ask someone to do you a favor and promote your stuff to their network, you might want to think about how you’re asking actually benefits them and their network.

People generally protect their friends, family, customers, and community. As well as their social media feeds and email lists.

Step 2: Always lead with the value for THEM and their audience

Why?

Because, let’s face it, they’re too busy worried about what’s going on in their own world.

It’s hard enough to get people on board with your idea. It will be even harder if you don’t have a compelling pitch! You need something that speaks directly and emotionally about the benefits of what they’ll gain by supporting you.

Otherwise, you’ll just annoy them.

So before you go pitching your new thing to someone else with the hopes of them spreading the word for you, ask yourself:

What’s in it for them (WIIFT) and their community members? How do they actually benefit from sharing what you’ve got to share?

Step 3: Build a relationship. Give before you ask.

The key to making any of this work is to focus on building an actual relationship with the person you want help from.

You may be familiar with the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

In his famous book Psychology of Influence, Robert Cialdini refers to this as the “law of reciprocity.”

In the world of BNI networking, I’ve also come across a similar concept called “Giver’s Gain.”

Givers Gain basically means that when you give of yourself, your generosity will be rewarded. Givers Gain is a major reason why people in this organization are committed to helping each other succeed and making their communities better places.

The idea behind the concept isn’t complex – positivity begets more positivity, just like negativity brings out more negativity – but it’s powerful when applied.

Related: Should I join a BNI group?

So how can you put this concept into practise? Well, if you wanted to give first to somebody, you could:

  • Follow them on social media, and engage with their posts. Note: to stand out, you need to make your comments thoughtful and insightful, not just quick “this is great” messages.
  • Join their mailing list months before you make any ask of them. This will allow you to get a feel for what they’re all about and reply to their emails to let them know that you’ve found their content useful.
  • Share their stuff with your audience.
  • Go even bigger – research what they’re into, and send them a gift in the mail. The goal here is to be memorable. (Check out the video below to learn what entrepreneur Russell Brunson gifted to one of his personal heroes to get onto their radar – very cool!)
Dream 100 - I Become Partners With Tony Robbins By Doing this...

As Russell mentioned in his video, the key to making any of this work is to focus on building an actual relationship with the person you want help from.

In the following video, master relationship builder Selena Soo shares three tips for connecting with your favorite expert (this applies to anyone you want to connect with, really).

How to connect with your favorite expert // 3 steps + worksheet

Related: How Selena Soo went above and beyond to nurture relationships with influencers

Step 4: Make it easier for them to care (and share)

I once learned this lesson in a sales training that I attended – “make it easier for them to buy.”

In the case of getting someone to promote your stuff – make it easier for them to:

  1. Understand what’s in it for them, i.e., do they get a free copy of your book, an early preview of your course or program, etc.?
  2. Understand how it’s relevant to their community or audience. Can you show that you’ve done your homework and identified that there’s an alignment between your target audience and theirs (or part of theirs)?
  3. Actually promote it. Have you created a promotional toolkit complete with images, email and social media copy, and other materials they can quickly and easily use to spread the message?

Please don’t make the rookie mistake of directing them to your project website (i.e, opt-in page or sales page) to find out more information.

Give them their benefits upfront when you send your initial message.

Once you can answer the WIIFT question adequately and you’ve done your preparation work ahead of time to make it easier for them to spread the word, then it’s time to go pitching.

via GIPHY

Step 5: Make your request personal

Send them a personal email or video asking for the share (make sure to include an excellent reason why they should do so).

When you send a personal message, and it’s obvious that you’ve gone the extra mile, you might just get some positive feedback as I did.

linkedin_video_feedback

How do you politely ask someone to share something you’ve created?

If you’ve put a lot of work into something and want to share it with your network but are afraid that asking them may come across as annoying or spammy, the key is making sure to do so appropriately.

You can’t just send out a mass email without carefully considering how well those on your list know each other and what their relationships might be like. It’s also crucial to ensure they’ll enjoy reading the content you’re sharing before sending anything along.

To make this process easier for everyone involved, here are some ways that will help not only get people excited about things – no matter which side of the coin they find themselves – but ensure that nobody feels slighted:

Make sure you consider the relationship the sharer has built up with their audience.

Research their target audience and what’s worked well for them in the past regarding promotions, messaging, and content.

Armed with this detail, you can create content relevant to their existing audience and interests.

Make it easy for them to share on social media (and make it clear how).

Linking back is likely going to be appreciated by everyone involved! And don’t forget about engaging in conversations – including making comments and replies – when they do so.

Keep posts concise but informative: This way, there will always be something valuable within these messages instead of just an email link that opens up someone else’s webpage or blog post, which may only get skimmed over.

Be respectful always

The key here is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Sending a polite, friendly message is the best way to avoid coming across as demanding.

How do you ask someone to share your company?

Say you’re about to launch a new business, or your company has a cool product coming out soon. If you want to get the word out, you must ask people with audiences interested in what you do.

So you may be wondering, “How do I ask someone to share my company?”

There are a few ways to encourage people to share:

  • Invite them to partner with you. When you position someone as a partner, you’re implying that you are invested in their success as much as yours. People at other companies are more likely to help you if they feel like you’re helping their company too! This opens the door to cross-promotion, shared campaigns, and other opportunities to collaborate.
  • Be credible. People are more likely to share content that’s got traction. So show that you already have traction and engagement with screenshots of social shares, social proof images, or some reporting.
  • Offer them free stuff or something small like a coupon code for their followers if they post about your product. This will incentivize the influencer and their followers, who will be more likely to share. Win-win!
  • Send an email asking politely for help explaining why this is so exciting/interesting.
  • Share interesting content from others related to your brand on social media channels and comment “please RT” – but make sure it’s relevant first.

If you want to get people to share your content, you need to identify what would motivate them to share and give them a strong call to action.

Related podcast: Marketing without Money ft. Therese Tarlinton

How do you ask someone to like your social media shares?

So you’ve put a tonne of effort into publishing some amazing articles, a fantastic podcast interview with an expert guest, building your valuable free course, or getting your product sales page happening.

You’ve posted about your project on social media, but you know that the algorithm will only boost the organic reach of your post once you get more likes and engagement.

In an ideal world, you’d get the kind of engagement that Rand Fishkin consistently gets on his Linkedin posts!

So how then do you ask more people, even strangers or shallow connections, to like, comment on, or share your content?

It’s not as easy as it seems, but it’s definitely possible.

First and foremost, are you clear on the WHO you’re targeting and WHY they would share?

Rand Fishkin makes a very good point in the video below about why most content marketing fails and what you can do to ensure that yours doesn’t.

Related: Want Your Content to Succeed? Make it Resonate with the Right Audience (no, not that one)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, there are many ways to ask people to like and share your stuff without being too pushy or annoying. Remember that they take time and effort from both parties.

If you’re thinking about asking someone politely, remember that there is a fine balance between what feels like an appropriate request and one which comes across as demanding or needy.

You could try:

  • Recommending them – Tell your people about their work, share something that they published first, comment on their latest Linkedin post, tag them in social media posts where you give them a shoutout, and direct your followers to their profile
  • Connecting them – refer them to people in your network who might want to work with them, and also introduce them to others who can help them solve a specific challenge that they’re having.
  • Thanking them – after they’ve shared your stuff. Everyone likes feeling appreciated!
  • Producing content that’s actually interesting and worth sharing! This is perhaps obvious, but it’s got to be mentioned!

Here’s a recent podcast episode where I talked about what makes content great. Click play to listen now.

How do you ask someone to share your blog post?

When other people, especially those with larger audiences and more established brands, share your content, there are multiple benefits:

  • You can reach a wider audience
  • Your content will be seen by people who might not have found it otherwise
  • You’ll increase your credibility
  • You’ll get more backlinks to your site, which can lead to higher search engine rankings and more traffic to your website
  • It’s a great way to build relationships with influencers and other bloggers
  •  This can lead to more leads and sales for your business

So how then can you get more people to share your articles?

Try these tips:

  • Create the right content for the right audience. Most content creators target the wrong audience.
  • Share your content with them on social media or send it as a message, email, or via any other communication channel
  • Feature them in your content as an expert.
  • Offer to write an article for their blog in exchange and ask them to share the post when they publish it. They’ll do you a favor by promoting you back because they want more exposure themselves without having to spend time creating something from scratch.
  • Create a compelling headline that will encourage people not only to read but also to share your content   (e.g., “The shocking truth about why most new businesses fail”)
  • Ensure that there are images embedded in the text so readers can easily pause scrolling and grab others’ attention too!
  • Help them get a valuable backlink on someone else’s blog/publication. Say you write guest posts for multiple websites, then you can strategically include a link to one of their articles on a guest post that you write for a third party’s website (where it makes sense to do so).

How do you ask someone to share your video or podcast episode?

Invite them to be involved in the creation or development of the content.

The co-hosts of the Hustle & Flowchart podcast regularly ask their Facebook group members for topic ideas, guest recommendations, and referrals. (I was super pumped to have been invited on as their guest recently)

They often post surveys and invite feedback about the show’s format and ways to make it more relevant.

One strategy that works well for our case study service clients (coaches, consultants, and course creators) has been to invite their customers to participate in a case study interview. We record the interview and turn it into a compelling case study article that our client then publishes and promotes to their audience.

The nice thing is that the client featured will often share the story, too, because it’s their story!

Here are some examples:

systemology_ybm_sample
Helene Psarakis case study for thechangestarter.com screenshot

Invite them to a live Q&A session

Invite folks to join your live stream events or webinars, and offer them a chance to ask questions and get answers live.

This strategy worked particularly well for one of our clients, Bean Ninjas.

We helped them set up a series of monthly panel-style expert webinars for their clients and community. Each webinar featured a live Q&A session where attendees could ask questions of the experts.

Be interesting and offer cool prizes

Create content around things that will interest your audience, e.g., our audience told us that they wanted to learn more ways to get clients, so we created an article titled “Marketing strategies for consultants and coaches: 29 ways to get more clients” just for them (you’re welcome!).

You could incentivize sharing by offering to give away prizes if they help promote your content.

Another strategy we’ve seen work well is hosting a viral giveaway contest with valuable prizes. The only issue with giveaways is that you may find that friends of your audience aren’t actually who you’re trying to target. So you may end up with a list of subscribers who aren’t actually interested in your product or service.

kingsumo viral giveaway software banner

How do you politely ask someone to share?

The key is being polite – for example, don’t just send out a mass email asking people who subscribe to your newsletter list for shares of everything you’ve published recently.

Instead, think about what might be most interesting, timely, and relevant to them right now. Mention that in your communications.

Related: What to Say When You’re Reaching Out to Someone on LinkedIn

15 Ways to get more social shares without annoying readers

When you’re super busy, the last thing that you want to do is go out of your way and annoy people with messages about how great you are. Here are 15 ways that you can share content without being a jerk.

  1. Write an article about the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen lately
  2. Have a contest that’s really easy to enter and has a great prize
  3. Be funny but not too offensive
  4. Share articles from other people who have good content on your social media pages
  5. Make sure there are pictures in every post you share with your followers
  6. Share posts that are relevant to what they’re interested in or talk about things they care about
  7. Post links to interesting videos
  8. Ask readers questions at the end of each paragraph so they feel engaged in the conversation and are compelled to share their thoughts too!
  9. Create something controversial – people love reading things that get them riled up
  10. Share a funny video or meme
  11. Write an emotional story and share it on social media
  12. Use hashtags to get more visibility
  13. Feature your best clients in high-quality customer success stories / business case studies
  14. Be consistent in your posting frequency
  15. Create a catchy title for your post that will make people want to click on it
  16. Tag other influencers in your posts. Include a meaningful snippet from the post.

A final word on how to ask someone to share something

We’ve been discussing different ways to get people to share our content and promote our stuff all this time. But now it’s time for the “ask.”

It can be daunting – but with these strategies, you’ll find that getting other people to share is easier than you might think! You just have to ask in a meaningful way and repeatedly ask (without being annoying).

Below is a recap of the 5 key steps to asking someone to share your stuff and increasing your chances of getting them to share it.

As my good buddy and amazing entrepreneur George Samuels often says, “With patience and persistence, it will come.”

Please ask in the comments if there are any questions I haven’t answered here on anything related. Alternatively, you can contact me on Twitter or my FB group. Thanks for reading!

(Featured image Photo by Buro Millennial)

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