Beyond Views and Likes: My Role Models For Sharing Product Content
Updated: Jul 9
My Quest From Content Graveyard to Engaging Posts On LinkedIn, Twitter, And Slack
Do you create content but fail to attract an audience? Do you feel your posts on social media deserve more attention? More likes? More comments and more shares?
Most of my posts on social media fell flat on their face in engagement with readers. So, I went around looking for inspiration. Here is what I found.
Illustration credits to Christina Francisco at Georgetown University. When I post on social media, including Twitter and LinkedIn, I want traction. I expect the traction to be in views of my Substack and subscribers.
What Did I Try On Social Media?
I shared the links of my articles or blogs to Twitter immediately after writing them. I posted them as-is. Example here.
In this format, I did not get any traction on LinkedIn or Twitter, so I reviewed other posts and read best practices. I cared more about posts from product people, which included product managers.
6 Examples Of Successful Linkedin PM Posts
I cherry-picked posts from two Product Managers I followed. I have known both of them for a few years and have seen them grow from being a PM for the first time to influencing 100s of PM careers. Here are 6 examples. Thanks to gandr.io for the collage.
Felix’s post on “How do I define success for an app re-design?” with 60 reactions. His post has the text broken into small paragraphs and uses emojis. These elements increase the readability of his post.
Diego’s post on “what mistake did you do early in your career that you swear will never happen again?” with around 250 reactions. His post has a hook and specifies the intended audience.
Felix’s post on “How do you know when it’s time to leave your role?” with around 150 reactions. The hook of his post makes the reader curious as most readers have been through that situation.
Diego’s post on “Sure, we’ll add it to the roadmap” with 9 reposts. He quoted lines you’ve heard many times in career and connected it to lines you’ve heard many times in social settings.
Felix’s post ending with “if you're Black, this post is for you.” with over 100 reposts. He uses simple language and explains why his post is worth sharing.
Felix’s post “It was my 1st release as a PM at Microsoft. I FAILED.” with over 1,300 reactions. He shared a failure story. Failure stories resonate on LinkedIn since many only showcase their accomplishments. A version of the #nofilter hashtag on Instagram.
6 Examples Of Successful Twitter PM Posts
I searched for the most popular product influencers on Twitter from SEO-friendly lists like Heap’s list. Then I used Twitter’s advanced search as explained on Stack Exchange. I reviewed other threads. I dismissed threads about significant life events, such as launching a book. Due to Twitter's character limitation, common advice is to use Tweet threads. Threads enable a reader to access more of your content.
Shreya Doshi’s twitter thread on “Why do smart product people & teams often build products with mediocre or no impact?” had 1,200 retweets. His hook is a common problem seen by PMs and entrepreneurs.
Noah’s “dangerous myths about what the PM role is” thread had 6,300+ likes. He explains why your thinking might be wrong, which creates a knowledge gap in your mind. This serves as a great hook. Larry McEnerney, Director of the University of Chicago's Writing Program explains the importance of saying your reader’s understanding is wrong here.
Shreyas Doshi’s “Good Product Managers, Great Product Managers” thread had over 5,000 bookmarks. Since the PM role is not well-defined, this caught the eyes of PMs for what differentiates great from the good.
Ann’s thread on “founders focus on what they think is product-market fit when they really need to strive for a Minimum Viable Company” had 36 quotes. This goes against traditional product or startup advice to seek product-market fit. So, her hook works well to draw readers in.
Shreyas’ “Product Management—in 1 tweet” had 3,000 likes. Although the original tweet does not have the attributes of other successful tweets, the tweet thread works well because it has links to other threads from Shreyas. The hook doesn’t work well, but the supporting links make the overall thread full of information.
Julie Zhou’s “But what exactly is product thinking? And how does one get good at it?” has 4,300 likes. She explains a concept, “product thinking”, that is often mentioned, but rarely explained.
Although experts like Lenny Rachitsky have a lot of engagement, it is not due to great writing. Lenny conducts a large amount of primary research. So, it is hard to disambiguate the contribution of his writing style to his success.
Best Practices To Share Your Writing
I learned these best practices from interacting with a few professional writers, reviewing content online, and engaging in online communities.
1 - Value in-situ, without a redirect
Provide value to a reader at the place they read, watch, or hear your content. Your readers came across your content in the platform they prefer. So, the content they consume there should be valuable for them. You should not need a reader to click on your link to get value from the post.
2 - Long, not short
I learned this not just from posts but also from Sam Parr’s CopyThat. although you don’t want to be rambling, your post should be as long as required to put your point across. Make it readable by breaking it into paragraphs and using emojis. I wrote some of these tips here too.
Don’t write one line summary of your content (e.g., article). Write a few sentences, for example, 100-250 words, to make your point and cover the salient points from your content.
Write a tweet thread if you cannot provide value in one tweet.
Implementing Best Practices On Social Media
I tried tips 1 and 2. It improved the response a bit on LinkedIn. I realized that improving the readability and hook of my content reduced the drag on traction due to my writing style.
Now, the traction was based more on the topic I chose. I have also realized most of my posts will not draw the same attention as this post of mine. Posts on LinkedIn work well when they talk about career journeys, careers against common advice, and so on.
How Has This Changed My Traction On Social Media?
After learning these best practices, my posts on social media have improved in readability. Some readers reach out to me individually to mention their appreciation.
I got comfortable with the style of my posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Slack communities.
I also measured my engagement on social media. Where do new readers discover me? Where should I spend time writing or sharing? More about that in the next article.