Blog Talk #7: Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog

1.16.2015

Welcome to blog talk! This is the seventh installment of "Blog Talk," in which I will give my opinion on different aspects of blogging and continue the discussion in the comments. Because I want to hear what you have to say! Yes, you're even allowed to disagree. Just be nice about it.
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CLICK HERE to read the other posts in this series!

I think we can all agree that social media is basically free advertising for your shop, business, or blog and is a great tool. It's also lots of fun. I will be the first to admit that I don't use social media to its highest potential. I don't regularly take time to schedule links or tweets, and I rarely share a link to a post more than once a day. So I understand that some of you won't agree with me about some of what I'll say in this post, but that's what this Blog Talk is about: discussing the good and bad of promoting your blog via social media. 

Below I am going to highlight some of main pros and cons I see and invite you to join the discussion in the comments. I would love to hear if you have any tips for promoting your blog that have worked (or not worked) for you!

Pro: Various social media platforms for readers to follow your blog

I have a lot of family and friends who read my blog who are not bloggers themselves. They don't read a lot of other blogs, so they don't have a blog reader like Feedly or Bloglovin, and many of them also don't have Twitter or Instagram. But they do have Facebook. The only reason I started a Facebook page for my blog was so friends and family could "like" the page and get updates on new posts. I don't have very many followers in my FB page, but I don't care, because having a lot of followers wasn't the point of starting it.

Likewise, someone might not have a Twitter but they have Instagram, etc. Having many different platforms allows many different readers to follow you and get updates on new posts. I think this can only be a good thing, and it's important to remember the different goals of your social media sites so you can post accordingly.

  • Question: Do you have multiple social media outlets connected to your blog? Do you have different goals for each of them?

Con: Extreme self-promotion

It's easy for people to get a little too wrapped up in promoting their blog on social media. This is just my opinion, but it doesn't seem necessary for people to tweet out a link to the same blog post 6 times a day. I understand that there are high-traffic times to post and that you are trying to catch people at different times of the day, but if I'm seeing the same link tweeted out, I have to assume others are as well.

My thought is that if I saw it once and didn't click on it, I'm not suddenly going to decide I want to click on it after seeing it the second time. Promotion isn't a bad thing, but it seems like some people go overboard and saturate their feed with links to their own posts, which (at least for me) does the opposite and makes me not want to visit their blog.
  • Question: How much is too much when it comes to promoting your blog? What is the main reason you follow someone on social media? Is it to get blog updates? Have you seen success with posting the same link multiple times?

Pro: An easy way for others to connect and share content

It's really fun when I see that someone has shared my post with their followers on social media or pinned a post to Pinterest. I also love the ability to share a post of someone else's, and I like linking back to them so they can feel warm and fuzzy too.

I've found social media can be a good alternative to comments in some cases as well. People will comment on a post or tweet me something if they didn't have time to leave a comment or if they don't want to leave a comment. Social media connects people and makes sharing content fun and easy, which again goes back to why it's good to have multiple social media outlets for people who prefer Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Question: Do you share other blogger's content on social media? Do you ever tweet/Facebook/Instagram someone instead of leaving a comment?

Con: Paid shared content

The flip side of using social media to share content is when tweeting out a link or pinning a post is included in a sponsorship package. I understand that this is just a fact of blogging, and I don't begrudge bloggers who make money on sponsorship. But it is frustrating for me as a follower to see links tweeted out by people getting paid to tweet them. I'm left to wonder if the person really endorses that link or if they're just sharing it because they're being paid to. I have clicked a time or two on a post that sounded interesting, but for the most part I ignore these links, and I have to wonder how many people actually read them.

It's easier for me because I don't offer sponsorship on my blog. I only share links to posts that truly strike me or that I think others will find interesting. I can only hope my followers notice this and know that if I tweet a link to a post, they can trust that I am endorsing it.
  • Question: Do you click on shared links? How do you feel about shared links being part of a sponsorship package? Do you think this is effective?
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Want to weigh in? I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic! I'm sure some of you are going to disagree with me, and that's fine. Even encouraged! Please just be kind to others, or I will delete your comment. We're sharing opinions and learning from each other, and we're being nice about it.

35 comments:

  1. Ok yeah -- more than once for one blog post is too much! As in tweeting once is fine. I have a blog page on FB and share every post on there once. I usually pin my post and then probably 1-2 posts a week I'll instagram. That is more than enough for me, but of course I know everyone does things different for a reason. Not saying my way is the best way, that is for sure!

    And, I have no idea how the money/sponsorship thing work, but if people are sharing multiple times for that -- well that is annoying ;)

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    1. You're right: everyone does things differently, and I'm sure different things work for different people. But I tend to agree with you: a few posts on different sites and then leave it at that.

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  2. I do have 4 social media accounts that I typically post each blog post to once, for the reason of different platforms people are following on. I hope that I don't annoy people by that haha.

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  3. I think one of the things I've struggled with the most in the blogging is the self promotion thing that you talked about. Honestly, it just feels uncomfortable. I've never been a selfie person and anytime I ask Alex to take a picture of me for something I feel weird. I usually only post it once on facebook and Twitter and occasionally on Instagram. The thing that bugs me a lot is how you have to pay to promote your post on facebook so if there's a post that I particularly like I'll share it on my personal page too so that more people (mostly family like you) will see it.

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    1. Self-promotion is hard, and I struggle with wondering if people get annoyed by me sharing links to blog posts. But it IS a great tool to use to get people to follow you. I used to hope my blog would grow just from people randomly stumbling upon it, and that does happen occasionally, but the way people seem to grow their blog is by putting it out there. I'm sure the more you do it the less uncomfortable it will seem!

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  4. I know that using social media to grow your blog is vital. However, it just seems like too much work for me. Keeping up with multiple social accounts is time consuming. I honestly don't care for twitter or pinterest all that much. I check Instagram occasionally. I prefer to read blogs and connect on that level with others. Not because someone tweeted a link or whatever.

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  5. I typed a whole long comment basically saying all the things I agreed with and then it erased! So, I'll just simply say....I AGREE! :) Social media, to me, is a learning process. I'm still learning, and it's not perfect by any means. I think I'm pretty good at picking out sponsored tweets, so I typically ignore those unless I'm interested.

    Love this series of yours.

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    1. I tend to ignore sponsored tweets too, which is why I wonder if that is even effective. But it must be for some people or we wouldn't keep doing it, right?

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    2. I wonder that, too! And sponsored posts. I very, very occasionally read those, but most of the time I just filter them out, and I almost never take the person's recommendation as real once they've been paid. So how can it possibly be effective?

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    3. I feel like they have to be effective somehow, but then again I seriously don't know anyone who actually clicks on them, so maybe we just THINK they're effective. Or, we just like the feeling of getting tweeted by someone else, and we choose to forget we've paid them to do it.

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    4. Well you could kind of see if they are effective because Twitter will tell you how many times someone clicked on a link / tweet your shared. If someone wanted to purchase an ad maybe they could ask the person they are buying from how many of their tweets actually get clicked on. I'm sure that would be an awkward question but it is a fair one.

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  6. Argh, the multiple tweets for one post. It really grates on my nerves and seems so...desperate. Is that harsh? Anyway, the absolute worst is apparently some tool that auto tweets your OLD posts. When I love a blog, I usually spend some time reading their old posts to get to know them. When they have a Best Of section (high five Amanda!), it's super easy to do. Digressing.

    Overall, my opinion of promoting a blog via social media is positive, but it can easily go into the negative if it's used too much. I will share a blog post that I love every once in a blue moon, but there are some bloggers I follow who share about 10-15 blog posts every single morning on Twitter. Too much!

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    1. I really do hate that auto tweet tool for archived posts. It's fine if you want to share an old post that you like or that is applicable, but I always skip over those generated links that are clearly just some kind of schedule app thing.

      In general, I get overwhelmed in the mornings on Twitter, because everyone is tweeting out links, and I can't click all of them! But maybe that's just me :)

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  7. I'm on the fence about sharing blog posts about social media. For one, it feels like a waste of time. I'm pretty sure no one is clicking over. Also, it feels like something a business does and yes I want people to read my blog but I don't feel like my blog is a business so doing it feels strange. I actually quit posting to FB Page. I'm 99% sure no one is clicking over from there. As for Insta-I don't know. I occasionally pimp a post out there but not regularly. I do understand why Twitter may be a place to do it multiple times. It's high traffic. I NEVER scroll through my entire feed for the day like I might on FB so it's understandable that you are just trying to make sure that everyone had a chance to see it. Twitter is so high traffic that I don't care. I do post to Twitter but it's just once and it's done automatically via my feed. Otherwise I probably wouldn't bother!

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    1. I know people do click over from Twitter and Facebook, but it doesn't seem to me like it's the majority of my traffic. Most people are following via a blog reader, so whether or not I post a link is irrelevant because I'm still showing up in their feed. But that's why I did get a blog FB so family could follow me on there and comment, etc., if they want to right on the link.

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  8. I am so new to all of this, and literally just realized a few months ago that sharing my blog on twitter and pinterest would maybe help increase page views. But, my blog is mostly for my family to keep up with my life, and for me to document what's going on in my life at the moment. So not a big issue to me. Actually, I'm still kind of shy about my blog. When it comes up in real life I quickly deflect to a new topic. Way to promote that blog!

    I do get extremely annoyed when I see multiple tweets or pins from the same blogger to the same post. Especially all at the same time. Usually I see that more on Pinterest, and maybe they're pinning to different boards. But when I see six pins in a row I think "oh come on already!".

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    1. Social media definitely does help with page views, but I don't think the majority of people who click over from Pinterest stay. They just came for that one link/recipe/DIY, and then they leave. So those aren't "real" followers anyway. I used to be shy about my blog in real life (and sometimes I still am), but for the most part I know people enjoy it so I'm less shy now :)

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  9. I only post once a day on my facebook page, and a link to twitter. I get the whole peak times too but I don't have time for all that, it's exhausting. I'll link on Instagram if it is a recipe post but otherwise I leave it for fun photos only.

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    1. Even if you have an app scheduler thing, it IS exhausting to remember to schedule all that! I just don't want to spend time on it. That said, my blog doesn't see much growth in terms of new followers, so I clearly don't know what I'm talking about ;)

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  10. Yay! I'm glad we're talking social media. I know at one point I said my Facebook was going to be my more professional media outlet (for my business and my blog) and also relevant stuff for my state, since all my family is on there, and Twitter would be for other bloggers and personal stuff, but honestly it's all mixed up now. I don't use either one of them often enough to have a real strategy, and I kind of feel like I'm missing out on connecting with people.

    I get annoyed if I see more than 3 promotional tweets in 1 day, but I feel like this really depends on who your target is. Some people are following thousands of accounts, so they might not have seen it. I'm following closer to 100, so I'll see it the first time, and again, and again, and then I'll mute you or unfollow because that's as far as my patience extends. But I can see how it would be hard to find a balance and maybe I wasn't the target anyway.

    These days most of my decisions are based on what's easy, not what's effective, but when I was posting twice to Twitter (one automatic in the morning when the post came out, and one more personalized later in the day) I was getting a lot more hits. But not more comments, so I guess I can say with or without the promotion I still get the interaction with the readers I really want to have.

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  11. I actually disagree with what most folks have said here. You have to think about why you are even using Twitter / FB / Pinterest in connection with your blog in the first place. If you are using it to help grow your blog and promote your blog (highly likely), then tweeting a blog post just one time is not going to cut it. The same goes with FB and especially Pinterest. Pinterest literally brings tens of thousands of pageviews to my blog every month. Some of that has stemmed from a viral post back in September, but by and large the traffic has stuck around. And Twitter and FB are both right behind Pinterest in terms of blog traffic referral. If you look at your analytics, you'll see that you have different ebbs and flows on your blog - it's the same for social media. If you just post something once, you are missing out on an opportunity to really promote your blog (which is probably your goal). Everyone is different, but a good rule of thumb is to tweet your current post 3-4 times the day it goes live (spreading it out, of course) and then continue to promote it in the next few days as well. For posts of mine that are particularly popular, I will develop a longer promotion schedule for them. It really doesn't take that much time or effort (maybe 15 minutes to get posts ready to be tweeted for the week) and brings in a high return in terms of pageviews.

    In terms of sharing others content, it is one of the best ways to develop relationships with other bloggers. Generally, if someone shares some of my content (provided they TAG me in the post - this is key, otherwise I'll miss it!), I will make sure I visit their blog and see if I can find any content that my followers might enjoy. I've found lots of new bloggers this way and I like to support other bloggers this way.

    It's an interesting topic and everyone has to do what's right for them, but developing a social media strategy (and particularly learning Pinterest) has literally TRIPLED my pageviews within the past year.

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    1. I'm glad you commented, because it did seem like most people agreed with me, and I KNOW I am not in the majority on the topic. I think it goes back to what your goals are, like you said. While it is fun to get new readers, it doesn't affect how I blog or why I blog or whether or not I like blogging, so I don't care to spend time putting together a social media strategy. If you want to grow your blog and your page views, then obviously social media is one of the best ways to do it and certainly the best free way to do it. You've definitely shown how effective it can be! Your traffic has grown a lot over the past year or so, and that's awesome. Considering I don't have a social media strategy and I don't tweet links to every blog post I publish, I feel like I get a good amount of page views and comments. I'm sure I could get more if I actually DID schedule tweets, etc., but I just can't get myself motivated to care.

      I do get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, and while I have had some people stick around and say they originally found me on Pinterest, a lot of that traffic is just a view on the pinned post and that's it, and all the stuff I've read about how to get people to stick around are things I've done (don't have a cluttered sidebar, have an about me page, have links easily available at the top of your blog), so I don't know what else I can or should be doing to convert the Pinterest people to an actual follower. I know just from my personal use of Pinterest that if I'm clicking on a running post or a recipe or something, I'm not interested in finding a new blog to read so I don't really stick around past reading whatever it was I clicked over for.

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  12. I do a ton of work with social media, but I'm truthfully really bad at using it when it comes to my blog. One of my goals this year is to actually take what I've learned at work and use it to create a viable social media strategy for my blog!

    Social media is a great tool for creating and continuing discussions, but the problem comes in when people don't use it for discussion. Some just use it to blast out their information and leave it at that, without engaging in any of the follow-on discussion. That's kind of the curse of the auto-share - you're not actually engaged with the share and not really paying any attention to it, so why should anyone else?

    Instead of just auto-sharing, with programs like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can actually plan out when you're going to pull things from the archive and even run a series - as an example, you could pick stories from your top five favorite races and send them out over a day when you're featuring an article on things you consider when you're picking a race.

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    1. That's an excellent idea! If more people shared archived links in that way instead of an auto-scheduler, I would be much more inclined to read it for sure. Good luck on your social media strategy! There are a lot of great resources out there on how to do that, and from what I've seen if you put the effort in you will see results from it.

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  13. Facebook used to be my favorite way to share posts, but with the changes they have made it seems like less people are seeing it these days! Twitter to me is overwhelming, but I like to schedule sharing my posts on there and also tweet out other people's posts I love. My favorite is Instagram, but I feel like people are styling a bit too much for me lately- I like REAL!

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    1. I don't have an Instagram, but I honestly think I'm glad I don't have it. I tend to have issues with jealously (just being honest here), and the way people style their photos to look pretty would just be a bad thing for me, I think. That sounds ridiculous I'm sure, but it's the sad truth. Twitter can be very overwhelming... like someone else mentioned in a comment, it's crazy in the mornings. My feed is basically all links, and I usually just close it down because I can't handle it. haha.

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  14. I love reading your blog talk posts and all of the comments. So many different perspectives!

    I only use bloglovin, twitter and pinterest. I still feel like a social media newbie, so I'm always changing my goals with each site.

    Currently, I only follow people on bloglovin if I'm interested in reading 95% of their posts. For this reason, if I discover a new blog, I like to follow that writer on twitter until I get a better feel of whether or not I want to read everything they write. This is why I really like it when bloggers tweet links to their own blogs. If I continuously find myself clicking on links to their blog, then I know I want to follow them on bloglovin.

    Also, I just started promoting my own blog on pinterest this past week. I made an entire board for my blog things. Too self-promoting? I still have mixed feelings about it. We'll see if I keep the board.

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    1. I also have a board just for my own blog. It is self-promoting, but it's not TOO self-promoting. It's a good way for people to find you! I do the same thing as you with following people on Twitter first to see if I will like them. That's a really good point about people linking to their posts! Thanks for sharing that.

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  15. Yay! Another Blog Talk! I love them. Both your posts and the comments are so insightful.:)

    I still don't use social media (only bloglovin and pinterest) and, although I know I would probably meet more people through Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, that it would promote my blog and I would get to interact with my readers on a whole new level, I'm still not sure about getting there. It just feels like too much, you know? Too much time, too much energy...

    I opened a Facebook page and a Twitter account for my future shop (which is in the works) and I already feel unsure about it, but since this will be a "commercial" venture I fear I will need it to promote my website.

    Anyway, it's 2015 and I'm still confused and full of contradictions. :)

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  16. These comments were fun! I love everyone's different opinions.

    Ok, first off, how in the world do people find time to write a post, Tweet it 8 times, Instagram it, Facebook it, put it on Google+ and pin it like crazy? Like do they cook dinner or have a life? I tried all that once and two words come to mind: burn out!

    I'm going to be honest and say that living abroad where internet is limited makes any of this really hard. I'm wondering if I will change my perspective on social media the longer I am here. I do miss it though.

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    1. I use co-schedule that I have w/n WP as a plugin -- takes about two minutes to set up a handful of tweets + one to Google + once the post is ready to go live. Bloglovin and WP's Jetpack also publish tweets/a notification automatically once the post goes live. Sponsor tweets take me about 30 minutes to an hour 1-2 times a week -- I probably spend 5-7 hours total on blog stuff over the course of a week. Oh and I live in the boonies with craptacular ISP service!

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  17. Twitter is the only social media I use to promote my blog. I have Facebook and Instagram as well, but I don't post links to the blog on them. Not that I'm opposed to it - I just don't. Twitter automatically updates when I post a blog post, but that's about it. I think self promotion is great, though. But I'm with you on there being a line where there is just too much.

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  18. I've only recent started sharing posts on Twitter multiple times a day -- primarily because the 'auto tweets' that Bloglovin' and WP send out are in the 6-7 am time period (central time) and many people do miss them, especially with international readers and those in the Mountain and Pacific time zones that aren't up & don't scroll back. I've reduced my auto tweets for old posts, but Twitter is my #1 referrer and has helped introduce my blog to new readers far more than any other social media outlet. I do have sponsorships with other bloggers and that helps introduce me to other bloggers that have become regular readers/commenters. I do have a few paid sponsors, but even then, I only share posts I truly enjoy -- I will skip sharing a post if I can't honestly say something good about it or find a good takeaway for others to want to click on the link.

    Oh, and I have FB for the same reasons you do -- family and friends who aren't bloggers/use feed readers. IG - I rarely mention my blog unless I'm working on it or have something worthy of sharing there.

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  19. So this is crazy but I actually have a Blog Talk post scheduled for next Monday on the SAME EXACT topic. How do we plan these things, girl? I promise I didn't even read this post until after I had written and scheduled my own post!

    Anyway, all of your pros and cons are valid points that I agree with you 100%. I personally don't do much on social media to promote my blog because I barely have time to read my blog, let alone promote it! That, and I value comments and reading OTHER blogs over that kind of stuff (more on that come Monday!).

    When you mentioned all of the different platforms, one of the things I was reminded on was how people tend to share their posts on every. single. platform. Which is good, but if you're someone like me who checks Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, I'm then seeing that same content three different places (not counting their actual blog, too!). So while it's good, it can also be kinda-sorta annoying if you're seeing someone's content being promoted in so many places.

    And I also think you made a great point about sponsorship packages that include tweets and such. I DO think that it's a nice perk (just to show that the sponsor reads your--as the advertiser
    s?--posts), but like you said, I've questioned how much they're reading and enjoying your content. Just another reason why sponsoring/sponsorships are not for me right now! :)

    Great thoughts, friend! I can't wait for the next one (aka you know how much I LOOOOVE talking about blogging, haha).

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  20. I have a FB page specifically for my blog but my twitter handle, Instagram & Pinterest accounts are more for me personally than promoting what I write. If I do promote (usually just on twitter and my FB page) – it’s one and done. I’m pretty similar in that if I see someone self-promoting more than 2-3 times the same post, I’ll either unfollow/mute them and I never click on the content. I personally find it annoying and eye-roll inducing but I definitely understand how social media helps promote and grow your blog – and with bigger bloggers I kind of just gloss over it and chalk it up to they’re doing their job.
    My blog is definitely not a top priority for me – if it were I’d probably post a lot more! I blog because I enjoy the connections I have made over the past few years and as a way to reflect back on myself to see where I’ve grown. Especially in regards to my running – it’s neat (and weirdly inspiring to myself) when I can look back at the excitement of training for my first 10k or half and where I’m at today. If I really enjoy someone’s post I make it a point to leave them a comment or reach out to them on another social media platform to let them know, I’ll also share content but only if it’s something I can really relate too or if it reminds me of someone else that I’m sharing with. I think I actually found your blog because someone shared (or retweeted) a post you wrote and I clicked over to your about me section and was like, Yep. I like this chick. So, it works.

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