That is the lesson I have learned since I started my Twitter account. Am I perfect at it? Mmm . . . not entirely.
However, I haven’t yet bought anything or clicked on a link from an unsolicited email. I expect most people do the same.
I delete unsolicited DMs on Twitter which beg for Facebook likes within minutes after I follow back. I expect most people do the same, too. While I’m not as assertive as others, who unfollow the moment they receive an unsolicited DM advertisement, I definitely am deeply unimpressed.
To those people, I say:
May we try to build at least a rudimentary relationship before you ask me to commit cash or my recommendation, please?
So, the Pepper Gang (@Pepper_Gang) put this little slideshow together for folks like me, who want to not “market like a pro” and annoy other people into blocking, unfollowing, unfriending, or trolling (or even all of the above!) me. It’s worth the two-minutes-or-less to click from beginning to end, a massive return in social marketing skills with nearly no investment:
Well, let’s see where I can improve my own social marketing for the Dome Trilogy and the Cryptid Series. I am an authorpreneur¹, after all. I create unique products containing unique experiences, which I would like others to purchase.
Do I #Hashtag Excessively on Twitter?
Not really. I’m fortunate to have a profile which sets hashtags in bright pink. Seeing so much bright pink is irritating to me, so I avoid hashtags in general. I do use writing-related and author hashtags, most often when I am trying to support other independent authors (#indieauthor and #indieauthors). I have heard some readers seek out independently published books, so I use those hashtags to get my name out. I used ebook platform tags in my pinned tweet. After each hashtag is the direct link to the book on that specific ebook platform.
Do I Send Automated Messages to New Followers?
I don’t use automation at all. Even the web article and ‘blog links I tweet are hand-keyed. If one sees tweets, retweets, and replies from my Twitter account? Then, that is me. I don’t schedule tweets, either. I don’t want to be muted or blocked because a ‘bot clutters up others’ Twitter timelines when I’m not there.
Something which is done to me which I will never do? Send an unsolicited, directed tweet to a person I don’t follow. I block or mute those people. It’s rude, and it’s bad social marketing practice. I don’t care if marketing professionals recommend it. I will never do it to others, for I don’t respond positively as a consumer to it.
Yes, sometimes I do put out slightly more personal information on Twitter than is prudent. I don’t think it’s too excessive. I don’t talk about toileting or sex. Well, okay. I did recently recommend a children’s book on how babies are made based on a discussion which turned out to be a lot more complicated than just the birds and the bees.
I was told once that Twitter is like shouting in a public square in a crowd of people shouting with you; most of our conversations get lost in the noise, but it can be picked up and repeated by anyone. A DM is not entirely private, either. It is like whispering to a person near you. People can overhear if they know precisely how to listen in.
Of course, interacting with the internet at all is like shouting in a public square. I have the mindset that posting anything–even private or personal–on a website means one is publishing for public consumption. It does not matter if it’s supposed to be for friends and family alone. Inappropriate images of risk-taking and reckless behavior can cost a person a potentially lucrative job offer; images and video of illegal activities are public confessions and can be used as evidence (unless one has a stellar attorney).
As an author, I think I have a little leeway. I am supposed to be imaginative, creative, and entertaining. On social media, I am interviewing with every potential reader as the author of the next book they pick up and read. However, if I don’t want my private life examined and critiqued by the public, then I need to make sure it’s not published anywhere on the internet. Ever.
Do I Thank People Who Promote My Content?
I try to do it every time, though I wish I were perfect at it. When I started, I was definitely awful at it. However, as an author, I have learned that I need to engage individuals. As loath as I am to admit, I don’t follow back individuals who have no history of real engagement on Twitter. I’m not going to waste my time trying to crack through a wall of tweets to find a real person to engage with. The light may be on, but no one’s home. Therefore, I move on.
My pinned tweet is the only advertising I have presently on any of my books. One has to go to my profile to see it. I work hard to thank people for retweeting my pinned tweet. I do retweet when people compliment or recommend my book. It’s not easy, because I am so deeply moved by positive feedback that I’m often bereft of any words except “Thank You.”
So, if I get a compliment on my books, then it tends to take time as I try to compose a reply to express my deeply felt, wordless appreciation to that individual.
Do I Repost Links Excessively?
I don’t repost links. I may correct a tweet, but I don’t repost. This does mean that when multiple book advertising sites link to my books, I choose one and retweet that for the day.
I try not to retweet every compliment my books get. I definitely don’t tweet my reviews from other distribution sites. I try to congratulate other authors on their positive reviews, on their writing and editing progress. I definitely empathize and try to be supportive and encouraging when authors are dealing with writer’s block. I do tweet news which affects my novels, and I do share the writing life experience.
I just don’t want to be my books. I’m an author who writes books and engages with people on social media. My novels have to stand out on their merits; I, on my merits. So, yes. I will remind people that I write books. I’ll even let folks know they’re for sale. I rarely, however, advertise them without active social engagement by others. It’s a risky move to really soft-sell my work, but I think it’s equally risky to broadcast. I’ll be ignored either way. The difference, to me, is that I won’t annoy people into avoiding my novels because of relentless and aggressive book marketing.
Do I Post Tweets with Spelling and Grammar Errors?
I do sometimes. Then, I delete and try to correct the tweet before it receives a gold star or is retweeted. As an author, words are my stock and trade. I am fortunate that the basic errors grate on my nerves in general. I catch mistypes and spelling errors in a tweet more readily than in a novel. It’s one sentence of text–not one hundred pages of it.
I also enjoy discovering if I use a word incorrectly. I want my word usage to be proper at the time I publish, so I have to keep up-to-date with current spelling and grammar. Even if I am correct, I gain much from checking.
Today, I saw a colloquialism used improperly, and I learned a wonderful rare word which I will be using when I write an action scene involving the undead. While I will not be pointing out the error to the person who posted it, I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to correct my own usage of the colloquialism. I was not wrong, and the erroneous word choice makes the written context pretty darned funny in the reread (when it was supposed to be serious). However, the take-away is that I have a wonderful new word to cherish and use appropriately in a sentence. I am grateful.
Even as I wrote this, I bumbled and stumbled with a new co-follower on Twitter. He’s an author, a nice guy I am sure. Oh, well. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to evolve into a better social media participant.
Though if I had one wish in the entire Twitterverse? I would wish that people who I don’t know stop asking me to follow them on Facebook without asking if I have a Facebook account first. I don’t have a Facebook account; I don’t plan on having an author Facebook account. Why?
I read these articles by Maxwell Cynn (@MaxwellCynn):
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¹ For More on being an authorpreneur, check out this article: “I Own My Own Business: Book Writing” by Danielle Hanna (@DanielleLHanna) and maybe follow up with “Are You an Author or an Authorpreneur?” by Kristen Eckstein (@KristenEckstein).