Guest Post: Social Media Faux Pas: Stop It. Just Stop It. (@LizCLong)

So I had this idea a couple weeks ago. I wanted to do a post on social media faux pas. All those things that authors and bloggers think they’re doing right, but is actually annoying and baaaaad. I’ve had a lot of items come across my Twitter dash and Facebook wall in the name of self-promotion that were, in a word,

So I wanted to help. I’m no expert, but I wanted to let people know when they were shooting themselves in the foot. That’s good information to have, right? I did some polls. I asked some friends. I got LOTS of suggestions.

And I wound up with way too much information for one post. So much so that it was overwhelming. So I asked the fabulous Liz Long to help me out.

If you don’t know Liz, she is the author of Gifted (read my review here), and by day she works as a social media editor, which means she is an expert on this very subject. (She laughed when I called her an expert, but it’s in her job description, so I’m pretty sure I win). Plus, she is an indie author who has a great book out in the world, and who is being smart and savvy about her own Internet marketing. So I could think of no better person than Liz to delve into this subject.

To be clear, I still intend on posting more about social media in the future, and how to harness its powers for good and not the Dark Side. Also, make sure to check out Liz’s blog, where she has several other super-informative posts on the subject. And check out Gifted, because it’s about superheroes in the circus and that is awesome.

Without further ado, here’s Liz!

Hi everyone! Huge thanks to Lauren for hosting me today – if you’re reading her blog, you’ve come to the right place because she is SO awesome and a terrific book blogger. Make sure to check out her reviews and fun posts – she’s a fellow nerd like me, so if you love superhero talk and good books, boy oh boy, you’re gonna have some fun browsing.

Anywho, today we’re discussing social media no-nos. As the social media editor of a magazine publishing company and an indie author who does all her own marketing, I see a lot of businesses and authors doing things online that are hurting their marketing more than helping – the problem is, you might not even realize you’re doing it. Here are 5 things you should cut out of your marketing plan.

  1. Automated Direct Messages

Twitter is my second favorite tool for business, but my number one tool for indie author marketing. I love connecting and meeting readers, authors, and nice, fun people who are potential new pals (note: I did not say networking and here’s why). You know that nice feeling you get when you log in to see you’ve got a few new followers? Don’t ruin it with an automated direct message. I’m not the only one who feels spammed when people do this – and you definitely should not send a message saying “Hi there, thanks – here’s a link to my book!” The honest truth? That sale tactic is rude and the quickest way to lose your new follower. Would you want someone jumping in your face, talking only about themselves and their products? No? Then don’t do it to others.

  1. Complaining/Airing of the Grievances

This should be pretty straightforward, but I’m always surprised to see how many people constantly complain online. It’s my experience that people gravitate towards happy people – they like enthusiasm and a helpful, fun person. It’s one thing to tweet about how your silly husband burned dinner or your car broke down. But if you’re marketing yourself, unless your crowd is into the emo-scene, I recommend knocking off the woe-is-me play. Why would I want to go to someone’s website/social media if all they do is bitch about how they can’t get a traditional publishing deal or turn green with envy over other authors whose own hard work turned into a success? And remember the hoopla when authors turn crazy over a poor book blogger review? Take a deep breath, put on your big girl panties, and move on. Reacting to any of those things, constantly bitching about how things are SO unfair – it’s a turn-off! You want to focus on YOUR hard work and give readers great things see/watch/think about. If you’re constantly airing your junk, you’re going to eventually lose readers who grow tired of your complaining. They came to you to lose themselves in a story from their own real world problems. You don’t always have to be Susie Sunshine, but it’s in our best marketing interests to keep your focus on the readers.

  1. Selling, Selling, Selling (Or Me, Me, Me!)

This ties in with the automated messages thing, but I can’t stress enough how authors should not take this route. People despise the car salesman routine and if there is a person on my newsfeeds who constantly touts their work, but doesn’t support anyone or anything else, they get unfollowed. When in doubt, use the 80/20 rule: 20% can be about your work, while 80% of your status updates should be about something else – random musings, supporting other people, great links that benefit others. Sure, I’m interested in hearing about your books, but I also don’t want that to be the ONLY thing I know about you. Don’t be selfish or overly aggressive. You’ll lose readers, guaranteed.

  1. Taking on too many social sites

This is more for your own sanity than anything else. For my writing, I stick with four social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. I’m comfortable with all four sites, am reaching my target demographics, and can tie in a positive marketing campaign that links up easily with each other (for example, I’ve tied up my blog with these sites – one new post automatically goes up on all those sites at once to save me time; then I can spend any free time promoting that link on Twitter throughout the day – in between my random musings and helpful tips or retweets, of course). If you bite off more than you can chew by joining too many social sites because you feel you have to, you’re going to spend more time marketing or continuously updating your links and pages, which can get exhausting. Plus, you’re supposed to be putting out books. 99% of the time, authors gain more readers with more materials – if you spend all your time playing with your profile page instead of writing, you won’t have much to show off on said social pages, now will you?

  1. Ignoring the Fans

You know when you tweet someone and you’re all excited that you might hear back and then later you’re all disappointed that they never replied? (Keep in mind, I’m talking about one normal person, not a celebrity/TV show/major publisher.) Now flip it – what if you’re the one ignoring the tweets? If you’ve got thousands of fans, you might balk at this, but I say you need to take the time to do it – add an extra 20 minutes to the time you put into your schedule for marketing. “Oh no, too many people like me and want my opinion on something!” Dude. That’s a great problem to have! They took the time to think of you and (assuming it wasn’t a jerk comment) probably would be thrilled to hear back from someone they admire. It makes my day when someone I respect and like gets back to me with a reply – it makes me feel like they really value ME as their fan. Bottom line: Don’t forget your fans.  You’ve gotten as far as you have because of them and probably want them to hang around for as long as you’re putting books on the market.




Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong)!/LizCLong

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