Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ten Common Errors In Social Media Promotion

--> 1. Sending links before they're hot.  
Don't email your mailing list with "hey read my column tomorrow"  Send the email ONLY when your column is actually available to be read.  Sending a link to something people can't see is frustrating to your readers and a complete waste of time.

2. Linking your contests and promotions to the number of followers you have or want.   
No one but you cares how many followers you have.  Link to something your fans care about. Or just have a contest for no reason. 

3. Putting too much information in your signature line
Promote ONE book or have ONE blurb, no more. Rotate often.

4. Retweeting the nice things people say about you.   
If you want people to notice, thank the original tweeter. Your fans will be able to track the conversation if they're interested. 

5. Failure to build dialogue.   
One of the best ways to attract followers and get "liked" is to ask questions. Then engage those readers by answering. The point of social media is interaction. If you're the only one talking, you're missing the "inter" part of the action.

6. Talking only about yourself. 
One of the most effective ways to promote yourself is to talk about someone else.

7. Send ALL.   
The only email that is appropriate to send to everyone in your address book is news of your death. You will not be the one to do that.   Personalized promotional emails are ideal.  At the very least divide your address book into Friends (NOT the Facebook idea of friends either), Family, Business colleagues, writers and other writing friends.  Each category gets a DIFFERENT email announcing your book.  (It's rare you will have "agents I've queried and from whom I've received a form rejection" on any of those lists.)

8. Apologize for promoting your book, or calling your promo emails spam. 
Would you buy from someone who says her product isn't really worthy of your attention?  Pay particular attention to this if you are female. I see this from female authors ten times more often than men. You don't have to laud yourself, and self-deprecation can be hilarious in MODERATION, but "oh I hate to bother you with this" is just plain bad promotion.

9. Starting too late.  
Promotion is a long, slow process. You'll build friends/likes/followers in slow increments.  You can NOT start the month before publication and expect any serious traction.

10. Long periods of silence or non-posting on Twitter/Facebook et al.   
You're better off doing five minutes a day rather than 50 minutes once a week, or worse, three hours once a month. Social media is about presence, and it's better to be present daily even if briefly than weekly or worse monthly. 


french sojourn said...

Helpful in so many ways.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

So much to do. Cheers

Unknown said...

I was doing well, until number 7. I use MailChimp, use just one list,and link it to FB. Will have to re-think.

Actually number 10 isn't my strong point,either. Rats.

Anonymous said...

#9 - truth! It's taken me a long time to earn followers on my blog. And by earn, I mean attempting to write stuff that resonates. I have nothing to sell (book), so, like many, I simply write about writing, and what my experiences are/have been. And the last part of #9 = CRINGE. I recently shared a bit of good news for the first time on FB. Out of all the people I'm connected to on the site, I received only 10% "likes." More work there needed.

Colin Smith said...

*sigh*... #10--guilty as charged. I guess I'm socially awkward in media as well as in life! :(

Janet: Your opinion--should writers blog about writing, or about the other things they do? I've read different opinions, and I'd be interested in yours. :)

Unknown said...

I can agree with most of these. I am doing better about posting once a day.

I don't agree with the questions one though. I tend to unfollow people who ask too many questions. Once, I also had a person throw a hissy fit that I answered their question on Twitter. They even wrote a long blog post with screen shots that "how dare I answer the question" they asked. So I ignore questions, and hide people I don't correspond with regularly who ask too many questions. I've had others throw fits that I dare answer their questionns too. Some I keep in a "do not acknowledge" list and read it occasionally.

Janet Reid said...

April, some people are lunatics in public forums. That doesn't mean you alter your strategy. It means you avoid them.

By "ask questions" I mean things like "My cat loves to hide in things. Does yours?" with pictures of course.

I stole this example form author Kristan Higgins Facebook page this morning.

It gives people a chance to interact...which is the goal of social media.

Anonymous said...

@Colin - good question...actually, I'd love to back off and write about other stuff...until/unless I have something newsworthy related to my writing to share. I've thought about it. However, if I'm not writing about my experience trying to become pub'ed... which is why I started the blog, I might risk losing the followers I do have, since that's the reason they followed in the first place. I fear it would/could become a blog about...nothing. That worked for Seinfeld. I'm not as funny as those writers. Trust me, my life and what I could possibly post about other than writing is about as thrilling as pulling weeds.

I'd be interested in Ms. Janet's view too. (I think I have her voice in my head...write what you want, it's your blog)

Susan Bonifant said...

I found Facebook a breeze, but Twitter SO awkward at first. Delete, write, delete, write... Eventually I got tired of standing in the surf up to my ankles and jumped in. Now it's like chips.

Has this happened to you, co-commenters? (rule #5)

Unknown said...

Oh yes, definitely. I opened my Twitter account a looong time ago but it took me a while to understand the format. Now it's my preferred social media outlet. I've found more of the people I want to interact with are more active there over Facebook.

Colin Smith said...

@donna: I've written a number of posts about writing on my blog, but I always come away feeling a bit awkward about them. I'm not published. I don't have an agent. Sure, I can share about my writing experience, but it's not like Stephen King offering writing tips. He's an authority since he's both published AND demonstrably good at what he does. I'm not. I'm just another writer in the trenches getting things wrong, trying to find my voice, and often wondering if it's all worthwhile. Sound familiar? So do you need me to tell you about it on my blog? :)

Do other writers feel the same way? Are others more inclined to read about writing from published writers vs. unpublished writers?

What do you think? Especially you, Ms. Shark. :)

Colin Smith said...

@Susan: Since you asked... :) I have a FB account, but I rarely use it. Most of the time I'm on FB it's just to check Janet's page! :) But my issue is one of time management, I don't have anything against FB. Twitter is more my thing, though it took me a while to get used to talking in 140 characters, especially given my tendency toward verbosity. For some reason, I find it easier to walk away from Twitter than FB, which is good for getting things done, but not so good for staying present... and I've been less present recently that I should... and now I'm rambling... told you... verbosity... ok I'll stop there. :)

Dena Pawling said...

I'm an attorney and my WIP is about an attorney [altho NOTHING like the current attorney stuff re: criminal defense], so on my blog, which I've only been doing since about March, I write every Monday about humorous/crazy stuff that happens in court for me all day, and on Twitter I usually re-tweet humorous stuff from attorneys and courts. I suppose that's my "platform" right now. I use Facebook same as Colin, to check Janet's page lol, plus check in with my mother [so Janet, you're on par with my mother, ssshhhhh, don't tell her]. I wonder how important the other social media forums are? So far, blog and Twitter take up too much of my time anyway, but I have a goal to finish my WIP [it's with critique partners now], and query in January. I hope that's sufficient, at least for now. I suppose it will change if/when I'm actually published.

Dana Breann said...

Timely post as usual. I read a writer's blog last night and really enjoyed one of his articles, but the last line of self deprecating humor fell flat, especially when the article was focused on someone else's success. I'm sure it was MEANT to be self deprecating, or I'd like to believe so, but the overall tone shifted to "whoa is me."
Thanks for the list of what not to do :) There's plenty of to do lists out there missing this info.

Joyce Tremel said...

I'm sure I'll have trouble with #8. I'm much more comfortable promoting everyone else's books!

Jed Cullan said...

Have got to start using social media more, it would seem. I really don't bother with facebook, not a fan. I do use twitter, but don't openly go out of the way to increase my presence. I just do what I do and see what happens. But, then again, I have nothing to promote at all.

Perhaps I should start asking more cat related questions. ;-)

Amy Schaefer said...

I never got into FB and Twitter, mainly because, until recently, I only had sporadic internet access. I do, however, keep a blog about my non-writing life. For a while I tried to target a particular audience, but I found it was making me unhappy and taking all of the fun out of it.

I update on a regular schedule (every 5-7 days, trying to keep it on the lower end). My followers don't get something new every day, but they know when to check in. I have FB and Twitter on a slave feed to let people know I have a new post up. (At least, I had FB until I moved again, FB locked me out because I was in a scary new country, shuttered my account, and insists on a phone call to get things going again. Thanks, guys. Great customer service.)

Meanwhile, back on topic: that schedule is what works for me in this time and place. Maybe I should be doing more. And when I get to the point where promotion is necessary, I will devote more time to social media. Until then, I have to make choices with my time, and I choose to live my full and busy life outside rather than online. I guess I'm just not going to do this one "right".

Elissa M said...

I put the "intro" in "vert".

I love individuals. I get jittery around people. I have to meet people one at a time, hear their voice, and see their body language before I can relax. The necessity of a social media presence is my next-to-worst nightmare.

But, I'm working myself up to it. Since I'm an artist for my "day job", I'm thinking of posting artwork and illustrations. But I have to do more research on the various social media policies about post ownership because I'm not giving up rights to my original work, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Colin - I hear you, and will admit to similar feelings. Especially when I post something and get 0, zip, nada responses. Then I'm almost embarrassed for having written the darn thing.

Having said that..., sometimes you do find writers who can relate to a story about your journey.

IDK. Jury (my jury) is out on this one. I use Twitter, mostly to tweet out other people's stuff.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

@Elissa M I'm an artist too. I have a painting blog (and a writing blog) linked to FB and sometimes tweet and google+.

Often I don't know what to entitle a painting so host a contest. I don't get 89 entries like Janet does but it's fun and I give away stuff.

Is that self deprecating? I guess I am guilty of n8

But 89 flash fiction entries is serious platform.

DLM said...

I could no more limit myself to posting about historical fiction and/or writing than I could do without parentheses in my writing (addict). Not everything is strictly topical on my blog, but I have cultivated a few themes and topics pretty carefully - misunderstandings or misapprehensions about "the past"; costuming and a little critical fashion; collections of links about history, archaeology, and writing; the occasional splash of technology and art; writing, learning about the industry, and progress; and every now and then, the pets. Gossamer is good copy(/graphic), as our hostess well knows!

It may not always satisfy every reader, but there is a coherent thread across content, and it gives me opportunities for pretty regular updates.

Liz said...

great stuff, thanks! Most of it common sense and many I learned the hard way "not" to do including all the "OMG I'm so sorry for bothering you but BUY MY BOOK/REVIEW MY BOOK/TELL YOUR FRIENDS HOW AWESOME I AM."
I mean, I don't do that often and believe that the long slow uphill slog of "author platform building" is so mind-numblingly aggravating sometimes it's not worth it. But in this new world order, it's a necessity unless you truly are "only writing because you loves it so much."
I loves it. I also loves making a living at it.
thanks Janet.

Unknown said...

Hi All!
Regarding #7.
I have just started working on my blog/website. I really have no previous experience. It's taken me a month just with the learning curve. BUT! Silver linings, if you haven't heard of Squarespace they are amazing with the support. Website plus blog and even shops. No HTML required. I could not have gotten this far without it. AND also they have forms that you can add that allow for feedburner or mailchimp. I am going with mailchimp. They have lists that you can customize. Also it allows for the first 2000 contacts and 12,000 emails a month to be free. I think this is a great way to get your feet wet, IMHO. I don't work for either of these companies. Just trying to share what I have found.

joshingstern said...

I will defer to your expertise on the points you posted...but I would add it's good to be a contrarian, and just do things head first/ brain last on social media. I tried to get traction for my first book, and the result was eclipsed by a whole new direction of tweet quotes and 700k followers....it's the wild west so bring your spurs. Best.

Anonymous said...

First read this on Tuesday and was immediately mortified because I had broken rule #4 (retweeting of compliment) earlier that day. Have been beating myself up about it since. Even thought maybe my retweet is what prompted the inclusion in this list, but then I realized I'm a narcissist.

Unknown said...

hello there,
It's a great informative stuff you have put up here, which is very helpful for not only me, but for others as well who are doing Social media promotion on their website or for others. Thanks a heap for it.