February 25, 2013

A Twitter User’s Take on Self Promotion

twitterI’m the first to admit, I’m not a social networking guru. Though really- anyone who calls themselves a guru probably isn’t an actual expert. (I’m not an expert, but if I were, I would never call myself a guru)

What I am is someone who has been on Twitter for 6 years now. Six years! In the last two years I’ve begun to follow a lot of people promoting their own work (writers/musicians/filmmakers, and I’ve noticed that a few have social media habits that make me hit that ‘unfollow’ button and in some cases block them.

Problem #1 – Spam.

This one actually falls into a couple categories. There are people out there who spam their followers. They don’t just do a daily post (or two) to promote their book/site/album, they do it several times during the day. Personally, I understand posting twice during the day- you’re trying to hit the night owls and the ones who use Twitter during the day. It’s just good business. But any more than that, and you’re harassing your fans and friends.

Then there those who spam strangers. This week I had a guy promoting his Kickstarter send me a tweet out of the blue “Please help fund my kickstarter [LINK]”. I looked at his profile, and he sent that exact tweet to at least a hundred people that day. And immediately I decided I wasn’t going to even give it a thought. One of the tricky things about Kickstarters is that you have to already have an engaged audience. Success in crowdfunding relies on you having people who will help get the word out to their friends- not picking people at random. To me, it felt just like getting a robocall. I didn’t block the guy- instead, I pointed out to him that if he’s going to tweet strangers, he might want to rotate through a few different phrasings to avoid his account looking like a bot. He thanked me for the advice, which I didn’t expect.

If you are going to reach out to people do or don’t follow, personalize your tweet. Let them know you think it might be relevant to their interests. Don’t just pick random people.

Oh, and then there are people who spam hashtags. It’s one thing to find a relevant hashtag that gets activity and use it to share your work. Just don’t overdo it. I do the weekly #momchat on Twitter (Tuesdays at 12PM-1PM EST) and monitor the hashtag through the week- it usually gets some interesting parenting links. But right now there’s a PR firm that tweets the same link using #momchat 6 times a day. And it isn’t even a parenting link.

Problem #2 Auto-DMs

I don’t know what idiot decided that Auto-DMs were a great way to market. Sure, it’s a way to get a message to someone, but it sends a message that you don’t want. It tells the people who just decided to follow you that you only see them as a market. You don’t see them as people.

These are the problems that get under my skin. If you use Twitter, what gets your proverbial goat? Share it in the comments, and I’ll update the post to include them!

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