It is estimated that the average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a day. Everywhere we go there is yet another ad—billboards, commercials, radio, train tunnels, e-mail, cereal boxes, mail boxes, and even on the golf holes and bathroom stalls.
We cannot escape being constantly pitched to no matter where we hide. How many times have we gone to the gym, just to come out and have sales flyers stuffed under our windshield wipers? Or tried to read e-mail, but had to wade through twenty junk e-mails all selling stuff?
The simple truth is that we are over saturated with marketing, and it is making us sick. Those who continue to pour it on will not be regarded fondly. One tactic some “marketers” are using to get beyond our mental ad filters is to “make their approach personal,” but are they simply going too far?
Personal or Creepy?
First of all, marketing does NOT sell books and here is why. But this reality aside, whenever I teach writers how to use social media to build a platform, I frequently have to do some retraining due to just plain BAD advice. These social media experts teach tactics normally reserved for Amway salespeople and those with water filters, vitamins or time share for sale.
And we all just looooove those people, right?
There is no substitute for authentic interaction. There are no shortcuts, but that isn’t stopping a lot of writers from thinking that they can get something from others without having to give. Here are a list of my Top Five Creepy Social Media Marketing Tactics Used by Writers…
Creepy Tactic #1–The Twitter BFF-Bot
Please DO NOT set up an auto-response to thank someone for following you and then pitch to them.
I give kudos for effort but not so much for smarts. Let me get this straight. You cannot even be bothered to talk to me in person, but you want me to drop everything and read your blog, follow you on Facebook, or buy something from you?
Do I even need to spend more time on this?
Creepy Tactic #2—The FB Fan Group Rufie
Please do not add people to your fan group unless you know them, have talked to them, or have asked permission. We don’t like our Facebook page being rufied into consenting to be a fan against its will. At least be a little classy and buy it a digital drink first and tell it that it’s pretty.
I am constantly logging on to Facebook just to realize that I am now somehow a member of a fan group for an author who I don’t know and who’s never even bothered to say “hello.” I don’t care if you are giving away free books, iPhones or puppies. This tactic is rude, unprofessional and just plain ookey.
Creepy Tactic #3–The Search Tool Cyberstalk
I know Twitter has that nifty magnifying glass that allows us to search key terms, but misuse this tool and it can get you banned from Twitter. The search tool is to help us locate people who share common interests or who are talking about a given topic. For instance, if I LOVE sports, puppies, knitting, skydiving, or puppies that skydive, I can use the search tool to find tweets that mention those key words. This helps me find relevant links, locate hash tag conversations (#puppiesinthesky), or simply talk to and connect with people of similar interests.
This is NOT a tool to cyberstalk others. DO NOT use this tool to find people to pitch your book to.
If I tweet I swear toddlers are little psychic vampires. The Spawn is still going. How many days until school starts?
I DO NOT WANT a reply tweet that says: Hey, I see you love vampires! Mine don’t sparkle, but today they are FREE!!!
Cyberstalking will not make a person on Twitter love us or our book. In fact, it has about the same success rate as real stalking. It is creepy and grounds for a restraining order.
Creepy Tool #4—The Sock Puppet Tweeter
If you don’t want to tweet, then don’t. And if you are going to automate messages selling your book, don’t also automate messages to look like you are actually talking to people on Twitter. We know it’s fake and it’s insulting.
Creepy Tool #5—Fan Page Manipulation
If you like someone, great. “Like” their fan page. DO NOT “like” someone’s page as a ploy to get them to return the favor. We don’t like manipulation in real life from the people we know and love and we really don’t like it from people we don’t know from a hole in the ground.
Yes, social media is social, and people will often respond in kind out of relationship reciprocity, but we need to initiate the reciprocity. We don’t need an e-mail saying things like, Hey, I liked your author page. Why didn’t you like me back?
This is Facebook, not high school.
I know that you guys are trying hard to be responsible, and that’s why I try to approach social media with a bit of humor. If you have made some of these mistakes, I get that there are a lot of “experts” teaching you that these behaviors are okay.
They aren’t. Stop it!
Okay, that’s settled :D.
What are some other creepy tactics you’ve seen on social media? What makes your skin crawl? Am I completely wrong and not seeing the value of these tactics? What are your thoughts? Opinions? Has your Facebook page been rufied? Does it cry and have trust issues? Are you tired of being pitched to even when you go to the bathroom?
Thank you Lynn Kelly for the image via WANA Commons!
I LOVE hearing from you guys!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.