7 Cringe-Worthy Ways You’re Annoying People on Social Media
“The Social Hour”
In the seminal words of Joey Gladstone, "Cut. It. Out."
1. Sending an Automatic DM on Twitter After Someone Follows You
The. Worst. I have never once opened a DM that automatically gets sent to my messages after following someone on Twitter. It's really disingenuous—nobody likes getting an automatic message that's not tailored to them. People want to have genuine interactions online, just like IRL.
Diving deeper into the abyss of critical thought—what's the science behind the automatic DM? Because, in my mind, I just followed you. I'm in. I willingly signed up to get updates from you. And now you're sending me a message asking to do something else for you? To visit your website, buy your book, or check out your Facebook page? Nope. It's 2016 and you've already asked too much of me. Bye.
Instead of the dreaded automatic DM, work those self-promotion requests into your tweets on a regular basis. It's more natural and less invasive than strolling in uninvited to people’s private messages.
2. Following People Just to Get More Followers
As there is with any controversial topic, this raging debate has two sides. In one camp, you have people who live for the followback. "Follow ratios be damned!" they say. They follow you hoping you'll do them a solid and return the favor so they can grow their internet empire (and one day name their firstborn Follow4follow, cementing their status as the kid who eats paper at recess, ironically alone).
If you do nothing, in a few days they'll unfollow you. If you follow them back, hooray! You've kept a follower that will never interact with anything you post. Ever. You can always identify them by their roughly equal follower-to-following ratio.
In the other camp, there are people (like me) who think the followback method is a complete waste of time and energy. Yes, you may be gaining new followers every day, but after looking at a handful of these Twitter users, you quickly realize that their follower count doesn't mean much. (Unless you’re Lil B The Based God. Then you're good.)
The majority of these users have next-to-zero engagement on anything they post. And I haven't just looked at a couple of accounts who use the followback method—I've been researching their pages for years, and 99 percent of the time, it's not working for them.
If the point of using social media as a marketing tool is to spread awareness of your books and brand as an author, but no one ever interacts with you, what's the real-life benefit of the followback? Bragging rights? Just being a very annoying part of most people's interactions on Twitter? Validating your career to your mom who doesn't understand "how all that stuff works" anyways?
Instead of doing the followback method, try spending time actually talking to people on Twitter. It's a great place for authors and people who love reading to discuss new books, trending topics, or whatever it is book people are into at the moment. Like the days of dinosaur erotica.
#amwriting and #amreading are really great places to have genuine conversations with people who might also genuinely be interested in you and your work. I believe the saying goes, "Go forth and prosper. But please, no followbacks."
3. Posting Too Much About Your Business on Your Personal Accounts
It's branding 101. Keep your book business and author news on your official author pages. Nobody likes the self-promoter who constantly posts updates on their personal pages asking friends and family to like their author page, read this, go here, ad nauseam.
Keep the personal posts to milestones or really, really important updates. Otherwise you run the risk of friends and family hiding or muting you in their feeds, and that's not what you want, because then you'll lose access to them forever. So just, you know, keep it cool, keep it smooth. Be the sunglasses emoji.
4. Irrelevant Self-Promotion in Comment Sections
There's a time and place to let people know about your book—the comment section of random articles is not one of them. You'll probably straight up get ignored while comments furthering discussion around the actual topic at hand get upvoted.
It's best to use comment sections as a place to add meaningful discussion and get your name out there as a smart person with insightful ideas—not the guy or gal that shows up with an "I just published my paranormal romance book, you can buy it here" on an article about penguin migration. It makes no sense. And honestly, when is the last time you clicked on a link in a comment section and bought something? Never, right? Right.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. If you're an expert in penguin migration and you just published a book about penguin migration, then by all means, post away. But for Pete's sake, add a useful comment before you self-promote and be smooth about it.
5. Asking People on One Platform to Follow You on a Different Platform
I understand the primal urge to want everyone to follow you everywhere. I feel you. I'm with you. It's in our nature to want everyone to love us, crave our innermost thoughts, and like our posts a million times. But you have to take into consideration that not everyone uses all social media platforms. Some people exclusively live on Twitter and shun everything Facebook related. Others only use Snapchat and Instagram.
Take time instead to focus on writing for your followers on each specific platform instead of trying to get them all to follow you everywhere else.
6. You Don't Have to Thank Everyone Who Retweets You or Follows You
It's like saying "Thank you" to everyone who looks at you on the street. It's weird. Stop it. Try going to their page and liking a few posts or tweets as a non-verbal thank you. It's way more chill.
7. Posting Too Much
Just like the sands of time, these are the feeds of our lives. Flooding anything with a million posts a day isn't good for your brand and will turn people off. I've found that once a day or less to Facebook is good for author pages. You can rock Instagram with a couple posts a week. Twitter is where you can post a lot, but with anything online, you have to remember that great content always wins over frequent content.
Have any other social media tips or just feel like ranting about the tips above? Tell us in the comments or tweet us.
Katie is a social media & advertising strategist.