By the awesome Anne R. Allen!
Most marketers don't tell you the biggest secret about social media:
It should be used for making friends, not direct sales.
Direct selling on social media is spammy. Spam is not friendly. And vigilante groups can be cruel in enforcing anti-spam rules.
So what's the line between "savvy marketing" and spamming? Unfortunately, rules are different for each site:
1) Don't link to your blog/site more than a few times a week or they'll put you in Facebook jail (freeze you out of your page). I learned this the hard way. (But they have no problem with links to your buy pages on Amazon—go figure.)
3) Don't friend too many people in a day. Yeah, they hound you to "friend" people, but if you friend too many, you'll land in FB jail.
4) Don't post a promotion in a group without checking rules. Many will kick you out.
5) NEVER post promos on somebody else's page. It's invading personal space.
6) Never market through a DM. If you're not friends, it will go in the "other" folder nobody sees. Plus it's guaranteed to annoy.
7) Never add somebody to a group without permission.
1) Don't send those automated DMs that say, "Now that you've followed, subscribe to my blog, like my Facebook page, buy my book and pick up my dry cleaning, minion! Mwahahah." Creepy.
2) Don't send direct messages unless you have a prior relationship. Thank for a follow in a @Tweet. Or better, not at all.
3) Only tweet your book a few times a day (or less) and never in a @ message.
4) Don't tweet everybody else's book just because they ask. Spamming for somebody else is still spam.
1) Don't link to your book in a review. You can put a title in your signature: "Susie Scrivener, author of Scribblings," but without a link.
2) Don't mention your book in the Amazon Forums. Better yet, don't go: it's troll habitat.
3) Link to your blog ONLY in a designated thread in Kindleboard forums.
1) Never subscribe to a newsletter or blog and hit "reply" to send the blogger an ad for your book.
2) Don't link to your buy page from a comment. I don't mind links to a blog—in fact I find them useful—but some bloggers don't.
3) Don't pitch your book or blog in a comment unless it's relevant.
- "I respect your opinion on adverbs, but I've got testimonials from 101 adverbophiles on my blog." is fine.
- "This discussion of Marcel Proust reminds me of my book, Fangs for the Memories, a vampi-zombipocolyptic romance, $3.99 on Smashwords." Not so much.
1) Lurk. Don't speak until you've hung out and learned the rules. Most ban book-pimping.
2) Beware "share" buttons. I made the mistake of sending blog links via the "share" button Blogger provides. This sent them to Reddit forums where I got flagged as a spammer.
1) Don't join a group to promote your book. Take off your author hat and discuss books you've read, not ones you've written.
2) Don't send mass friend requests.
3) Don't thank a reviewer or someone who has "shelfed" your book. The new Goodreads author guidelines prohibit it.
4) NEVER engage with somebody who's given you a bad review or put you on a hate "shelf." Goodreads reviews are notoriously snarky. We live with it.
1) Don't post a link on multiple community pages without separate introductions.
2) Try to post links with at least 100 words of introduction. They want more content written exclusively for Google+.
What about you, IWSG? Have you ever been criticized or punished for spamming when you didn't realize you'd broken the rules? What kind of spam bothers you the most? What can you add to the list? Can you offer rules for sites I don't know about like Pinterest or Tumblr?
Anne R. Allen is the author of the bestselling Camilla Randall Mysteries and comic novels Food of Love, the Gatsby Game, and The Lady of the Lakewood Diner. She collaborated with Catherine Ryan Hyde on a guide for writers, How to be a Writer in the E-Age: a Self-Help Guide (new edition due out this month).