If instead of focusing on the most important task of adding value to your audience, you overwhelm them with links and promotions, you’re creating a negative loop that will eventually lead to fewer sales and fewer site visitors in the long run.
Writers easily fall into the trap of misusing social media platforms like Twitter out of desperation.
The urgent need to sell more books or get visitors to our websites often results in counterproductive choices.
Social media platforms are only useful when you use them to connect with your audience. But the hard truth is, most writers aren’t connecting with it. They only focus on how many people they can reach, not how many people they can connect with. That said, here are 5 ways most writers use social media wrongly.
1. Unfollowing after a follow back
There are so many writers in the writing community with thousands of followers on Twitter who barely get five likes on their tweets. Why? They don’t have fans; they just followed lots of people and then unfollowed them after they were followed back.
The idea behind unfollowing after a follow back is straightforward in theory, but looking at it in reality, it’s no surprise why it doesn’t’ work.
First, most of the people you are going to follow are not going to be interested in your books or style of writing. Secondly, even if they do like your kind of books, the mere fact that you had to follow them first already reduces the value of what you have to offer.
Furthermore, when you follow and unfollow, you are building a reputation for dishonesty. Imagine you’re a writer who tweets amazing quotes and offers career amazing advice but then turns around and starts unfollowing people to appear popular.
Yeah… It destroys your reputation.
Most writers who follow the follow and unfollow strategy never get good engagement. Why? their followers never come to them because of any special thing they have to offer. And as such, whenever they see tweets from them, they are likely to ignore it or, at worse, be reminded to unfollow you.
2. Spammy “buy my book” tweets
Maybe buy my book tweets that worked 10 years ago, but people are far more mature and sophisticated on social media nowadays.
If you’re one of those authors who constantly tweet out links to your book, asking people to buy it, there’s a huge chance you’re getting ignored and even becoming annoying to most people. Plus, you might be doing yourself more harm than good.
Unless those people who are seeing your tweets or posts are your hard-core fans or fans of the type of book that you’ve written, it doesn’t help you to have them purchase it.
Why? Well, if you’re selling your books on Amazon, when someone buys your book, the Amazon algorithm analyses the person’s profile, interests, and traffic activity and makes the decision to show the book to similar people.
What you want are hardcore fans of your kind of writing to be interested in your book so that your book can show up for similar people. But if you’re randomly twitting or posting links to your books, chances are those who will be buying your book will mostly be friends, family, or colleagues.
And those sales only Amazon might end up doing more harm than good.
Get strategic with advertising your book. If you can’t go for paid advertising to target a specific audience, trying adding value to others. Engage with others and try giving a valuable opinion whenever something regarding your expertise is being discussed.
Tweet out quotes or snapshots from your book from time to time to give people a glimpse of how much value they stand to get if they read it. You can also do a short video where you discuss an idea from the book.
The whole point here is that you find creative ways to engage with your audience instead of just tweeting out links like you don’t care about anything but the sales of your book.
3. Unstrategic content promotion
One promotion strategy most bloggers recommend is to tweet links to the same blog post or book multiple times a day.
Though the idea behind this is to expose the content to as many people as possible across different time zones, most writers do it wrongly.
How? They just tweet out the same link to a single post multiple times a day. Besides the fact this doesn’t make your profile look good, there’s a high chance that a lot of people are going to be seeing your posts multiple times, which can lead to you losing followers.
A better strategy is to share your links strategically.
Instead of just tweeting links, get creative. Use quotes from the article to promote it. Sometimes just use an image and put in a link. Other times, a picture quote from a line from the article might surface.
You don’t engage with anyone when you just automatically roll out links hoping it will show up for as many people as possible. Twitter is a social platform you should use to engage with your readers.
Say something different each time if you have to share the same link several times within a short period.
4. Automatic DMs to new followers
Some writers have automatic messages set up for any new follower. Though the idea is to get more clicks and visits, this strategy can sometimes do more harm than good.
First of all, if you’re not a famous writer yet (maybe your new follower just followed you back because you followed them), asking them to sign up for your course, buy your book, or visit your blog is going to be a huge turn-off.
People rarely click on or reply to automatic DMs because they seem desperate and somewhat selfish; like you’re more interested in taking from them than giving.
If you do automatic DMs on Twitter, at best you’ll get clicks from a few but still be seen by many as the writer who is just desperate for clicks, sales, or sign-ups. At worst, your new follower will unfollow you.
5. Unintentional scrolling
If you’re scrolling your feed, you’re neither working on your craft nor growing your business. You’re just wasting time.
If you do decide that you want to scroll through your feed because you want to decompress or be entertained, that’s fine. But be intentional about it. Set yourself a time limit. Decide that you won’t check your feed until you complete certain tasks.
But if you’re scrolling your feed because you feel you need a little break between writing sessions, minutes will turn into hours and you’ll end up losing valuable productive time. Be intentional about your usage if you must use social media.
Socia media is a tool, and like other tools, it’s only useful when used rightly.
Several successful creatives like entrepreneur Seth Godin and spoken word artist Prince Ea have attested to the fact that their impact and social media following skyrocketed when they shifted their mindset from “what can I get from my audience” to “what can I give to them.”
The fact that you want your creativity to reach a large number of people isn’t a bad thing. We all want that. But let people come to you because they see the change you’re making. Spend your time becoming so good they can’t ignore you.
This may feel slower in the short-term, but what you get with this strategy is something real.
Forcing your creative ideas on people automatically reduces the value of what you have to offer, and you don’t want that.