Unfollow, Unfriend, Uncool:
Keep the Conversation Going
Why Burt Reynolds is a Loser
Some social media do’s and don’t’s.
I’m not a social media expert, but I do think I’m social media savvy. I’m a business owner, marketer, business instructor, and use the hell out of social media. I’ve heard arguments for and against social media, and from my experience, if the tools are used correctly, they can certainly generate business. Like anything, if used incorrectly they can at best be a waste of time and at worst cost you business. These are some tips and some pet peeves of mine with the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
How can you tell if social media marketing is actually working, some may ask. I have a book promotion web site. The highest traffic activity on my site I’ve had since it’s conception was the day I featured an author with 22k twitter followers. I tweeted about his book. He retweeted and his audience came to my site. My twitter base was 1k at the time, so his reach was much greater than mine and the website traffic reflected that. It’s simple math.
Another example is word of mouth. Have you ever bought a product, watched a movie or read a book because you heard about it on social media? If so, then social media works. I never would have read Twilight had I not heard about it over and over on Facebook. I would never have read Fifty Shades of Gray for the same reason. Social media works if used properly.
To use it properly you need to understand your brand and your target market. For instance on twitter since I’m a YA author, I seek out YA readers. Simple. Now to continue with that brand, my tweets should be somewhat related to YA. They don’t’ have to be 100%, but if I’m constantly discussing historical romance or constantly going on about my weight loss struggles, I may lose some followers. For the most part they probably followed me for the same reason I followed them, like interests. So I should respect my brand and try to grab the interest of my target market.
Another tip to proper usage of social media is to use it for relationship marketing. Communication is about sending messages as well as receiving and responding to messages. One of my pet peeves as well as many others is the constant promoter on FB or twitter. “Buy my book here!” “Like my page here!” “Read my blog post here!” And while that is part of using social media, if that is all someone ever tweets or posts, then people will get bored and unfollow them. Relationship marketing. Send, receive, respond. So post an excerpt from my upcoming novel. Someone reads it and says “That sounds interesting. I can’t wait!” All too often social media users will let the conversation end there. But it shouldn’t. “Thanks! What are you reading now?” And continue the conversation.
Now I know not everyone has time for this, but if your business is important to you, you’ll make time. On a regular basis I search tweets by hashtags to target my business. Since my book promo site focuses on Kobo eReaders, I search #Kobo and when I find authors promoting their Kobo releases, I’ll send them a message saying “trindiebooks.com promotes Kobo eBooks. Come talk to us!” Nine times out of ten, nothing comes of it, but on the tenth, I generally book a spot. Had I not spent twenty minutes searching the hashtags, that tenth booking wouldn’t happen. In addition to that, recently someone replied and asked me about my website stats, prices, packages and other details. I spent fifteen minutes compiling my stats and send that person a direct message outlining everything she’d asked. She replied, “You’re the first site that has ever answered my questions. You have a new customer.” Relationship marketing. Had the conversation ended prematurely with her as it had with all of the other book promo sites who had contacted her before, the business would have also. When the dot com’s first came about everything was about Search. Can someone find my site? Now it’s about search and social. Building relationships.
Here are some Twitter tips:
Your profile. Take a few minutes to come up with a photo of some sort and jot down a few lines in a profile. Generally I follow back most followers UNLESS they don’t have a profile. If they don’t’ have a profile I have no idea who they are. Are they a porn site? Are they pro-book piracy? Are they crazy nut jobs? Or are they simply not on twitter enough to spend five minutes on a profile? If any of those are possible, then I’m not interested in using up one of my precious allotted 2000 following spots on them.
There are daily themes out there for twitter. Find the ones that related to your field and use them. I religiously use #ww (Writer Wednesday) and #ff (Follow Friday).
Lists. Use them to easily check in on certain following factions of yours. I use them to check in on my writers groups as well as to promote my writer friends.
Don’t spam, like I discussed above. If all you ever do is demand people buy, follow, retweet, like, share or pin you, they will get bored. People tend to think: What’s in it for me? And if nothing but being harassed and ordered to do your bidding is all they get, they will unfollow you.
Use # searches to find those in your demographic who might be interested in your product. For me in the field of writing and publishing I’ll # search editors, agents, amreading, amwriting, paranormal, YA etc…
I generally will unfollow someone when I see a stream of tweets all in a row jamming up my twitter feed from them unless I see some reason or value in it. I just unfollowed someone who had 14 tweets in 10 seconds on my feed, prompting me to write this article. All 14 tweets were “buy this!” “discount on that” “order now” Yeah, no. Unfollow. Don’t hijack the screen.
Short names that relate to your actual name are helpful. When I’m trying to plug authors and some either have their full name that takes up 24 characters or they call themselves something like @iwritesexyromance I may not remember what their name is or won’t be able to fit the long handle. The shorter and closer to your name or business the better.
Don’t direct message someone you don’t follow. I hate this. It’s rude. Direct messages from people trying to solicit my business who don’t have the relationship building skills to have followed me back. You can DM someone who follows you, but not the other way around. So it’s impossible for me in those cases, if I were so inclined to ask a question, to say ok great, or to say screw off. It’s a one-way conversation and those who do it have missed the relationship marketing aspect of social media which just so happens to be the most effective.
As soon as your account is hacked, fix it. Luckily I haven’t personally had this problem nor do I know how to fix it, but fix it. Change your password, apologize to everyone who received the annoying message about how you saw them doing obscene things in videos and get it sorted. I immediately unfollow anyone I don’t know personally (and some I do) the instant I get one of those annoying, hacked direct messages.
Pinterest is the new kid on the block but here are a few bits of advice on using it.
When you repin, repin from the original source. It makes it easier for future pinners to find the original blog link or product link you are sharing.
But be courteous for the person who you saw the source from. If I see something I want to repin like a recipe for example, I follow the pin to the original source, repin, then like the person’s pin that I saw the recipe on in the first place. It’s just common courtesy and a way to give them some credit rather than skipping to the original as if I found it myself.
Remember your brand and your target market and follow the cool pinners in those areas.
Comment if you like something to keep the conversation going.
Don’t post negative comments. It’s a social media site for God’s sake. If you feel the need to criticize and argue with someone thousands of miles away that you’ll never meet because they have a different opinion or lifestyle than you, then you have too much time on your hands. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Like me, they really like me! Give people a reason to like you. Respect your brand. Stay on topic. Try to engage people. Again, like twitter, people don’t just want to be sold or talked at. Ask questions. Involve them. Encourage audience participation.
Celebrate milestones. Post pics or other things you think your audience might like. Post contests.
Again it’s about relationship marketing. If people comment, respond. Keep the conversation going.
When I was in third grade, I wrote a fan letter to Burt Reynolds. He never answered. I stopped being a fan. When I was thirty, I wrote a fan letter to Quentin Tarrantino. He sent me an autographed photo, a hand written letter thanking me for my letter, and a prop from his most recent movie. I will love him forever.