I'm deviating from writer's craft for today's Writer Wednesday for a few reasons. One, I attended a great workshop on social media this past weekend, and two, things annoy me, and it makes me wonder if they annoy you too.
On Sunday our local rwa chapter had a guest speaker - Richard Black from Rich Graphics, who came to talk to us about social media. It's very easy to be overwhelmed by the social media playground these days, and choosing which platforms to use can be crazy and make you want to pull your hair out. For example, I have a myspace profile that largely has been abandoned. I haven't deleted it because I'm not SURE I want to. But it is definitely languishing as I ask - is anyone even USING Myspace anymore?
We talked a lot about Facebook and Twitter and blogging and YouTube and bringing it all together and I was pretty in the loop. I know I could tweak things and I made notes to that effect, but I do have plug ins on my site and blog, I do manage my social media through one program (Hootsuite, I used to use Tweetdeck but got utterly frustrated). I did ask about HOW people use these programs though as that's where my mind is these days. Not just tweeting and posting but doing so effectively, you know?
For example, as an experiment I cashed in a google ads coupon a while back and drafted an ad. I then could look at stats and see how many impressions I had vs. click throughs to my site. I have considered facebook ads as well, especially after reading a piece on Facebook ad tips by Laurie London the other day. I do not feel the same about Twitter ads, though, and I clued into WHY when Rich used the words "subculture" in reference to twitter.
I have always thought promotion is a conversation. It's a soft sell. And yeah, I do my share of tweeting announcements of where I'm blogging, when a book releases, good news I've received. It *is* after all a promotional tool. Lilly Cain put this really well - she said that for every promo tweet sent, another 10 should be non-promo. Responses, RT-ing, personal glimpses - but not selling. I get the most responses when I tweet about what I'm making for dinner, I swear to God. It really is called SOCIAL media for a reason.
Loved this blog post too on Jody Hedlund's blog about alienating readers using social media.
Anyway, this brings me to twitter ads. Because I despise them.
With Google and Facebook, ads show up in your sidebar. I don't mind those so much - I can take them or leave them. But if, for example, they showed up on my WALL? There'd be a holy revolution. In fact, when people have used my wall to push their own promo, I've deleted or hidden posts. There's a whole etiquette thing that goes with social media. You know what? Send me a message. Chances are, if I know you and I'm keen, I'll post to my wall myself and link to whatever it is you've got going on.
But with Twitter, ads show up IN MY STREAM and I HATE IT.
With facebook you get to choose your friends. With Twitter, you choose who you follow. To me, twitter ads are the same as crashing a party where you haven't been invited - and then asking me to buy something from you. How likely am I to do that?
If you want to sell books via twitter, start conversations. Talk to other people, ask questions, retweet things you find interesting. It's not so much about consumers as making connections. And I feel that way about all promo. It's why I love getting reader mail and I respond to each one. It's why I try to make sure that as an author I'm accessible. I really really believe in accessibility. Lately I've seen one author who will remain nameless who continually posts to a blog and it is all "buy my book". If I buy your book, chances are it'll be because you showed me a glimpse behind the scenes, because you shared something with me, and not because you shoved an ad in my face. In fact it accomplishes the opposite - chances are I won't buy your book, and it's unlikely I'll buy any others, either. Because buy, buy, buy does not give me a really good impression and there are a lot of books and authors to choose from when it comes to spending my $$$. And that's also why, when I see an author do a really good job of relating to their readership, I do buy. And I talk them up to other readers.
Anyway, what sorts of promo annoy the heck out of you? Am I overly sensitive about the twitter ads thing? What are your views on the best way for authors to reach out to readers? I wanna know!