Top Five Creepy Social Media Marketing Tactics

We are friends? RIGHT? HUG ME!

It is estimated that the average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a day. Everywhere we go there is yet another ad—billboards, commercials, radio, train tunnels, e-mail, cereal boxes, mail boxes, and even on the golf holes and bathroom stalls.

We cannot escape being constantly pitched to no matter where we hide. How many times have we gone to the gym, just to come out and have sales flyers stuffed under our windshield wipers? Or tried to read e-mail, but had to wade through twenty junk e-mails all selling stuff?

The simple truth is that we are over saturated with marketing, and it is making us sick. Those who continue to pour it on will not be regarded fondly. One tactic some “marketers” are using to get beyond our mental ad filters is to “make their approach personal,” but are they simply going too far?

Personal or Creepy?

First of all, marketing does NOT sell books and here is why.  But this reality aside, whenever I teach writers how to use social media to build a platform, I frequently have to do some retraining due to just plain BAD advice. These social media experts teach tactics normally reserved for Amway salespeople and those with water filters, vitamins or time share for sale.

And we all just looooove those people, right?

There is no substitute for authentic interaction. There are no shortcuts, but that isn’t stopping a lot of writers from thinking that they can get something from others without having to give. Here are a list of my Top Five Creepy Social Media Marketing Tactics Used by Writers…

Creepy Tactic #1–The Twitter BFF-Bot

Please DO NOT set up an auto-response to thank someone for following you and then pitch to them.

Sure, I am right there….

Yeah, don’t bother. UNFOLLOW.

Oh, sure! Let me drop everything to buy your book.

All my BFFs send me automated messages. NOT.

I give kudos for effort but not so much for smarts. Let me get this straight. You cannot even be bothered to talk to me in person, but you want me to drop everything and read your blog, follow you on Facebook, or buy something from you?


Do I even need to spend more time on this?

Creepy Tactic #2—The FB Fan Group Rufie

Please do not add people to your fan group unless you know them, have talked to them, or have asked permission. We don’t like our Facebook page being rufied into consenting to be a fan against its will.  At least be a little classy and buy it a digital drink first and tell it that it’s pretty.

Courtship, people!

I am constantly logging on to Facebook just to realize that I am now somehow a member of a fan group for an author who I don’t know and who’s never even bothered to say “hello.” I don’t care if you are giving away free books, iPhones or puppies. This tactic is rude, unprofessional and just plain ookey.

Creepy Tactic #3–The Search Tool Cyberstalk

I know Twitter has that nifty magnifying glass that allows us to search key terms, but misuse this tool and it can get you banned from Twitter. The search tool is to help us locate people who share common interests or who are talking about a given topic. For instance, if I LOVE sports, puppies, knitting, skydiving, or puppies that skydive, I can use the search tool to find tweets that mention those key words. This helps me find relevant links, locate hash tag conversations (#puppiesinthesky), or simply talk to and connect with people of similar interests.

This is NOT a tool to cyberstalk others. DO NOT use this tool to find people to pitch your book to.

If I tweet I swear toddlers are little psychic vampires. The Spawn is still going. How many days until school starts?

I DO NOT WANT a reply tweet that says: Hey, I see you love vampires! Mine don’t sparkle, but today they are FREE!!!

Cyberstalking will not make a person on Twitter love us or our book. In fact, it has about the same success rate as real stalking. It is creepy and grounds for a restraining order.

Creepy Tool #4—The Sock Puppet Tweeter

If you don’t want to tweet, then don’t. And if you are going to automate messages selling your book, don’t also automate messages to look like you are actually talking to people on Twitter. We know it’s fake and it’s insulting.

Creepy Tool #5—Fan Page Manipulation

If you like someone, great. “Like” their fan page. DO NOT “like” someone’s page as a ploy to get them to return the favor. We don’t like manipulation in real life from the people we know and love and we really don’t like it from people we don’t know from a hole in the ground.

Yes, social media is social, and people will often respond in kind out of relationship reciprocity, but we need to initiate the reciprocity. We don’t need an e-mail saying things like, Hey, I liked your author page. Why didn’t you like me back?

This is Facebook, not high school.

I know that you guys are trying hard to be responsible, and that’s why I try to approach social media with a bit of humor. If you have made some of these mistakes, I get that there are a lot of “experts” teaching you that these behaviors are okay.

They aren’t. Stop it!

Okay, that’s settled :D.

What are some other creepy tactics you’ve seen on social media? What makes your skin crawl? Am I completely wrong and not seeing the value of these tactics? What are your thoughts? Opinions? Has your Facebook page been rufied? Does it cry and have trust issues? Are you tired of being pitched to even when you go to the bathroom?

Thank you Lynn Kelly for the image via WANA Commons!

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of August I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. We live in a creepy, cutthroat world, don’t we? While I can sympathize with people who are so desperate to succeed they’ll do ANYTHING, we have to fight smart, not hard, for success, right? Great post – again! By the way, the links are established, young lady!

  2. Amen! I’ve unfollowed quite a few authors because the ONLY thing they ever tweet is “buy my book.”

  3. Can I add “Events” on Facebook and GoodReads to this list? I get invited to someone’s event two or three times a week and it’s terrible peer pressure. Usually I “join”, then immediately turn off notifications just to declutter my inbox. If I decline, I feel like I’m setting myself up for trouble since it blatantly lists people’s responses.

    Golden Rule people! If you don’t want these things done to you, don’t do them to others. I’m a struggling author too, but I will damn well be polite in my struggle.

    1. Oh, yeah, the event thing. I hate it. I usually just ignore the invite–but I feel so guilty.

      1. Ditto on events.

  4. I want to thank you for bringing up these objections. There are so many things like this that people do that are not only wrong, they also are a waste of time.

  5. I think this goes along with your sock puppet theory– but sometimes I’ll be online late at night (insomnia) and someone will Tweet something fun like, “Hey, who else loves Disneyland? Woohoo!” and I’m still dumb enough to be like, “Oh me me me! I can’t wait to go next month. Are you there now?” and . . . *crickets*. . *crickets*. . . no response at all. Then I realize that this is one of those automated Tweets. ARGH! I want to bang my head against my desk becuase it’s (maybe this is wierd) embarassing? Like i’ve gone to a party and started up a conversation with a person, only to find out they’re just a statue in clothes. sigh!

    1. They may also have been distracted by something else, or having a cup of coffee, or no one answered so they went to bed

  6. #3 is my biggest pet peeve. I hate feeling like I can’t say anything without getting a creepy sales message or an unknown link. Not that I would click or buy anyway. I also get tired of the constant stream of thanking. If I tweet a lunk to your blog, I don’t need a Thank you tweet. It’s disappounting to see that littke bird on my phone & find it’s a group thanks & not actual conversation. Writing another good post is all the thanks I need!

    1. Oops, I do this. But I’ve gotten so that I do it in the form of a RT. Still a no-no?

  7. The follow/unfollow/follow creepy tactics on twitter. I’ve had several “followers” on Twitter re-follow me within the span of 48 hours, some 3 times. My only guess is their hope I follow back, or to somehow get my attention. My response? BLOCK!

    • annerallen on August 29, 2012 at 11:54 am
    • Reply

    I’m so glad you’re addressing this. I’ll RT it like mad. I’m so very, very tired of those automated DMs on Twitter. Automatic unfollow. Just today I got some that were even worse that usual. “I can sell you 2000 Twitter followers for $20.”, “I can help you become a published author! Sign up for my newsletter.” (When you’ve got zero published books and I have 6 published books, you look really clueless.) I have to immediately unfollow about 3/4 of the people I follow because they send me those things.

    Ditto what Mother-Earth says about those “events.” I get “invited” to a book launch at least once a day. Usually in genres I don’t read. I just have to ignore them now.

    And my number one pet peeve? People who post ads for their books and blogs on MY Facebook wall. Ditto solicitations for charity donations. Do not post on anybody’s wall unless you know them, and have something helpful to say like “I just wrote a 5-star review of your book on my blog.”

    1. What she said!! Sick of the “Events”…big time.

  8. I hate the Facebook fan page manipulation. It’s a total turnoff for me.

  9. Thank you for this. I find some authors think their followers are idiots and create tweets that have subtext telling you to buy their books. And that’s all they tweet. People, we see spam for what it is, not matter what clothes you put on it.

    • Lorrie Porter on August 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    • Reply

    I’m not on twitter yet, but plan on joining pretty soon. I find blogging and Facebook hard enough. There’s some realy good stuff out there, but you have to trawl a bit to find it.

  10. Hi Kristen. You’ve really nailed “social media gone wrong.” I’m not sure how some people manage to get multiple “buy me” links into 140 characters but they do. I try to keep my tweets fresh and entertaining with the occasional retweet of your posts. I can’t not retweet them. In the meantime, my list of potential victims for future mysteries keeps growing!

  11. All of this is so true! People just need to be people and not automate everything. Besides, being friendly and making connections with people is great!

  12. You pointed out some of the things that drive me crazy. Okay, I said yes to us being friends of FB, but don’t say “How wonderful, now go buy my book at this link” or REALLY don’t send me a personal IM suggesting I buy it without even a cyber kiss first!

  13. Well I am happy to report that I haven’t done any of those things, nor would I. I think that a better way to build a platform involves running a blog and generally, INTERACTION. That’s how I did it last time. These “creepy” techniques amount to shortcuts, and shortcuts do not work when it comes to investing in people. In fact, they are indeed insulting. We aren’t cattle to be rounded up, for goodness sakes.

    I think rather than using the ‘shotgun’ approach of spraying the birdshot of creepy autotext, it would behoove people to zero in on the people that might really become a meaningful connection and cultivate that respectfully. Yeah, it takes more time, but it is the only way. People might be surprised- it could be that not only does it lead to more book sales than the shotgun approach, but that they gain a genuine appreciation for new friends, and find their lives enriched in other ways as they go.

    C.S. Lewis once said that you are either tedious or charming. I’d say that sums up the difference.

    People who are unwilling to do this valuable cultivation in a patient manner should abandon the idea entirely, in my opinion. They clearly don’t want the end-result bad enough to spend the time.

    Opportunity is often missed, as they say, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

    Side note: Thank you Kristen, for your contributions to this community. I do enjoy being a part of it, and it makes the journey of being a novelist much more rich and enjoyable.


    P.S. If you are going to be creepy, people, go do it at Walmart. You’ll fit right in, and your exposure on “people of walmart” might be your best bet anyway. Not sure if it will sell your book though.


    1. This made me simultanesouly laugh and applaud:

      “I think rather than using the ‘shotgun’ approach of spraying the birdshot of creepy autotext, it would behoove people to zero in on the people that might really become a meaningful connection and cultivate that respectfully.”

      You had me with “birdshot of creepy autotex” but also what you say is true.

  14. One time an author followed me, so I followed back. He responded with a buy-my-book message in the voice of a character (ewww), so I immediately unfollowed. The next day, I had another notice that he was following me – as in, he must’ve unfollowed, then re-followed. I ignored it. The day after that, I got another notice that he was following me! At that point, I realized he was not only sending automated DMs, but was also doing automated follows/unfollows.

    1. I get that all the time, Jennette, and it drives me crazy. I’ve also received DM’s with ‘You’re following me. Did you buy my book yet? Just check’in.’ Whoa! I must admit I find it hard sometimes to have the time to faff around on twitter and the spam issue is a huge turn off. I shall persist and follow the great advice on this post.

  15. I’ve learned the hard way to be very cautious before tweeting anything related to a trending topic. It’s a little better now that twitter seems to have customized the trending topics to your own interests, but it’s almost a sure fire way to get a spambot response. Or like once I commented how this Black Eyed Peas song seemed like they finally hit the bottom of the music barrel, and someone spammed me about entering some Black Eyed Peas contest. Um, did you even read my tweet? I DON’T LIKE THEM.

    I’ve noticed on the #MyWANA feed the spam has thankfully lessened, but what’s up with the: “Great comments from #MyWANA. Keep those tweets coming tonight!” messages? One of those came during the day and the user was in EST so it wasn’t night. I guess it was an auto-tweet sent at the wrong time of day? Strange. Why do people do that? Its not like they’re even around to engage with.

    • lynnkelleyauthor on August 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply

    You’re right on as usual, Kristen. I love how you break it all down for us.

    I’m so glad you used my ‘creepy’ pic! Haha! I changed my settings on WANA Commons (figured out how to do it) and after reading the discussion thread on ‘licensing,’ I set all my WANA Commons photos on Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike for now. All those photos are in one set, so I was able to change the setting for all of them at once.

    Also, I noticed some of the others on WANA Commons are adding their name to their tags, so I started doing this. It’s a good way to find all my photos by doing a search and then I can add to the tags if I think of another useful word to list under ‘tags.’ I noticed that many of the photos don’t have any tags, so we’re all still getting familiar with the in’s and outs. I also like how any of us can add a tag to someone else’s photo to help others find it in a search.

    1. Lynn~I thought that was you! LOL!!! 🙂

  16. Since we are talking about unfortunate social media techniques, may I ask-

    what is your take on putting “Author” with your name on FB?

    “Author Jamie McGuire” is an old friend of mine, and she uses it right up front. Well, she sold 200,000 copies of a recent book, got picked up by the Big 6 and sold the movie rights in a bidding war. I have not read the book.

    Problem is, it seems pretentious to me, underneath. Like, “look at me! I’m an Author! A pretty unicorn author! Be ye amazed! Lo, bow before me with lamentations and adulation.” (ok I’m seeing a counselor about that last part LOL)

    Just don’t know if I could pull it off, but I think there is some wisdom in making sure people know you have books to sell, just like they tell Realtors that you have to make sure everyone knows you are in the real estate business.


    1. I put Author with mine. It doesn’t bother me. If we write books then that is what we are, right? I can see how pre-published (not yet published authors) could feel ooky, but frankly at that stage in the game a fan page is pretty much useless so it will feel pretentious.

  17. Hi, might you be interested in this new medical thriller? Creepy, romantic, ending’s a shock

    The first time I got this tweet, I was like okay, they don’t know better. (I removed the name) I just ignored it because I didn’t want to say, no, this isn’t the right time for that type of story and you just made me feel uncomfortable. But then it came again. And yeah, uncomfortable just escalated to annoyed. Um, I write novels, too. If you wanted to pitch to me, how about you noticed who I am, maybe comment about the fact that you noticed who I am, maybe follow me first? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pitched to while sitting at booksignings with other authors who don’t even pretend to look at my books before pitching.

    I had a friend who was approached to “trade” books rather than buy each other’s books at a multi author signing. So the friend handed over a trade paper copy and then the “trader” (traitor?) said, I’ll email you a digital copy and walked away. yeah, that made an impression.

    It’s funny, because I think deep down I always knew this, so I’ve tinkered with marketing through the years, but I suck at being a “sales person” SO much I avoided ti where possible. That’s why, when I found WANA, I went AhA! But it also feels right to who I am and how I roll. 🙂

  18. Fantastic post. I wish Facebook didn’t allow users to add people to groups. Invites are great, but my status update cues are turning into long lists of groups I’ve never heard of but was forced in, including some clown conglomeration. Not kidding. Blech.

    I’ve been guilty of liking Twitter pals’ fan pages after they request I do the same. I suppose peeking at their page and bio doesn’t exactly make me a full-fledged “fan,” huh? Thanks for pointing out a habit worth breaking. And for making practical information so darn entertaining. 🙂

    1. I don’t care about that. I like stuff all the time I have only felt out in passing. What irks me is the private messages asking me to “like” in return. Um, if I want a guilt trip I have a grandmother for that.

      1. Ha! Good to know, and agreed. Asking for “likes” is a great way to lose potential likers.

        1. LOL…

  19. Thank you for bringing this up. Fortunately I haven’t had a huge problem with auto responses and Twitter. Facebook groups on the other hand have suddenly become an issue in my little universe.

  20. Thanks for this! I’ve been worried that maybe what I’m doing is overdoing it, so I read through nervously, and am happy to know that I don’t do any of these! And now I won’t be tempted to to try and get ahead. Nothing beats being real, and you’re right, most of the tactics don’t work. I get annoyed when people do them to me, so why do them to everybody I’m trying not to annoy? =)

    And here’s a question for future commenters: When you make a comment on a blog, are you supposed to put your name and/or website or is that a no-no? I can’t figure out if that’s just introducing yourself or if that’s selling. Thanks for any help!
    Kimberly Rae

    (Yeah, the above is what I’m talking about, not the full 6-line every contact info imaginable type.)

    1. It is already in your gravatar (look to the side), so it is an unnecessary step :).

  21. What’s rufied? I am so clueless, sorry. You can draft OTHER people to be part of a fan group? (what’s a fan group?).

    One thing that gives me the creeps lately: every evening on the #myWANA column, someone (don’t know who, it varies) tweets: “Mywana you all are brilliant tonight. Keep coming with the awesome tweets!” EVERY NIGHT. *shudder

    1. FYI: Rufie is the slang term for the date rape drug.

  22. I don’t do much social media largely because of this issue – I am always worried that in the tedious vs charming of the C S Lewis quote (in Samuel Solomon’s comment above) I probably fall under tedious… I’m terrified of coming across as the creepy stalker if I comment on people’s twitter accounts or facebook and say something stupid. I’m sure it’s rude to lurk too, but at least I am slowly learning the rules (through great posts like this!)

    The main thing that irritates me personally is more to do with blogs. I’ve only been writing mine for a few months and am hugely excited if someone new follows me or likes a post. And then I realised that many of these people were following me hoping I would follow them back. How do I know this? I don’t really. It’s only a guess based on the fact that their blog subject bears no resemblance to mine and they have accumulated 500 followers in a week. It all feels fake and pointless. One person who followed me had started a blog to create discussions, but had not actually started any discussions or written any posts. It was as if he hoped by following a bunch of people they would spontaneously start great discussions on his blog. Bizarre.

    I follow a handful of blogs that I read with interest every time a new post comes in my inbox and if I’m on my laptop (rather than my phone) I always comment if I have something relevant to say, even though it terrifies me! (Although half the time my laptop crashes without posting the comment. SIgh. Maybe I’m just a luddite.)

  23. I do like reading your posts Kristen. You teach me so much about how things work My 15 year old daughter thinks it hysterical that I think people are real.

  24. Can I say I don’t appreciate being “propositioned” or “cyber stalked?” That’s why I don’t allow “friends of friends” or blindly choose “if you liked Dr. Jekyll follow Mr. Hyde.” I allowed a “friend with common friends” and he started stalking my daughter. I also don’t want the “birthday request” or other apps Facebook shoves in your face. When I tweet, it’s me. You can tell because I haven’t mastered hashtags (growing up “hash” was illegal and “tagged” it was evidence). I’ve had a couple of unpleasant experiences so if I don’t know you, I’m not asking you join any of my cyber cults. Amen to whoever pointed out Goodread attacks and I’d like to add Linkedin to the pile. As always — great blog!

  25. Since I don’t know how to do any of those things on Twitter, I’m guilt free. I don’t really have a blog to link to, but I did enjoy the post. Perhaps people are trying to be like the advertisers that annoy them. I’m not sure why would would think it effective.

  26. thank you so much for the tips. I try to use my twitter responsibly!

  27. I love that you wrote what everyone else was thinking. I attended a writer’s conference with social media gurus who said something I found particularly helpful: “Twitter is about building relationships not followers.” I used to stress over my Twitter numbers, but after that comment I realized I needed to slow down and make sure I interacted with my Tweeps and that anyone I follow I actually have some kind of interest in following, not just for numbers. It’s a lot less stressful, and I’ve met some good people that way. Sure, I’m not in the 1000s of followers yet, but I’m happy building relationships with the tweeps I do have. I’ve been taking that same attitude to blogging and other outlets.

    And yeah, I’ve unfollowed a lot of auto-response tweeps, too. Nothing more unattractive, to me at least, in the twitterverse than getting a creepy auto-response. Great post as usual, Kristen!

  28. I’ve noticed that a lot of writers — and it’s always writers — will follow me, and once I follow back, they’ll unfollow in about a day. It makes me think they’re all about getting numbers and don’t care about much else. Of course, as soon as I discover it, I unfollow them.

    The most egregious tweet I’ve gotten? After I followed a writer, he asked me to help him promote his book. No thank you! I unfollowed him right away.

  29. I get followed by people who use those tactics all the time. I don’t follow them back. If you do not engage with anyone else, why would you do it with me and my content?

    I’ve seen some commenters on this thread wondering why Twitter users will rapidly follow and unfollow other users. One reason is the (cheap, cheesy) exposure it gives them. If you are one of my most recent followers, anyone who clicks on my list of followers will see your name at the top. Some people (waste their time) do that action repeatedly to position themselves in front of more eyes. Annoying, but true.

  30. Great tips. I’m not on Twitter yet but I’ll be sure to follow your advice when I join.

  31. I’m not crazy about any of that tit-for-tat stuff: “Like my page, and I’ll like yours.” “Like my book on Amazon, and I promise to do the same when your book comes out.” “Buy a case of my books and sell them to all of your family and friends, and you’ll be rewarded in heaven” (or something like that). If a very close friend asked me to pop in and do them a favor, I would…because I have a RELATIONSHIP with them. But those moments when someone you don’t know except for a few tweets and a picture the size of my nose-tip asks for something, it just seems, as you say, creepy.

    Great tips, Kristen. That’s why you’re the Jedi Master.

  32. Great pointers! I haven’t figured out twitter…but I have an account. Hashtags? Well, I’m not sure how to use those, so I suppose I’m not guilty of the twitter stuff you wrote about. LOL.
    In all seriousness, thanks for helping out with the online etiquette!

  33. Finally. I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing how creepy and weird social media is getting. I can’t stand it if I follow a fellow indie author and they automessage me trying to get me to buy their book.

    I really think people need to stop focusing so much on selling their books and just focus on meeting and connecting with people. Isn’t that the point of social media? Now authors have the chance to connect to each other and their readers, but a lot of people are using it for the wrong reasons. Great post!

  34. Reblogged this on A Serendipitous Happenstance and commented:
    Read and learn! Another great post from Kristen Lamb.

  35. Thank you Kristen.I am learning so much from you.

  36. Amen and Amen, Kristen. I’m still a newbie to Twitter and I really haven’t pursued it much, because frequently I’ll get a follow, check out the follower, follow in return and then immediately get a personal tweet to buy something – usually a book. I find the WordPress community to be much more polite and people seem to get the fact that it’s a community. I’ve made some great friends through blogging – but Twitter? Not so much. And I reserve Facebook mostly for people I already know. Haven’t set up a fan page there.

  37. I may not be a social media princess yet- but I can honestly and happily say I do not do nay of those things!
    I also hate being added to FB groups without being asked first the other day I opened my email and had 30 messages from someones book promotion group- someone I didn’t know. Invite me to join- great, add me no way!

    • Debbie Johansson on August 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm
    • Reply

    I once had one woman follow me on Twitter, so I followed her back. She then followed and unfollowed a few times. By this time I had had enough. I stopped following her, but she continued with this pattern for weeks afterwards. I had had enough by this stage and as a result she became the first person I actually blocked. No big loss because her tweets consisted of ‘read my blog’ and ‘like me’ – no interaction at all. I’ve now woken up to such tactics and stopped following a number of people like this. It’s amazing how quickly they stop following you then!

    Once again, great tips Kristen. You’ve taught me a lot!

  38. Here’s my biggest Facebook pet peeve – people who post buying links for their books on my wall. The “I liked your page, so you should like mine” usually works with me, I’m ashamed to say. I hate to be rude and I feel obligated to reciprocate. But, for some reason, posting links on my wall or tagging me in a marketing post really gets me. I promptly delete such assaults on my timeline without mercy.

    Thanks, Kristen, for another awesome blog post!

  39. I didn’t even know you could send people automated messages on Twitter. And for that matter, I didn’t know you could auto add people to facebook groups. Learning all sorts of creepy things today…

    1. I think Facebook depends on how you have the settings done. A lot of people don’t change them at all …

  40. As usual, you are right on point with this. One of the things I’m still working on is to not expect others to do what I don’t do myself. Also, the realization that other people with blogs are not the only people out there to promote one’s blog to. I must do better. We must do better.

  41. What has happened to common sense? Surely these same people see others plying their wares in a similar fashion. They have to hate it, right?

    And am I wrong to immediately distrust people who follow my Twitter and I see they are following 30,000 people? Why should I follow them? They’ll never ‘connect’ with me. *sigh*

  42. Oh, I really hate those “you are all brilliant, keep the awesome tweets coming” tweets. Do they think we are idiots on #myWANA? They could at least rephrase the comment now and then, and get the time of day right!!

    But is it wrong to thank someone for retweeting about your blog post or free book? I do that. Don’t mean it to be creepy, just trying to be polite.

    1. I agree. I like to say “thanks” when someone retweets my posts. It’s part of relationship building, in my mind. I try to make it a personal thanks, if I can do so before one of the kids sticks something in an outlet. 🙂

  43. I know what you’re saying and see your point but I must be strange because this behaviour doesn’t annoy me at all. I just ignore it, unless I actually am interested in a book about whatever it is. In that case, I do click through and check them out. Not all of them, but if they interest me I do. Otherwise I don’t. I see no need to get upset. I especially pick up other author’s free books. Why not? They’re free. I don’t have to read them, but it makes the author feel good to see it being downloaded, and it doesn’t take me long. I certainly hope that I don’t step over the line into spam territory but I do let my 1000+ followers know when I have a book free – why not? How will they know it’s free if I don’t tell them? I want them to tell me when their books are free so I can pick them up. I think it would be silly if they didn’t tell me and I think it’d be silly if I was so scared of being considered a spammer that I didn’t mention it.

    I don’t ask people to like me in return for a ‘like’ back, but when an author I know says – I need 4 more likes to make 100, guess what? I go and click ‘like’. Does that make me a sucker? I don’t ask people to do it for me, but I do like to help others out. I won’t do it for someone whose books don’t interest me though.

    Mind you, my followers are subtle about the tweets aimed to sell their books, they don’t shout, they write interesting things about their books, things that give you an idea of the style of the book, They also share links to reviews – which I read sometimes. I share the same things with them. I rarely get unfollowed so I guess it doesn’t bother those following me.

    I guess it’s a matter of degree. I only have one person on my personal friends list who always sends the same tweet about her book, (about once a week probably) but I don’t unfollow her because she’s my friend. She’s just trying to sell her book. Sure ,she’s not going about it the right way, she could at least change the wording, but I think we can be too harsh on others. If she did it a lot though and I didn’t know her personally, I would probably consider unfollowing.

    Sorry this is so long. I love the #MyWana tag because when I use it, someone is actually likely to respond to a tweet and that’s great, so thanks for setting it up.

    I guess it’s a matter of being clear on the distinction between sharing information and spamming, but apparently people draw the line at different places. I draw the line at being added to people’s email lists without consent though. That is clearly spam.

    1. A lot of it has to do with the person making zero effort to be a person first. Any of those DMs would not have bothered me one bit had they 1) not been automated and 2) the writer made an effort to talk to me first. If someone chit chats with me or RTs my blog and makes an effort to be a person, I have no problem if they send me a DM saying, Hey, I need one more like on my FP, would you mind?

      The faux pas committed here are that these people take with no giving. We are supposed to drop everything to do for them when they can’t even be bothered to tweet in person. THAT is the difference.

  44. Those tweets couldn’t be more clear that it’s all about the tweeter. It’s a good way to get unfollowed. Thanks for this blog, Kristen. Wish it was required reading for Twitter.

  45. The people that friend you and never talk to you. Or those people that say to you, in person, “oh I never comment but I loved that picture you put up!” Grrrr.

  46. Thank you for this!! I followed a guy once after I liked one of his Tweets, and then I just kept getting spammed over and over and over again. Needless to say, I’m not following him anymore.

  47. Good one, Kristen!

    I don’t auto-anything, unless I’m driving to Wegmans, The Best Little Giant Grocery Chain in New York! for another tin of Delicious, and completely 85% non-toxic SPAM, Now in Authentic Meat Flavor! I just look for the ALL NEW Green SPAM Label in the meat substitute aisle!

    Did you know you can NOW share your tasty SPAM recipes with all of your friends at the hyper-cool SpamBook Friend Face page? I’m going there RIGHT NOW to meet Ribbit, the new animated SPAM Mascot! Gosh, but he’s funny! He’s a frog with a South African accent! Accents are Cool! I know I can trust amphibians with accents!

    Anyway, I’m Totally with you, and would Never employ Kraft Cheesy Market-aroni tactics like Some people. Sheesh!

  48. Kristen, you’re sooooo right! Good post and a necessary one to cool off some of those people who are always out to sell you something! I’m completely convinced that Twitter is not an instrument to sell books…I’m not even sure it’s good for selling anything at all, what it’s good for is: CONNECTING! And when I send a tweet saying something specific or asking something from my “followers” and notice next to no reaction, it really depresses me.

    Let me explain. I’ve got over 2,000 followers but no, I don’t get a reaction from 2,000 people if I say something or ask for something…and let me add that I’m not selling a book nor actually selling anything. For example, I recently asked for help to decide between two vastly different book covers – a naked woman vs. a hook hanging in the sky – for my next novel…Do you think people reacted and flopped to help and vote on the poll I had set up on my blog? Of course not. A few did, a handful. Quite literally, 5 or 6 (comening from Twitter – so far some 30 people have voted all told). So that’s the ratio of response in a total population of over 2,000 Twitterers…Makes you wonder…

    1. I feel the same way. I have well over 1000 followers most of them writers and I get no replies to simple questions that someone could give their opinion on really quickly. Sometimes I think they’re all standing in a vacuum shouting to each other and no one is listening. The only reason I keep popping in each day is for those on my ‘known friends list’ who do interact when we happen to be on at the same time.

  49. At least now I know I’m not “doing it all wrong” as some have mentioned before. I enjoy being a real person on facebook and twitter. I hate that my feed is crammed with constant repeat book pitches from people I don’t know. I don’t ever want to be one of those. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief. creepy tactics are short-term-gain long-term-loss. I hope that in the end the gunuine people win out.

  50. Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking. I’m relatively new to Twitter and at first I thought I was doing something wrong because I didn’t have automated responses set up, but then I realized that I don’t appreciate them so I’m guessing other people don’t either. It’s kinda disappointing to go “Hey! I got a Direct Message!” And then realize it’s spam. It’s feels like I’m back in Junior High and I’m getting teased by the cool kids again. Silly example…but true. I want communication with PEOPLE not robots. That’s why I’m on a SOCIAL media site.

  51. Ok, I understand the “rufied” reference but I don’t understand how you force someone to like your fan page. Don’t they have to “like” your page through their account? I think I’m slowly becoming thankful for my tech-knowledge ignorance because it will keep me from the temptation of becoming a social media twit.

    1. They can’t force you to like a fan page but they can add you to a group without consent. So I could start a “Fans of Kristen Lamb” group and then add a bunch of people to it without consent (one of the annoying aspects of FB). The problem is that I am being added to groups of people who have never so much as said “Hello.” I have 3200ish friends on Facebook so I know I can’t be BFFs with all of them, but for Pete’s sake, TALK to people before you add them to a group.

    • sao on August 30, 2012 at 10:01 am
    • Reply

    I’m always amazed at the parallels. I mean, really, if you met someone who said, “Be my friend. Be my friend, please, pretty please be my friend, I’ll give you a cookie (free book, 10 cent off coupon) if you’ll be my friend,” You’d think they were pathetic.

    But in the search for a sale, companies/authors/whatevers have no shame.

    In real life, you have to be a friend to make a friend.

    1. Choco-chip with macademia nuts? Um…okay, we friends. (jk) LOL!

  52. Since I’m new to the cyber social networking thing, I appreciated this article. Though I’ve not yet done any of these naughty things, I now know not to. Thank you for taking the time to educate. Good sound advice.

  53. It is interesting because people tell you to be “fearless” as a writer and to believe in yourself and to promote yourself. If you have a great idea or a great blog or an amazing post or book…how do get that message out there? Is it OK to direct message someone who is following you on Twitter (and that you have had a casual 1-tweet friendship back and forth with) to look at it and “discover” you? Or is that “creepy”?
    Since I don’t know the rules. I’m hesitant to play the game. But sometimes it feels like I am missing out. This is a good post on what not to do. So what should I do?

  54. Great post! I’ve recently joined Twitter and it scares me sometimes. So many bots and pimps and pimp bots.

  55. I was recently rufied on Pinterest, and man it pissed me off. I had pinned an image of a pinup model from the 40’s and this woman immediatley grabbed it to pin on her own board, but then after following that entire board she left a comment (which I recently removed) saying that if I love 40’s pinups I should follow her Facebook, Twitter, blog and website and buy her Indie published WWII novels…um, no thank you…good-bye.
    She’s still creeping around my pinterest boards, but I’m ignoring.
    I love that you’re so protective of your WANAs Kristen! I don’t think you’re completely wrong about this at all.
    Thanks for your wisdom!!!
    Have a great evening 🙂

  56. Auto-responses on Twitter are a sure-fire way to make me hit the “unfollow” button. Nice post.

  57. All those things you mentioned bug the dee-doggy-danged crap out of me. I don’t do them to others – huhn. I also am perturbed when people ask me to read their books, review them, tell them what I think, and well, by golly gee, have they even taken a gander at my books? Do they even care that I am an author, too, and would never ask someone to read and review my books or like their page or like their amazon page or whatever? It’s kind of galling. Huhn.

    I was thinking the other day as I fast-forwarded through commercials that I wonder if advertisers are going to figure out how to make these super-sonic fast “commercial ads” that enter our brains (like the subliminal message) super fast – like quick images that flash by as we fast forward – lawd.

    I’m so tired of the ME ME ME and spamming and buy my book and like me and this that and the other that I’m sure I err on the side of caution and rarely talk about my books unless I have some specific news, like passing on promos or the release of a new book or something, and even then, I feel apologetic about mentioning it! . . . *sigh*

  58. I always know when I’m added to a FB group, b/c I’ll get loads of notifications in my inbox. It’s super easy to turn the notifications off though.

    I like this post, but I also think it’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Sometimes….Twitter randomly unfollows people. I know b/c it’s happened to me.

    Sometimes….the person on Facebook is starting a group and super excited about it and wants to invite their friends (don’t you have to be friends first to join somebody to a group? I really don’t completely get how FB works). So they do it – not to be spammy or to sell something – but b/c they’re excited about this new group.

    Sometimes….people are just naive and don’t know any better. Which is why a post like this is very helpful. 🙂

  59. Great post. It’s always good to be reminded about etiquette, especially for those of us who are learning Social Media by trial and error!

    I will say that I *do* schedule a few tweets a day about my books in advance, especially over the weekends and at other times when I can’t get to the computer. I try to make them tasteful, interesting and direct, not pretending they’re something else (fake conversation = super creepy). I’m rarely unfollowed and often re-tweeted, so I hope that’s a good sign that my followers take them as intended.

    I truly don’t mind following people back when they follow me. I like supporting other authors/artists; and I find watching my tweet-stream is a good first step for learning who is interesting/like-minded enough to engage with more deeply. I love discovering new books when authors promote their works and blogs (especially when they are tweeted by someone other than the author). Twitter is sort of the dance floor or social media interaction — lots of people passing by, once in a while you find someone you’ll let buy you a drink. 🙂

    The whole taking-without-giving thing DOES get on my nerves. An author once followed me, and a few days after I followed him back, he sent me a DM asking me if I would READ HIS MANUSCRIPT and give him a woman’s perspective!! Are you kidding? I don’t know you from Adam, and don’t have time to read the things I’ve purchased for my Kindle, but you want me to take time out to read your manuscript? When I sent him a politely-worded refusal, not only did he not bother to respond, he unfollowed me. At least I knew where he stood!

  60. My FB page has absolutely been rufied before and I was none too happy. It was a harmless act by someone who was honestly trying to help (it was support group much like the ROW80, except that I joined ROW80’s by choice). I kindly told her that I didn’t have time to be in the group and that she should look into making sure she isn’t bringing in people who didn’t want to be in it in the first place. She understood, but I’m not sure she changed.

    Thanks for writing this post. If I get any “Hey! I liked your FB page, why didn’t you like mine?” I’m just going to simply reply with the link to this article.

    1. What a good idea! I might have to start doing that too. If I can muster the energy to reply. I usually just ignore them and move on.

  61. Thank goodness I’ve never done these! But I’ve seen some of them around. The auto DM on twitter drives me nuts, unless it is a personal note. Recently, though, I think I got one of the auto ones because the gist of it was “Thanks and buy my book”. I haven’t had any further problem from this author on twitter though so I didn’t unfollow her.

    I hadn’t heard of the fan group tactic. It sounds like something created by a fanatic (crazy) fan. It’s hard to believe that authors can sink that low.

    Thanks for the post! I’m definitely retweeting this and putting it in my next “writing links” post on my blog. Authors should be warned. 🙂

  62. This is such awesome advice. I always delete the spammy messages without even looking at them. Now I’m noticing my robotic phone calls at home. Who really stays on the phone and listens to those? *rolls eyes*

    • Brianna Soloski on August 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm
    • Reply

    I haven’t had too much problem with creepy Facebook/Twitter tactics, thank goodness. I do go through my Twitter and Facebook periodically to clean out people/followers/fans/fan pages that don’t really apply to what I’m interested. My interests change and I don’t want stuff that I have no interest in clogging my news feed. So many people are just in the business of collecting friends/fans/followers.

    • TiffanyS on August 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    • Reply

    My top creepy marketing ploy I’ve come across happened on Facebook. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was looking for an opportunity to make more money while raising her 3 boys; most friends responded with “find an at-home job” etc., but one gal responded with this:
    “Hey girly. I am having so much gun right now with my at home business I just couldn’t imagine not having it. You have had kids right? So you prob have some skin you’d like to tighten back up? Well. I just had my third son less than 4months ago and I’ve had some amazing results with my It Works! Wraps ! We have an amazing deal going on right now so deer consider messaging me or calling me and we can talk! Look it up, let me know what you think. I personally have had great results and so has a few friends of mine. Great way to have gun, get fit and stay healthy and get paid all at the same time. ;)”
    How much like a spam scam does that sound? All of the misused words are indicative of a spam message. She didn’t understand why that was a creepy response to make to someone you supposedly know in person (“You have had kids right?” Shouldn’t a friend know?). The misspellings are, well, telling, aren’t they? I would un-friend that writer almost as fast as I mentally corrected the response. (This lady is NOT a writer.)

  63. I hate receiving the “thanks for the follow – buy my book” tweet. I always unfollow, right away.

  64. I really love quotes from people and stories, so one of the things I do on my Facebook author page is to post a quote of the day. I’m not promoting anything, I’m just sharing a bit of wit and wisdom from someone else that I happen to find interesting and that I think others might as well. If I do happen to have something new that has just been published I will post it there but I don’t advertise it on a daily basis. On my personal page I will occasionally promote what my friends and fellow authors are publishing but I’m certainly not throwing things out there excessively. I blog every now and then, not as often as I should, I know. I really don’t like twitter, but I usually post a link to my latest blog there at least. It’s just annoying to be limited to only so many characters and words to be able to tweet anything meaningful. I do like the interaction you can get with groups, but you can only have time for so many and I am very selective about which groups I stay involved with. Most of mine are for various writing projects, shared world anthologies, and the like where the authors need to collaborate on ideas and themes.

  65. too many things I’d rather not say about facebutt. I’m a G+ guy.

  66. I’m deliberately not on Faceplant or Tweezer. I did not install Like buttons for either of them on my website. I prefer writing to media circuses.

  67. My pet peeve? People who post links and ads on MY Facebook wall. Never post on someone’s FB wall unless you know them AND have something relevant to say! If you want to share a link, message and ask permission.

  68. Phew. Guilt on NONE of the above. 🙂 And I agree with every one of them. :p Those look like people I ignore or unfollow. On the plus side, I have used social media to make a lot of contacts and EXCHANGE information/promotion with them.

  69. Haha, this is great! People are funny!

  70. I followed an author on twitter and was rewarded with this auto-reponse: “Thanks for following me, if you like my tweets, you’ll LOVE my books (website link here.)” I immediately stopped following.

    I don’t mind the occasional “Hey my new book/ game/ album” is on sale, or “I’m appearing at ________” but if that’s all you have to offer, I’m gone.

    • Carol Lee on October 17, 2012 at 3:40 am
    • Reply

    So true. Me and the author share the same horror of knowing i liked a page or an author whom i did not like on the first page. Asking people to like oyur page sounds pathetic too. But can you give a concrete example of a NICE social media networking approach?

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