Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics

Hmmm, looks legit.

Hmmm, looks legit.

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 and advertising alone does NOT sell books and my new book explains why.  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 Panel-Van Creepy Social Media Tactics…

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, let me get on that.

Yeah, don’t bother. UNFOLLOW.

Sure, let me drop everything to buy your book!

Sure, all my best friends are ROBOTS.

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 us 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. Also, it can bite back BIG TIME and tank an author brand faster than one can say “poor taste.”


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?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of Septemb
er, 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. 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).


WANACon now has Day One and Day Two for sale separately so you can choose if you only can fit part of the conference. And you get $10 off through this weekend, so $89 instead of $99. And PajamaCon is included as well as free recording for the day you attend.

WANACon, the writing conference of the future is COMING! We start with PajamaCon the evening of October 3rd and then October 4th and 5th we have some of the biggest names in publishing coming RIGHT TO YOU–including the LEGEND Les Edgerton. 

Get PajamaCon and BOTH DAYS OF THE CONFERENCE for $149 and all recordings for anything you miss or need to hear again. Sign up today, because seats are limited. REGISTER HERE.


7 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Hey, I see you love vampires! Mine don’t sparkle, but… oh, wait. One does. Never mind.

  2. Let me add a little side note to things that creep me out/TRIGGER me badly: If you’re an author, do NOT use an excerpt containing violence or other potentially triggering events, especially domestic violence, as part of your promo blurb that you blast across multiple Fb groups.

    I unfriended an author for doing that the other day, because I have PTSD. The out-of-context DV scene (which was a harsh one) triggered me BADLY. And based on convos with others on Fb, I wasn’t the only one. Use humor, or sexy, or something, but NOT something that will trigger people. The author in question is not only losing sales, but losing Fb peeps. I’m sure that’s not the effect they had in mind. They likely thought the scene was “suspenseful,” but it wasn’t. Had I come across the scene in the context of the book, it might not have triggered me at all. But now that I have been triggered, I absolutely will NOT buy the book, and likely won’t buy anything else by that author, either.

    Yes, I could have simply checked the option for them to not appear in my feed, but to me that’s akin to saying, “Hey, I’ll ignore you, but listen to me.” No thanks. I’d rather just quietly unfriend them.

  3. The one thing that irks me is when someone follows my blog, and then the next day they unfollow it because I didn’t return the favor. Follow my blog because you love what I write about, not for a quid pro quo thing. I love the followers who have stuck by with me since the beginning, who comment on all of my work with long, heartfelt critique and understanding. Those are the people I follow, because they are friendly, caring people who show they are in this for the fun of it all.

  4. I got a Fb friend request from a name I didn’t recognize. No message reminding me how we knew each other. I looked at her photos and figured out she was a former classmate who I only knew by first name. Okay, I accepted. No acknowledgement; I never heard one single personal word from her.
    All the posts on her page said, in various forms, “My vampire book is on the way. Get ready to buy it.” It wasn’t even a real “author” page, just her personal page that she was using to fabricate, I mean build, a fan base. I got off at the next stop.

  5. Good God, I loved every delicious cyber bite of this piece. THANK YOU. I finally was fortunate enough to depart a job in hospitality sales & marketing for writing full time, and consider myself lucky to have the knowledge that job gave me about building relationships with your key “clients.” Readers should never be taken for granted, and making the time for them is one of the joys of my job. Many have become dear friends, actually. Thank you once again for these great reminders about building our business the right way. Best to you.

  6. Reblogged this on Healing by Writing and commented:
    Kristen Lamb’s post on social media tactics NOT to use is interesting and helpful.

    • Laurie A Will on September 20, 2013 at 10:39 am
    • Reply

    My pet peeve is people on Facebook I don’t know that ask to be my friend and then two seconds after I accept the friendship I receive a messaging asking me to “like” their page, buy their book, or vote for them in some contest. I always feel hopeful when I make a new connection, but regardless of their intentions when they immediately ask me to endorse or vote for a book I’ve never heard of and know nothing about, I feel like their only interest in me is a sale. Also, I think it is just a bad practice because even if people do endorse you with out knowing anything about your book because you asked them to, that will not translate to sales. Someone who has never read your book is not going to tell someone else to regardless of how many times they like or vote for you.

      • Steph J on September 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm
      • Reply

      Oh my gosh. This. I don’t mind accepting friends on FB. But if I wanted to like your page, I would have already. All the pleas to like it, then being stalked until I like it, gets one unfriended. That and the bazillion events to attend from people I don’t know, but just friended me to buy stuff. Gah.

        • Laurie A Will on September 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm
        • Reply

        Yes, and the ironic thing is if they just took the time to get to know me and let me get to them, I would check out their page or book and see if it’s something I’d be interested in supporting. But asking me to blindly vote or like them just because the “became my friend” feels like harassment.

  7. Greetings Lady Kristen 🙂

    Oh. right. It’s me again. I’d apologise – but I probably wouldn’t mean it (blush) :-).
    If I may, might I seek thy wisdom, wise one and fair? I confess, I think I know what you’ll say, But can I ask anyway? And not just you – much as I value said wisdom – but perhaps throw it open to the floor as well?
    I’m really thinking of a combination – of #3 and #5. Or sort of. Because yes, the Search tool can be an evil temptation. And stalking is Bad for just about _anything_ (well – unless you have a secret life as a stick of rhubarb). But it’s the degree of flex in ‘common interests’ (from #5) that might make it permisso… permiso…. pro-missal… er, OK (blush).
    For example, let’s imagine that, in some fashion, the Right Honourable Lady Melissa Fitz-Chumley Strathclyde (who happens to write amazing book reviews) has accepted my Link Request in – OK. Let’s not advertise. Let’s just say some Link-y type place that has, um, Link Requests (blush). Perhaps I sent her a Link Request because I read her review of ‘Field Hockey for Beginners – How to bury the opposition and where to find cheap Quicklime’ and loved it, so I sent her the LR. And she said yes!
    Right. I know. I’m probably secretly hoping she’ll be so impressed with my social graces she’ll review my ‘Fifty Years on the Trans-Pacific Railway’ – even though I never said so or actually asked her to. Or even wrote any such book. But let’s pass over that part of my less than noble intentions and move on (blush).
    So what if, armed with my newly accepted LR, I wander over to Twittter. I wander over and put the Good Lady Strathclyde’s name in that evil magnifying glass. And what if, when when I find her, I drop in a Follow? And do the same over at Goodreads? And maybe Shelfari? Recognising I haven’t _asked_ her to Follow _me_ (no, m’lud. Couldn’t be further from me mind, m’lud) – am I (or in this case the fictish… fektosh… er, imaginary I) in breach of #3 and really giving in to my inner rhubarb? Or maybe even both #3 and #5 and being a rhubarb-ish person-ipulator? Or, given the initial contact – which, let’s face it, might either have been a recognition of a deep and abiding social compatibility, or just a ‘oh god, if I must’ acceptance – is it an OK thing to do?
    Not, you understand, that I ever would. I mean, like, _ever_. Well, there was that time in Vladivostok, but…
    Ahem. Yes. Right. We said we’d never talk about Vladivostok. Or the custard. So I won’t (blushes – again). but if I may – thoughts? Comments?

    The Idiot

    1. Hi, Graeme *waves*

      I do accept connections on LinkedIn, as long as the person has a common interest/career path listed on his/her profile and doesn’t look like s/he’s going to someday show up at my house and toss me in the back of his/her panel van. See, it’s a place to meet other writers, editors, bloggers, reviewers, etc. Ahem.

      As long as the person who requests my connection behaves respectfully, I don’t have a problem with that. Someday, when my fan base is bigger, I might be a bit more selective about who gets access to my LinkedIn CV.

      More rarely, I ask other people in my field to connect, even though they don’t know me. I’ve only been on LinkedIn a few months and I used to ask without sending the person a message. That’s how sites like Google+ and Twitter operate and I think it makes it very confusing for newbies. Since I now get a lot of strangers wanting to connect with me professionally and it makes me wonder why, I do send a message now to introduce myself if I’m requesting a link. And THAT’s because I get tired of people offering to sell me their professional services.

      You know what bugs me about LinkedIn? They drag all your contacts into their ‘friend connect’ pop up. I don’t want to be that open with my RL contact list. Why else write under a pen name?

      I don’t hand out my Skype name to anybody who isn’t in my writer’s circle. I never use Skype to do anything but converse directly with my friends who write, or to write with them.

      When I find a writer who interests me (whether by reading a book, a blog, interesting tweets, or through a mutual friend) I visit that writer’s social media. If I find their content interesting, I’m apt to link with them on all our shared media so I don’t miss what they say. I don’t see anything wrong with someone being a fan as long as the fan isn’t intrusive. Should I get popular enough that somebody starts taking photos of me leaving the grocery store, I’m moving to a desert island.

      Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s that simple.

      1. Greetings Lady Jess! (or, um, Lady Molly? 🙂 )

        Well – I promise, on my honour, not to go stalking you on LinkedIn and try to talk you into connecting.
        But that might (blush) only be because we’re, um, already connected :-). For which my thanks, and my hope it doesn’t do horrible things to your street cred if I say so here :-)).
        It’s really, and it’s likely to vary I think between individuals, what level of (ahem) ‘social intercourse’ constitutes permission to knock on a different electronic door without being introduced in that medium as well. So if I’m introduced to you at a dinner party, and see you again at another party thrown by the same host, it would perhaps be OK for me to say hello. But if we’ve only been introduced at said party, the one time, and I see you pondering between artichokes and anchovies at the local store – does the former introduction let me say ‘hi’ without big, beefy men in uniforms introducing _me_ to intensive care? 🙂
        Or if we’re Linked – is that enough for me to think we (for a generic ‘we’) can also Tweet? Or Goodread? And whatever the answer – would/ will the next person I ask or meet feel otherwise :-(.
        It really is a jungle out there – or even in here (looks round for for the Tigress in Chief – Lady Kristen :-P). But it’s such a _nice_ jungle! :-))

        The Idiot

        1. LOLOL Graeme!!!

          If we were introduced at a dinner party and had a nice conversation, and you didn’t say ‘hi’ to me while buying produce a couple of days later, I’d think you were a snob or that you’d forgotten me. Snort.

          If, on the other hand, you hadn’t spoken to me at the mutual friend’s house, and you tried to friend me on Facebook, I might be a tad concerned. It would have that high school stalker-ish air.

          The very name ‘LinkedIn’ implies that people are members there in order to network their business. Which means meeting new contacts, no? LinkedIn is the Facebook of the business world. If one doesn’t want people asking to connect (or make job offers), why would one put up a profile there? People who only want to talk to people inside their workplace should perhaps use email or a company chat room.

          Since we’re Linked, feel free to link with me on other social media. I can’t speak for anyone else on LinkedIn, but I’d say that whenever you use social media, Miss Manners rules apply.

          Yep, it’s a jungle out there, all right.

  8. I loath the autoresponders, especially those saying to checkout their book. I almost used one myself to thank people for following me, but thankfully talked myself out of it.

  9. Errgghh. I actually tried to sell those water filters. And a diet supplement. And (sigh) photo albums. Pretty sad what we do when we’re trying to find ourselves. Too bad I didn’t put that time and effort into writing then instead of waiting until life was more settled to follow my dream.
    Ah well, lessons learned. I loathe and despise all of these ridiculous ploys to force me to look at someone’s book. Here’s a hint…the more you tout your wonderful “free” book the less likely I’m going to even bother checking it out. And if I do check it out, you’d better be VERY sure that “look inside” excerpt on Amazon is worth me taking the ten seconds to click. Better to invest all that time and energy into writing a better book.
    And TymberDalton THANKS for the reminder on excerpts. Those who don’t deal with PTSD can be accidentally insensitive. It irks me when a writer includes difficult issues in their book without any forewarning to the reader.

    • malindalou on September 20, 2013 at 11:00 am
    • Reply

    I am not a fan of people who stalk on Facebook. “Hi, I don’t know you and don’t care about you, but please “like” everything I like and let me ceaselessly pitch to you.” Blech. As Kristen said, please make an effort to get to know me before you start trying to recruit me on Facebook. (I am a little more tolerant of those sorts of things on Twitter. I use Twitter for business and expect to be pitched to there.)

  10. It’s a shame that all new writers can’t be shown this blog before they proceed to platform build on social media. I know that I stumbled around while figuring it out. Yes, I agree with all of it. and there’s no substitute for building relationships.
    The latest semi-creepy ploy I’ve come across was a message on goodreads. An author messaged me using the subject line “review opportunity”. Nothing odd about that. I get them occasionally. What was odd was after he mentioned that he’d read my reviews and thought I’d like his book, and he hoped that I took the time to read it and review it, he included a link for his Amazon page–where I could purchase his book for $2.99 . Maybe it’s me. But it seems that if an author is soliciting reviews from strangers, he might offer a free copy. <–sarcasm.
    That was the only time that happened. I looked him up and he's a new author. I haven't deleted it yet (a couple months old). I'm still debating whether or not to reply to him and explain that what he did is really bad form for any author, let alone a new one.
    Good post, Kristen. Thanks for saying something that needed to be said.

  11. Great advice as usual, Kristen. I still haven’t found a networking use for twitter yet though–that stuff confuses me.

  12. Sky-diving puppies. Now why didn’t I think of that.

  13. I don’t know if it counts as social media, but I don’t like how I keep getting email newsletters from authors I’ve never even heard of. If I didn’t sign up for it I’m probably not going to read it and I’m definitely not buying whatever you’re selling. It feels like an invasion of privacy. And it makes me growl. 🙁

    1. That steams my beans, too.

  14. Ahh, so true!!! I hadn’t stopped to think about it till I read your post!
    Creepy indeed, and recommended tactics by some SEO “experts”.
    Gotta think for myself now. Bummer.
    But thanks.
    Reminds me of a sign in a coffee shop.
    “We don’t have Wi-Fi.
    You will just have to talk to each other.”
    I guess the question is, how do we balance technology and authenticity?
    How do we “Keep it real”?
    Easy to forget how important that still is.
    Thanks for the reminder.


  15. And Ye Gods! DO NOT TWEET YOUR FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW stats! Lazy bastard!

    1. Ah I know! This one baffles me – why do people do that?!

      1. I’ll be damned if I know. It does give me the sweet satisfaction knowing that I am amongst the unfollow stats the next day.
        I would rather read a tweet about the seven laps your goldfish just did than knowing how many people kicked your arse off their following list.

  16. “I get that there are a lot of “experts” teaching you that these behaviors are okay.They aren’t. Stop it!” Sheep following sheep (and lack of common sense) are largely responsible for social networking being misused.

  17. Once, I was doing a twitter chat with my writing group and they asked us for bios. I have a good bio, tweeted it, and a bot re-tweeted it, but then didn’t give me credit. I only saw it because it used the group’s hashtag. So, please, don’t set your bot to re-tweet key words hoping to sell something someone else said, and not give them credit!

  18. I tweet, I don’t facebook, and the worst thing for me is the people who follow because they’re a new self/indie pubbed author and don’t know me, don’t know who I am, follow me when I haven’t tweeted in days which tells me they’re just looking for other authors to follow without thought…I really, REALLY don’t like that! I don’t follow them. Most of the time, I don’t even look at their page because I know I’m going to see the ‘buy my book’ link at the top.

    My question is, when I am followed by someone who has obviously read my recent (like real time) tweets, do I acknowledge them? Do I have to follow them back? Twitter etiquette? Sometimes I think social media just sucks.

    1. I just follow anyone who engages (authentically) with me. That’s my rule.

    2. I agree with so much in this post about aggressive and rude tactics, but this one is hard for me to understand (and you’re not alone, many people are bothered by certain follows). I often follow other authors whose profiles look interesting to me, not expecting a follow-back or (certainly) for you to buy my books. I follow people who seem to have interesting things to say about writing, reading, publishing, etc., and to be honest, sometimes the only requisite is that you are an author and seem not to be a creep yourself. Often they are suggested by Twitter based on other follows. I see this as widening my circle and giving myself a chance to learn something new. Not sure why it bothers you? I think everyone uses twitter differently and that’s part of the problem – but to me tweets are such a ‘public’ way of communicating, it’s hard to understand why having more followers would be upsetting.

      1. I don’t mind followers. I mind automatic messages, especially ones who immediately try to sell me something. People follow me all the time and I follow interesting people all the time, people I might not have spoken with. The difference is I don’t immediately corner someone asking for money.

      2. “sometimes the only requisite is that you are an author and seem not to be a creep yourself.”

        See, that is something I wouldn’t do. With very rare exception, I don’t follow anyone unless I a.) know them from their blog and have engaged with them before, b.) have been reading their tweets because they were retweeted by someone I know and consequently, engaged with the owner of the retweet or 3.) have read the author/watched the actor and am interested in what they are doing now.

        And frankly, for the life of me I can’t understand why Twitter would find me exciting enough to include me in the ‘people you should follow’ list since I’m not published, don’t believe I’m exceptionally exciting and don’t blow up twitter with a constant stream.

        I did get followed by an author I really like and so followed her back because I’ve read her and I am interested in what she’s doing next. I thanked her for the follow, got an immediate auto reply and then right after that, a personal one. In that instance, because she took the time to engage me, I did not unfollow, but if all I ever get are auto responses, I’m outta there.

        1. Your point makes sense, definitely. I think we just differ in our approach to twitter — I have my private Facebook page that is (somewhat) separate from my writing life, where I post pictures of my kids and personal info. I guard that carefully and only ‘friend’ people I actually know — and not all of them!

          Then I have more ‘public’ spaces like my author page and Twitter, where I’m more breezy because I am trying to widen my circle. To me, following is sort of like smiling at a stranger at a big party or convention — just a polite acknowledgment that person exists. Sometimes this leads to me re-tweeting something interesting they’ve posted, or starting a conversation that creates a deeper relationship. Other times, not.

          In any case, if they do the creepy stuff Kristen mentions above, I tend to unfollow, just like I would someone who tried to sell me amway at a party. I also unfollow people whose tweets are offensive or obnoxious, or the same tweet every time I see them pop up. But the ‘follow’ itself doesn’t bother me — and my follow is theirs to lose.

          Btw, I have no idea what the inner workings are behind twitter’s suggestions for people to follow, but I’m sure it’s based at least partly on similar keywords to self and other users you’ve followed recently, which is why we all tend to get authors — established and not — in our suggestions list.

          PS – Sorry it took me a couple of days to respond – I was (gasp!) blissfully offline! 🙂

  19. I agree with Teresa, who suggests everybody who’s publishing an indie book be required to read this post! And I’m with emma that newsletters I’ve never subscribed to are very high on my “creepy” list.

    A new one I’ve just run into is people who subscribe to my blog just so they can send a “reply” with a pitch for their book. Huh?

  20. Just posted a very similar blog post. It’s completly frustrating and insulting. I can’t tell you how many times I get these messages and think, “Oh, this is nice. OK, I’ll follow you here or there since you’d like to connect.” And I go to reply to their message and get the message back that, No, I can’t send them a message because they haven’t followed back. Um, yeah. Thanks but I don’t think I’ll be looking to follow you anywhere else.

  21. Truth is, if I followed every blog, read every book, (Even Free) and followed every page someone asked me to like every day, I would have no time to write (or do anything else). So why would I expect anyone else to do that for me? Like me because you like me, read my work because you want to, and follow along because you like what you see and hear. That is why I follow this blog anyway. 🙂

  22. Lady (or Lord – I can’t follow the link from where I am to confirm (blush))

    I, of course, cannot speak for Twitter etiquette. I can only speak for me. But if I follow you (in the generic sense of ‘you’) on Twitter or anywhere else, it’s because:

    1: You said something that interested me, and I want to see if you’re going to do it again
    2: We’re having a conversation, and you haven’t hired men in sharp suits and dark glasses to make sure it ends – at least not yet (blush)
    3: I think you have knowledge, power, influence, affluence or access I can somehow steal. Or borrow. (blushes – again)

    These, whether I like it or not, are all _my_ needs. I’d love to be able to say I Followed some generic ‘you’ because I knew I had something _they_ needed – and wanted to offer it – but I’d probably be lying (I’d blush again – but it would probably look a little repetitive :-P).
    So, for me, do you have to/ should you consider Following me because I followed you? Hel… er, heck no! You should probably go hire the guys in sharp suits and glasses. Though I hope you don’t :-).
    And if you (generic) ‘Follow’ me? I’ll go look at what you’ve said. Or Tweeted. At your work. And if I see something that grabs me – I’ll Follow. Not because I should. Not because of etiquette. But because I see something in it for me, whether intellectually satisfying or more venal :-).
    Of course, I’m sure everyone else is a lot more noble than I… :-)).

    The Idiot

  23. Rats. I wish I could edit posts (blushes more). That’s ‘Lady (or Lord – I can’t follow the link from where I am to confirm (blush)) nightsmusic’. Or it was supposed to be. Of course, it wasn’t. Which only proves I’m…

    The Idiot

  24. Thanks for the info!! I’m slowly learning that I’m not so comfortable tweeting and FBing galore. That’s okay. If I have something to say, I’ll say it. If not, I’ll just see what everyone else is up to. As to blogging, I’m finding that virtually all my hits are from search engines. That’s okay, too. I would rather be stumbled upon by a potential reader than have the same person read my blog every week. It might not be the norm, but it’s me!

  25. Yes! I really hate being added to someone’s FB page with no warning.

  26. I thought of that scene in one of the Anne of Green Gables books as I read this, where someone wants to allow an advertisement to be painted on their fence and all the Avonlea peeps are horrified. Wish I could live in those times…

  27. I’d have thought you’ve got a new van. We’re beginning to recognize it. Loved the post. Is the book making itself into print soon?

    1. Should be ready by TUESDAY if Amazon approves it *crosses fingers*

  28. Oh how I hate the twitter bots!

    1. Thanks.

  29. I don’t mind the occasional prefab tweet, I schedule a couple here and there with quotes from my novel in case folks want to see what I’ve been up to (I can’t watch Twitter all day long, and will do this on other’s feeds, so I’m sure I’m not alone). But, I also cross post for others chat with people and tweet things I find of interest. That said, I find it very creepy when ALL that is posted on a tweet feed is ads…like a thousand a day..all about them. There’s so much, it’s mind- numbing. It’s best to be interpersonal and interactive 🙂

  30. I still have a hard time looking forward to ‘Twitter time’ but I love the advice you offer in your book to seek out hashtags that you can enjoy. I honestly love reading #ArrestedDevelopment – not many people trying to sell stuff there, just people who love the show so much they have to repeat the lines somewhere.
    (ya, I’m one of them)

  31. I still don’t Twitter. Why bother, I’ll just let the bots talk to each other.
    At least you get more than 140 characters on Facebook…

    “#6” is people posting promo links on your personal timeline. 👿

  32. “Hey, I see you love vampires! Mine don’t sparkle, but…”

    That reminded me of an old Beavis & Butthead episode where Butthead tried the pickup line, “I see you like nachos. I like nachos, too. Huh-huh. Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh.”

    1. LOL. Heh heh.

  33. I used to subscribe to a blog that I enjoyed. However, when I started following this person on Twitter, I saw that all his tweets were simply links to all of his older blog posts.

    So I basically fell in love with him and then realized he was a jerk!

  34. Kristen, this all makes so much sense. Thank you. I’m not guilty of much; luckily, I have an intuitive sense of what gets people’s backs up. It’s a great help if I put myself in the shoes of the potential recipient. then, I s l o w l y back away. 🙁

  35. Forgot to say I’ve shared and reblogged.

  36. I’ve been seeing a lot of #1 lately. I don’t know what it is exactly, but of the last ten people I followed I think six of them had an auto-response sending me to their blog or Facebook profile. I don’t mind (and even think it’s kinda nice) when someone sends me a DM to say thanks for following them, but the auto-ad is rather impersonal and annoying. 😛

  37. Made me laugh.

  38. I find it difficult to connect with anyone on twitter as all I see are book promotion and links to buy them. 🙁 #feelingdisheartened

  39. Everyone of these these things that you mentioned is a huge turn-off. Great article. I generally unfollow people who auto-respond with FOLLOW ME, LIKE MY SITE. Hope you’re well

  40. Reblogged this on eccentricallynormal and commented:
    The truth hurts…Unfortunately, I have been “conditioned” into thinking that this is how some “authors” on FB operate since I cannot tell you how many of them have sent me auto-replies that “they don’t spend much time here on my personal FB page, but if you could hop on over to read & ‘LIKE’ my author page then I would be most appreciative” (even when they sent me a friend request!!!)…so, I have obliged for almost everyone that sends me this request. Why? Well, being the “newbie” blogger who hopes to get her book published one day, I have been happy to adhere to protocol and I also happen to be the middle child who tries to be the peacemaker. I thought it was standard practice and part of networking because it seems to happen so often. I want to get to know the “FB friends” that I have made via their friend requests, FB “suggested” friends and also some that I admire and seek out from reading their work. Most of the time, I enjoy what I see on the news feeds and it inspires me, but every once in a while it just seems like buy my stuff because I am better than everyone else in the whole world and if you don’t you suck!
    Before I go, I confess I have sent out FB private requests to “Like” my blog page, but I don’t take it personally if they don’t read it or like it all…I just keep blogging and enjoy the ride.
    Thanks for keeping it real Kristen!
    🙂 Mary

    • laurieire on September 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply

    It irritates me when writers ask for facebook friendships and then thank me for the friendship on my page with a request to like their author page or visit their blog. When I try to get to know them with a response to their posts, they ignore my comments. Thanks for making me feel invisible! Makes me wonder what they want from me. 😉

  41. I loathe when someone sends me a request to connect on LinkedIn falsely claiming to be a friend or that we’ve done business together. It’s doubly insulting when there’s not even a personal note to explain why they would like to connect with me. Argh! Sometimes, if I’m in the mood, I’ll send a reply (without accepting) asking why they think a connection would be mutually beneficial. Sometimes I hear back and sometimes I don’t.

    Happy Socializing!

  42. I ignore bots, including auto-replies urging me to follow on Facebook. Eccch! Like you’ve been saying since forever – people, please!

    Apropos free books – there’s a second hand bookstore in my home town whose owner regularly leaves stock in a box at the front with a ‘help yourself’ label. They don’t vanish – yup, nobody even takes ’em when asked. I think it’s the same on the web, only maybe worse because ‘free’ still demands time, which nobody has. And ‘free’ is over-used as a marketing tool.

  43. I belong to a few authors groups and foums and get asked to review a book. Sometimes, I am asked to post a review without actually reading the book! Creative writing? Not the kind I need.

  44. I’ve been added to two groups on FB without my permission—in the last week alone, and by people I wouldn’t have expected to do that (not authors, though). On the other hand, I’ve had many writers on FB who contacted me with the “you like me, I’ll like you” offer. It’s insulting.

    Whoops, gotta go. I think the cops just spotted my van. I have to keep it moving…

  45. Haha nice Kristen. I did encounter some of the things you wrote there and an automated response won’t beat the simple genuine that comes from the heart. Best thing to do i guess is to just be human(in the internet) and enjoy the craft of writing. 🙂 happy blogging.

  46. I have a new appreciation of Twitter since I read your book, Kristen. I’m discovering that it’s a great pool of friends just sitting there (with fantastic information) waiting for me to interact with them. It’s fabulous and thank you for teaching me how to ‘socialize’ properly 😉

  47. I wish the people that post the same exact tweet multiple times a day would just stop cluttering up my feed with that junk.
    I’ve pondered replying to one of them with – That should really say “How to Survive and Thrive as a Robotic Spammer.”
    Would you even consider talking to someone at a cocktail party who kept saying the exact same thing multiple times throughout the evening?

  48. The authors that interest me most on social media are the ones who hardly ever try to sell their books. Talking about a marketing campaign and how it’s working is fine but you’re so right about the amway types. Even so I still don’t really get how anyone would think that kind of approach was ok, however naive.



    1. It just needs to be balanced with other stuff. I tell all of you about WANACon and contests and upcoming classes…at the end of a post where I’ve given hard work freely. Skip if you want, but it’s there if you’re interested. Non-invasive and no pressure. I mention my book once in a blue moon on FB, but I talk to people and ask about them. No one minds some of the marketing/book stuff, but we don’t want a Home Shopping Network, we want a SOCIAL network.

      1. That’s very true, but like you say there are ways of doing it. 🙂 I’d say your technique is pretty good.

  49. I didn’t know about half of these and I still knew they were wrong. Courtship is a lost art. Maybe we should learn how to woo again if we want to have readers, not pull a Ted Bundy on them and hope they “like” us till they’re dead. Food for thought..:-)

  50. Got a “friend request” from a 20 something female (I’m 50 and married 22 years today). Thought she was the daughter of a high school friend (our only common friend) and I accepted. She then proceeds to ask me in a PM if I like massages. This is reversal of creepy and has the potential to cause a lot of grief for us married guys. I guess even the prostitutes have turned to social media as I am quite doubtful this young woman (not a lady to be sure) was really interested in a true romantic relationship with an old fart like me. When I asked my friend about her, she said she didn’t know her either and had been duped into friending her the same way I was. Those of us who have been around the block a few times are not flattered by this kind of attention, we know better. i need a shower now … o.O

    1. There are, unfortunately, a lot of females doing this and they approach everyone they can reach, regardless of gender. It’s definitely creepy.

  51. I’m part of several groups on Facebook, and a lot of my friends and readers belong to the same groups. There was one girl in particular who just insisted on adding me to all the groups she was in, regardless of their subject or affiliation. I’d open my email in the morning to find a couple of hundred messages from these groups, since Facebook notification subscriptions are always turned on when you join a group. One morning, I received 580 notifications. Delete, delete, delete, rinse, repeat.

    Many days, it took me 10 minutes just to highlight and delete the messages. I’d be saying, “I didn’t join this group” and then discover it was she who added me. It was exasperating, but I was scared to respond to my reader(s) and be perceived as unfriendly.

    Eventually, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I put up a notice on my account and fan page: Please don’t automatically add me to any groups. If you’d like me to join something, please ask me first. I’m spending so much time deleting spam in my inbox that I don’t have time to write.

    People, including the girl, instantly began honouring my request. It was a huge relief.

    I personally don’t take offense if people ask me to take a look at their site or whatever. I understand that many people do take offense, so I don’t do it myself. However, I know how hard it is to get a following as a writer and I understand why they do it. Plus, I love to support other writers and I’m happy to promote ones I respect.

    I won’t endorse anyone whose work I don’t know, or whose online behaviour is poor. Now that I have a website and blog, I’m asked to promote books all the time and some people (or their publishers) don’t offer me an ARC. I’m not about to put my reputation behind a book I haven’t read or an author/promoter who can’t be bothered to speak to me.

    I’m acquainted with some popular authors and you know what? They chat with me via email, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. They’re highly personable. That’s why they’re popular.

  52. You know what I find bizarre? People who endorse me on LinkedIn for skills I don’t have in my CV, like Ghostwriting and Poetry. Yeah, that makes me scratch my head.

    • Laurie A Will on September 21, 2013 at 11:53 am
    • Reply

    I am leaving a group that is run by a professional author on a social media. He is very active, which is nice, but he posts several times a day. I could live with that. I just looked at the titles of email and hit the delete key when the subject doesn’t apply or interest me. He sent a message a couple nights ago about a group project he wanted to do. It thought it was a nice idea, but not a writing project I wanted to work on so I didn’t reply to the thread. After I logged off that night, he tagged me and everyone else in the group. I woke up the next morning to 250 messages in my email inbox. Over 100 of them were from this thread. It really put me behind for the day even just weeding through and deleting the messages without opening them. I will never buy a book from this author.

    1. I wish I had a ‘like’ button for your comment, Laurie. This happens to me all the time.

  53. Thanks for the advice (and a few chagrined giggles). I’m still trying to figure out this whole social media thing. My personal ‘unfavorite’ is when authors tweet promotional blurbs over and over again (and the same ones). I understand a few promotions–after all, I signed on to see what they were up to. But constantly? They get tuned out like white noise.

  54. Some time ago, I subscribed to the blog of an editor whose work interests me (she edits for published friends of mine and works at a popular house). However, she’s lost my interest in her blog. There are sometimes many-month gaps in posts, then, I get a slew of 10-15 post notifications in my inbox in one day. When I go to her blog to check them out, I discover that 99% of the posts are just reblogs from other blogs and most don’t contain any handy information or give a personal insight into her life. In other words, she’s using her blog like a Tumblr. I’m really disappointed. Guess it’s time to unsubscribe.

  55. I have never used a bot. I have run into those that are constantly blaring to “buy my book” and I tend to ignore them. I do subscribe to the justunfollow site for Twitter, because I will get a lot of “newbies” following me, which I expect because I write a review blog for debut authors. As soon as they find that I am closed to submissions, they unfollow but expect me to follow and retweet their tweets. I do RT quotes, and try to engage others. I must admit that I have thanked them for following and invited them to my Facebook page and/or to my blog. I didn’t see that as being wrong. I know many have followed for me to review their book. I refer them to my blog because there are the submission requirements and I am clear that I am not accepting new reviews. I can’t tell you how many requests I get anyway. You would think writers would read these things, wouldn’t you? I am working on my first novel, so there is no advertisement involved. I am just trying to build relationships so that when I am published, I will have those that are interested without me having to do that, because they know least online.

  56. I’m a newbie, Kristen, and boy am I glad to have found your blog. What a wonderful resource you have so generously provided us all. Thanks, so much!

    • Mary Ann on September 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Kristin. I’m new to social media and your book and posts have helped me enormously, but it seems there’s always so much more to learn. That tip about fan groups – I don’t even know what they are. Where do you learn all the in’s and out’s of Facebook and twitter? I’d hate to be accidentally offending people. Cheers, Mary Ann.

  57. I’m reading your book and the advise is wonderful. Just how you phrase something can make all the difference and your explanations as to why are very clear. I’m trying hard to juggle the final revisions of my book, building and maintaining my platform (blog, facebook, twitter) and of course raising my 7 kids! Having clear advise is the only way I think I may miraculously succeed! Thank you. I only hope I’m doing thing right.

  58. Thanks for sharing this great article. Perhaps if authors such as yourself continue to circulate these messages, the stalking and auto follow crap may decline. As a new soon to be published author I have been working on my social platform for months. I am grateful that I have been learning from the best about ‘social etiquette’. I often get those ‘DM’s’ with automated messages and I don’t need to be a pro detective to figure it out. Thanks again, and so happy to share!

  59. I’ve found some great books on social media , but I agree, cyberstalking is very creepy. Giving away free books seems like bait, to manipulate me into telling my friends how wonderful that author is. I don’t market much, when I do it’s not auto. I pitch it as it is. If they buy, great. The majority of my books sold are not via amazon etc. they sell locally at a reasonable cost. For the one book I wrote, I self published. Very few sold that way or social media.

  60. This made me laugh and I have been guilty of some of those things until I got wise (thank you Kristen–a few you’ve mentioned.) I’m still finding my way but trying hard to GIVE first — Sincerely checking out people’s blogs, finding something I can connect with and posting a comment w/o leaving my calling card. It’s a tough temptation. Even more so because I find so many people are out for the receiving end and not the giving. Thank you for this wonderful post! I take it to heart!

  61. Thank you for being a constant source for humor and great advice on using social media. I am hoping to make WANACon. Scheduling can be a bit tricky this time of year.

  62. I had one auto-DM that thanked me for following and then asked me to follow his author wife. She can’t get her own followers?

    An old college friend connected with me on FB and then started a conversation, “How’s it going? It’s been so long!” I replied and never heard another personal peep from her. It was a great conversation–not! *rolls eyes*

  63. I read this post and liked it, then as I was falling asleep some thoughts niggled me,as they usually do when I try to sleep, but it was regarding tactic #5

    “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”


    “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?”

    For the record, I DO NOT “like” someone’s page and EVER ask them to like mine back (that seems poor form) but I’m not THAT offended when people want me to look at their blog or their FB page, if I like it, I like it, or comment on a blog post that I can relate to.

    Also, how can we build a supportive community if we don’t make an effort for each other? If someone has gone out of their way to visit my page, I feel it rude not to at least LOOK at theirs. Usually there is something I can find to connect with.

    Maybe the askers are needy? Maybe they haven’t read (YOUR–Kristen’s) blog? Maybe they have something wonderful to share and haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Or how about being kind even when someone is being rude to you, leading by example? We need room for understanding.

    With tactic #5 it almost seems like you are saying we should not EXPECT reciprocation from other? (maybe my brain went off on a tangent and that’s not what you’re saying at all) For example if you invite me for dinner, I am going to make every effort to invite you back or at least bring something when I come over, that’s good manners. You can expect that from me.

    This concept of “lack of expectation” is confusing me.

    Do you think that there is no room for expecting real world social manners in cyberland?

    1. I think it’s a “gut” thing. If it’s someone I’ve chatted with on FB or Twitter or whose commented on my blog? No problem. But just a random, “Hey I liked your page now like mine” out of the ether? A bit creepy to me. But all of this IS subjective.

      1. Your “gut” is probably more fine-tuned than mine. 🙂 I still have trouble filtering out the real creeps and the bumbling tweeters/facebookers. Thanks for responding 🙂

  64. I agree with everything you’ve written in this post Kristen. I’m a little amazed that this post was necessary. The “creepy” things you listed should seem wrong on their face, so what does it say of the state of our social skills that these missteps happen as much as they do.

    Maybe people fear being genuine, and so they blurt their “elevator pitch” instead of starting a conversation. Our Tweets and Facebook messages ought to offer our thoughts about where we are at that moment – what we are feeling. We could offer an interesting thought that isn’t about our book, and add our website link to the post.

    If someone likes what you have to say they’re likely not only to comment, but also click on that link to explore on their own. Mystery often intrigues people to the point of action.

    I feel that really good marketing leaves those who see it wanting more. I’ll always try to NOT give someone enough information to make the “buying decision.” Instead, I want to plant questions that they can only get answered by reaching out to me. People like to buy, not be sold.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

  65. I agree with you Kristen 100%! I’ve had to put Twitter on my back burner this year and when I started interacting with it again, ALL I’ve gotten are the sales or site pitch bots! That irritates me to no end when I follow someone and they respond with a bot pushing their books. Half the time I remove them for that alone. I’ve never used bots or pretty much anything you’ve described and I used to have a klout score of 80 because I interacted with my Tweetlets personally and went through their posts and links myself before I RT’d them.
    I’ve posted reviews, releases, etc., but always do it myself live.
    I have no idea whether these bots or tactics work for other authors & their sales but I find it rude and condescending let alone creepy.

  66. Another top notch blog, you really hit them out of the park. I really hate twitter DMs that are just promo from robots, so offensive and will NEVER work. I do post some promo on my twitter time line and it does sometimes result in sales, but that out there in the open not aimed at specific people and not DM, I’m not trying to create false intimacy with a DM which i think is so rude, because it’s disappointing, private messages are supposed to be from friends.

  67. I don’t use bots either.

  1. […] Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics. […]

  2. […] Lamb: Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics. “It is estimated that the average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a […]

  3. […] 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 b…  […]

  4. […] Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics from Kristen Lamb at Kristen Lamb’s Blog […]

  5. […] Independent authors behaving at their worst – these tactics don’t work! […]

  6. […] 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 b…  […]

  7. […] Top 5 Panel-Van-Creepy Social Media Tactics from Kristen Lamb at Kristen Lamb’s Blog […]

I LOVE hearing your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.