Social Media is to build people up not tear people down.
Today I’m writing about aggressive behavior on social media. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not on social media to connect with family and friends. Those guys are on the phone with me ever so often or on my never ending list of “Meet this week.” I don’t use it to get news. I choose my sources of information very carefully. I do it because of the author and reader community. I do it to be part of the community, to encourage and learn about fans and what pleases them.
Too often you come across people on social media who’re engaged in pissing contests online. And every now and then you see grown individuals tearing people down to make a point instead of building people up. Are you one of them? Aggressive authors probably aren’t aware of their behavior (I hope so) damaging not just themselves but their brand. Don’t forget that social media is not the Holy Grail to sell books. Discover books yes. Sell books. No. I say this because we still read CS Lewis, Jane Austen, Thomas Aquinas and Shakespeare. I don’t see them on social media.
Aggressive behavior is what exactly? Here are a few of them and what this “aggressive-ness” does to fans:
Not everyone is going to looooove your book. Some of them will like it, some will star it, some won’t finish it. There’s no reason at all to target reviewers, bloggers or readers with your aggressive behavior. Don’t stalk them, leave snide remarks, question their comprehension of worse their IQ. Remember, different strokes for different folks. Don’t show your temper, especially on social media.
-Bashing Other Authors
I didn’t think this needed to be said, but there are so many editors and authors who do this and think they’re being subtle. No. You’ll only end up looking like a fool. Social media is a very tight rope to walk. If you’re being negative and think disguised questions or veiled comments hide your aggression. You are wrong. That tight rope is now a noose around your own neck. So if you have have something nice to say, say it, otherwise keep quiet. Social media is tough to tight rope and fans will not give you a second chance when you lean the other way. Nothing will come of insulting other authors or editors or publishing houses. On the flip side if you’re a victim of this, be gracious. Trust me readers are watching and reading. No author is perfect and we all enjoy enough self depreciation not to warrant any more from fellow aggressive authors.
I hate Auto DM’s. Don’t plug people with an automatic message to follow you on 1000 other social media sites they’ve never even heard of. If readers are interested in what you have to say they will follow you wherever, but if you just don’t care and want everyone to buy your stuff without really having something interesting to share then they couldn’t be bothered.
-Playing the numbers game
Too any authors are doing the follow/unfollow or friend/unfriend dance. That is if you follow me I follow you. Or some version of this two-step. People are not interested in boosting numbers. They could get that for ten bucks. What they want is people who have new insights, or something teachable or funny, or interesting. If I see an author with this aggressive tactic of unfollowing in 24 hours I will not look at a request. I don’t have the time to play these childish games. And authors who are really hunkering down and getting their books ready, don’t have the time or energy for this either.
-Mailing List Collectors
This tactic is numero uno on authors minds. ‘Get everyone on their mailing list.’ After all, the marketing gurus swear by it. So authors bombard everyone with giant pop up subscriber ads on their website. And they won’t let you get away without signing up. I’m on multiple mailing lists and I try so hard not to give away my email, but I have to say of all the hundred mailing lists I’m on, I bought one thing in the last five years. That’s one of the reasons I removed pop up subscriber lists on my website. I have a simple mailing list run by WordPress. I don’t send out special news, special discounts and special specials of any kind.
-Buy Me! Buy Me! Buy Me!
You’re coming off too aggressive if this is the only thing you’re doing. Selling something. Fans and readers won’t be interested in your “buy me” litany if they don’t see the real you. The non-aggressive you. They even wrote a book on this stuff. Can you believe it?
Do you know any other aggressive behaviors of authors? Tell us what they are and how it affects fans and readership.