How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer

By Rachel Thompson | Blog

Aug 03

HOW TO TWEET WITHOUT BEING AN ANNOYING SPAMMER

 

People ask me frequently how to get the word about their books or business without spamming (sending out repeated self-promotional links).

 

I’ve written about this before on 25 WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK WITHOUT CONSTANTLY SPAMMING LINKS, so I suggest reading that first.

 

Let’s go deeper today.

 

 

  • What exactly defines spam? This confuses people, though it’s pretty obvious. Any kind of repeated link that promotes only your own stuff is considered spam. Actually, if your Twitter stream or Facebook page only consists of links (no matter the content), you are spamming.

 

  • What about promoting others? It’s always a good idea to RT, share, etc., to promote others. But can it become too much? Yes, if it’s all links, all the time. This all goes back to being authentic and engaging with people – not in a ‘unicorns and rainbows’ way, as @DanZarrella says, but in a way that extends your brand. How can you do that if all you do is send use your social media as a one-way broadcast model?

 

Promoting others IS a great way to engage, of course, if it also goes beyond the RT. What else can you do? Follow their blog, buy their book, give a review, interact with them on Facebook, sign up for their newsletter, introduce them to a friend, and trade guest blogs!

 

  • Are RTs considered spam?  People ask me this a lot. If I’m RTing someone else’s content, this wouldn’t be considered spam, right? It depends. Here’s why: anytime you provide a link, it’s considered a promotional tweet (no matter whom it’s for). That doesn’t mean you’re spamming. However, if ALL YOU TWEET are promotional tweets, then you are spamming, no matter if it’s your content or someone else’s. Doesn’t matter.

 

Zarrella showed that the tweeps with a ratio of 60-80% links have tweets that contain ‘interesting’ content also have the most followers and RTs (his study was based on millions of tweets).

 

The only way for you not to spam your following is to combine content tweets (no links) with promo tweets (links). A good ratio is 3 to 5:1. This should fit fairly well into that ratio (if that works for you). If you’re a professional stream only, then a 1:1 ratio is acceptable.

 

  • What do content tweets consist of?  This goes back to knowing your keywords. Pick 6-12 keywords that define you at this moment (it’s okay for them to change depending on your focus, work, or interests). Provide info, resources, interesting facts, whatever (well, not what you had for lunch. Let’s not become a Twitter cliché.). Be authentic—what interests you? Tweet that!

 

Twitter isn’t rocket science. Many people say they don’t know what to tweet. Hmmm. Do you know how to speak? Then you know how to tweet. Sure, there are a few ‘cultural’ tools to learn (hashtags, search, lists) but you’re smart. You can do it.

 

  • Blogging: I also recommend blogging if you’re not already. Pull content from your posts! We write about what interests us, and we’re naturally drawn to topics that elicit an emotional response. Share that passion!

 

I attended the largest Hubspot webinar recently and have pages of info, but what’s relevant here is this: the most popular topics (in terms of RTs): sports, breaking news, music, tech, free, fashion, photo (not photography). Least: giveaway, hotel, iPhone, corporate, school, new, tips.

 

Also, 70% of people studied (hundreds of thousands) will make a purchase decision because of a blog. That’s A LOT. 50% read blogs at least once/day.

 

Photo courtesy of Time Tech

  • Scheduling: Some people are against automation; I’m an advocate of partial automation from a time-management perspective. Here’s how: pick a topic (say, for me, #socialmedia) and write ten content (no link) tweets about it. (Tips, advice, humor, etc. – as long as it’s centered around your interests, keywords). Then spread those out over a few days.  

 

I schedule about two hours apart (using Hootsuite), and then mix in with links to current events (using Buffer or Hootsuite), RTs of others’ links, an occasional link to my own books (tip: add your book link to your Twitter bio!), blog posts, and other interesting info.

 

I say partial automation because I check in frequently, interact, engage, and live tweet also. Using a combination of Hootsuite and Buffer (they have a great Chrome extension) works best for me. I also like Pluggio.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas about what to tweet about and how to improve your content (no links) to promo ratio (links). The key is balancing your content so it’s not an automated stream of strictly self-promotion.

 

I’d love your thoughts and comments below!

 

Follow

About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month – created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed.

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs,  #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Leave a Comment:

(31) comments

Amanda Fanger August 3, 2012

Great post – thanks for writing/sharing! Good tips that I’ll pick up on 🙂

Reply
    Rachel Thompson August 3, 2012

    Thank you, Amanda! I’m happy to share what drives me crazy…anytime! :))

    Reply
Mededitor August 4, 2012

Still not getting your idea on links. There’s nothing wrong with posting links. Take a look at my Tweets. Maybe 75 percent of them are links to stories, websites, photographs that illustrate what I’m saying or are something worth visiting or reading.

Twitter only gives you 140 characters. If I can offer value in that space I will, but often, that message will be something like, “This word is perfectly explained here…”

Perhaps your negative association with links is the way so many authors use them to hawk their wares. Well, I just unfollow anybody who does that.

The real problem for twitterers is spamming. Spamming happens when you deluge my feed with 20 retweets from someone you like. You think this is flattering your friend and it will make me want to follow him or her. It doesn’t. It makes me hate you.

Then there’s the “look at my trophy on favstar” tweet. Instant unfollow. Same with subtweets, partial conversations, or any deep meta. Such things should be prefaced with a @ or DM, but not broadcast to all your followers. Always think: “Am I adding value?”

Reply
    Rachel Thompson August 4, 2012

    I apologize if I’m not clear enough here. I think we’re on the same page, to be honest.

    My point is that if your links solely promote only your own stuff (as seen with many authors or Twitter newbies), that’s when it can get annoying. I also post a ton of links on my streams — I’m not in any way anti-link. I’m anti ‘only promoting myself constantly with links.’ Zarrella’s data shows that streams with more links have more followers — but it’s ‘interesting’ content, not constant self-promo.

    And thank you for stressing value: that’s key.

    Reply
Mededitor August 4, 2012

Totally agree with you on all counts. Writers can and should promote themselves, using each channel – web, FB, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest – for the purpose each is best at. Each has a particular function. Love your work, Rachel.

Reply
Rachel Thompson August 4, 2012

thank you!

Reply

[…] On the social media front, Will Richardson describes making peace with blogging fear; Jade Varden has Goodreads tips for self-published authors, although they’re good for all, really; while Rachel Thompson tells us how to tweet without becoming an annoying spammer. […]

Reply
Phil Rowan August 11, 2012

I think this is a great site which every self-marketing author should read – ideally before they start tweeting! I also like Rachel’s helpfully empathetic approach.

Reply
    Rachel Thompson August 11, 2012

    Thank you, Phil! I appreciate your kind comments. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned — I suppose that’s where the empathetic approach comes from. I don’t want people to make the mistakes I have or have seen multiple times. 🙂

    Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply
Ryan Casey September 13, 2012

Good post, Rachel. I pretty much agree with all your conclusions, and wrote about finding a tweeting balance in the past, too.

Generally, I use Buffer to schedule around six links per day: three from others, and three from my blog, but never Amazon links unless I’ve just launched/running a giveaway or something.

The rest of the time, I log in to be social. Sharing general (but not TOO general) thoughts, interacting with others, etc. Seems to be a balance that is working for me so far.

Thanks again for a great post!

Ryan Casey

Reply
    Rachel Thompson September 19, 2012

    Thank you, Ryan. I like Buffer, I just wish they’d add on Pinterest or at least, G+. People like to be in different places, and it’s limiting to only be on Twitter, FB, and LinkedIn for people who prefer a more visual medium. That said, I do like the convenience.

    Hootsuite now has an autoscheduler tool which is great!

    Reply
Blue Guides September 13, 2012

Enjoyed this; it enlivened a rainy bus ride! So can I use you as an agony auntie? Here’s how it would go:
Dear Rachel,
I have a mutual follow on Twitter. When she posts in her own right it is fine, I have time for her tweets. Trouble is, late at night, when the kids are in bed, she goes berserk and RTs her whole day’s feed, around 2am, so when I wake the next day and tune in to read stuff from people who give me inspiration, I have this huge trough of swill to wade through. What should I do? DM her to complain? Or be ruthless and unfollow?
Yrs, Not Tweeting but Drowning

Reply
    Rachel Thompson September 19, 2012

    That can be annoying. There is a MUTE button on several apps (ie, Echofon) where you don’t have to unfollow her, she just disappears from your home stream. That’s a more discreet way of ignoring :). (If she happens to DM you, you will get it.)

    Try that!

    Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply
@ChiefWordsmith October 5, 2012

Are you spamming? You might be. Great #socialmedia advice from @BadRedheadMedia: http://t.co/NM52fPhD

Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply
@BillHengst November 25, 2012

How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer http://t.co/iySdzChb

Reply
@my_Kozmo November 26, 2012

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? RT @billhengst: How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer http://t.co/2xVpCHA3

Reply

[…] Edit: If you don’t want the lesson to end here—if you’re all, no, we need more lesson!—then check out this blog post from Bad Redhead Media: http://badredheadmedia.com/2012/08/03/how-to-tweet-without-being-an-annoying-spammer/ […]

Reply
Michelle Booth December 29, 2012

Great article. This is a constant battle for me. As an author, I naturally follow and am followed by lots of other authors. But I don’t want to bombard them with news about my book releases and signing events, they aren’t my target audience.
I do agree with you about partial automation. There’s nothing worse than seeing sales or humor messages during times of tragic events. I don’t get why people don’t check in when something awful happens and delete their scheduled posts.

Reply
    Rachel Thompson December 29, 2012

    Thanks, Michelle! and yes, I agree with you. I pulled all my posts on that day we heard about the horros of Sandy Hook. People must be aware.

    I’ve recently had a bit of trouble w/ Pluggio (normally terrific) w/ some older election week posts showing up. It’s kind of amazing how quickly news fades! I deleted all those posts but they keep showing up like a bad penny — and I’m doing everything I can! Sometimes we just can’t control everything. Darn it.

    Reply
@mbooth45 February 18, 2013

How to tweet without being an annoying spammer. http://t.co/8JwbJ3UK

Reply
amy July 18, 2013

i’ve had a drop in subscribers recently I think im spamming them too much and this explains why i dont have a lot of activity on fb too. Thank you

Reply
    Rachel Thompson July 18, 2013

    Sounds like a reasonable conclusion. I find sharing unique photos, quotes, information about a particular few subjects that tie to your topics are a great way to connect with the proper audience without ‘selling’ them anything. Then when you do share a promo (say, once every other day at most) people don’t find it off putting.

    Reply

[…] which seems unusual some days. Now, I’m not saying to entirely stop putting out links, but adding in some tweets without links makes your Tweetstream […]

Reply

[…] which seems unusual some days. Now, I’m not saying to entirely stop putting out links, but adding in some tweets without links makes your Tweetstream […]

Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply

[…] How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer […]

Reply

[…] When working with twitter it would be beneficial to be notified . By tweeting to new followers you have to be careful not to spam, according to this article I researched.tweet […]

Reply
Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment:

brhm-bad-redhead-logo
Sign up for the newsletter to get a FREE PDF of top review sites!
x