Some things I’ve observed re: twitter as a self-promotion tool

So, I get a lot of followers that turn out to be self-promo bots. Or so it seems from the non-stop flow of BUY MY BOOK! Follow me on YouTUBE! Donate to my CAUSE! tweets I see when I check them out to follow back. If your TL is only buy my thing! follow me on X social media! Chances are high that I will not only not follow you back but I might just block you.

Why you ask? There are many reasons but I’ll list a few:

  1. Accounts with nothing but promo tweets for a book/movie/game scream bot to me.
  2. [Assuming I do follow] Auto DM’s that don’t even thank me for following but request that I support something I know nothing about and asking for a signal boost or money with no background
  3. Accounts that follow/unfollow/follow/unfollow when you don’t follow back are usually bots.
  4. Keyword follows, comments, retweets are annoying as fuck and usually are bots but are sometimes irritating humans that see a word and cannot help but go HERE HAVE A COMMENT/LINK/ETC. No just stop it
  5. You tag me in tweets for your merch, but have never interacted with me, don’t follow me and just tweet at me to do what? Retweet your merch? No thank you. (Edited to add 12/23/2016)

So, knowing that what can you do about using twitter for self-marketing effectively? Well here are some tips that have come from personal experience and observation of how people use twitter to promote themselves and how they fail.

  1. Stop using Auto DM’s that are pleas to buy your thing/follow you on YouTube/signal boost your project. IT IS ANNOYING AS FUCK. It also makes me likely to unfollow and block [that’s me because I am easily irritated, others MMV]
  2. Show that you are a real, live human being. If all your tweets are self-promotion? Nah I’m out and not interested. I want to support a person’s work not their novel or game they think will remake the industry. [Spoiler, very, very few works actually accomplish that]
  3. Show you have done something, especially if you are trying to signal boost a cause or start an event or do a Kick Starter. If I (and probably others) cannot see proof that you can be successful or have been in the past, your KS tweets or fundraising tweets will go into the void with a lot of other people who don’t know how to marker.
  4. Do not just randomly tweet at people hoping they will retweet your sales pitch, your record, book, game, merch, whatever it is. Especially if you have never interacted with them before. It’s bad form, and really all you’re asking to do is get reported as a spam account. Because that’s what you’re doing at that point. Spamming in hopes of a bite.
  5. Be transparent. I know this might sound odd but be up-front. Escape jargon, buzzwords etc to make your case. If you are trying to do X and need Y amount in funding, break it down for people. A lot of times I see fund raising requests with no sense of what is being done with the money or why they are trying raise it. One example was a convention attempting to start up in NYC. Their first mistake; auto-tweet asking for money. Second mistake, thinking they could do anything in NYC for the amount they had put out as a goal. Third mistake was not updating their sites etc (more on that in a moment), fourth mistake was not showing where the cost breakdown was and how they were making up the difference. Needless to say they didn’t quite get to their goal.
  6. Post regularly. If you do this huge initial media blitz then don’t post for weeks or months, people will assume your project, book, movie, game, whatever is dead in the water. Even if it’s to say there’s a delay or we have X going on, keep people up to date.
  7. If people do agree to boost your thing, thank them and if they don’t do it immediately? for the love of the Maker, do not nag people to repost, reblog, boost you consistently. Remember that people have to eat, sleep, have work to do that doesn’t involve dropping everything to boost or buy your work.
  8. This one is important, listen carefully. If someone doesn’t boost your work/thing/KS/whatever and they DO promo someone else? Do not make it a thing. Especially a public twitter thing. There’s probably reasons (all valid, or not but that’s not YOUR call) on why someone chooses to boost your signal/book/what have you. Maybe your work isn’t their jam, maybe they are at capacity for giving, etc. Or maybe you spammed like 8 people they also know and everyone is tired of you. Let it go.
  9. Last thing; do promote yourself but don’t spam. For instance, I’ve got several twitter accounts. My personal one, one for #INeedDiverseGames, one for the podcast I co-host and another I have access to but don’t own for the other podcast. Chances are high if you follow and tweet at all of those accounts which are very, very barely connected in terms of scope and interest? I won’t listen to you and block you. Spamming your content is a quick way to get reported as spam or a bot and blocked by many folks on twitter and elsewhere.

So yeah, just some observations I’ve made over the last year or so of a lot more visibility on twitter and a flood more of followers that turn out to be vacant bots, wanting attention, dollars or people with no clue how to use Twitter as a fine edged tool instead of a blunt instrument.

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