Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Hard Line Against Twitter DMs for Promotion and Marketing

Stop using Twitter DMs for marketing or publicizing your stuff. Just. Stop. (You're going to like this one. It's short to read and I am telling you to do less.)

Here's why:

A minimum of 90% of the DMs I receive parrot the exact same stuff/links that is already on the sender's Twitter profile or in a bunch of their tweets. If someone's already looked at your profile and decided to add you, you don't need to repeat yourself in a DM.

"But I've got free stuff to share with followers! I need to make sure they don't miss it!" Tweet it instead. Twitter is for tweeting. You can add it to your profile, too. It won't be that hard to find. Honest.

And really, if you're tweeting it AND DMing it AND it's also on your profile, how do you think you look to people? Not like a real person interested in connecting or being social on social media. You come off as spammy to most people. (Really. See my survey results from last year about this topic.)

Remember that a DM is a personal contact, and when you use it for advertising, it's completely impersonal and it's broadcasting instead of being social/communicating.

So what's the theme here? Once again it comes down to using social media to be social. Share your business stuff/creative stuff, sure. I do it, too. But you should also talk to people, meet people, share other people's stuff you think is cool, occasionally talk about your spouse or kids, etc. Be real. Be genuine. Be an integrated human being. Be social.

TL;DR: Stop DMing your promo stuff. There's almost never a good reason for it. Send your promos in your tweets or in your profile info. Not in DMs. Or any other private message for that matter. You are not special and different. Trust me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Authors Reviewing Authors?

A client asked me today about what I think of authors reviewing other authors, particularly in a negative light. It's an interesting companion with yesterday's blog post about writers commenting on reviews. I am of two minds:

On the one hand, I am a strong proponent of critical thought and discourse. There is just too damn much puffery out there, and it seems like people (at least publicly) are losing their ability to think critically.

On the other hand, from a public relations perspective, it is smart for people part of a small community (and really, the internet makes it a small commuity no matter how far apart we are,) to write critical reviews of other community members' work? Probably not.

So my answer? Sure, but be careful and make sure you support your assertions with examples.

But for the larger issue this puts us in a bind, and goes back to the 21st Century Criticism blog series on my personal blog. How do we get really good critical discussion and analysis when we're all so close to each other?

Once again I fear we lose something in the democratization of the internet: the professional reviewer, with his or her professional distance.

All that said, I am a deeply social creature. I like the closeness and community and I like the friends I've made. I feel at home with many of my writing and editing pals. So we lose something, which I firmly believe, but we also gain. It's complicated and I don't pretend to have the answers.

So where do you go for really good, fair reviewers--even for what they don't like? (I mean this aside from Goodreads and the like, which I think are the obvious choices--I am interested in what individuals are out there fighting the good critical fight.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just a Litte More: Author/Creator Comments on Reviews

In light of recent discussions I thought I'd clarify my thoughts on the authors (and other creators) commenting on reviews issue. I’ve said in the past “just don’t do it, ever”, but I think the time has come for me to expand that thought into more than just the idea of authors behaving badly.

My updated advice to creators is that they should pretty much never comment on negative reviews. If you want to thank someone for a good review, please do; but, don’t say much beyond a gracious “Thank you”. Especially if you have any negative or irritated feelings inside you. The reason I say this is because people can tell, and—at least from the publicist’s perspective—you don’t want people thinking of you as an author behaving badly. And that includes authors behaving in a passive aggressive manner. Or a whiny or entitled manner.

“But I have a right to talk to people online. They have comment functionality turned on, and that’s what it's for!” Yes, that’s true. You certainly have that right and privilege. But stop and ask yourself whether is it wise from a public relations perspective. If you are a wise person, you’ll realize that the answer is most likely going to be “no, I shouldn’t”. It’s similar to the adage about not emailing angry.

Think about what you want your name to be as a brand, because your behaviour feeds right into that idea of the personal branding, and for creators on the internet, word gets around fast. Negative feelings about you will affect fans’ perceptions of your work, whether or not you want to believe that’s true.

Not only that, the stuff you post on line can’t ever really be removed. People take screen shots, aggregators aggregate. So if you want to get on that train to interactivity, then feel free, just make sure you’re doing it for reasons that further your goals and cultivate the online image you want to have. Or you know, if you actually like and get along with people and are just socializing. Which is way different from commenting on reviews/criticism.

Anyhow, here’s a final piece of free advice: when in doubt, don’t.