3 things to avoid doing on social media

We all already know about the “not just spamming people with promo all the time” rule. But there are a couple of other things you can end up doing on social media that can irritate people just as much.

Duplication across platforms – and on the same platform.

Me: Hey, that video of a cat riding a Roomba is hilarious! I’ll post it on Tumblr. And Facebook. And Pinterest. And Twitter. And my blog. And Google Plus. And Live Journal.”
Follower: “Aaaaargh! It’s that bloody cat again!!”

I love cats on Roombas as much as the next Internet denizen, but if I follow someone across various sites and they post the same thing across all of them I might get a tad bored with it.

All the popular social media sites have their strengths. Figure out what works best on each of them and use that site and that site only for that kind of content. If you fear someone who isn’t following you on Tumblr will miss out on the wonder that is the Roomba-riding kitty, you can Tweet a link to the entry. You don’t need to put the video on Twitter as well and it will drive visits to your Tumblr blog – or wherever you posted it.

Choose the right platform for the right job. A Tweet or maybe a Facebook post when you have a new buy link for your book is cool. A Pin – which needs to be a picture – might mean you pin your book cover several times for all those different reseller links. So you’re repeating yourself and you have a board with 20 different pins and only 4 different images, which just looks silly. Pin your book cover on Pinterest of course – but make the click-through link to somewhere the person looking at it can find all your buy links


Flooding someone’s timeline or dashboard or whatever they call the “latest stuff” view of the site they are on now. This is when someone makes a load of posts, Tweets or Pins in a really short time, so that one of their followers logging in right then is faced with a great sea of stuff all from the same person.

And shocking as it seems, three screenfuls even of Jensen Ackles taking his shirt off can get a bit tedious. It makes people back off rather than engage. The more posts there are the less likely I am to comment on/like/reblog, whatever. I feel like I don’t know where to start. It’s better to do a few posts a few times a day than a zillion posts all at once. You don’t flood someone else’s view with just more more more posts by you, and you give them breathing room to engage.

Get your house in order before you invite guests over.

When you get on a new social media site it’s exciting. You can’t wait to start interacting with people. You’re going to have such fun. Better start connecting with all those people right away! But slow down a second, Speedy. First get your profile set up. If it’s Goodreads, take the time to get some books shelved. If I get GR friends requests from people with a blank profile and no books shelved, what am I supposed to do with that? I almost certainly won’t be accepting. I don’t know who they are. I don’t mean I have to already know them, but with a profile and some books I can get a sense of who they are even if I’ve never interacted with them before. Without those I can only assume they are a spam bot. Sorry.

Twitter Egg Tumbr anon icon Goodreads No Photo
Who are you people anyway?

If it’s Pinterest, get some boards set up and populated with at least a few Pins. (This also goes back to the point about flooding. Do all this shelving and pinning before you have followers, so you can get it done in batches without annoying people.) But the key is, make your mark on the place before you start inviting people to follow or friend you, so they know who you are. You wouldn’t move into a new home and throw a housewarming party while all your stuff is still packed in boxes. You get the pictures on the wall and the books on the shelves, so the house reflects who you are. Treat a new-to-you social media site the same way.

5 thoughts on “3 things to avoid doing on social media

  1. I’ve been a bit conscious of this lately on Twitter, needing to spread the Harper Impulse love and supporting my fellow authors, and worry I’m flooding their walls lol! But some days, I don’t get a chance to flick through regularly, and end up with a surge. But I’m trying to leave it five/ten minutes ha ha. It’s those with not that many followers who will notice.

    And as for my Facebook page. I was really embarrassed. I thought it wasn’t public and I was tidying it up… and it was getting likes! Eek! But I am trying to make sure I don’t duplicate posts on my page and my profile.

    But yeah, I agree with all the above 😀 I’m just a bit excited about being part of Harper Collins so I hope I’m forgiven. lol!

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