Social media has made amateur advertising executives of us all. There are right ways to advertise and there are wrong ways to advertise on social media. If you don’t want to alienate your audience or have them reaching for the Unlike / Unfollow / Unsubscribe Button within minutes, it is best not to do the following.
Using Other People’s Pages / Groups as Free Platform
I aim this at self-published writers mostly, but it can apply for anybody who runs a small business. I’ve had a couple of subscribers to my Facebook Page post links to their own books. Not only have they not asked permission, they have acted with outrage that I had the nerve to delete it. I am also in a book group that has specific rules on self-promotion. Many break the rule and find themselves hit with the ban hammer. Respect the rules of a page and don’t piggyback on another author’s page for free promotion.
Bombarding Your Audience
Hey, buy my book Dead Heat. *Ten minutes later* Have you bought it yet? I sent you an email too. I sent you the link to the page where you can buy my book and you don’t appear to have bought it yet so here is another Tweet, another Facebook page link and another plea to buy my book. Guess what? People don’t want to see a constant stream of adverts from you. It’s like cold calling or spam emails. Self-promotion for your professional services or your books should be an occasional gentle reminder, not an avalanche. Which brings me on to…
Promoting Too Little
The occasional gentle reminder will help boost sales and keep you in mind. This is true whether you are selling an ebook or a business package. We have become an audience with a short attention span and… oooh, shiny. What was I saying? Yes, don’t promote too little that people forget. How often should you self-promote? That really varies depending on the platform. For Facebook, you can pin a post to the top. I think a post every couple of weeks on your book or business service should be enough. During times of high activity (you have a book promotion) then once every 4-5 posts just to serve as a reminder. Tailor it to how often you post and the social media platform.
Failing To Add Value To Your Posts / Comments
Do you fail to add an introduction to your own posts? You need to engage your audience, speak to them, reach out. Explain why you are sharing the external link, what you found useful and why you think they will too. If you are a small business (like me) you need to speak on their level and engage participation – this applies to all audiences. A link is not enough. Set them questions, offer advice and even include an anecdote. Businesses need a human voice today, and without the enormous budget of a big company, it’s a vital marketing tool for you.
Posting Inappropriate Content
Local interest stuff can be good if you are making a big thing of your local area. For example, a microbrewery here in Cornwall will post about local events – particularly those where they will have a stall. Local posts can help engage a local audience, but it should not be your only marketing tactic. It’s only appropriate to the local audience. Don’t get too bogged down in sharing other content that you forget to sell yourself but don’t sell yourself so much that you forget to engage with your audience or otherwise give them something of value.
Even worse is inappropriate content. Celebrity news is irrelevant unless you are a celebrity magazine or fan page. Why do small businesses post this sort of content? My theory is that they are attempting to hijack traffic from the trend. However, quantity is not quality. You should spend more effort on attracting the right audience.