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).

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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.

  • 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!

Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • Megan says:

    It seems like it would be an easy answer – just don’t spam – but sometimes people get carried away. I think if the majority of your content is retweets, that makes you sort of spammy. It makes it look like all you care about is activity and not necessarily the content.

  • I agree Megan. It’s important to interact and engage w/ people (who let’s face it, are all potential readers/buyers) w/o shoving your book or service down their throat. Interesting content always wins out. Thanks for commenting!

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