How not to promote yourself on Facebook

Guest Post by Audra Jennings


Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and blogs. All are great places that you should take advantage of when promoting your book. However, each has its own purpose and should be used in a way to maximize its benefits.


There’s a right way and a wrong way to use each. The most popular of these tools is Facebook. Sometimes the best way to explain what you should do is to give examples of what you should not do. So, I’ll share a few tips for what not to do in promoting your book on Facebook.  All of these are real examples that I have sadly seen done (the names have been changed to protect the offenders).

#1: Do not use someone else’s birthday as a way to promote your product.


Even though 150 people have wished a friend happy birthday on their wall, you do not have to distinguish yourself by saying something such as:

“Happy Birthday Audra! Thank you for all that you have done to promote my book, The Social and The Popular.” (And then a photo of the book and a link to the website .)


This is the definition of a shameless plug. While this may sound like a genius way to mention your book on a high traffic wall day, it makes it more about you than about the person whose special day it is. Honestly, I wanted to delete off the post, but knew that it was buried in middle of a lot of other well wishes that everyone would not be scrolling through.

#2: If someone has a special request or sends a special message to a group of people for a specific purpose, don’t use it as an opportunity to plug your product.


Recently, when I was in middle of changing jobs, I sent a message to a number of friends asking them to email me their current contact information so that I could stay in touch. I didn’t like doing this because I didn’t want an ongoing conversation via the message feature. I hate getting alerts every time other people send out mass messages, but I wanted to make sure I reached people who may not have seen a post I made at a particular time of day on their feed.


Here’s one of the messages I received along with all my friends on that particular message.


“Do stay in touch Audra! Thank you for all you did promoting, my book, The Social and The Popular.” (And then a photo of the book and a link to the website.)


While it was a nice endorsement of my work to everyone I already work with, I’m on to you and your shameless plugs!


#3: Do not create three (or more) pages in addition to your personal Facebook profile and ask all of the same people to follow them.

 There are reasons to have both a personal profile and a fan page. One may be because you have more than 5000 friends and a page is necessary. Another is that you want to be able to have a personal page to connect with people you actually know, and one that is for readers and fans. That’s perfectly acceptable.

However, keeping several pages for the various organizations (that are all linked together somehow) can become a problem when the same information automatically feeds on to all of them to the same group of followers.

 For example, I am friends with an author. He also has a couple of ministries that I have liked. He is also tied to another ministry that I like. When he makes a blog post or Tweet, it feeds to all four pages/profiles. I finally unsubscribe to him because I was getting four updates on my feed at a time, all with identical content under different names.


I would recommend that you connect your blog to automatically feed to your fan page. You can post links to the post on your other profiles or pages, but do it at different times of the day. There are a couple of reasons for this.


A)      Variety is the spice of life. Introduce the different groups to posts in different ways. One way may interest some readers more than others.

B)       Work your feeds at different times of the day so that people that may not have seen it at 8:30 AM may catch it when you post later in the day (around lunch time when they are looking during a break).

C)       While coordinating all of your posts can be easy and quick, to do social networking well, it takes a little work to be really successful.


#4: Use tools such as Tweet Deck, but don’t use them for all of your posts.


Tools that update Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, etc. are great and work for all of them sometimes. However, they shouldn’t be the only way you update.

If there’s something short and sweet that you want to say with certain keywords, use Twitter. If someone comments or replies to you on Twitter, use only Twitter to reply back.


If you are looking for more interaction and want to say something longer than 140 characters, update your status directly on Facebook. With Facebook, you can use links that will embed video to view directly on the page, share reviews, post pictures that don’t require linking to another site and is much broader than the other sites. You need to do that differently to make the best use of Twitter.


Also, it’s a better practice to use Facebook to update your Twitter than the other way around. You also need to make sure that the feeds don’t bounce back and forth like a ping pong ball from one site to the other making multiple posts.


I knew someone who wanted to really focus on Twitter and create a large following there. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with becoming a Twitter “specialist” if that is the direction you want to go. However, he did understand the importance of Facebook. The problem is, he only used his Twitter to update his Facebook page. And in specializing in Twitter, not only were his posts short, they included a lot of replies, retweets and the # and @ symbols.


Sometimes his fan page looked more like a text message conversation back and forth with someone. It looked something like this and really benefitted no one when it shows up on a friend feed.


This does not need to show up on your Facebook page where you are trying to promote yourself and get a following.

What are some of the things that people do on Facebook or Twitter to promote their business, product, etc. that turn you off rather than turn you on to what they are trying to sell?


Audra Jennings

PR Chick

Litfuse Publicity Group


Posted on May 9, 2012, in Business, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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