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How Not To Social: Things You Should Avoid on Social Media

POSTED BY doug ON November 23, 2015

How Not To Social: Things To Avoid On Social Media

Chances are, you’ve read countless articles on the Best Ways to Use Social Media, devoured list after list of quick tips, and attempted to implement a wealth of information with varying degrees of success.

It’s great that you’re using social media, but that’s only one part of the equation.

Even if you don’t know all of the things you should do, what about the things you shouldn’t do? Here are a few things you should avoid on social media.

You Shouldn’t Use Social Media as a Soapbox.

Unless you’re the New York Times, chances are, your followers aren’t interested in reading post after post promoting you and your new book. Social media isn’t a platform for you to stand up and shout – it’s built for engagement! Discover new fans by discussing topics that interest them and allow them to discover your book in a more organic (and less annoying) fashion.

As a general rule, 1 in 5 posts should be blatantly self-promotional (like those including a link to buy your book.) The other four? Share your new blog post, comment on a topic relevant to your book, ask your followers a question, or retweet that insightful article you read earlier. Flesh out your page with more than attempts to sell.

Provide value to your followers. Content that is interesting, engaging, informative – or simply entertaining – can help populate your social media platforms and keep people coming back for more.

You Shouldn’t Cast Too Broad of a Net.

Have something to say about everything? Not the best strategy for social media.

If people follow you because they love your book on knitting, stick to it. Does this mean you can’t post about other topics? Absolutely not! There is, however, a difference between posting about knitting-adjacent topics, like crafting, versus adding your opinion on politics.

Part of the battle with social media isn’t just being on a platform – it’s being findable.

It should be simple for visitors to your page to discover what you’re all about within the first few seconds. Otherwise, you will lose attention and potential followers.

You Shouldn’t Forget to Use Visuals.

Visuals are everything on social media.

With an average of 7 seconds (or less) to capture someone’s attention online, images, videos, and gifs are a great way to make an impact.

Not only that, but visuals increase people’s willingness to read content by 80%, and content that includes relevant images gets 94% more views than content without!

A great tool for creating share-worthy images for social media is Canva. It’s a wonderful (and free!) website that will help you create images sized perfectly for each individual social network that stand out and make your content pop!

You Shouldn’t Avoid Hashtags (Or Overuse Them).

Hashtags are a fantastic tool for making your content searchable on social media.

However, overuse them and it’s a huge turnoff for followers. Stick to one or two relevant hashtags per post.

Want to make sure you’re using the most effective hashtag? Check out a tool like There, you might discover that #book is slightly more popular than #books and that adding a specific genre like #romance is more popular than #fiction.

On the flipside, not using hashtags can hurt you as well.

Do you have something to say about a popular topic or event? Make sure it can be found! Do some research and find the right hashtag for you.

For example, if you attending the 2015 Book Expo America in NYC, adding #BEA15 to your conference-related tweets would’ve made it easier for fellow attendees to find and follow your tweets.

You Shouldn’t Worry About Doing It Right.

Social media isn’t rocket science, and most people can successfully use social media to his or her advantage.

Don’t worry about the do’s and don’ts of using social media! Experiment with new tactics, and you’ll discover what works best for you.

Our best advice for using social media? Focus on being genuine, engage with your audience, and don’t stop.

This post was originally submitted as a guest post on San Francisco Book Review’s “After the Manuscript” blog. It has been republished as it’s original version.

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