10 Tweets You Should Never Send

Twitter icon - the birdAll types of people hang out on Twitter. You can observe personalities and behaviors that range from embarrassing and narcissistic to generous and sublime. It’s like eavesdropping on a thousand conversations at once. And it’s easy to discern temperament from a few simple tweets, because true character shines through. Think about that next time you compose a 140-character sound bite.

Unfortunately, self-published authors are notorious for aggressive book sale tactics on the platform. I get at least one @mention a week from someone who isn’t following me, yet insists I buy their book and RT the message. In fact, as I was writing this post, I received the perfect example of what not to do. Here’s an edited version:

@mollygreene #mystery What do religion, deep sea diving, and pesticides have in common? Find out http://amzn.link  Please RT

You do realize this is spam, right? Twitter is not a direct-sale platform, and Twitter rules call foul “If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies or @mentions in an aggressive attempt to bring attention to a service or link.” That means repeatedly tweeting or DMing a high-pressure request to visit your blog (instead of simply providing valuable content), like your Facebook page, or buy your book (with link) is not only deeply annoying, it can get your Twitter account suspended.

What’s the answer? Be a resource. Tweet value. Add to the conversation. Share excellent content. Shine the light on others. Give. Give. Give. Be a giver, not a taker.

Why? Because spamming with hashtags, tweeting about who has unfollowed you, begging for retweets, bragging about your social authority, demanding follows, insisting people pay attention to your blog content – all these behaviors will just irritate folks or get you blocked.

Here are examples of tweets you should never send:

  1. Thanks for the follow @joesmith! Visit my Facebook page (or blog) and like me (subscribe) there, too: www.bloglink (and buy my book!)
  2. Looking for a great read @joesmith? Buy my book: http://amzn.link
  3. Free today! #Free #Kindle #eBook #Giveaway #YoullLoveIt #BestNovelEver #MustRead #RT
  4. Nice blog post @joesmith, now here’s mine – read and retweet: www.bloglink
  5. Why did you block me @joesmith?
  6. @joesmith just unfollowed me.
  7. I just followed you – follow me back now.
  8. Wow! I just got my 10,000th follower. How cool am I? (I tweeted about my followers when I reached 1,000 and someone told me to shut up – harsh but point well taken, lol!)
  9. Klout just told me I’m a trendsetter. Just so you all know (insert smily face) Yaaaaay, me!
  10. Your recent list of fabulous blogs should include mine: www.bloglink

Additional what-not-to-dos:

How about you, readers? If you’re brave, share a tweet you’ve sent that you now hate to receive (come on, we’ve all done it) or an example of the kind of tweet you hate to see in your feed!

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139 Responses to 10 Tweets You Should Never Send

  1. Wallace Cass August 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Very good article and I’ve seen examples of every one of your points, Molly. I try to avoid those tweets whenever possible because they are annoying and often the promo is better than the product.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      A little promo is fine, don’t you think? But direct @mentions to people you don’t know? *I don’t think so*

      • Rick December 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

        Great read Molly! Do you think tweeting customer testimonials are a bit much?

        • Molly Greene December 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

          Thanks, Rick! I think over-tweeting anything is too much. I’ve been know to tweet a testimonial once a week or so. 🙂

    • Carina Burns February 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Wallace, I shall have to wholeheartedly agree with you.

      Thank you, Molly for this great article.

      Have a wonderful day!


  2. karensdifferentcorners August 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I get tired of the DM’s that say, thanks for following me and if you like romance, mystery etc, check out…Or just the ones that say “thanks for the follow” but when I try to reply to them, I can’t because that don’t follow me.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      I’m split on the “thanks for the follow” auto DMs. Nice gesture, but mostly we just ignore them, don’t we?

      • Mark August 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

        I don’t even look at my DMs anymore. I’m sure I miss some legit messages. Oh well! Email me or use the contact form on the site. A resourceful person can find it on the blog. Though I have to ignore some of them as well.

        • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

          Sometime DMs are the easiest way to chat in private, so I wade through mine. I’m finding fewer and fewer people are using auto-DMs, though, which is fab!

          • Mark August 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

            I do eventually get around to checking them, though I’m sure I don’t catch all the important ones.

            Would be nice if the DMs could be filtered some, like I only want to see DMs from those that I have listed. That way I can control the onslaught a little better.

          • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

            That’s a great idea! I wonder if Twitter would be interested in our suggestions 🙂

          • Mark August 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

            If you send a message to @TwitterEng, mention me and I’ll retweet it. (That’s an approved use of a mention … permission)

          • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

            Hahaha, good to know!! Thanks, Mark.

      • Susan C Shea August 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

        I personally thank people who are new followers (except when I’m overwhelmed with work, I admit) but I never include a sales pitch!

        • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

          I think a personal thank you tweet is cool if you have the time, but I don’t think people expect it. Going to their feed and RTing them would be an even better thank you … do you think? Am I crazy?

          • Tasha Turner August 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

            Not crazy. I think that makes more sense. I personally find thank you tweets… Not worth much… RTing something even just my profile is worth more. Or starting a conversation, asking how my day is going, a question based on my profile, that is really cool.

          • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

            I agree, Tasha. I’d do exactly that if I could spend the whole day on Twitter!

    • Robyn October 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      I ignore those DMs and often unfollow the sender.

  3. Karoline Barrett August 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Loved this! I was guilty of announcing when I had 1000 followers. I try to be interesting and pithy. My problem is coming up with interesting subjects re. writing about which to Tweet. Other than telling everyone I have a new blog post…

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      Ha! That’s funny Karoline, we both did that – and I do remember how excited I was to reach 1,000 followers. RTing blog posts from others that would be interesting to your Twitter followers is another option for valuable content.

  4. Terri Giuliano Long August 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Fantastic article, Molly! I smiled, thinking how many times I’ve received tweets exactly like the ones you describe! Great work, lovely lady! You’re making the world better, one tweet and post at a time. 🙂

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      Thank you Terri! So great to see you here, I’ve missed you!

  5. elaine pinkerton coleman August 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    As always, you are the voice of sanity – and my role model for good manners and an appropriate tone to use as a Twitter-er (no such word…Maybe it’s Tweeter? …???). So many gazillion people seem to be beating a drum “Buy my book” to the 10th power that I tend to run the other direction.
    On the other hand, we do want (and need) for people to buy our books, so it is a fine balance indeed.
    Thanks for this excellent guide/reality check, much needed in “Twitterdom” (stupid term, I guess, but “world of Twitter”? “Twitterville”? “Twitterdom”?) Anyway-
    I need to go read a book. In fact, I learned about it from a book review blog post and NOT from drum-beating. It’s Split at the Root, by the way.
    Thanks again, Molly.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi Elaine! I like “Twitterville,” it makes it sound more homey. As you may (or may not) know, I tweet general book buy links at least once a day, which fly through my followers’ feeds where they can ignore them if they choose. And Twitter does work to encourage book sales, so we don’t want to stop completely we just want to avoid the direct-to-a-single-person, over-aggressive, disrespectful, demanding-type tweets (and the authors who tweet them give us all a bad name!) Whew! Run-on sentence much?

  6. Anne R. Allen August 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Amen to pretty much all of this. Except I do think a once-a-day tweet of a free book is OK for KDP freebie days. I’ve found a lot of free books that way. It shouldn’t be an @ message but a tweet to your general twitter feed.

    I often get thank-yous from Tweeps when I tweet that a favorite author’s work is free.

    I’m in the “no auto-DMs for follows camp.” They’re so often spam-laden that even when they’re not, they’re annoying. I especially dislike the ones that tell me to follow a blog to find out about stuff I’m an expert in and they’re not.

    Great post.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      I agree, Anne, some promotion is fine and expected, and free book news is appreciated. I have an *issue* with direct @mentions from people I don’t know to buy their book and overuse of hashtags make me crazy (as you all know.) We all want to know when your books are free!

  7. Pamela Beason August 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    good post, Molly. Yes, Twitter is full of so much spam. The slimiest ones are the total strangers that simply send back your Twitter handle and a URL, like they’re throwing out a trap for prey. Ewww! Where’s the Delete button?

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      Confession: When someone does that to me, Pam, I report them for spam. After two and a half years on Twitter, my tolerance level is low. I wish there was a delete button!

      • Elizabeth Ducie August 27, 2013 at 12:30 am #

        That’s a good point. Those messages always spook me and I hate that I can’t delete them, but reporting them should be effective if enough people do it?

        Great post Molly by the way. I would never send an @ message to anyone I didn’t know, and I try to keep my marketing messages to one or two per day. I was thinking of tweeting when I got to 2K followers, but won’t now!

        • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:42 am #

          But Elizabeth, you and I both know that the reason we tweet about followers is because we’re so excited to have reached a goal. I like to think it’s not bragging but enthusiasm! Unfortunately, I’m guessing others don’t see it that way when they read the tweet. So I’ll congratulate you here on (nearly) reaching 2,000, yaaaaaaaaaaay!

  8. Rochelle August 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    I haven’t received the @mention and buy my book thing. I joined a writer’s group that required that I tweet 5 different versions of the same tweet all dang day.(it was a special event or something) I started to and then I unjoined the group. Just ridiculous. People were going to twitter jail because of how many they were tweeting! I do not like the tweets with arrows and stars and buy this book hashtag crazy tweets.

    I try to just tweet valuable content I find from various posts and blogging friends. I know there’s a lot for me to learn about Twitter still, I worry that I’m slipping into the annoyance arena and that’s not cool. At least I don’t directly do any of those 10 naughty tweets.

    I don’t mind when people say thanks for the follow or RT. So long as it’s not automated, I think it’s nice. Or like Karen said, you try to reply and you can’t because they didn’t follow you back. Not real classy.

    This is a great post, and I think I’m going to spend some time evaluating my tweets and make sure I only tweet things I’d actually care to have in my own feed. I do know I need to engage more with people; I just let it slip by when I get so busy with everything I’m trying to do, it’s so much easier to click tweet on a good post.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Rochelle, there are plenty of writers groups out there that ask for shares but don’t require you to annoy the Twitter world to get your event noticed. I think you’re on the right track with your valuable content idea, and I know first-hand that engaging on Twitter takes time! Hugs to you, sweet friend.

  9. Belinda Pollard August 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Molly, the thing that makes me sad is that people are doing these behaviours because someone taught them it was a good idea. There are a lot of people teaching unhelpful things about Twitter out there. Thanks for trying to rebalance the situation.

    I’m turning into a cranky old bat, but I really just can’t tolerate those tweets that use strange curly fonts and symbols instead of proper English letters that I can actually read. Am I alone in this? *wipes froth from mouth, decides to think about more important things, and gets back to work* 😉

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      You guys are all cracking me up today. I think we should start a *cranky old bat* club, because I will definitely sign up for that. I love Twitter, and it also makes me roll my eyes like a roller coaster. Do people really teach that “buy my book” auto DMs work? Maybe I should reconsider my position.

      • Mark August 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

        I haven’t seen such lessons though it wouldn’t surprise me. Some people are just clueless. They read something legit, then misapply it.

        I don’t always follow the established advice, but I know there are lines you don’t cross. For example my feed is very busy, and sometimes I put out a bunch of tweets out about a particular blog post on my site, a tactic that would make most social media gurus cringe. But I balance it, make sure all the tweets are different, provide something different with each one, and the fact that my feed is always busy, people don’t seem to mind. Do I lose a few people who think my feed is too busy? Probably but overall I gain, not lose.

        But I don’t cross the line. I don’t target specific people with a mention unless they ask.

        • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

          Agreed, Mark. I tweet too much for some people, especially newbies who are only following a few people – but the beauty of Twitter is that we have the option to unfollow if/when something gets too annoying. And we can’t take that personally – it’s just the way it is.

      • Tasha Turner August 27, 2013 at 9:17 am #

        Yes they do teach that & how frequently to do it a day & a week. However think about how you react when you get & see the stuff and please do not rethink your position. Stay smart.

        • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 9:51 am #

          I was just kidding!

          • Tasha Turner August 27, 2013 at 10:01 am #

            LOL I should go back to bed. I’ve been helping a couple authors write blurbs for their books and I think my mind is fried. Please tweet me a new brain ASAP I promise to RT & send thanks many times.

  10. Stephanie August 26, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Molly and thank you for yet another informative article. I’ve experienced many of these faux pas and they are down right annoying. We’re fortunate to have writers like you willing to share great tips and remind us of good online etiquette. I’m not a fan of auto DM’s and that was a real sticking point with me and my former web developer. Eventually, I figured out how to turn off the DM and I also took over running my site. I only check DM’s or send DM’s if I tell the person I’m chatting with our vice versa. Thanks for all the great tips. Back to making my lists. 🙂

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Haha! laughed re: your lists comment – I don’t watch my general twitter stream anymore, I just watch my lists. Mostly because there are so many annoying tweets in the feed 🙂 THANKS Steph!

  11. Joe Hefferon August 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Thanks for this – I get that crap all the time

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Made me laugh! My pleasure Joe, thanks for stopping by.

  12. Debby Gies August 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Excellent post as always Molly! I look forward to your weekly insights; as you know I love to share your wisdoms! As a soon to be first time author I have spent much of this year trying to build a platform for my upcoming memoir. You have certainly been one I have learned a lot from, in fact I try to pay it forward and posted your site along with some other influential contributors in this self publishing world on one of my blogs.

    I usually post helpful sites and info I come across myself to help others as that is the way I am learning this journey. I am happy to say I am quite aware of all those spammy tweets and I have never bragged when I hit over 1000 followers (lol) and I respond sincerely and never even tweeted my website. It is a lot to learn but I think if you learn the proper way from the beginning and keep passing on info such as this post, then perhaps many more will begin to learn to calm down a bit with what they tweet.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Thank you Debby! There’s so much to learn and this self-publishing gig is a hard road to take. I have to say though that it’s okay to balance the valuable content in your Twitter feed with a little self-promotion. Sometimes I visit other peoples’ Twitter feeds to RT them and I LOOK for a blog or book post to Rt and can’t find anything but other peoples’ content or links – so keep that in mind! You’re the best!

  13. Mary H Collins August 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    I stayed off twitter for a few years because it’s so annoying. About 2 years ago I returned because my publisher thinks it’s a good marketing tool. I’d forgotten my user name and PW so I had to start a new account. It’s still as annoying as ever. I go on and RT the sensible things but ignore the rest. I, like the rest of you, market my books on there, but I can’t say I’ve sold a lot by networking. I sell most of mine to people I meet offline.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      Mary, I think the secret to NOT being annoyed on Twitter is to reply to your @mentions, thank people, and create a series of lists to “follow” the tweets of people you want to read, share, and network with. The general stream is CRAZY! But I love Twitter and I’ve met the most fabulous people on it. Don’t give up!

    • Tasha Turner August 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      See this is the thing I don’t get. I don’t think twitter is a marketing tool. It’s a place to get to know people and if you blog about interesting things it will bring people to your website where they will see your books.

      As Molly says use lists for reading and RTing people who are interesting.

      • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        It’s first and foremost a meeting place and a secondary kind of indirect marketing tool!

  14. Tasha Turner August 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    I was surprised when my followers started growing quickly… I must be one of the few people who when they hit 1000 followers didn’t even think about posting “woot hit 1,000” followers. Instead I was asking people how they dealt with large numbers of followers & lists and got any work done.

    When I had under 250 followers I knew them. Now I don’t recognize names and too much of my feed is spammy or made up of “thank you” and lists of names.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      It’s true Tasha, the entire landscape of Twitter changes as your # of followers grows. Lists are the only way to deal with it. And oops, I’m guilty of spewing out a lot of “thank yous!”

      • Tasha Turner August 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        It is twitter etiquette to thank people. I just think its time for that etiquette to change. LOL

        Mostly I share interesting blog posts and quotes by others. Of course my own blog posts get shared but not frequently. I also share quotes from my Jewish vampire book that might get written and published some day.

        In the meantime I’m a social media coach trying to remind people that social media is about building relationships. Most of your marketing should be on your blog IMHO as books/products/services on the sidebar and on pages. Marketing on Facebook, Twitter, etc. for the most part annoys your market and is not the best use of your time.

        Notice how we’ve all talked about zoning out/scrolling past tweets like “buy my book”? Well if we are all busy ignoring that stuff why do we think others are any different? This baffles me. Sorry for long comment.

        • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

          Long comment is fine! The “good’ news about thanking others on Twitter is that a tweet that begins with an @mention (directly to another) will only be seen by people following both parties, so it cuts down on the general clutter a bit. And yes, you are so right – social media is about being social. Relationships first! Thanks for the reminder, Tasha.

  15. molly campbell August 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    I learned some of these things the hard way. But I guess tweeting your link USED to work. When a thousand people were on twitter. These days, Twitter just seems like one HUGE commercial.

    • Molly Greene August 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      It is a commercial! That’s why we ignore our feeds and use lists and hashtags to keep track of all of you!! Thanks Molly, so wonderful to see you here!

  16. Laura Zera August 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I’m going to go with the overly and overtly sexual tweets. No, no and NO. It’s not flirting, it’s creepy.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      I don’t get any of those on Twitter, only creepy Facebook messages. Ugggh!

  17. Paul Keene August 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Right on! I have done all ten at one time or another and I ask forgiveness. Unfortunately, books of many “best selling” authors who are “authorities” on twitter and facebook networking use the list of ten as what to do. I still receive auto tweets and DMs from one. Blatant, in your face selling strategies irritate me. Thank you for the reminder. Common sense is amazing.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Paul, I’m so naive that I wasn’t aware “experts” were telling us we should do this stuff. I come from the old school of marketing – sales is all about relationships. But we do need to ask for the sale at some point! We effusively forgive you (lol!) and thank you SO much for the read and wonderful comment. Best to you in the sales of your books, by the way.

  18. Jen Donohue August 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    While a simple “thank you” doesn’t really express how I feel about this post, I think you still get it.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Mwah! thank you, Jen!

  19. Lauren August 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Those unfollower tweets bother me – sometimes you want to unfollow someone who tweets about issues that simply don’t interest you but you are scared to because the person tracks their unfollowers and tweets about them – it reeks a little too much of bullying :0(

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      Go ahead and unfollow – the interesting thing about the people who tweet about unfollowers is that it always makes me think there’s probably a good reason to do it. I’m guessing other people feel the same way. It says more about them than you!

      • Mark August 27, 2013 at 7:51 am #

        One thing to note about those unfollower messages is that most if not all of them are automated. The person could have set it up months ago and don’t realize that they are still going out.

        I use one myself, but it doesn’t name people directly (unless you click on the link I believe). I have thought about turning it off, though, because I don’t see a major purpose to them. Do they encourage people to follow? I doubt it.

  20. Mariam Kobras August 27, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    Aren’t those the most annoying thing on twitter? For me, it means instant unfollow.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      Agreed – I pretty much deal with annoying @mentions the same way! From now on though, I’m going to tweet them the link to this post. That ought to irritate folks right back, eh?

      • Mark August 27, 2013 at 7:52 am #

        A dose of your own medicine kind of thing! I like that. Turn it around on them. You’ll probably get some traffic out of it.

      • Tasha Turner August 27, 2013 at 9:28 am #

        On Goodreads when people recommend their book or send me private messages I reply with links to post on proper use of Goodreads as an author. On twitter I simply unfollow but maybe I could be considerate & 1st link them to your post so they know why I’m unfollowing… Although once a week I I’ve started tweeting variations of: “if your 1st interaction with me is to ask me to like/buy something you will be unfollowed” including a link to this post would add some useful education.

        My favorite auto DM (still led to an unfollow mind you):
        Are you sick of auto Direct Messages from new tweeps you followed? Me too!!! Oh, wait, now I’m guilty of the same thing. Dang it. #hypocrite

  21. Alison Jack August 27, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    This blog had me nodding my head vigorously all the way through. Earlier this year, when I was a Twitter novice, I confess I did tweet some ‘@joesmith love your blog/FB page/website, now please go and like mine’ style messages. It didn’t take long to realise that I don’t enjoy receiving similar tweets, so I soon stopped. I like to connect on a personal level with Twitter followers, and will only share links to blogs I have enjoyed and genuinely believe worth sharing. Like this one.
    Now go and like my blog! Now, I say! 😉

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Made me laugh! MY question is, does it work to tweet people a request to like your FB page?? I’m curious about that now. I know it doesn’t make me want to hop over to FB – I hate to do as I’m told 🙂 Thank you so much Alison!

      • Mark August 27, 2013 at 7:55 am #

        I’m sure it works, especially if you send out enough of them. Not everyone is annoyed by the same behavior.

        Every time I send out a general “like us on FB” tweet, I get likes on Facebook, but I don’t target people with mentions and DMs.

        • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 8:55 am #

          I like that strategy mark — takes the pressure off. Thanks for sharing!

      • Tasha Turner August 27, 2013 at 9:31 am #

        I have gone to a few FB pages but the tweep was a friend. I’ve also sent them follow-up messages about why they shouldn’t have automated stuff & why someone liking their page that they don’t have a relationship with has no meaning.

  22. Bridget Whelan August 27, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    Great post and excellent advice – tweeted about it this morning, flagging it up as must-read post for anyone with a book to sell! If I have the time I thank by checking out the person’s blog & mentioning it in a tweet but I must admit that happens a couple times per 100.
    What I don’t understand is the constant stream of tweets about a book that says nothing interesting about it except that it exists. They don’t even try to sell – they just shout. Bought an ebook last week on the basis of an interesting exchange of tweets – it may turn out to be a dud but the author did have an interesting take on things & it was worth taking a chance. I like the information on twitter, but can’t bear the shouting

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Excellent point Bridget, I hope everyone who reads this post sees your comment. The takeaway for me is to tweak our book promo efforts from shout to entice. Thank you so much!

  23. Pamela August 27, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    I’ve recently learned about the use of lists on my Twitter account. Now I can just look at messages from people I’ve entered in a particular list, whether it’s other indie authors, or agents, or writers who blog about publishing. This, I hope, will help me avoid all the self-promotional ‘junk’ out there. Thanks for a great post.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 7:50 am #

      My pleasure Pam, thank you! Twitter lists are the only way to go, and as you grow your followers they become indispensable.

  24. Heather August 27, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Molly, can you explain the rationale behind retweeting people who have tweeted your original content? There’s no added content, save perhaps their hashtags, but unless those are funny/insightful, I can’t see the reason for it except to proclaim loudly “I am popular!” I understand why authors retweet reviews. I’m really happy when authors use my praise to spread the word about their book. But why is repetitive retweeting acceptable when one tweet celebrating follower count is not? I find it much more annoying to see 10+ identical retweets on my timeline than one “1,000! #yay” tweet. Maybe I wouldn’t find it so annoying if I understood the purpose.

    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      That’s a great question, Heather, and something someone called me on just yesterday via Twitter. I do nearly always RT my followers when they share one of my blog posts, and someone told me it was annoying – just as you’ve said. I do it as a courtesy and a “thank you” to people who share my blog – they get the benefit of my followers seeing their original tweet. They get “exposed” to my twitter followers, along with the possibility that some of my followers might follow them, too.

      As several commenters have discussed in this queue, we no longer watch our general Twitter feed, so the annoyance factor of “seeing” multiple retweets is gone (and has been for me for over a year.) Once you reach a certain number of followers it’s impossible to keep track of them in the general feed, so we watch our @mentions, use Twitter lists to keep track of certain peeps, and ignore the general feed. Annoyance factor reduced by 99%. I highly rec’d it.

      I understand that the issue still annoys when 1) Twitter follows are kept to a minimum and 2) you keep track of people via your general Twitter feed. I completely understand and mean no disrespect at all when I say that the best option is to unfollow someone (myself included!) if the irritation outweighs the benefit. Thank you so much for bringing up the issue!

      • Mark August 27, 2013 at 8:57 am #

        I try not to retweet immediately. I wait so that my tweet doesn’t appear on the same screenshot as the other one…unless the person only follows a total of 10 people.

        • Tasha Turner August 27, 2013 at 9:35 am #

          I frequently am days behind on checking twitter so it rarely shows up right away. Otherwise I agree I try to wait a few hours or even a day before RT which gets more exposure for everyone all around.

      • Heather August 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

        Thanks for that explanation, Molly. I’ve read all your blog posts about Twitter, but I didn’t remember specially seeing that addressed. I’ve learned not to be shy about unfollowing if the majority of someone’s tweets only serve to annoy me, but I really hate to do it when there’s valuable content in most tweets (like yours!). I didn’t realize that retweets don’t show up in Twitter lists. Yet another reason to start using them more often. Once again, you teach me more about Twitter. Thanks, Molly!

        • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

          Oops! I misled you – RTs do show up in Twitter lists, but if you keep your lists fairly small you can still scroll through the tweets quicker than in the general feed.

  25. Tom August 27, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Thanks for posting this, absolutely loved the tantalising ‘what do these things have in common’ pitch!

    For me, updates throughout the day on book’s current position in KDP chart can be a turn off as can ‘here is a picture of me with a bunch other writers at some conference…’

    I think excerpts can work work well on twitter as can photos if its a nonfiction. That said, pictures of kittens, new shoes and what someone is having for lunch arent going to sell me anything.

    @JonathanGunson manages to regularly promote his own work on twitter in a persuasive and subtle manner partly because 90% of his tweets are about current market issues or other people’s work.



    • Molly Greene August 27, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Tom! Agreed, Jonathan is a great resource and example re: how to handle Twitter well. I think a varied and diverse stream (which I actually do NOT do well) is the best way to go, and I wish I had an assistant to schedule tweets for me, so I could just log in and chat with people 🙂 Thanks so much!

  26. Lisa Mason August 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Others have mentioned this above, I’m sure, but I think a lot of Tweeters don’t realize there’s a button under Automate you need to uncheck on JustUnfollow. I didn’t at first, hated the auto “I just unfollowed” Tweets clogging my friendly, supportive feed, was instructed by JustUnfollow how to do that. When others ask, I tell them. Sometimes I actively advise someone who isn’t aware how to uncheck the bloody button. I’ve got a huge List of previously published and new books on eight different markets, so I do a lot of promotion. Simply the book, what it is, the link. I RT many other authors’ books in between my own PR and feel I have a nice, supportive relationship with many Tweeters! But yes, I’ve seen all the annoyances described above; I delete them. I do occasionally Tweet my Facebook Author Page where I’m building up a Following; I’m close to the limit on my Personal Page, so I don’t see any harm in providing a link to Facebook. I try to Follow back but often can’t keep track. Thank you for this blog, Molly! I’ve learned a lot in six months of Twitter, but can always use a nudge in the ribs.

    • Molly Greene August 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Hey Lisa! My pleasure and thanks for the tip about Justunfollow – I’ll assume you’re talking about their “paid” version (actually, I looked and I see the button – so you’re referring to the free version). And I’m so curious to know how you delete tweets that appear in your stream? I had no idea it was possible.

  27. Cindy August 28, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    I’m getting close to 3000 and I would have probably gushed before reading:)

  28. Dannie Hill August 28, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I enjoy Twitter and met some interesting people I now consider friends. I’m a writer but I try and use the passive marketing technique. That’s to say I advertise my work only once in a great while. The rest of the time I make conversation or just look for something nice to say. Twitter has been a surprise to me in that you can actually get to know good, like-minded people.

    • Molly Greene August 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      I agree Dannie in that Twitter surprised me – who would have thought you could start a meaningful exchange with anyone when limited to 140 characters?! But that’s what happened for me, as well. It’s a powerful relationship-building tool.

  29. Janet Civitelli August 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m fine with the offers for free books, especially if the books are ones I wanted to buy and there’s a limited promotional time.

    • Molly Greene August 29, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      I’m fine with tweets about free ebooks, too! I used the free ebook tweet as an example of spamming with hashtags – hope it didn’t lead to a misunderstanding that tweeting about free stuff is bad!

  30. Andrew F. Butters August 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    I tweet links to blog posts as part of my regular routine, as well as the occasional @ mention with link to relevant content in an effort to engage in a conversation about the content.

    Straight up blind sales tweets are annoying as hell. I know one author whose feed went from engaging and interactive to just plain old annoying once her first book hit the shelves: Another 5 star review [link to Amazon], Did you know I have a book out? [link to Amazon], Here’s a review that will make you want to buy my book [link to Amazon]. It was too much.

    • Molly Greene August 29, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks, Andrew. I think sometimes publicists tell authors to do (or is it over-do?) that sort of thing. Balance is key. That should be our mantra!

  31. Sydney Jane Baily August 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Thanks for this list, and in finding it, I also found your other post about Twitter for Newbies. I sort of wish the whole Twitter thing would go away because I can’t quite get a handle on using it, but I’m trying. I have received tweets that you’ve described here, but I think I had the common sense not to engage in any of this type of tweeting.

    Thanks and best wishes.

    • Molly Greene August 29, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Hang in there with Twitter Sydney! It can be fun, and it can lead to great connections.

  32. Ken Fitzgerald August 29, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    Agree with what you say Molly. There is nothing wrong with self promotion but it amazes me when people get it so wrong and are so in your face about it. As you said, engaging content goes a long way

    • Molly Greene August 29, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks so much Ken! Maybe they think we don’t notice 🙂

  33. Michelle Louring August 29, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    The @mention spam is seriously giving me homicidal thoughts… It’s so rude spamming people so aggressively and I get the urge to give back tenfold when it happens to me. I always have to tell myself that it’s not worth my time.

    Now, I rarely ever check my main Twitter stream. I have a list of people I like talking to and who I know won’t spam me, and that’s the only one I check regularly. Otherwise, I will have to wade through hundreds of promote-tweets before I get to a personalized message or actual content.

    • Molly Greene August 29, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Michelle, now you can reply to aggressive @mentions with the link to this post – lol! I’m evil enough to have done it already a couple of times.

  34. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries August 30, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Molly, great post. I, uh, RT’d it from, uh, @SafeLibraries. I also sent it to people I’m helping.

  35. Catie August 31, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    I did #3 when I started the account – I had no followers so I figured there was no one to annoy. It didn’t increase the downloads one bit.

    I don’t know if it’s just the crowd I got into (those twitter suggestions mostly suggest the people that someone you’re following follows, so I get like “followed by 34 other people” [that I follow]), it’s mostly authors following other authors, and they’re all yelling to eachother “Buy my book!” Shouldn’t they be yelling that to the READERS, not other authors?

    • Tasha Turner September 1, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      I find a number of authors are confused between their “support network” and what should be their “fan base”. But no one should be yelling “buy my book” at anyone a lot. Occasionally mentioning a sale “buy my book”. Otherwise find creative ways to share about your book that is not screaming “buy my book” please as I have yet to meet anyone who likes to be told “buy my book”.

      I know people who like to hear “my new book will be out on x”… Notice how that is a bit different from buy my book? The big trad published authors I follow who have a fan base that would tolerate “buy my book” are usually pretty good about wording their tweets so they don’t feel “buy my book” like & they do a fair amount of general chatting on twitter so you snooze you might miss the announcement unless you’ve chosen to be on their special fan feeds where the fans are all buzzing about the new release and doing countdowns and stuff. Still not the author mentioning it much as once they’ve said it the fans take over.

      • Molly Greene September 1, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        Thanks so much for this great explanation Tasha – now BUY MY BOOK!

        • Catie September 1, 2013 at 9:42 am #

          No, buy MY book. Then review it. Nothing under five stars, mind you.

        • Tasha Turner September 1, 2013 at 10:26 am #

          I think you should go read http://www.molly-greene.com/10-tweets-you-should-never-send/ before sending me more “buy my book” comments. ROTFL yes I have been tweeting that to @mentions and DMs. Strangley no responses back do you think those people aren’t actually using twitter but have everything automated?

          • Molly Greene September 1, 2013 at 11:16 am #

            I tweeted the link to someone yesterday and he thanked me! Honestly, that’s what I call class and excellent character. Some people just don’t KNOW how to operate on Twitter.

          • Catie September 1, 2013 at 11:28 am #

            I see a lot of those aggressive tweets come from HootSuite and the like, so it really wouldn’t surprise me.

          • Tasha Turner September 1, 2013 at 11:45 am #

            That’s great Molly. I know a lot of people don’t know or have been taught wrong.

      • Catie September 1, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        The occasional “my book will be out soon” or “On sale during the weekend” is all good, but there are people that tweet nothing but quotes from their book and how #epic it is. And the absurd part is, they’re tweeting it to other authors, not potential buyers. If you’re going to aggressively market your book, why did you create a network of nothing but other writers? It’s absurd. Sometimes I retweet it, annoying as it is, in an off chance someone might actually buy the thing, but again, I’m retweeting it to other authors – because for some weird reason, authors follow authors. I do like following other authors because there are always links to interesting articles and such (support network, as you called it), but I find it pointless advertising my stuff at them – just because they’re authors, doesn’t mean they read the books in my genre, or even read at all – I know some writers that read very little. It’s like opening a butcher shop next to another butcher and constantly nagging him to buy your meat. It’s ridiculous.

    • Molly Greene September 1, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      EXACTLY! Some authors think other authors are their target market. Not so!

      • Catie September 1, 2013 at 10:05 am #

        That’s the problem, we build our “platforms” around other authors, FOR other authors, and then we end up surprised that none of them are buying our book. Connecting with other writers is amazing, but not if you’re just going to run around shouting “I have a book!” We all have a book. Selling to writers can even be counterproductive – if there’s a flaw in your book, another writer is going to notice it sooner than an average reader, it’s going to bother him more than it would an average reader, and he might just give you a lower review than an average reader. Non-writers are a lot more tolerant of some things.

        • Molly Greene September 1, 2013 at 10:09 am #

          Including authors in our social connects is a really great thing for collaboration, support and education. But that’s why the “buy my book’ message has to be tempered.

  36. Sakib Khan August 31, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Thank you!..for such a important stuff.

  37. Bru September 3, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    I do hope the worst offenders will read and take note. One writer is constantly tweeting about her ‘amazing 5 star reviews’ on Amazon, etc (mostly written by her friends). And boring the pants off the rest of us by her constant updates with bits of chapters, etc. It is mind-numbingly boring! I’ve often wondered by these writers dont have a separate account for their books – an acct only their readers can follow, leaving the rest of us to enjoy Twitter for what it was originally intended.
    Thank you, Molly, for highlighting one of the reasons I want to leave Twitter!

    • Molly Greene September 3, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Hey Bru, don’t leave twitter. Just ignore the bad behavior and model the good!

    • Catie September 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Just one? You’re lucky. It feels like half of my followers are like that. Why don’t you just unfollow? Maybe we should all do that with annoying tweeps.

      Me and my sister follow about the same number of people, around 150, but she follows friends and a wide range of different people, I mostly follow authors. She gets about a few tweets an hour, maybe less, and I get about a tweet a second, and half of them are about how their book is the best thing since sliced bread. Needless to say I can’t even begin to keep up, and a lot of interesting tweets get burried under all the promotion.

  38. Doreen McGettigan September 3, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I absolutely agree. I rarely talk about my book on
    Twitter. I post the link for the trailer once a day
    and a link to the book maybe 2x a week and NEVER @ someone unless they ask.
    I post a link to my blog posts or guest post’s but never @ someone.
    I hate the requests for likes and follows.
    I did read that RT gets the most action from people on twitter so I use that occasionally, if it’s not spammy.

    • Molly Greene September 3, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Great strategy, Doreen!

  39. Catie September 4, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    I’ve been thinking about this twitter thing more and more. I’ve seen a lot of blogs like this one as to what not to do on twitter. I’ve seen a few about what things you should do, but I’ve never seen an article that breaks down what exactly you need to do to successfully market your product, in the lines of: what type of people you need to follow or be followed by, how many followers you need to have for your marketing to be successful, how much time do you need to invest (like, can you make a following in a few days or do you need to invest months in it before you see any benefits?), is it even worth it, marketing-wise? It’s great for finding resources, make acquaintances, and generally be social with people, but how useful is it for actual product marketing?

    • Molly Greene September 4, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Sounds like that would be a great blog post for you to research and write!

  40. N P Postlethwaite September 7, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    Thanks Molly, I loved your never-never list, it made me laugh and as I’ve seen nearly every example on it as well as emails on my Twitter account saying I need to buy their book, and review it! I find that aggressive and subsequently unfollow that author. I do use Twitter to promote my eBook but in a creative way and use my Twitter time mainly to engage with others and read what they have to say which is much more rewarding

    • Molly Greene September 7, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks so much! Twitter reminds me of never-never land; it’s a slice of fantasy where people often do not realize that real-world common sense still applies.

  41. Kara Kelso September 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    My biggest pet peeve is any kind of automated reply trying to spam me. Believe or not, WALMART did this to me just recently. Not being a shopper there anyway, I was oddly satisfied when I got to report for spam and block.

    Another big pet peeve on Twitter is the constant tweeting of the same link over and over and over. I can understand wanting it to get the maximum amount of views, but seriously. Every day, 5 times a day… just stop. Please. It honestly appears like you have NOTHING else to offer on Twitter aside from one or two really decent blog posts.

    Personally I think anything set on auto with Twitter completely defeats the purpose. How are you involved in a social networking site if you aren’t even reading the posts? And the “post from the past” auto-tweets are almost always WAY off of the right time of year. Like when I see “awesome xmas craft” in April… dead giveaway you are auto-tweeting and not giving any thought whatsoever about what you spam. Unfollow!

    I realize some are more forgiving than others, but personally, my time is too valuable!

    • Molly Greene September 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks Kara, and good reminder about tweeting out older blog posts that are no longer pertinent. I do auto-tweet my old posts and am an advocate of the plugin “Tweet Old Posts,” designed specifically for that reason. What I do is add posts that I know will not be “evergreen” to a category that is then excluded from auto-tweets. Thank you so much!

  42. Laura W. September 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I tweeted about my followers when I got to 666. 😉

  43. Robyn October 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Given the topic of my book I do send a link to people when it is relevent to the conversation.

  44. Stuart December 27, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    What are your thoughts on asking for RT if there isn’t anything being directly sold? Such as Crowd-funding sites?
    I only ask because I saw somewhere else online someone had a lot of success by asking a few celebrities to RT the link, and when I attempted the same, I got temporarily suspended. So I know I wasn’t doing it properly.
    I guess it’s actually two questions. Since I’m fairly sure I know the answer to the first question above, what would you consider the best way for a brand-new user to start gaining followers with the intention of the account promoting the crowd-funding site and if successful then to provide content relevant to the project.

    • Molly Greene December 27, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Hey Stuart! The best way to gain followers is to 1) follow a targeted group of people who should be interested in your tweets and content, 2) SUPPORT THEM, 3) manage your followers vs. following numbers, and 4) provide a certain amount of links to really good your followers should enjoy. If you need more information about this process, read this post: Twitter Tips (not just) For Newbies http://is.gd/NUhpuY

  45. LaResa February 9, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Thanks for the information. That was very helpful.

  46. Patti Welsh March 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Is it the aggressive/direct to twitter user promotion that’s the problem? I have seen writers endlessly tweet their book link on amazon and retweet their followers that do so as well. So if it’s a general- check out my book, that’s ok, but if you’re responding to a specific person, it’s not?

    • Molly Greene March 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Hi Patti! The direct-to-Twitter-user tweet to buy a book is a definite no-no and can get an author reported for spam. I used to tweet a link to my book Blog It once a day, but recently decided to lay off for a while. I don’t think there’s any harm in tweeting about your books once in a while – just don’t overdo it. Balance in all things!

  47. Syed saqib March 20, 2014 at 2:10 am #

    Good indeed! I have found too many tweeters saying I followed you now its your turn … usually I block them.

  48. Jason Roberts April 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    It seems THIS is the new thing to wag a finger at, now.

    In the past two weeks, I’ve received two messages suggesting that I spam.

    My Twitter is my business Twitter. It has my trademarked business name on it. I use it to promote my business and share cool stuff on my website, since it is called, “AllCoolThings.NET.”

    When someone follows me, I send them an auto message that does three things: 1) It thanks her/him for following me. 2) It asks them to please like my two Facebook business pages. 3) It states that the message is auto-generated by Justunfollow.

    I send that DM only once, and only because they show enough interest in my business to follow it on Twitter. Hey, why not let them know it’s also on Facebook and ask them to show a little more support?

    If people come to me and ask me to like their page(s) back, or subscribe or follow, I don’t mind helping someone out that is willing to do me a solid, also.

    In the end, I think if this sort of stuff pisses you off, then don’t even think about the rest of social media! If you cant’ stand a little self-promotion, what are you going to do when you encounter a politically ignorant mouthpiece, armchair general, or plain run-of-the-mill troll?

    *shrugs shoulders*

    • Molly Greene April 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Hi Jason! Thanks so much for the read and comment. As you stated on Twitter, we live in a country where everyone is entitled to do as they wish, and I wish you all the best with your business and in your marketing efforts. The point I’m trying to make is that when someone receives an auto-generated DM after following a new tweep, they often find it annoying, myself included. When I get three of the same auto-generated DMs in one day, it goes beyond annoying to irritating. No reason for you to stop, change, or reconsider your process, however. If it works for you, go for it!


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