Twitter Spam… Or is it Marketing?

I kind of got into a mini argument with an author on Twitter and I’m curious to see how you guys feel about it.

Some authors will tweet things like:

Epic new fantasy novel out now! Only $0.99 on Amazon! [url]

They’re talking about their own book, obviously. Now if an author wants to just create a new tweet and send that message out into the twitter feeds, I think that’s fine. You can say whatever you want on your own twitter account. But what I have a problem with is when the same message is directed at INDIVIDUALS (meaning it gets sent to someone’s notifications) and is copy and pasted to tens or hundreds of people. So instead of the above message, we get:

@NoseGraze Epic new fantasy novel out now! Only $0.99 on Amazon! [url]

I don’t follow this person. I’ve never heard of them. I’ve never expressed an interest in their book. And yet they’re targeting me. I personally see it as the social media equivalent of spam mail. Spam mail is when someone sends you an email advertising their product but you didn’t sign up for their mailing list. Thus, it’s spam. When converted to twitter, it’s where someone sends you a message advertising their product but you didn’t ask to be notified. You didn’t follow them or express an interest. They’re just copying and pasting the same message over and over to different people.

Now when I expressed my views, the author responded claiming it was “marketing” and “networking” and “connecting with people worldwide”. I don’t think that’s the case at all. They’re just sending out automated spam. I thought marketing was more about meeting people and engaging in two-way conversations through combined interests? Not just sending out your advert to everyone you see.

I would never even consider sending messages like that. Yes I tweeted a lot about LitRate during that campaign, but I would never dream of sending a message directly to an individual saying:

@PersonsName have you backed LitRate yet? [url]
@PersonsName LitRate – an upcoming social media site for book lovers [url]

Ugh! That’s just annoying!

How do you feel about these “marketing” tactics?

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46 comments

  1. I don’t agree with the author AT ALL. I don’t consider that type of messaging to be marketing or networking, I view it as straight up spam. Not only does it drive me insane, it earns the spammer/author a one-way ticket to being blocked. I find it really rude and annoying, much in the same way I hate spam emails and junk mail.

    Bernadette @ The Bumbling Bookworm recently posted: Stacking the Shelves {7}
    1. Agreed! It’s not real interaction at all. When they send us those messages, we’re probably just random people to them. I doubt they actually look at our profiles/blogs and think, “This person would be a great fit for my book.” They probably just pick random names to target. Thus: spam.

  2. I hate this. I ignore messages like this if they come my way. It’s like – who are you, and what makes you think I’ll be interested? It’s not “marketing” to me, it’s kind of harassment. Definitely think it’s spam – and if the authors believe otherwise, we should really inform them differently before it becomes an “acceptable strategy”…
    Same goes on other social media, such as Goodreads. I don’t accept friend requests from authors I’ve never heard of, with books I’ve never heard of (or will ever be interested in), and especially if they have no books aside for their own in their account (and they usually also ignore my challenge question. It’s like, at least show the decency to answer it!)

    Nitzan Schwarz recently posted: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
    1. I ignore them too. I NEVER click the links or look up the books. It’s like getting viagra spam. Who actually reads those? No one. We just delete them.

      And yeah, I don’t accept friend requests from anyone on Goodreads who has more friends than books (usually authors). I used to do that and got tons of “Recommendations” from them, which were just their own books.

  3. Even if that were a form of marketing, it would not be a good form that would actually result in positive results. Do you know what I do anytime I get a tweet like this? Block the person sending it, report it for SPAM, and stay far away from that book/author as possible. For me, this “marketing” tactic has the opposite effect – it makes me want to avoid the thing being promoted at all costs instead of generating any sort of interest.

    “Connecting with people worldwide” and “networking” are great things to do to promote a book, but having a one-direction spew of promotional messages is neither of those things.

    Asti recently posted: Sometimes Reading Stresses Me Out
  4. They can call it whatever they want it may be marketing, but it’s spam marketing. I am always annoyed and irritated when something like that happens. No matter if they tweeted me or sent me an email notifying me how their marvelous new book is out and is only blah blah $, for me it’s all spam. (If I didn’t subscribe to them or follow them on any social network).

  5. Maybe this is extreme, but I go to the person’s stream and if I see several of the same messages in a row I immediately block and report as spam…because that’s exactly what it is! I understand that they’re trying to market, but they need to know that it’s being done the wrong way, and they’re not going to get the message coming from me.

    Shannon @ River City Reading recently posted: It’s Monday September 8th, What Are You Reading?
    1. I think that’s perfectly okay for you to do. As I said in my post, I see it as the social media equivalent of email spam. If someone adds you to their mailing list without your permission and promotes their books, that’s spam. It actually violates the CAN-SPAM act. You can report it as spam and their account may even be shut down after enough complaints.

      So if someone starts promoting their books/products/sites to individuals who don’t follow them and who didn’t ask for it, I also see that as spam. It’s basically the same thing but on a different platform.

  6. OMG! I thought I was the only one getting these! (Although, I don’t know why) Lol. I am so glad you brought this up because it NEEDS to be addressed. If we don’t let them know these Authors will keep up this nonsense. So the next time I get it I will take your advice and block them, along with marking it as spam. I may even reply to them like you did telling them I’m not happy with this form of “marketing” also.
    Great Post!

  7. Okay I work in social media marketing so I’m gonna have some really strong feelings. By twitter’s own definition, she is spamming. Here’s why: networking is not about sales. If she was tweeting people she didn’t know to start a conversation and relationship, that would be perfect. Author Gary Vaynerchuk says marketing on social media is like boxing and has an awesome expression called “jab jab jab right hook.” The jabs are conversation, the right hook is selling or asking for something. You can’t get away with the right hook without the jabs. You can’t try to ask people you have no connection to to do something for you, because they won’t. This author is breaking twitter’s terms of service. I would report them.

    Brittany Berger recently posted: Weekly Sale Alert – September 7
  8. Ha ha I got a similar tweet this past week! Here’s my simple solution to people who direct sales tweets to me personally: if I don’t follow them and have no idea who they are, I click “report as spam” which also blocks them from hitting me up again. I just don’t tolerate it. Harsh maybe, but I can’t stand that kind of thing.

    Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted: Over-Booked (9) – A Book Haul Post
  9. I always report those tweets as spam. Because, as <a href="https://support.twitter.com/groups/56-policies-violations/topics/237-guidelines/articles/69214-rules-and-best-practices&quot; rel="nofollow" Twitter itself says:

    “The @reply feature is intended to make communication between users easier, so please don’t abuse it by posting duplicated, unsolicited @replies to lots of users. This is considered spam behavior!”

    Amanda @ On a Book Bender recently posted: When a Scot Loves a Lady by Katharine Ashe {Amanda’s Review}
  10. I agree with him that it’s some sort of marketing. And I agree with you that it’s rude and abusive. I actually think nowadays lots of marketing practices are like that. It doesn’t matter if it’s not polite, they just want to get visibility at all cost. A bad image seems to be better than obscurity.
    I usually welcome this type of practice with a massive eye-roll. 😀

  11. I completely agree with you. I can’t stand those sorts of tweets. When they’re not directed at a specific person, I’m okay with them except when they become the only thing an author tweets. I can’t stand accounts where every single tweet is an ad. Even with bloggers, I don’t follow their Twitter account if it’s nothing but links to their blog. I know some people follow blogs like that, but I have a blog reader for it. It’s not what I use Twitter for. I feel like having a Twitter account is only really worth it if you’re interacting with people or at the very least posting some sort of content there other than links to your “product.”

  12. Totally spam. To me the best way for a new author to spread the word is to personally email bloggers who fall into that genre. It’s not marketing. It’s laziness. It’s far easier, quicker, and eliminates a chance of rejection if they tweet you rather than go through all the steps to send something sincere.

    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted: Reading This Week {14}
  13. I hate it. I don’t RT or reply, or anything. These people don’t even follow me, but they still Tweet me. Annoying, so annoying. I wish Twitter would tell them to cease and desist (or block their accounts).

    While I’m on the subject, I also hate authors who send out numerous “BUY MY BOOK” tweets (the ones that are for everyone to see). I go on Twitter to chat, and sure to chat about books and post out my reviews, but I don’t do it incessantly and whenever I follow an author who Tweets incessantly about their book I have to un-follow them, because they’re just not adding anything to the conversation. Authors should know better, I’m more likely to buy a book after chatting with an author than seeing their spam-my “Buy my book” Tweets.

  14. No no no! If you want to tweet it (just a general tweet) go you. Who knows? If someone liked your books, then hopefully they will retweet. It is an issue that is spreading all over social media and not just twitter. I get tons of FBook messages to review books or like a page, and I’ve gotten to where I don’t even respond to my review request guidelines page. If you’re that into marketing your book do some research.

    Lenore recently posted: Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
  15. It’s totally spam, and the author who argued with you about it clearly is a newbie. And if that person got advice to “market” that way, then that person got the WRONG advice. I’ve gotten tweets like that before, too, and I just ignore them. I hate it when someone follows me and I follow them back only to get DMs about liking their Facebook page or a link to buy their book. Ugh, it’s really annoying. I rarely respond to DMs anyway because they’re usually something spammy.

    One time, an author tweeted me saying her book was free on Amazon for a couple of days. I thanked her and downloaded it. Next thing I know she’s tweeting me asking if I’ve read and reviewed it yet. What?! I politely responded I had not and would not until I felt like reading it since technically I bought it and didn’t receive a review copy. I went to her profile, and I was just one of many she was tweeting about reviewing her book after she had told them about the freebie deal. *sigh*

    Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl recently posted: Midnight Eclipse by Arial Burnz ~ Cover Reveal!
  16. It’s spam, no ifs ands or buts. And as soon as I get it, I block the person and report it as spam. Twitter is for social media and I know its great for advertising but there is a right way and a wrong way. And this is the wrong way. Unless you actually want to piss people off, then it’s the right way.

  17. YES. I got these as well, and will get them from time to time. It’s infuriating. I’m fine with authors promoting their books. I mean, if I’d written a book, you better believe I would be talking about it. But I would never spam someone directly like that. It’s a surefire way to get me to block your account and NEVER pick up your book.

  18. I’ve never had ‘marketing’ addressed to me like that on Twitter, but I’m always wary about following back authors I’ve never heard because often, as soon as you follow them back, they tweet you or DM you about buying or reviewing their book. If you want a review, check my policy and send me an email. If I had spam like that sent to me directly on Twitter, I’d not even look it up out of spite because this type of ‘interaction’ annoys me so much.
    I’m also very reluctant to accept friend requests by unknown-to-me authors on Goodreads, because I’m afraid that they’ll start messaging me/recommending me their books, and then I’d have to find a polite way to say no. So unless their books look really intersting, I always reject the request, even though I feel vaguely guilty about it.

    Carmen B. recently posted: Meeting Deborah Harkness in Amsterdam

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