The Worst Thing You’re Doing Online


What is the number one worst thing you can think of that other people (and maybe you too) do online?

Duckface selfie

Too much self-promotion.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself. We all do it. But there’s a fine line between genuine self-promotion and desperate self-promotion.

Genuine Versus Desperate Self-Promotion

Genuine self-promotion is necessary and welcome. Say your new book is about to launch, and you really want all your friends, family and fans to know about it. You share a great post about how long you’ve worked on your book and how proud you are of accomplishing something this big. They’ll probably say something like “So cool! I didn’t know you were writing a book!” and “Congrats! I can’t wait to read it.”

But your feed veers into dark territory when it becomes littered with desperate posts begging your friends, family, and fans to just please like or follow your page, share your pre-order link with their colleagues at work, buy your book at a brick-and-mortar that’s 45 minutes from their house, visit the gates of hell so you can get 20 percent off your next LinkedIn ad, and so on.

This is where you need to stop yourself before you get defriended, muted, or worse—your account shut down because you’re spamming people too much.

There’s More to the Internet Than Self-Promotion

Especially when you’re a rookie author, you need to hone your brand by talking about more than just your book—trust me, you’ll see more engagement if you’re not constantly trying to sell your followers something. You’re building a community, not an infomercial empire.

To ensure you’re not committing one of the worst Internet crimes ever, follow the give, give, give, ask method. For every one time you post about your book, you need to find three other relevant things to post about.

For example, if I wrote a 50 Shades of Grey book spoofing nihilistic BDSM, my Facebook feed might look something like this:

1. Promo post: Hey friends and fam! My new book, Fifty Shades of Whatever: A Nihilist’s Journey into BDSM is out on Friday! Pre-order your copy here—or don’t. Nothing really matters anyways!

example Facebook post

2. Link: Nihilist Arby’s Twitter account is on point: 

3. Gif:

BDSM Life is meaningless gif

4. Video: Looks like I’m not the only one spoofing 50 Shades of Grey . . .

The first post is the only one where I ask my followers for an action—to pre-order a copy of my book. Notice how the remaining give posts don’t ask anything from my followers, but simply provide them with entertaining content that’s relevant to the book I’ve written. You’ll see much more engagement with this posting method versus bombarding everyone with too much self-promotion, while still building your brand and awareness for your book.

Have any questions about social media or digital marketing? Shoot us a line on Twitter.



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Katie Bolin

Katie is a social media & advertising strategist.

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