Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Top 5 Social Media Blunders You Shouldn't Make


Social media is as much art as science, but there are some mistakes you just shouldn't make. Here are five.

5. Don't link your Facebook and Twitter accounts 

Render unto Facebook that which is Facebook and render unto Twitter that which is Twitter. A good tweet is different than a good Facebook post, and vice versa. When you link your accounts and send tweets to Facebook, your Facebook friends will know you can't be bothered to post and won't interact with your posts.

4. Don't spam your followers

Kanye West can go on long stream of consciousness Twitter benders without losing followers. You cannot.

3. Don't include links in Facebook and Google+ captions

When you paste a link into a Facebook or Google+ status update you'll see a preview of what the link will look like when you post it. After you see that preview, delete the long link. You don't need it anymore. Write clean captions without the http://www.blahblahblah.com gibberish.

2. Don't be a jerk. 

A flashy argument is a great way to get some attention, but it never works in the long run. The same goes for rants, excessive snark, and bitter complaints about entities who have wronged you. People might tune in for the fireworks, but then they'll tune you out.

1. Don't misuse Twitter's @Reply

Every time someone starts a tweet with an @reply and doesn't understand that not everyone in their feed is going to see it, it makes a puppy cry.

Don't make a puppy cry. Understand the @Reply. Please. Puppies everywhere will thank you.






51 comments:

Mister Fweem said...

As far as the Facebook linky thing goes, sometimes you don't get a preview and if you delete the wwwblahblahblah, you don't get a link, either. It happens randomly to me. Sometimes I get a preview, sometimes I don't.

Jami Gold said...

I saw a blog post a month ago or so that Twitter changed their programming so the "." or other punctuation at the beginning of the tweet doesn't work to open it to everyone. Have you heard anything about that?

Julie Daines said...

Great advice! Thanks!

Lisa said...

I don't even know how to link my Facebook and Twitter. For once it turns out I'm not a luddite -- I'm actually doing the right thing! Yay for technological illiteracy!

Gael McCarte said...

I love the photo, please tell us more about it.

Melanie Macek said...

Yay! Nice to know I'm actually doing a few things right! Must be from reading your blog. :) Thanks Nathan for all the great advice you give.

Nathan Bransford said...

Jami-

I don't think that was true, but if it was they fixed it quickly.

JennyM said...

I've Tweeted about 8 times. Seriously. Eight times. NO ONE is going to panic about my Twitter feed. But Facebook is a whole other kind of potential screw-up-fest. If you can't take the heat, don't hang it out for the entire English speaking world to see. You can't fix stupid, and it'll be viral before you can delete it.

Ebony Adedayo said...

Thanks for this article. Great advice! I just un-linked my facebook and twitter accounts. I should have done that a long time ago but had not gotten around to it. Oh, and I will stop putting the links in my facebook status updates. I good on all your other points!

Kaa said...

I've always used Twitter, Facebook, and blog this way:

If it's something I can say in CORRECT ENGLISH, with PUNCTUATION, in 140 characters, it goes on Twitter. Otherwise, it goes on Facebook. If it's longer than about 300 or 400 characters, it goes on a blog.

Joy D. Fanning said...

Great post! I've decided this summer to get more involved in my twitter. I got 8 followers in one day just by being more active on it!
I agree that Twitter posts are much different than Facebook. Thanks for the advice!

Matthew MacNish said...

Number 1 reminds me of that commercial. Now, I'm ashamed, but also somewhat delighted, to admit I did not know about number 3.

You're like a guru (the wise mystic, not the MC from Gang Starr, RIP).

Laura Pep Wu said...

You always say it better than anyone else, Nathan! Thanks for this reminder.

Anonymous said...

Gael - because I was curious too and see no one answered you, here's the information about the train wreck pictured above: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_Montparnasse

Brendan O'Meara said...

I ditched my Twitter/Facebook linkage after reading this. Just makes sense. I used to think it would just save me time, but have started to realize it likely annoys my friends and followers more than anything. Thanks!

Jeigh said...

Phew! I'm still (so far) social media-ly adept. Thanks for the info!

D.G. Hudson said...

I agree with Anon, that's the Montparnasse train wreck. It's also used in the HUGO film, adapting it to the story. Usually you show info on your pix, Nathan.

Great points about social media.

Alexa O said...

Agreed on all counts! The other problem with linking accounts is that followers of both will see things twice. It's annoying, and feels lazy. But I especially like that you point out that a good FB update is different from a good Tweet. That is so true!

Also, I recently started following someone on Twitter because I liked his new book. But the book was controversial and a few people had given it a bad review. He engaged in Twitter fights with several of them, which meant that every five minutes he was making a new post AND that they were all angry.

More than one or two posts a day is probably unnecessary, and anger gets old fast.

Nathan Bransford said...

Yeah, Montparnasse train wreck, sorry.

Tres Hatch said...

Great article. Thanks for your insights. Do you know anything about SEO meta tags for websites? Would love to read your easy-to-understand advice on that topic.

Redleg said...

I do keep my Facebook and Twitter accounts linked, but I delete about 75% of my tweets immediately from Facebook. They definitely have different uses but I find there is some overlap.

Bryan Russell said...

I can't even get my cats off the table. Dogs are beyond me.

Annie Neugebauer said...

I love this list! Spot on with all of them. And as to the Twitter/Facebook one, I really think the feature should have an option button. Instead of automatically posting every tweet you should be able to check a box that says, "Share on Facebook," so you don't flood your Facebook with random @ mentions and hashtags but can still occasionally post relevant things easily. Great post, Nathan.

Sheila Cull said...

How about, "Don't be a jerk but if you're a jerk, fix it"? I was the biggest jerk, deleted my Blogspot Blog, went to WP.or, decided to create my own site, but (thankfully, phew) returned to Blogger.

So Bransford, as long as I remedied it in enough time, it should be okay, yes?

And thanks for numbered five.

Sheila Cull
twincull.blogspot!

Chewing Taffy said...

This is an awesome list!! So true.

Anonymous said...

I think you got the the wrong. It says "blunders you shouldn't do" then the bullet points are negative too. Like you shouldn't NOT be a jerk, meanings you should be one?

Anonymous said...

Got the title* wrong

Madison Woods said...

I do have my FB page posts going to Twitter, but not Twitter to FB. I don't think that's bothering my Twitter followers because no one reads every tweet that passes through the feed.

I do agree it's overkill to send Tweets to FB, though.

Elissa Field said...

Great list of blunders, great advice. Definitely agree about not linking twitter & FB -- I tried that, thinking it was a great time saver as I didn't have to repeat posting for my different groups... But I spent all the time deleting tweets that were great on twitter but were too much on facebook. Thanks for the post.

Brigid Kemmerer said...

For the Facebook / Twitter linking, that's why I use Tweetdeck. If I'm posting something I want to say in both places at once (rare), it's very easy to do, but if I want to look at both feeds at the same time and post to one independently, it's extremely easy to control which site you're posting to. You can even use it for Facebook Pages now, too, which is way handy.

Trisha said...

Great list, and I would never want to make a puppy cry :)

Bonnee Crawford said...

Good list, I would never want to make a puppy cry!

Mira said...

Cool post, Nathan. Great suggestions. And thank you for helping the puppies.

Like Sheila, I've done some stuff on the net I regretted, for sure. There's been a high learning curve on the internet for me.

But I think it's tricky, because you don't want to be afraid to say ANYTHING controversial, or to speak your truth. Writers need to be both courageous and truthful - or they rish watering their message down. I think you're a pretty good model, Nathan, because I've seen you take quite a stand, but you always do it in a diplomatic way.

I do see some folks who manage to rant and/or snark and gather a following - Joe Konrath comes to mind - and I'm not afraid to mention him, because he fully admits to ranting. On the other hand, the real meat of his message is very positive, so that may also be a real factor. So, there are some people who can pull ranting and snarkiness off, but I think it's pretty rare.

Meredith said...

OMG, I think I've made a puppy cry. Maybe several.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I agree with everything on this list, especially #2 about not being a jerk and not going off on rants and bitter complaints. There are a couple people that I started following; I read some of their posts beforehand and thought they sounded interesting. But then they started ranting about stuff, which just made me uncomfortable; having to read their rants takes a lot of the fun out of social networking.

Karin Gutman said...

Thanks for #3! I was wondering about that... however, the preview doesn't show an option to include a PHOTO with your link. And yet, I see other people with links and photos. How can I do that?

Debbie Young said...

Thanks, Nathan! I'd had it in the back of my mind for a while that linking FB and Twitter didn't make sense, but your succinct summary has finally made me get round to unlinking them! It is definitely worth taking that extra few minutes to shape a separate message especially for each medium's clearly-defined format and audience.

kdrausin said...

Thank you! #3 I didn't know I could delete the long link. Thank you,thank you!

Emma Cunningham said...

The Twitter/Facebook thing is absolutely my #1 pet peeve and soooo many authors do it. Argh. I blogged about that myself a few weeks ago.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Good tips here! I didn't know about the Google+ link thing. Thanks!

Sara said...

I actually didn't know that about the @Replies (in your May 2011 post) so thanks for clarifying that! Thanks too for these tips--hadn't seen the Kanye rant and I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed it--and I especially appreciated "don't be a jerk." It does seem like people get a lot of attention for those sorts of posts/tweets/social media exposures. But it's definitely not good.

Terin Tashi Miller said...

All helpful. Many thanks! Are you still in NYC?

Ruth said...

Thank you so much for the tip about links in Facebook and Google +! I disagree with the problem of linking Twitter and Facebook, however. Most people I communicate with don't have Twitter accounts, so I have a lot of interaction on Facebook using my linked Twitter posts. Even people who follow me on both sites seem to prefer commenting and liking on Facebook to @ replies.

Stacy Green said...

Late on this, but thank you for the tips. I do have my Twitter and Facebook accounts linked, but I'm not sure how to undo that. I'll have to look into it.

Anne R. Allen said...

Catching up with posts after sending my new ms. off to my publisher. Thanks for this very useful post. I had no idea the links could be deleted n FB and Google+ updates and the info would stay attached. And I have a dear friend who needs to know about not linking accounts. It's especially bad when you link LinkedIn as well. Funny little tweets look really dumb on your professional LinkedIn profile.

Heather said...

I guess I should 'un-link' my facebook and twitter accounts... thanks for the tip. I think I'm going to have to figure out how to work each platform for different results.

Meghan Ward said...

I'm late to this party, too. Great advice. I especially liked the link to your post about Twitter @replies. I will definitely pass that on.

Anonymous said...

I disagree w/one point (not linking FB w/twitter.) I do not actively tweet or respond to people's tweet's or send messages via twitter. so when I do tweet, it's more of a take-it-or leave it kind of thing, & easier to post on my FB fan page which then reposts on my web site, amazon and good reads. I think it depends on how you're planning to use twitter: for short updates, or a quick thought once & a while, for me this is great. I assume not everyone who follows me on FB or twitter, would find my latest tweet on amazon or good reads.

I've been a long time follower of your blog, & this post would be a good time to ask how do you see the huge push made (social media / books) having panned out? personally, it's not been quite what it was promised, and has been proven less effective past the point of initial publicity when meeting people in person (book fairs, etc.) has generated more sustained interest.

Serenity Bohon said...

Yay! Confirmation about my resistance in FB and Twitter syncification! I've been wondering if I should do this for some reason, but I didn't want to. Now I have permission to resist.

Peter Dudley said...

Wait, what? Does #2 really apply in an election year?

Jonas said...

I actually have seen my Facebook interactions grow with it being linked from my Twitter. I prefer to use Twitter, and my family all uses Facebook (as well as lots of my friends), so this just shares my thoughts and happenings with them. I have asked, and they don't see it as a lack of attention, but rather being considerate of their social media preferences, while using mine.

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