Social media is a part of daily life for many authors. It can be a valuable tool. But, if used improperly, it can also cause major problems. Andrew Kucheriavy shares 10 social media mistakes to avoid when you’re promoting your book. Overboard Kaye’s first two mistakes fall into a category of “over” doing something. The first is overusing hashtags on Twitter, and the second is oversharing. For the hashtag problem, she suggests avoiding the use of trending hashtags and instead focusing on specific hashtags suited to your topic. A hashtag is not the secret to getting discovered, and no one meaningful is going to follow you based on a tweet in which eight out of 10 words are hashtags. Next, oversharing. Kaye often sees authors who forget that “public figure” pages should be more professional than personal pages. She urges authors to keep their audience of followers in mind. I see too many authors who forget about this, and continue posting about all aspects of their life, from photos of their breakfasts to complaining about writing and publishing. You are a public figure; your social media content should reflect that. Autopilot The next three social media sins that Kaye sees often have to do with relying too heavily on automation. They are auto-tweeting Facebook posts, scheduling and forgetting about posts, and auto-posting duplicate content multiple times. Although auto-tweeting your Facebook content may seem like a great time-saver on the surface, Kaye says that this is no place to cut a corner. Twitter and Facebook are fundamentally different. And each needs its own format to be used effectively. In fact, if you don’t have time to adjust content to suit each platform, it would be better to pick one. If your lengthy Facebook content is tweeted…followers won’t understand your content. If you post shorter, pithy content to Facebook, that content won’t perform as well. Take an extra few minutes and translate your content for both platforms. Next up, scheduling and forgetting about posts. Unfortunately, we live in a world that can often be struck hard by tragedy. If something like a shooting or bombing should occur, the last thing you want is to have a plug for your new book auto-post in the middle of it. If you’re going to schedule posts ahead of time, establish a system that reminds you when posts are going out, or stay attuned to the news cycle so you can cancel content in the event of a national emergency. Finally, auto-posting duplicate content. Although Kaye acknowledges that reminders can be helpful, especially on Twitter where posts have a shorter lifespan, she warns authors not to over-do it. A monthly reminder about a newsletter is fine. Or if your book is launching, do two posts about it at different times of the day. But don’t just auto-post content to make your page look “active.” …if I see the exact same tweet 3-5 times a day? The only thing you’ll get from me is unfollowed. Lacking We’ve done five tips so far. All had to do in some way with too much content, or the “wrong” content. But these three social media snafus have to do with a lack: of revision, original content, and strategy. First of all, revise your posts the same way you’d revise any other piece of writing. This will help you avoid making basic grammar errors, and also identify posts that might be misconstrued. I recommend reading your posts aloud in a deadpan tone. Does it convey the same attitude or message? Or could people take it the wrong way? If there’s a chance you’d offend someone or the post would come off as bullying or antagonistic, delete or revise. It should go without saying that at least some of your social media content should be written by you. But some authors honestly don’t know what to post, so they rely on sharing others’ content. While the occasional retweet is acceptable, and even good for varying content, using this as a crutch will turn people off. The purpose of social media is to establish your online brand and create relationships with potential readers and influencers. How can you do that if you’re only re-tweeting and sharing other people’s Facebook posts, not posting any content of your own? This relates to the final “lack” problem: strategy. Don’t even begin posting on social media until you have researched at least the basics of the platform you’re using. Know what people expect, and have a plan in place that you can execute easily. As Kaye says, You wouldn’t start writing your book without an idea of the characters, plot and genre. So why would you start posting to social media without a plan? Pitching and Politics Finally, Kaye has two last social media mistakes to avoid: pitching your book to specific individuals and posting about politics, sex, and religion (except in cases where you actually write about those topics). Social media is not a good place to turn into a modern era door-to-door salesperson. The quickest way to annoy people on any platform is by directly messaging them to check out your book, especially if you have no previous relationship. I can safely say that all of us, at one point or another, have received a Facebook message or @ reply on Twitter from someone asking us to check out their book. Social media is not about the hard sell, which, by the way, is the quickest way to have your account blocked. Last, but not least, Kaye recommends avoiding posts about politics, sex, and religion unless your book is actually about these things. …as a public figure the quickest way to alienate half your audience is to post content that offends or enrages them. If you don’t write about sex, politics or religion, then adhere to dinner party rules and don’t post about them. Although we agree with her to some extent, this is one area where we advise our authors to take it on a case-by-case basis. There will be moments when you feel called, perhaps, to post about a controversial issue. We recommend taking Kaye’s advice by weighing the impact this will have on your readership carefully. But we also acknowledge that as believers there are some things you might feel you must take a stand on. Being divisive about sideline issues could hamper your fan-base. But if there is a huge issue that you feel is important enough to take the risk, go for it–just understand the consequences.