Photo courtesy of Holley St. Germain

Photo courtesy of Holley St. Germain

Lately I’ve been noticing more and more tweets that fall into the category I would describe as Twitter spam. For me, Twitter spam is the number one reason I drop a person from my follow list. It is also the number one reason I will opt out of following someone back.

What is Twitter Spam?

There are a couple forms of twitter spam. The biggest one is blasting twitter every hour or couple of hours with a desperate plea to buy a book. Here’s an example from a particularly spammy twitter feed (I have removed identifying information):

Get the #bestseller NOVEL TITLE on Amazon for #Kindle only $2.99! (1hr ago)
Need a short but fun read this weekend? Check out my new series SERIES TITLE for your #kindle each only $0.99. (3 hr ago)
Please visit and like my author page on FB (link). It’s got the latest news on my next novel NOVEL TITLE  (4hr ago)
A #supernatural #war raging for millions of years follows man as he conquers our solar system and heads to the stars (link to book mentioned in above tweets). (6 hr ago)
Check out this review of the #bestseller NOVEL TITLE in paperback (7hr ago)
What’s short, awesome, and you can’t put it down? My new series SERIES TITLE. Get it for #Kindle each $0.99 today! (9hr ago)
What can you get for $0.99? How about an awesome novella! Grab SERIES TITLE for your #Kindle right now. Really! Get it! (10 hr ago)
Support independent authors and fill your #Kindle & #iPad with content from people who write for you – link to all of this authors books on amazon. (11hr ago)
Want something short to read tonight? Grab my new series SERIES TITLE for your #Kindle each only $0.99 (12 hr ago)

Slightly obnoxious, right? Now, I’m all for self-promoting. And I know for self-published authors, this is especially important. But here’s the thing. If someone is following you, they either a. are already a fan of your book and probably planning on buying the next one or b. are interested in what you’ve got to offer or want to offer support.

What does this mean? It means that spamming is not going to increase your sales. Instead, save the book promotion for your about section and maybe tweet a couple of times here or there (never more than once in the same day) about where your book can be purchased or for how much. Then reserve your tweets for actual content. Share a link to a book someone else wrote that you admire or, better yet, think your readers will like. Chances are, that author will reciprocate and share your book with their twitter fans. Or share information that your readers will find interesting. Are you writing about a zombie invasion? Share information from how to survive the apocalypse sites. Or share literary news. Or tell people something funny that happened to you, the person who wrote these books. Give your feed content and people will be more likely to follow you, like you, and, ultimately, buy your book.

Another, slightly more obscure form of spamming is posting the same tweet, word for word, multiple times a week for weeks on end. While it is not an obvious form of spam, if I notice someone doing this, I often take it as a sign that they have no new content and are not worth following.

In all fairness, I can see the temptation to repost a tweet. The reality of twitter is that tweets can often go unseen. But to your loyal followers, this can begin to feel spammy, and could lead to a loss of followers. Mix it up. Create new tweets that get across the same information. Find ways to rework the old ones. Because, in all honesty, if your original post did not generate a lot of engagement, chances are it was the tweet itself that did not encourage engagement, rather than the massive amount of tweets that make their way across a person’s feed. Be creative. How else can you say what you want to say? How else can you get your message across?

Now that you know what Twitter spam is, you may be asking, so what can I tweet? How can I engage my followers? Stay tuned for my next post on Engaging Tweets.