Tuesday, 24 September 2013

How unscrupulous scammers could be destroying your social cred

I've seen a lot going around lately about mistakes some of us make in trying to be proactive self-promoters. These blogs are generally talking about the obvious things that I think most people are coming to understand are generally frowned upon—auto direct messages, auto tweets, and sending unsolicited links to your products. That is not what this blog is about. This blog is about the ways your social media could be sabotaged by outright scammers, some less ethical spammers, and by simple ignorance of applications—without you knowing it.

I've mentioned a few times my day job is running a Web Design business. I also do my share of marketing and SEO. So not only have I made my own mistakes trying to stay ahead of the latest marketing techniques and strategies, but I also hear from my clients whenever they fall for something that goes completely wrong. There are a few things (some more well know and some less well known) that can have a massive impact on your social credibility.  

I'll start with the worst.

1. Direct Message Hackers
Yep these are the badest of the bad. These people hack the accounts of people you know and trust, then send innocent messages inciting you to click on a link from your friends account. Once you click that link the hackers are then able to hijack your account and begin to scam your followers.

The solution—Never click on links in direct messages. Delete them.
Yeah so those of you sending direct message links to people with your Amazon Book unsolicited? Don't do it because it makes you look like one of these bad guys.

Some of the classic messages associated with these links I've come to recognise immediately;

·         "Have you seen this pic of you?"

·         "I can't believe what people are saying about you!"

·          "This is so funny!"

·         "Is this it?"

·         "What time?"

This is just a sample but see how they look so innocent? It's not what we've come to associate with hackers—it's not "CLICK HERE NOW FOR A GIANT PENIS!!"

2. So called social media experts and unscrupulous marketers
What exactly does it take to be a social media expert? I mean what qualifications does one actually require to call themselves that? I've studied marketing at a university level, I run a professional business in the field, but I'd never call myself a social media expert. In fact, while I help clients set-up in social media I'd never do it for them on their behalf. Simply because personally I feel the key to social media success is personal interaction and relationship building. But even with help, doing social media properly takes time, therefore any person or service offering to boost your social media in any way for absolute peanuts...just think about how they might be achieving that.

Are they going to be automating? Using unethical practises? Do you even know?
An example of this is blog promotion services. I've seen so called blog marketing companies advertising all the traffic they will get you with three trillion magic link-backs, and all for twenty-five cents!!!

Want to know how they do that? They turn you into one of these douches...
(Actual comments left on my blog, with links removed)

"Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful
& it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like
you aided me."

Oww how sweet I know you're a real person because I help you out much...
 "I loved as much as you'll receive carried out
right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that
you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come
further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often
inside case you shield this increase."
Okay, I don't even know what happened here. It's like the bot started off trying and then just gave up. In any case, is that how you want your blog promoted? If these bots target blogs in your industry and spam them what reflection do you think this will have on you?

My point is, good quality legitimate services don't charge in butterfly wings, they charge real money. If you absolutely feel you cant navigate this world of social media without help, make sure you are entrusting your precious name to someone credible.

3. Applications that access your account
I know some people have a massive problem with any program or application that is used to monitor/control social media. I get it but let's face it—with follower limits on twitter, most of us who like to follow lots of people and make many connections will use something to manage following.

One of the most well known tools is justunfollow.com. There's nothing wrong with this service or others like it, but if you are going to allow any application access to your social media be sure you understand how that application may interact with your accounts.  
These applications often have automated services which can be turned off! There is nothing more hideous than seeing someone's tweet "I had 5 unfollows via ...", and many users simply have no idea this program is tweeting for them, sending DM's with links back to the application, or how to turn it off.

Learn because people don't like it—like really, really don't like it. Don't let an application make you look like a social douche.

A final thought for writers
Also writers I want to tell you something...(I can feel the social media gurus lining up their snipers) the success of your book does not hinge wholly on social media. I promise it doesn't. Social media is a tool, a great one if you have the inclination and enthusiasm for it. But number of followers does not equal number of people buying your books. Just ask Chuck Wendig who has blogged about this in his hysterical fashion. 
So relax, don't be so desperate that you actually hinder yourself. There's no magic success tablet. Just go to the Amazon bestseller list and take a look at those author social profiles. Many bestsellers are self-published and only have very small social media followings. What determines your success is writing something that connects with people at the right time in the right way.
Use social media because you enjoy it, to connect with people and enhance your journey, do not use it as nothing more that a loud speaker for self-promotion. 
Having said that, everyone makes mistakes. Just because someone sends a link that turns out to be hackers, doesn't mean that they are a hacker. Just because someone commits a social boo-boo does not mean that they are unworthy of your time and cannot add to your social experience.
I hope this blog can help you navigate the possible risks in your social media experience.

If you enjoy this blog why not follow with Google, Networked Blogs (Facebook) or by email, so you never miss a post!
I have just started a mailing list for those who missed it. You can sign-up here and it’s also in the Sidebar.

I love your comments, which is why I don't use validation. So it's easy. :) 
Want to connect on 
Twitter and  Facebook ?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Brand New Author Promo Service!

I know I've been really quiet lately, but I've been working on something...well a few things really but this one was a really huge professional choice. Those of you who've been following probably know that my real life job is in marketing and design. For the past four years I've run my own Web & Graphic Design business and marketing services and the day has come where I've decided to shift direction and focus on helping all my lovely author friends! 

So today I am launching romancebookmarketing.com!

Yeah I know it says Romance, but I will do YA, and anything in the woman's fiction area. I'll be doing everything from e-book covers, to print book covers, to websites, digital promo graphics like blog tour banners, and print promo items like bookmarks and business cards!

My aim in this new business is to provide professional quality services at prices starving artists can afford—so you'll notice the prices are much lower than many of the big design firms. If you're interested take a look at the website where you'll see examples of my work. 

Now I won't be promoting the service on this blog, this is post is just for launch day. So if you want to keep up with this service, bookmark the website or follow me on Facebook where I'll be updating with new designs, specials and even some competitions.

So what do you all think?

If you enjoy this blog why not follow with Google, Networked Blogs (Facebook) or by email, so you never miss a post!

Also I have just started a mailing list for those who missed it. You can sign-up here and it’s also in the Sidebar.

I love your comments, which is why I don't use validation. So it's easy. :) 
Want to connect on 
Twitter and  Facebook ?

Monday, 2 September 2013

Three Wishes Giveaway Book Blitz

Today I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine. All you have to do is follow my instructions below for winning the prize I have on offer, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that? Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new  romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be…

The Riddle of a Wish

When I was asked to do a blog on wishes, I immediately began to daydream ponder all the possibilities. Three wishes, that means world peace, a cure for cancer, and something completely selfish and superficial—done! But these are wishes right? And there’s always a catch. So what if world peace means that the planet is invaded by a mind-controlling alien race that turn off all our primitive urges? What if the cure for cancer transforms everyone into zombies! What if wishing for a healthy environment means that planet turns on us and starts assassinating all humans!

Suddenly my three wishes are three nightmares. There is simply not a wish I can construct where some sick twist could not turn it into something sinister. Wishing for wisdom unravels the secrets of the universe and sends me insane, wishing for the power of invisibility comes at the cost of visibility, wishing for health turns me into and immortal vampire... Therefore, if confronted by a Jin I would most likely ask him to go inflicted his cursed little wishes on someone else.

Unless of course he does contracts. 

In which case I’d get me a kickass wish agent to negotiate the terms.

Assuming we lived in a world where we didn’t need to spend wishes on things like peace and cures for illness, if you could wish for anything—anything at all, even something completely magical and impossible, what would it be? And would you be brave enough to take the risk?

Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/3-wishes-blog-blitz-official-post/ 
FYI comments are moderated for spam so they might not show up immediately, but they will I promise :)