So last week I got a lovely invitation from a friend of a friend to join Triberr (called the reach multiplier). Basically what happens with this service is you get invited to join a tribe of other bloggers (it's by invite only right now). If you accept, then what you agree to is that anytime one of your tribesmates blogs, a link to their blog is automatically tweeted by all member of the tribe. In return, you get the same treatment, you blog and your link autotweets from every one in your tribe's twitter accounts. The idea behind it is that you get exposed to lots more people and your reach is thereby amplified.
Sounds cool, right? And it is. But as I dug into exactly what it all meant, my control freak side took over. Did I really want to auto-tweet twenty-something different peoples blog links without really knowing them? What if they didn't blog content that I liked or that was relevant to those who follow me on Twitter?
I put out the question on Twitter to see if anyone had experience with Triberr and guess who tweets me back? One of the founders of Triberr (oh, the power of following keywords on Twitter). But guess what he told me? That I shouldn't use Triberr. He also sent a link to this post: Why You Shouldn't Be on Triberr
It seemed a little odd that the owner would try to talk me out of joining, but I realized why. One of his reasons the service may not be for you is: Your Twitter Stream Is Your Brand
Well, bingo. That's exactly why I was hesitant.
Everything I put out on the internet (whether I intend it or not) is part of my "brand."
The things I retweet on Twitter aren't haphazard.
I'm tweeting it because I: a) read it b) enjoyed it or found it informative and c) think my followers would appreciate it.
I do that because I want the people who follow me to trust that I am going to give them good content. (Well, in between my ramblings.) They (hopefully) know if I tweet or retweet a link that it has a high chance of being something worth clicking on.
Your brand is the promise you make to those that follow you
--whether that be on your blog, facebook, twitter, and your books for that matter. For instance, I know if Elizabeth Craig retweets something, it's often going to be something I find useful because she's proven to me that her content is consistently great. If she started tweeting random posts that weren't worth my time, she'd lose some of my "trust." I know if erotica author Tiffany Reisz tweets a link, there's a sixty percent chance it will involve nudity, lol. So of course I always click on hers. ;)
So don't be afraid to be protective of your brand. Sometimes it can feel like you're being snobby or something, but it's vital to keep your arms around it. For instance, I get many requests from people to read their book and feature it or them on the blog. For the record, I don't do reviews anymore anyway. But I've had to learn to say no a lot, which goes against my nature. I want to help people out. But if I don't know you or your writing (and don't have time to read it), I'm not going to feature you on my blog and let it look like an endorsement.
See it sounds stuck-up, doesn't it? But it's the promise I've made to you. If a book or author is featured here, it means that I either have read the book and loved it. Or I know the author and am familiar with the quality of their writing and their guest posts, etc. That's why I handpicked the Monday genre guests. I knew those ladies rocked at blogging, so I felt comfortable (and honored) to have them be a part of my blog.
So here are some suggestions...
Five Ways to Protect Your Brand
1. Don't accept every offer people give you to guest blog on your site.
Make sure you like their blog and know that they can provide something your readers will enjoy.
2. Don't accept every "free book" offered to you in exchange for featuring that author on your blog.
With the onslaught of self-publishing, there are a lot of people looking for places to be guests. They will offer you a free book in exchange for the promotion. That's cool. But what happens if you don't like the book or don't have time to read it? Vet it before you promote it to your readers.
3. Don't give 5-star reviews to all your friends on Goodreads and Amazon simply because they are your friend.
If you really love the book, then great. But just agreeing to give a perfect review just because you're BFFs will teach people not to trust your reviews. (If you do reviews.)
4. Don't auto-tweet things you haven't looked at first and don't only tweet your friends posts just to be nice.
I don't expect my friends to retweet me just because we're buddies. I only want to be retweeted if the post is worth it.
5. Be very careful with group blogs.
There are many awesome group blogs out there. But be careful when deciding to join or start one. You need to know absolutely that the people you are blogging with are going to be a fit with what you want associated with you. This is why my group Tumblr blog lasted about, oh, five seconds before I went on my own. (Kristen Lamb would also argue that group blogs aren't effective because no one remembers the individual bloggers' names.)
So what do you think? Do you feel there is an inherent "brand" trust between people and their followers? How do you feel about services like Triberr? Has any blogger/tweeter ever lost your "follower trust"? Have you found yourself saying yes to feature people or books that may not fit on your blog?