I boosted a post on Facebook and you won’t believe what this cute cat did next.

I’m not above using click bait. However, I did deliver the cute cat pic.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with social media and I’ve documented those feelings several times on my blog. I will continue to use social media to engage and interact with friends. However, I’m abandoning social media as a marketing strategy. Not that I ever pimped my wares much anyway. I would occasionally tweet or post a sale, but I’ve never pushed the hard sell because I always knew it wouldn’t work. Now I have proof.

Twitter is still black listing jthorn.net. All of the 4000+ tweets I’ve ever sent that have a link to my site are blocked. Any future tweet sent by me (or anyone else for that matter) with jthorn.net in it will be blocked by Twitter. Long story. Read about here. The bottom line is my site has been on the Google Safe Browsing list for almost 4 weeks and Twitter has yet to remove it from their black list, has not responded to my emails and has no customer service phone number. [UPDATE: As of January 25th, 2015, my site has been removed from Google’s naughty list.]

I decided to let my followers know Twitter killed my links. Therefore, my followers would probably want to join my mailing list. I Tweeted an offer to a free novel to 3749 followers. I received one favorite, one retweet and two people clicked on the link for the free novel. Conversion rate: 0.003%. So much for Twitter. If your core marketing strategy involves gaining followers or building a connection via Twitter, remember this cautionary tale. I guess I’ll just wait until the new social media platform comes along and destroys Twitter. Remember MySpace? Yeah, me neither.

Surely Facebook is a great way to advertise, right? They changed their algorithm which means it HAS to be an effective way to reach customers, right? Before I begin, let me say that I don’t care about how I could “optimize” my Facebook post to make it more effective. I know several social marketing gurus who could explain how I could better target my ad. Good for you. I’m not interested. Before this week, I had never spent a dime on Facebook ads. After tossing $80 into Zuckerberg’s pocket, I won’t be doing it again. Let’s look at the numbers…

Wrap your mind around this. I Facebook boosted a post about my philosophical opposition to boosting Facebook posts. I included (1) a cool image and (2) a call to action with a link. I wasn’t selling. In fact, I was giving away a free novel in exchange for a click. One simple, goddamn click. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is. According to my Ad Manager, the $20 boost (over 3 days) reached 5390 people. Before posting, Facebook told me I could reach between 14,000-36,000 people. Huh? 5390? Okay. Out the 5390 people who saw the post, 12 of them clicked on the link to get a free novel and opt-in to my mailing list. Out of those 12 people, 3 joined. In conclusion, I spent $6.67 per person to add three people to my list. Score!

Maybe it was all of those pesky words that reached people but didn’t engage them. Fair enough. Words suck. This time I boosted a post for a free giveaway and I decided to up the budget to $60. I gave away a signed DVD of The Blair Witch Project. In my Facebook post target field, I added “The Blair Witch Project.” Seems like a fairly accurate keyword match. I used the iconic (dripping snot girl) movie image with a few lines of text explaining it’s a free giveaway along with one link to enter. Not only not selling, but giving away a signed DVD of a movie my target audience loves. According to my Ad Manager, the $60 boost (over 3 days) reached 25400 people. Before posting, Facebook told me I could reach between 45,000-120,000 people. Huh? 25400? Okay. Out the 25400 people who saw the post, 57 of them clicked on the link to enter a free giveaway. Out of those 57 people, 2 entered. In conclusion, I spent $30.00 per person to add two people to a free giveaway that I paid for and sponsored. Score!

You can do your own math. With both boosts, the engagement level is a fraction of a percent. Reach doesn’t matter without engagement. Maybe folks don’t want to engage with me. That’s quite possible. Or maybe Facebook is taking advantage of us, knowing we can “reach” thousands but it doesn’t matter if nobody engages. Or maybe social media is, by its very nature, not a place for business.

Whatever. Maybe I should start Facebook boosting cat videos.

One last thing. This week’s giveaway is Intensity by Dean Koontz, a 1996 first edition hardcover. Free to enter with no strings attached.

http://thornpublishing.com/giveaways/

The Blair Witch Project – A VERY Special Edition

If you love The Blair Witch Project as much as I do, you’re in for a treat.

In December, I gave away first edition hardcovers of some of my favorite Stephen King books including The Stand, The Dead Zone and Cujo. This week, I’m recognizing another one of my major influences from the land of cinema.

I interviewed Ed Sanchez for my blog a few years ago and found him to be not only a talented film maker but also a really nice guy. I’ve written extensively on The Blair Witch Project and how it influenced me as a horror writer. As one of the architects of that movie and a pioneer in the “found footage” genre, Ed has released many films over the years including Altered, V/H/S/2, Lovely Molly and his newest, Exists.

I told Ed I was running “reader appreciation” giveaways and asked if he’d sign a DVD for me. He said yes and that’s the giveaway this week, a signed DVD of The Blair Witch Project by Ed Sanchez!

In future giveaways, I’ll be offering more prizes, including (but not limited to) hardcover versions by some of my favorite authors; Stephen King, Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft and more.

There is no catch. You enter the contest and I’ll email you the winners when it ends. If you are a winner, the prize will show up at your door. That’s it. Plus, if someone enters by clicking on your Facebook post, tweet or link, you get an additional THREE entries. How cool is that?

Here’s to hoping these gifts will inspire the next generation of horror fans and writers.

enterthegiveaway

Click here to enter –> http://thornpublishing.com/giveaways/

Seriously, Twitter. You’re killing me here.

It has been a few weeks since I posted this on another page and Twitter has yet to reply to any of my emails or emails sent by my webmaster. Let this be a lesson to any small business folks out there who depend on social media to advertise or interact. In a moment’s notice and without reason, your account can be flagged, disabled or removed completely.

I’m going to keep trying to get Twitter support to respond but if they do not, I will most likely leave the platform because all of my previous tweets that include “jthorn.net” are now blocked by Twitter.

Here’s my post from a few weeks ago, a final attempt at getting back on the Twitter nice list.

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If you’ve clicked a link to my website from a tweet, you may have seen this:

twtr

Last week, my official website (http://jthorn.net) began showing up as “malware infected” or as a “phishing scam” site in certain watchdog software programs and services. Luckily, a good friend of mine noticed this and emailed me about it.

It turns out, one of the WordPress plugins I use had a vulnerability that became massively exploited by hackers. My site wasn’t affected. Here’s where you can read the geeky details:

http://blog.sucuri.net/2014/09/slider-revolution-plugin-critical-vulnerability-being-exploited.html

But unfortunately, more damage was already done. My site was blacklisted by Google Safe Browsing and by Twitter. Google removed me from that list almost immediately. Twitter has yet to respond. ANY link to ANY page on my website in ANY tweet ever sent now warns visitors that I’m “potentially harmful.”

My site is up. Its fine. You will not be harmed by visiting it. However, I can’t run any more giveaways until Twitter removes my site from their “naughty” list. If you’d like to help, you can go here, choose “I can’t tweet a link because Twitter thinks it’s spam” and follow the prompts.

Thanks for letting Twitter know I’m not potentially harmful. Well, at least my website isn’t.

Sincerely,

J. Thorn