There are so many things that I truly love about social media. Most of the time, I genuinely enjoy connecting with people via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. It is a great way of engaging in conversation and learning about other people’s ideas, and I feel honored when someone wants to include me in that exchange by adding me to their social media account.
Unfortunately, a few of the people with whom I connect misuse their social media accounts in ways that are invasive and annoying. This kind of behavior can destroy your reputation and have a negative impact on your business.
Although no one does this on purpose, lots of people are guilty of these tactics. You may be engaging in them without even realizing it. As you read through this, keep in mind that these are simple matters of etiquette, which hold true face-to-face as well as online.
- Too many social media platforms
Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn…these are all excellent and popular social media tools. But resist the temptation to subscribe to all of them! You will quickly find that you lack the time and resources to keep up with them all at the same time.
It’s advantageous to do some research and figure out which social media platform is most appropriate for your business. Consider a variety of factors, such as the goals of your business and the age and gender of your target audience.
Start with the most well-known social media websites: Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Then select just one of them that is most beneficial to the goals of your industry. Each company has different needs. Once you have established a successful presence on the one social media site, then think about adding another. Do a great job with one social media site at a time, and make sure you can make that one shine before moving on to another. It’s much more effective to have just one successful media tool rather than seven unsuccessful ones.
- Excessive Bragging About Your Business
No one would ever stand in the middle of a crowded room and shout about how great they are. Yet many people are happy to do exactly that on their social media accounts. They send out numerous messages to the community, pleading with them to “Like my page,” or “Share this with your contacts.” This is very tiresome and no one really wants to hear it. Instead, make Twitter work for you.
Remember that a social media platform is first and foremost a community. It is not the place to blast people with unsolicited information.
And don’t create a “legendary” account, unless that is the goal of your business. Do not use exaggerated descriptions of your business that include words like “amazing” or “life-changing.”
- Insensitive handling of controversial subjects
At all costs, please avoid posts that are ill-timed or offensive regarding sensitive topics. You can quickly tarnish your reputation if you use your social media account to post things that are highly political or evoke strong emotions.
In 2013, fashion designer Kenneth Cole made the mistake of sharing a tweet that mocked a comment made by President Barack Obama about the prospect of deploying ground troops in Syria. This remark triggered a major backlash of angry tweets.
- Begging For Shares Or Retweets
Do not make yourself look pathetic and needy by asking people to share or retweet an offer or a promotion. It’s a waste of time because it does not compel people to engage. It’s like walking up to a stranger and yelling, “Please like me.” Most people will do the opposite.
The most likely result will be that only your close friends will share, and everyone else will become annoyed and hide or unfollow you. If it is truly a great offer, people will share it because of its own merit and not because you asked them to do it.
- Too Many Ads
In a study conducted by MediaBrix in 2012, respondents found the following advertising strategies to be the most annoying:
- Sponsored video ads masquerading as content (86%)
- Advertorials (66%)
- Infomercials (61%)
- Facebook Sponsored Stories (57%)
- Twitter Promoted Tweets (45%)
The study also found that many marketers wrongly believe that these kinds of advertisements are effective.
- Too Much Talking about Yourself
Once again, remember that this is a community. It’s like a party. So don’t try to make everything revolve around you and your brand. Just like in real life, this will lose many friends for you. No one wants to follow or connect with someone who talks only about himself to the exclusion of other people and their needs.
To keep this in perspective, utilize the 80-20 rule, as suggested by small-business expert Steven D. Strauss, the author of The Small Business Bible. To connect meaningfully with your customers, make sure that 80% of your posts on social media concern your customers’ problems. Only 20% of them should address the concerns of your company or business.
- Poor-Quality Images
Images and graphics are becoming increasingly necessary to the success of websites and digital media. Make sure that you invest some extra effort in creating an attractive and visually pleasing webpage. Investigate what the best dimensions are for cover photos, including the large and challenging cover photo dimensions in Google+. Try to make your images entertaining and engaging. The same is with the other stuff you share – just make a high quality marketing plan for your social media.
A helpful thing to know: Facebook has changed some of its stringent rules about cover photos to allow promotional material.
8. Like And Share Contests
Facebook has very clear rules, stating that a requirement to like and share something as a prerequisite for benefiting from a promotion is not allowed. If you are engaging in something like that, you will alienate many individuals and businesses.
The same philosophy behind these rules also applies to asking for shares or retweets. While it may appear that such competitions increase engagement, this is not really helping you. People are only clicking on a button and not doing anything that will enhance the success of your business in an authentic way.
Furthermore, liking and sharing competitions will cause your content to be pushed farther down. This is a high price to pay for getting lots of followers who are not truly engaged with your business.
Given the fact that no one on Twitter likes auto-DM, it’s amazing how so many people still try to use it as a way to gain more followers or promote a product. This is completely impersonal and also misses the whole purpose of social media.
The reason for social media is to offer people who would be unlikely to meet face- to-face the opportunity to connect on a personal level. Any kind of automatic messaging as a result of someone following you defeats this purpose entirely.
- Over-Compensation after a Long Absence
Sometimes it can happen that you may get busy and not post anything to your social media accounts for several days. While this is problematic, it can be even worse if you try to post too many updates in one day.
While inactivity is a problem, people will not be likely to unfollow you because of it. But they will do so if you go crazy with an excessive number of tweets and updates because this is much more noticeable and annoying. Some social media secrets will make you stand out.
Always put thought into your posts. It is not about quantity, but quality. In Facebook, Edgerank will rate you lower if you do not take the time to create quality posts.
- Disregarding Requests
Nothing will get your site on the fast track to oblivion more effectively than ignoring comments and messages.
People that use social networks desire a sense of connection. Ignoring this desire is not only impolite but cruel. Even if their comments are negative, don’t ignore them. A reply will always help you to build a connection. Make the effort to get to know your audience in a personal and direct way.
Respond to business-related problems or questions as quickly as possible. Set aside time to respond to requests and queries every day. This will ensure regular communication and that individual comments will not be forgotten.
- Misuse of Hashtags
The purpose of hashtags is to organize and curate content in order to tailor it to your target audience. Unfortunately, many people misuse them, either by cramming as many as they can get into one tweet or by using them to convey sarcasm.
As a general rule, two to four hashtags are acceptable. You could veer towards two for Twitter and maybe a bit more for Instagram, simply to show what audience you are targeting and to give some kind of context.
Avoid writing posts consisting entirely of #hashtags. This strategy is outdated. On Facebook, they are inappropriate because a hashtag is used solely for group conversations.
Improper use of #hashtags makes me feel like I’m dying inside.
- Double Links
Generally, there is no need to keep a link in your text when posting an article or video because most sites will load a thumbnail that contains the link already. Instead, use your text to interest people in reading or viewing it.
The only exception is when you are posting an image. In that case, providing a link in your text is helpful, since the image itself isn’t clickable. The links to your images will increase the chances of people interacting with the content on your site.
- Too Many Sharing Widgets
Everyone wants their audience to be able to share content. It’s a great idea to have sharing buttons for things like Facebook and Twitter and it’s a actually a huge mistake not to have them, but if you have an abundance of widgets for sharing on more obscure sites like MySpace and Foursquare, that’s going a bit too far.
Too many sharing widgets will make unnecessary work for you. Consider getting rid of the Stumbleupon widget, unless you are connected to many other sites. An Add This widget may be useful for some things, but will not be worth the trouble if you run a small business and most of your customers use the same one or two sites.
There is certainly a place and a purpose for all the websites mentioned here, but you need to think seriously about the nature of your business and the needs of your target audience. Too many widgets can also cause your site to look messy and disorganized.
If you want people to share your content, you can embed it into your blog. In such a way, you’ll also engage readers of your blog.
- Too Many Cross Posts
In the rare event that you want to post content to more than one platform, do it manually instead of using a service (like Tweetdeck) to cross post. It simply appears lazy and also makes your site visually unattractive.
Are there other things that people do on social media which just drive you crazy? Please post them below.