Social Media is all about being SOCIAL. We know that, we’re told that repeatedly, and we think we’re doing that. Ok. Do you gain followers? Are you losing followers? Do have lots of interaction? Have you ever lost a large following in a short period of time? If you’re doing well in this arena, congratulations! If you’re stumbling, that’s ok. We all have. Social Media is a fickle yet resilient beast. She can make you powerful or destroy you – all in a matter of days or even hours. If you’re feeling dangerous, and you want to take on that beast head on, then follow the tips below. Chances are, however, you’ll be unfollowed frequently and be unlikely to survive in the long run.
Think of Social Media as a Marketing Tool
It is not Marketing in the traditional sense – it’s marketing in the modern sense. Think of Social Media as a networking get-together, not a billboard. Imagine you’re a party and someone walks up to you. They barely introduce themselves, they are a balloon manufacturer. They don’t ask you about you or what you do. They don’t talk about the party. They are easily distracted and try to flag down others walking by. Every time you ask a question, they turn it back to balloon manufacturing. Another person walks over to the two of you and the balloon manufacturer dominates the conversation, still talking about balloons. How long do you think you’ll stand around and engage with this person? Not very long, right? So why would anyone stick around on Social Media if all you do is hit them over the head with your business or product? Social Media is a long-term commitment. Not a billboard on the freeway.
Ignore Direct Questions and Requests
If your followers are seeking your advice or assistance, they must already respect your opinion. Ignoring these requests, indicates that you don’t value theirs. Disrespect your followers and you show others that you are not a brand worth following, let alone using. You may or may not have heard about the Taco Bell swimsuit. A high school swim team member asked Taco Bell (via their Facebook page) for a custom swimsuit. He loves Taco Bell and thought it would be fun to have a swimsuit that said “Think Outside the Buns” across the back side of the swimsuit. He also offered his thanks for the great food. A simple request, and did he really expect a swimsuit…probably not. But their response was priceless “What size do you wear? What’s your address?” The story eventually went viral and Taco Bell gained immediate free advertising. All for the cost of a single swimsuit.
Ignore Gratitude and Praise
If someone reaches out to you to praise your brand, they are indicating that they will happily tell others about you – and how awesome you are. Ask any marketing professional what is the best advertising… Word of Mouth. Social Media is 24/7 word of mouth. If you ignore the praise advertised on your wall, you’re ignoring the number one advertising method. A simple “like” or “thank you” is all it takes to show your respect. Even better, reply or post on the person’s wall or profile directly. If you ignore the praise of one person, you may not get blacklisted, but do it repeatedly and you show that you don’t care about your community. In general, people are more likely to post or speak of negative encounters than they are of positive ones. So capitalize on the positives and share them with others.
Ignore (or *ugh* Delete) Creative Criticism
Nobody’s perfect. But it’s how you handle your errors that will define your brand. Ignoring customers concerns or not replying in a timely manner will get you in lots of trouble. And don’t think deleting a bad message will resolve the problem! Others will have seen it before you delete it and the person who posted it will likely post again and with even more vigor. And what if that one person is a key influencer? A popular blogger or a respected online media personality. If you disappoint them, they will share that information with the 1000’s of people they influence. You need to respond to and attempt to publicly correct the problem at hand. Maybe the person doesn’t really want a resolution, and just wants to complain. But if your chain of conversation demonstrates your attempt to resolve the situation (and their lack of acceptance), that’s ok. Your readers will see and respect this. The rare exception is when people post vulgar or hateful things on your pages. In these cases, yes, please delete them and issue a reminder to your followers that you do not tolerate this type of behavior.
Over Generate Posts
I hate spam. How about you? Oh, but your content isn’t spam? If you’re posting constantly and seeming redundant, then yes, you are now spam. Even if you think every tweet and Facebook post is the best thing you’ve ever read, posted, shared, or learned – your followers will never read them. In fact, you won’t have any more followers because they’ll be tired of their feeds being filled with your avatar and spam. Twitter is more real-time and allows for more frequency of postings but 10 posts an hour (with the occasional exception) is too much! Post only the things you really want people to read or see. Use a post scheduler to post additional posts during the hours you’re not online and evenly distribute your content.
If you’re buying followers, you’re not putting the time and energy into developing your online community. You want to establish your brand NOW. You want people to think your brand is awesome and if 1000’s of people are following you, you must be awesome. Here’s a newsflash, most people on social media are smarter than that. If you have 13,000 twitter followers, but only follow 56, then you’re not actively involved in the twitterverse, and I’m not going to follow you. Be honest with your followers. Explain that you’re new, that you’re looking to grow your brand. Be honest. Interact with others in your industry. Ask your actual customers to follow and engage with you. Social Media is about quality not quantity.
If you want to tame the beast that is Social Media (and I use beast in the most endearing way possible!), please avoid these pitfalls. Think before you post, comment, delete, or share.
Social Media is a constantly evolving genre and medium that few can claim to know expertly. And because of this constant evolution, there tends to be a lack of understanding of proper Social Media etiquette. You can read any number of blogs and opinions, and they often differ in their approach to handling postings and interactions. As a result, I think we’ve all made mistakes. We’re all still learning and we’ll all continue to make mistakes. But the goal is to learn from those. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to a growing following.
Do you have any other tips to get you blacklisted? Please add them to the comments below!