How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot with Social Media

I am constantly bemused by how people can’t seem to get the ground rules of social media.  They really aren’t all that difficult.  At the most basic level, they come down to good manners and courtesy.  Unfortunately, these concepts seem to be more honored in the breach than in practice.  Yet ignoring them has a price:  you lose credibility and actively work against a professional image for yourself, your products/services, and your company.

Here are some of my favorite egregious errors:

♦        Endorse people on LinkedIn you’ve never met or spoken with.  These endorsements aren’t real, and the people you are theoretically trying to impress know it.  Do you really expect them to get in touch or endorse you in return?

♦        Fill up your followers’ Twitter feeds with an unending barrage of articles and aphorisms.  Not everything you have to say or have read is interesting.  More selective tweeting will actually get you more attention or, at least, more positive attention.

♦        Spam your LinkedIn connections with unwanted, self-serving sales pitches, “offers,” and holiday greeting cards.  Keeping in touch is not helpful if the first emotion that comes to mind seeing your name is annoyance.

♦        Assume that on social media, manners don’t count.  Don’t thank people for re-tweets or re-postings.  Don’t respond to comments or direct messages.  This does not make you seem important; it just says that you are rude.

♦        Only tweet your own materials; never re-tweet or comment unless there is something in it for you.  This kind of obvious selfishness doesn’t make people want to share anything you produce.

♦        Don’t post, tweet, or blog about “my philosophy” or “what I’ve read lately” unless you can safely assume that you are so important that someone cares.  If you’ve read something you want to share, write a review.  If your philosophy is so profound, make it real and put it in a context.

♦        Don’t bother with little things like grammar and spelling.  Assume that what you have to say is so timely and important that you can’t waste time with spell or grammar checks – and that your readers are either illiterate and won’t notice or agree that your message is too important to care.  Hasn’t anyone heard of proof reading?  (Personally, I see this as another act of discourtesy.)

These errors do serious damage to your marketing.

Or am I incorrect in assuming that you are on these social media platforms for business purposes?



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