Over the past few years, I’ve heard it all when it comes to excuses why professionals are not using social media. One of the biggest frustrations is that not enough people interact with them on popular social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. While I understand their feelings, I also understand that the issue is the user versus social media.
For instance, one would not say that face-to-face networking does not work because he/she is not particularly good at it. Obviously it works for many people. The trick is understanding the rules of the game. If you eat a plate of onions, drink uncontrollably, look like you came from the gym and then proceed to talk only about yourself at a networking event, you will not be successful. However, if you didn’t know that bad breath, drunkenness, looking unkempt and being egotistical were networking faux pas, you would continue attending events until you eventually would give up.
Below are the most common social media faux pas that will keep you from gaining a following via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
1. You are not engaging. This is a big one. One requirement for being successful on social media is being a people person. If you do not like people and interacting with people, you will not be successful. This is not one of those “build it and they will come” scenarios. If you are not a celebrity or huge brand, you have to interact with others to get more followers/friends/contacts. If you want more comments, likes, shares and retweets- you must give them.
2. You lack consistency. This is a HUGE one for Twitter, but also applies to Facebook. If you are not posting consistently, on a daily basis, you are going to have a very difficult time building a base. Out of sight, out of mind!
3. You appear egotistical. I wanted to lighten that blow a little bit by writing “appear”. I’m sure you’re not really totally into yourself, but sometimes we can come off that way in writing. If the only things that you post are about you, you are not going to find a great deal of success is gaining follower and friends. Yes, this works for some celebrities, but- and I hate to say this- you’re not a celebrity. The good news is that I’m not a celebrity either, so I understand. Post tools, resources, thank yous and highlight what your other social media connections are doing. If you brag on others, they will return the favor.
4. You are angry. Are you tired of your husband? Is your boss a ding bat? Do you want to smack certain politicians? Well, if you use social media as a sounding board for your gripes, you’re going to find yourself all alone pretty fast. You never want to sound angry or bitter on social networks. Save the tirades for your diary and/or therapist.
5. You are in the wrong place. I firmly believe that every business professional and business owner should utilize social media. However, you have to understand the purpose and demographics of each network before joining. For instance, if your target audience is baby boomer human resources professionals, you should not be on Myspace. Why? Myspace is a tween (teens +early 20s) pop culture network. Make sure that you are in the right place.
The good news is that it is never too late to improve! If you have committed one or even all of the social media errors above, just start new tomorrow. Take a moment to revamp your brand’s image and then focus on your messaging!