Last October, I took the plunge into social media by establishing profiles on Facebook and Twitter. Along the way, I made many mistakes. I began studying what to do and not do by observing some of my friends and followers. Below are some of the stupid things on my list.
- Not knowing your audience. Every social media site has its own look and feel, and the people on the different sites have certain expectations. Think of them like individual cities. What’s OK in Bismarck may not be acceptable in Manhattan. A few tips to keep in mind: Facebook is about connecting, not about continually posting. DO NOT sign up for a service Ping.fm with the intent to update all of your sites. While the idea number of tweets is twenty-two a day, you will be un-friended if you post that much on Facebook. (I did this, and a friend called me out!) Facebook friends like a more personal approach. They are interested in your life, and they want you to be interested in theirs. Twitter is more like a TV station. Ideally, you’ll have a consistent stream of messages flowing to followers day and night.
- Complaining and being negative. Now, certainly everyone needs to vent. I do object to venting on Facebook. First, no one wants to hear your grumbling. Second, if you are trying to build a business reputation, the Debbie-Downer act will cause people to run the other way. If you’re having a bad day—walk away from the computer.
- Don’t spam. Come on, people. No one wants to hear ten times a day why your get-rich quick scheme is the best thing ever. It’s incredibly annoying to get these messages from people. For Facebook, instead of being a commercial, try having a conversation. Talk about what you are doing and how you’ve benefited. “I’m so excited I just made $20,000 this month through my new paperclip sales program!” On Twitter, you can incorporate in a commercial message every so often. The ratio should be one commercial for every nine content messages.
- Avoid photos that make you go hmmm. You may look great in your swimsuit, but unless you are promoting yourself as a swimsuit model, leave the photo off Facebook. Do post photos that show people other aspects of you. It’s great to show your family Christmas dinner, your ski trip, or your horse.
- Say no to meaningless posts. I’ve noticed this especially on Twitter. NOBODY cares if you are eating a donut, feeling bored, or watching TV. If you want to share mundane details, at least make them interesting. “I’m eating a donut and thinking about that commercial with the Duncan donut man.” Still not great, but at least that won’t likely prompt people to unfollow you.