In social media, it’s pretty clear that one of the main goals we all have is to raise our visibility, whether it’s our personal visibility or brand visibility, by making connections on social platforms. Maybe it’s just the way I am but when I started out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ I did my best to find out the best practices of each platform before diving in.It really wasn’t that hard. I just picked a few key players to follow, read a ton online about etiquette and proper online manners, and I remembered the lesson I learned in kindergarten – mind your manners, play fair and give everyone a chance.
That being said, I’m still puzzled when I see some people, these self-proclaimed social media experts and gurus who can’t seem to understand some simple rules when it comes to how best to encourage people to follow you. So I’ve come up with a list of how what to do if you want to piss people off so that they won’t follow, connect, circle or like you. Feel free to use this list at your discretion to decrease your fan base.
- Telling me to like your Facebook Page: If I see your page and I’m inspired, I promise I will click Like without you telling me too. We all want likes, I get that. But one of the first things I learned in social media is that organic is best. And while I admit that in the beginning, I did ask friends and family to like my page, I stopped asking pretty quickly because I knew that in order to really get a good idea of whether my business was appealing was if my page, with no urging from me, was engaging enough to suddenly inspire others to click Like. That way, I know that they really are a fan and are more likely to stick around.
- Don’t bother to upload a profile picture: For heaven’s sake, how often do you do business with someone while blindfolded? I’m going to wager a guess and say never. Being online is a bit like real life. We like to see who we’re doing business with. I like to put faces to names and credentials. The same goes with filling out a complete bio. I often ask for references in the offline world, why should I know who I’m doing business with online.
- Talk about yourself in the third person: Unless your name is Lady Gaga and have a following in the millions, talking in the third person is a sure way to alienate your audience (and really, even Lady Gaga uses “I” in her bio). We are all here to connect on some type of personal level. Using the third person says that you are just a step above the rest. And if you really feel that you’re better than me, I’m not sure I’m worthy enough to follow you.
- Talk incessantly about your business and your products: I don’t know about you but I just love hanging out with others who only talk about themselves. Ok. That was a bit sarcastic. But social media, while an integral part of a marketing plan, is not the same as traditional advertising and cannot be used in the same way, no matter what your business. Remember that social media is a talking WITH conversation, and not a talking AT.
- Always offer TMI: With the anonymity of the Internet, it may seem that everyone online is friends and very casual but most of us are still trying to maintain a professional air when running our business. Unless part of your brand is telling the world about your recent trip to the emergency room, maybe you should keep it to yourself. By offering to much information, it’s very likely that people will get turned off and unfollow you pretty quickly.
Bottom line: Treat your social media following the way you want to be treated yourself and it’s likely that they’ll reward you by connecting, circling and liking you. And while social media isn’t just a numbers game, having lots of followers can have its advantages when you are trying to build a name for yourself and your business online.