Given the prevalent use of social media among professionals, small businesses, huge corporations, and everyone in between, it still surprises me that the following 9 social media crimes are continually being committed, and it’s driving me nuts.
The funny part is that all of these crimes totally ignore the fact that social networking is SOCIAL. Communicating on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter is no different than talking to someone in person, on the phone, via text, or through email, it’s just a new platform for doing so.
OK, time to get up on my soapbox. In no particular order, here are the 9 social media crimes you need to avoid making:
1. Sending LinkedIn invitations without personalizing the message
“I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Great, but why? And also, please remind me where we’ve met if we’re not super good buddies. Throw in something you remember me mentioning for extra brownie points. But basically, don’t be so lazy you can’t take 30 seconds to compose a short note to me. It smacks of sloppiness.
2. Sending LinkedIn invitations to total strangers
If I had a dollar for every invitation I’ve received from complete and total strangers (who also ALWAYS commit Crime #1), I could go to a very nice restaurant for dinner tonight. Doing this is akin to walking up to someone on the street who you’ve never met and asking them to be your friend. It’s weird.
Instead, go through our mutual connections and request an introduction from someone we both know. Or, for pete’s sake, take 30 seconds to write me a personal note and explain why you want to be connected with me.
When I get one of these invites, I reply very nicely with something like this: “I am so sorry, but your name doesn’t ring a bell. Have we met?” Then I go scream into a pillow.
3. Using Twitter like it’s a megaphone
By now, I can spot the Twitter spammers: they’re the ones who have 10,000 followers and 3 tweets. But when I get a notification that someone is now following me on Twitter, I generally check out their feed to see what they’re tweeting, if they’re retweeting, if they’re mentioning other people and companies in their tweets, and if they’re having conversations with others.
If you are not doing any of this and just using Twitter like a megaphone to push out your own content and tweet your own ideas, I have zero interest in following you back.
4. Locking your Twitter account
Will someone please explain to me why it’s OK to restrict your Twitter account so only select people can see it? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Twitter? A few times a week, I get followed by people with locked Twitter accounts. I have to then ask their permission to follow them back. Not very social, is it? Why don’t they just hang up a velvet rope around their account and hire a big burly bouncer while they’re at it?
5. Not sharing photos or videos on Facebook
Facebook is a very visual medium. If all you do is update your status with text, you are boring, and by extension, so are your brand and company and products and services. I like fun people and companies, as I am sure you do too. I don’t want to work with boring people, and if I think you’re boring, I won’t work with you.
6. Friending strangers
Just as sending an invitation to total strangers to connect on LinkedIn is not cool, same over at Facebook. It’s very stalker-ish behavior.
7. Using Facebook Groups as a sales platform
Do not start a group on Facebook and then use it as a sales platform. As Amanda pointed out, the person who started the group is usually the only one contributing, which means the posts are one-sided, uninteresting, desperate and usually pushy. It’s a social media tactic for those who are used car salesmen at heart.
8. Trying to connect with everyone everywhere
Repeatedly sending invitations to connect on multiple social networks – including ones that no one has heard of – will cause people to avoid you like the plague. Social networks are only beneficial when widely adopted, and if I am already using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, why would I spend time and energy on a new, unproven network? I am going to focus my attention on my existing networks and ignore EFactor, Referral Key, and FastPitch.
9. Sharing is not always caring
Amazing as it sounds, some people don’t seem to understand that no one cares what you had for lunch or what errands you ran this evening. This is not newsworthy unless it is somehow tied to a major company success or failure, encountered a news item in the making, made an embarrassing mistake, or ran into a celebrity.