I recently had a twitter conversation with Mark Sephton which got a bit of notice from our networks. Mark started off with,
“I do not understand why people unfollow lots of people to make themselves look good... You risk harming your brand.”
To which I responded,
“Agree! Drives me crazy. Hate when someone follows and unfollows within a day or two. How about trying to actually be social.”
This follow/unfollow tactic happens all the time. People either manually, or with automation, go out and follow a ton of people hoping to get them to follow back, which grows their network. No matter the size of your twitter network, I’m sure this has happened to you. It’s really a shame because it does grow your following, but the tactic really is not authentic. I’ve had some seemingly interesting people follow me, and then unfollow just as quickly. I never had a chance to connect or explore their accounts further.
With all that said, it got me thinking about the mess the digital space is becoming. Good people can portray themselves poorly, and bad people can make themselves look even worse. There is so much available, yet people (and companies) sometimes completely blow it simply because they don’t understand the basics.
Disclaimer: I recently moved, was without internet for about a month, worked from my in-laws and coffee shops, got sick, my kids got sick, my pregnant wife is still really sick, dealing with a troll going after one of my clients because he opted into their email list, and the list goes on… Am I looking for pity? No. I’m just giving some background so you take the rest of my snarky post lightly. Consider this my frustration outlet.
:) <- intentional smily face.
7 Things That Need To Stop Happening Online
I don’t understand why people find the need to share quotes. You simply typing out an Abraham Lincoln, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs quote does not make you smart. Anyone with a search engine can find famous quotes. You finding them and posting them does nothing, and certainly doesn’t add value to your brand. No one wakes up, pops online, sees your cool Zuckerberg graphic, is fundamentally changed, goes in and radically evolves their life and business for the better, and (here’s the most important part) thanks and pays you for the inspiration.
The only times where I think it’s appropriate are a) when famous people or companies have milestones, b) when a company is highlighting an influential executive or client c) if you are incredibly famous.
Want to look like you are a small business with a very basic understanding of branding? Talk in the first person on your company social media accounts. Your business account can not use the word “I” (i.e. I am so excited about the multi-million dollar deal we just picked up. #blessed). Think about who is talking, and think before you post.
Not understanding the platform
Every social network has differences. Differences in audiences, what is acceptable, and even what is “allowed”. Please stop using hashtags on LinkedIn. They are not supported. Please stop sharing pictures of your cat on LinkedIn. No one there cares. You have to understand the platforms you are on if you really want to be effective.
Only sharing others’ stuff
Being the loudest does not mean you are the best. Referring back to point number one, I see people who post 20+ times per day, but it is all just noise. Their strategy is to shout more than everyone else, hoping that people will pay attention. They share quotes, retweet others’ tweets, share news, but never actually say anything original or provide value. Just because you are on social media does not mean you can behave in a manner that is fundamentally different than the way real life works. Be interesting, provide value, get in a conversation and actually become social.
Only sharing your stuff
Building on the above point - don’t be a narcissist either. Companies and people take the old school strategy of intrusive shouting and bring that into the digital space because it’s free. They share all the super cool stuff they are doing, but never think about their audience or network. Yes, it is completely acceptable to share information about you, but try diversifying a little bit. Interact with your network, and (you guessed it) become social.
Sharing the same stuff
Social media has made it extremely easy for messages and ideas to spread quickly. That is a great part of it. However, it gets really old when people are months behind a trend and they share the same old thing.
If you see how this post is coming together, below is an example of something that was way over-shared. I bet I saw more than 30 people post that image. Not only did it (referring once again to point one) provide zero value, but it is also incorrect. There are several other “more dangerous phrases”. My wife and I joked about this when it was first starting to spread across the web. Phrases like “Heads-up!”, “We’ve lost engine two”, and a host of other serious threats are more “dangerous” than doing things the same way. Yes, I understand the intent of the saying on the wonderful wall decal, I’m just using it as another example of thinking before you post.
Some people are extremely one dimensional when it comes to social media. They either only share personal posts about the same thing (like posting solely about the band One Direction), or only share updates about their company. Even if you are that one dimensional in real life, you need to try and be a little more interesting online. Vary up your posts (on the appropriate networks) by sharing personal stuff (family, sports, food, etc) along with your professional posts (news, articles, company updates).
Ok, rant over. Hopefully you got a little chuckle out of this one, but also learned something.
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