What is the WORST Social Media Mistake…?

istock_000006348547xsmallDear Social Media Mama,

I’m just getting started with social media to promote myself and my work. What is the worst mistake I can make when engaging in social media?

Dipping a Pinky Toe in Social Networks

Dear Pinky Toe,

What is the WORST social media mistake? Oh, my friend, there are far too many to narrow it down to just one.

But let me tell you some of the things that really irk me when they happen to me in the social mediasphere.

1. Auto-Replies – There are few things more impersonal than setting an automatic message to say something canned like “Thanks for following me! Come to my website at…” If you want to make real connections, pay attention to who is following you and find more meaningful ways of connecting.

2. Auto-Follows – Okay, this is something that many people do not agree with me on, but I think it is also meaningless to autofollow someone who follows you such as on Twitter.  It is, however, a surefire way to do mass aggregation of followers and there is a correlation between how many people you follow and how many follow you…to a point. Some of the most effective social networkers don’t necessarily follow the entire world. I recommend being a bit more selective.

3. Blank Friend Invites – Don’t send invitations to others to become your social networking friend without at least typing out a sentence explaining why you want to connect with them. I’m starting to get really peeved at people who I don’t know wanting to connect with me on Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, for example, but not taking the time to explain. It feels impersonal and too automated. I elaborate on this Social Media Faux Pas on this blog.

4. No ShpamI don’t know what to call Social Media Spam so I’ll call it Shpam. This is when you use a broadcast tool to send out all your status updates to every single one of your social networks. While I love love love HelloTxt, I try to keep my broadcasted messages to a minimum, just a few a month, and then try to make sure they are things I really want everyone on all my networks know about. Be strategic when you broadcast.

5. Automating Indiscriminantly – There is something to be said about the convenience of post-dating tweets on a site like TweetLater or linking your blog to your Twitter page with Twitterfeed, but don’t abuse those automated apps. They should supplement how you use Twitter or other social networks, not be the sole way you participate in the social mediasphere. Look for more meaningful ways to engage in social media. Don’t be a lazy SMum (social media bum?)!

6. App Spamming Me on Facebook – I’m not trying to be a party pooper, but Facebook makes it much too easy for you to be careless with their apps. While it is amusing to get poked now and then, I don’t need a Snowball or a Fun Card or a New Year’s Wish, thank you very much. Being able to check all your Facebook friends to receive the latest kooky app doesn’t ingratiate you to them. It doesn’t strengthen your connection to them. Unless you are being strategic with it, it will probably just piss them off. Don’t get me wrong – I have accepted some apps invites. But they are from people who truly know me and apps that are in line with my interests.

Pinky Toe, I hope this gives you a good start as you explore the social mediasphere. Happy networking!


2 responses to “What is the WORST Social Media Mistake…?

  1. Thank you for asking this question. It’s a great question. Social networking is a learned skill and all of us have made mistakes. I know I have. I would like to add something.

    Be a proactive networker. It’s your responsibility to create your social networking calendar and keep up with your connections. I attend 3 or 4 networking events a week and I look at my calendar to see where I need to be.

    I regularly post the next event that I will be attending and then after the event I post that I attended the event, where it was hosted…. It’s my way of plugging the event and inviting others to join in.

    I had a gentleman email me with, ‘how could you not invite me to this event’. That was the entire email. He didn’t say hi or even bother to sign his name. My first thought was, did you not see that I posted the event on Facebook and on LinkedIn? Do you think I want to conduct business with this gentleman? No.

    A better approach would have been, ‘hey, I hope you had a good time at the event, might I ask how you heard about it’?

    Please, do not be a lazy networker. Always be gracious, respectful and kind because it’s the right thing to do. When in doubt just follow the golden rule.

    Best of luck with your social networking. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.


  2. Deliver the human touch, and try not to be a robot using applications such as Tweetlater. Always analyze the pants before you try them on. Social media don’t give you a second pair!

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