I’ve noticed lately that the same things continue to annoy me when it comes to social media etiquette and habits. True, it is an awesome tool for connecting with those within and outside of your industry, finding new friends and possible beaus, and staying in touch with family and classmates. But, some of us are our own enemies when it comes to making quality connections that could help our careers move forward. Here are eight key no-nos I see on a daily basis that could put a major dent in your plight to widen your network:
Tell ‘em why you mad: Being that constant Negative Nelly or Ned on Twitter, Facebook or even LinkedIn is such a turnoff. If your social media motive or brand is all about pissing people off or spreading snarky hate, then by all means, carry on, but if you want to entice people to want to get to know you, try cutting down on the bitter, cynical or just plain rude updates and Tweets. And Web beefs … just stay away from them. You could be well within your right to go toe to toe with another person who tried you, but at the end of the day, you end up looking crazy. High road is always the best road in the grand scheme of things.
Oh, so you’re the follow-back maniac. Ever seen that Dave Chappelle skit where that old guy is chasing a woman down the street, romantically obsessed with her and repeating “Can I holla at cha? Can I holla? Can I holla… Holla… Holla… Holla.. ” Yeah, him. It’s more than annoying to have someone constantly saying “Will you follow back? Can you follow back… Follow…Follow… Follow… Follow.” Just because you follow someone on Twitter doesn’t mean they’re obligated to follow you, connect with you, recommend you or even befriend you. Social media is just like real life in the sense that aggressive and obsessive behavior can land you in that mental “Awkward Weirdo File.” It’s better to just do you, be you, and let people decide on their own whether to connect with you or not.
My gosh, just TMI: As a professional, maybe it adds character and shows your overall personality when you share pics of your dog, latest brunch outing or even an update on getting married or how much you love your boo, but when you start to get detailed health issues, bathroom pics, bank account info and other information that’s probably better left private, you may need a social media time out. Disclosing too much information is both off-putting and can show a prospective client or employer maybe you can’t be trusted to keep business to yourself.
You’re such a serial updater: Every other second or minute here’s an update, and those updates probably fall under the previous violation as well. People don’t need to about your bathroom breaks, every meal you eat (that is unless that’s part of your brand or profession), or every emotion you’re feeling throughout the day. Whenever I see habits like this I wonder, “Does this person have too much time on their hands? Is there anything more productive they could— or should—be doing?” And if you do have a job and you’re this during work hours— with the exception of those whose social media updates are directly related to what they do for a living—it raises a red flag. Add to that the annoying aspect of filling up people’s timelines and you might give others no choice but to delete or unfollow you.
Quantity over quality: This one is quite subjective, and to each his and her own, but I like to connect with people who have quality things to share or say, especially when it comes to business or professional advancement. Make your updates count, whether you’re sharing important information that could be of help to industry peers or highlighting a news or social subject that might relate to those you seek to connect with. It could even be a favorite dish or interior design that you know a particular client or prospective employer might love. As long as it’s relevant, engaging and worthwhile, it’s awesome. Otherwise, I — along with many others, I’m sure– will pass.
Why should I care, again?: This might seem like a rude blunt question, but I’m just keeping it real. You want your business recognized or covered? You want to gain new customers, fans or supporters? You want to be hired? Well, show people why they should even buy into what you’re offering. Nothing worse than constant tweets or Facebook wall postings that say “Check out [insert music artist name/product/business here]” with a link that says nothing about why I should even be interested. Try using buzz words, headlines or captivating language to give context to your update or Tweet. Use popular hashtags even, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Add a quick 75-word elevator pitch if you’re on LinkedIn or any other forum.
Follow up fumbler: Okay so you’ve been RTing or sharing their links or quips, you’ve had a few online chats with them and they even expressed working with you or having you work for them. Then, crickets. Well, guess what? Maybe you fumbled the ball. It’s best to follow up with someone who has shown an interest in connecting with you within 24 hours. And be confident. E-mail them or get to work on what you were talking about via social media. On the other side of that, don’t get too ahead of yourself. Cold calling someone’s office just because they followed you on Twitter or liked a comment on Facebook might not be the best idea. Build a rapport or relationship first before making direct contact or interacting with someone as if you know them outside of social media. It may take time but it’s worth it.
Strategy is all over the place. What’s your purpose for being on social media? If it’s to widen your network for both professional advancement and growth, focus in on that. Research the who’s who in your industry and follow them on Twitter or like their fan pages on Facebook. Connect with them via LinkedIn or Youtube. See who they follow and make note of why these are people of influence. Why follow every celebrity in the book if there’s no chance they’ll offer you a job, business opportunity or even be enriching to your bottom line? Why spend all your time Twitter stalking one industry heavyweight when you could be making quality steps toward building a relationship with many. Be sure you have a strategy and stick to it. Hey, social media can still be fun, but when it comes to boss moves, determine your return on investment.
Don’t be a violator, and start improving on your social media imprint. Hey, none of us are perfect. I work on not doing several of the aforementioned almost every day. Trust me, I want to tweet Idris Elba every day—professing my undying love—but I continue with the #bossmoves movement and hey, maybe one day, after doing the work, we’ll be rolling in the same circles. *Wink*
#Soundoff on top social media habits you hate, and hit me up on Twitter, @JPHazelwood.