Over the years, I’ve aggregated a few Social Media professionals. Some are friends, some are colleagues. Some are blogs I follow.
All of us will cringe at the sight of any of the following Social Media Faux Pas.
1. I have two friends online who flood my newsfeed when this occurs. Using a picture without permission. Even the sloppiest of Social Media professionals will at least make sure the picture is “free to use, share and modify, even commercially” on Google search. It takes so little effort to request the permission to use a picture. And if you are doing social media as a way of earning a living, there are many professional pictures that now just cost $1 or are even free to use.
We’ve all seen those memes where someone has taken someone else’s picture and photoshopped it. Don’t do it. Even if you think it’s hysterical and will go viral. It’s unprofessional and….ILLEGAL
2. And it’s not just school teachers and the grammar police that will go crazy if you do this one. Poor grammar. To be a professional, you should know how to put sentences together. Even if you choose to break a grammar rule here and there for poetic license, do not fall into the habit of doing so. “Smelling like rotten fish, my sister took out the trash.” Unless your sister is really stinky….”My sister took out the trash. It smelled like rotten fish.” And please know the difference between they’re, their and there as well as its and it’s.
3. As a person with a journalism degree and a huge lover of all languages, I’ll start climbing the walls if you: Use a word that you do not understand. “It’s detrimental that I have your numbers by 5pm.” I think the word you are looking for is instrumental, or important, or necessary. What that sentence translates to, is: “It’s going to cause me bodily harm when I get your numbers by 5pm.” Another would be irregardless. Just a heads up, that word doesn’t even exist.
4. You don’t know how to spell. If you want to publish anything from a blog, a book, to a post on Social Media, you need to know how to spell. I am very sympathetic to those who are dyslexic. And some people it’s just not a priority. But with today’s technology, there is no excuse for not using spell check. A second pair of eyes always helps as well. Know the difference between moot and mute. One means subject to uncertainty, where an answer can not be agreed upon or found. The other means you can’t speak. Or my favorite is using defiantly in place of definitely. I defiantly agree with you. What?
5. This usually happens when you have your Sales Manager in charge of your business postings. All you post is sales material. Social Media is social. You should be sharing the culture of your company. You should be sharing why you got into business. You should be proud of your employees. And of course, share SOME of your sales materials. But a constant barrage of we have widgets on sale for three more days. We have widgets for sale for two more days, etc. Is not only annoying it’s counterproductive to what you are trying to achieve. The more you sell, the less they will listen.
6. “Follow us on Facebook” Or twitter, or Pinterest, or Instagram, etc, you beg of us. And we, excited to discover the wonder of your business, find that….your most recent post is 2 years old. Why should I follow you? Why should I shop you? Why do you have a page? Social media is not only social it’s a conversation, and a commitment. You should take your page down or embue it with robust content.
7. Sensational Headlines. We’ve all seen it, “What they do next, you won’t believe!” and of course it’s absolutely believable. Sensational headlines still work and a lot of marketers use them to hope their content will go viral. However, more and more we’re seeing that readers are getting headline fatigue and they just don’t believe it’s unbelievable, any more.
8. Automating your posts and not checking back when there is a reply. Similar to always posting sales material, this technique is just as bad. Social media, is social. A conversation, if you are lucky enough to get someone to reply, acknowledge them, engage them, draw them in.
9. Forcing a connection. A lot of businesses try cheesy or forced connections to current events or holidays. Just because a story is going viral or it’s a national holiday, if it’s doesn’t fit your industry, don’t attach it to you or your products. This is different from saying Merry Christmas to your fans and followers, or Happy Mother’s Day. It’s more like a vacuum cleaner company having a sale on Memorial Day because you know you need to vacuum up the dirt on the graves of soldiers. See? It doesn’t work and can be downright offensive.
10. The biggest pet peeve. Using a personal profile as a business page. Name First Dog Name Second Wash and Dry. There are places in Facebook and LinkedIn to make your own business page. To not use them isn’t tricking the system or being more “real” it actually makes people think you don’t know how to use Social Media.
Can you think of more? The good thing about this list is that if you do any of these, and stop and learn why you need to stop…..you’ll have a much better social experience for you, and more importantly, your customers, prospects, fans and followers.
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