Have you noticed that Social Media has recently become a bit noisy, distracting and somewhat disappointing? Do you find yourself plagued by sales pitches, auto messaging, obsessive tagging, overposting and irrelevant information? The faster these platforms grow, the more we are forced to weed through individuals and spammers who are using social media the wrong way by selling fake followers, tweeting 10 times a minute, not engaging, and trying to game the system?
Don’t get me wrong; there are true spammers (bots) who can be blocked but there are other types of individuals who simply use social media the wrong way to either gain followers, increase their Klout score, visibility or other various reasons. Their bad habits may initially work to their advantage, but eventually friends and followers may not take them seriously – the key is to be able to spot them and know the difference. As a marketing director and social media strategist, I have spent years trying to connect with other influencers and people who are doing it right. In my experience, here are what I believe are 10 habits of highly successful, genuine people in the world of social media.
- They provide value. Their posts usually include relevant information for their audience accompanied by their thoughts.
- They don’t overpost. There is no right or wrong number but we all have been to sites where all you see is 10-15 posts within a short period of time and wonder, “what are they thinking?”
- Real people engage. They don’t post and disappear. Do you ever see tweets or postings on a certain network all night long? Yeah, most likely they aren’t really there. How real is that?
- Real people share other people’s posts. They aren’t so self-consumed that they overlook the fact that there is other valuable information that is being shared not to mention that its just good etiquette.
- They work at cultivating relationships. This doesn’t mean it’s OK to be annoying, or stalk people but commenting, sharing, and liking consistently shows that you take an interest in what others have to say besides yourself.
- They network with people outside of being online. Rinse and Repeat. This is how the magic happens. About 75% of my closest friends I can now say that I’ve initially met through social media, then at conferences and now on a regular basis. There is nothing more rewarding.
- No auto-tagging. Have you ever been tagged over and over again on a silly quote or picture that really has nothing to do with you? This is gaming at it’s finest. This is no way to gain respect but a great way to look like a spammer.
- Real people are just down to earth. Their posts are funny, valuable, human, and nothing more than that. Granted those of us that make money doing this must incorporate a selling strategy, otherwise social media just becomes a hobby. However, being real is a component of securing long-term relationships and it must be a careful mix of all of the above-mentioned qualities.
- They are consistent. Posting relevant and engaging content takes work and real people see gratification by establishing good habits.
- Real people have manners. They thank others for commenting, re-sharing or mentioning them. There is nothing worse than making an effort to engage with someone and then never receiving a response.
In summary, there is no right or wrong way to do social media. However, there are definitely best practices. Everyone has their own style and some are just better at social media than others. Some are just there to see their friends and family and nothing more. For those of us highly vested in social media as a tool for providing value, creating relationships and even making a living, we need to make sure “social media” doesn’t give itself a bad name.