Top Five Mistakes Individuals Make on Social Media

Sally Struthers

Sally Struthers

After extensive research (time on Twitter) and deep study (that insomnia period between 2 and 4AM), I have compiled a list of the most common mistakes made by individuals on social media. I feel I should cite my sources so here goes:  Linda.  (Man, citations are a royal pain, aren’t they??)

Now, sure, we’re not all on social media for the same reasons. Some are here to network, to increase influence by building and engaging with people.  Some are here for shenanigans. Sometimes these two groups behave differently, and that’s OK. That’s what makes it interesting and fun.  Occasionally, the rules for all are the same, regardless of why we’re here.

Don’t cry, Sally. I’ll make this as painless as possible. 

1. No profile picture or, even worse, a horrible profile picture:

Your profile is part of your online identity.  It’s a key component to how people connect to you virtually. Now, I get it – we can’t all be beauty queens like Sally here. But, girl, work that selfie!  Show your smile, your personality, your quirk. Problem with a double-chin? Don’t worry – I have an angle!

Shenanigans people: so you want to remain anonymous, huh? We’re OK with that. Find something that speaks to who you are, even if it’s not your face. Find a cartoon character or a brand or an item. One of my favorite Twitter people uses a drawing of her made by her toddler. Another friend uses Yosemite Sam. Your favorite wine label. A killer high-heel shoe.  There is something out there you can find to help people make a visual connection, even if it’s not with your adorable face.  And Brandon??  Um, no.  Not that. Please.  I’m sure yours is lovely – I don’t need to see it.

2. Profile empty or incomplete:

After the visual connection of a picture, the content of your profile is the next most important thing. Whether it’s LinkedIn or Twitter or Jive – tell people what you’re there for, give them a reason to connect with you.

Shenanigans people: same deal, dawg. Make it edgy or funny or sweet. Just don’t make it mundane.  Anything but mundane. Most importantly, be original.

3. Locked-down privacy:

If you’ve chosen to engage on social media, you have to give ’em something. If you are so locked down nobody can see anything, you are sending a “No Trespassers” sign to those who may want to connect. Perhaps that’s your intent – far be it from me to judge.  To me, it’s kind of like going to church and when someone reaches out for the ‘Peace be with you’ handshake, you turn wearing a sign that says “I’m not here for the interaction.”  Put out a little bit of a welcome mat if you’re coming to the party.

Shenanigans people: let me in! Sometimes it’s the tightest locked accounts that have all the good stuff! You are the back room at the club where one has to be tapped on the shoulder and invited to get through the green door. You make us all curious, and a little nervous. Keep it up!

4. Taking without giving:

Social media is built on a system of give-and-take.  Sure, that big account doesn’t give you the time of day, even though your mama thinks you are a brilliant, shiny, unique snowflake.  But that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t pay into the system. Don’t worry about him – worry about yourself. Didn’t your mama ever teach you that? If he jumped off a bridge… well, never mind.  If you’re a taker – there to pimp out your content only without ever giving back to somebody – eventually people will be turned off by that.  I like using a rule-of-three.  For every 1 thing I push out, I take time to appreciate at least 3 things pushed out by others. Or maybe 10. Sometimes 20 or 30.  I like to give! It makes me feel less needy and greedy.

Shenanigans people: you’re attention whores – just accept it, make peace with it, and let your freak flags fly. Just kidding – this rule applies to you, too.  Give more than you take.  Good rule for humanity in general.

5. Over-reliance on the Like:

Yeah, we all use the Like a lot. It’s important – don’t get me wrong. It says “I was here.” It might say “I agree.” Or maybe just “I saw this.” and, go figure, sometimes it even means “I like what you shared.”  But what if the world devolved into a place where all people gave was Likes?  IT’S NOT ENOUGH! We all want interaction, the conversation, the discussion, the debate. Occasionally take time to engage beyond just the Like. Occasionally leave a comment or ask a question.

Shenanigans people: you’re there for the feel-good whoosh of attention and interaction. A Like isn’t enough for you – you want that deeply felt LOL or contemplative Haha.  It means something, man. A Like is one click. An LOL is only 3. Won’t you give 3 clicks to make an under-appreciated sit-down comedian feel better about himself? You can make a difference! Please give. (You read that while picturing Sally Struthers wiping a tear away, didn’t you? I hope so because that’s what I intended. CAN I GET A HA-HA?? This level of comedy doesn’t come for free, you know. Time to pay the piper!)

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Social media is personal – do it your way. But make sure you are sending the signals you intend to be sending and behaving in such a way that is consistent with what you wish to get out of it.  If you want the connections and interaction, then perhaps one of these tips will make you think differently about your profile or what you give in to the system.

But hey – if you’re an enigma, a fiercely private person, anti-social… well, maybe consider one of these for your profile picture:

 

goopy-get-off-my-lawn

getoffmylawn

Social Personification of an Entity

WhatAboutBobWhat a dry title for a post, eh? Maybe I should call it “The Lizard that Sells You Car Insurance”.

But this post isn’t about lizards because ewww. It’s about “those people” – the nameless, faceless people that run an entity or a function. Nameless, faceless people are always suspect. Those idiots at the DMV (for those reading who are not US-based, that’s the Department of Motor Vehicles), for example. Nameless, faceless people are often idiots who are blamed for bad things.

Guess what? To someone out there, you are part of a nameless, faceless group. Think of it in terms of your work-life. Those idiots in IT. Those idiots in Accounts Payable. Those idiots in HR. (Just a bit of advice – never utter “Those idiots in Payroll” where you may be overheard. Bad, bad idea. Don’t mess with Payroll!)

One definition of personification is making the inanimate come alive. We see it in advertising all the time – the Geico lizard, the Pillsbury dough-boy, the Jack-in-the-Box who sells us cheeseburgers.

What I’m talking about is a little different than that. I lead a group who are sometimes referred to as “those idiots in Purchasing”. Hi, nice to meet you. I’m the head idiot. I’m talking about the personification of a group or entity. Bring that group to life!

The truth is that Purchasing or IT or HR or AP are all made up of people and probably 87% of them are definitely not idiots. Nobody knows that, though, because they just see it as one big nameless, faceless entity.

Enter Social Business.

Social business is personal – it’s not just a company or a department or a function. It’s the people behind it – the names and faces of many non-idiots. It’s letting customers (internal and external) see those faces and learn those names and it’s about creating engagement, connection, understanding, and trust.

In my experience, when your group is nameless and faceless, no one has any trust in what they are doing. You could have the most brilliant minds ever steering the ship, but if nobody can see that captain or the crew, they think the ship is being tossed about on a corporate ocean at the random whim of the prevailing winds. They will not believe in the course you have set until they see and know the people who have set that course and are steering that ship.

Social business allows us to do that. Quit hiding behind a generic entity name. Encourage the captains and crews to step out on the deck and say “Hi, I am the captain of this ship.” or “I am the crew member who manages the sails.” or “I am the crew member who monitors the stars”. (That is the extent of my sailing knowledge all poured out in that metaphor. I learned all I know about sailing from the movie What About Bob. In other words, not much. Hey, I’m from Missouri – we don’t sail on the Mississippi, people!)

My team at work has gained significantly in awareness, engagement, understanding, and trust since my company has implemented the Jive social business platform. We have made ourselves visible and vocal. We’ve put on our listening ears and we’ve collaborated with our customers. We have helped and guided and explained. It’s not like I expect a point to come where we will no longer participate in this way – it will be ongoing. But – and this is the important part – the more people we reach, the more visible we are, the lower the number of people who refer to us as “those idiots in Purchasing”. They know our names and our faces, they know we are steering the ship and adjusting the sails and watching the stars.

Trust is the golden cup here. Social business via Jive is the means by which we achieve it.