Unfriended. Unfollowed. Unsubscribed. Even if you aren’t the sensitive type, social media rejection hurts. It’s unsettling to see our numbers drop, but it’s even more unsettling to not know why.
While social networks lay out the obvious ground rules in their terms of service—don’t spam, don’t impersonate, don’t threaten—they don’t mention the everyday actions that drive away friends and followers. Without even knowing it, you may be pushing away the very people on whom your survival depends. Are you guilty of these costly social media mistakes?
Retweeting Your Own Retweets
Everyone loves praise. So when someone says something nice about us, it’s tempting to retweet it just to show the world how awesome we are. As nice as this self-congratulatory pat on the back feels, it’s comes across as both smug and insecure, and your followers will not be amused by it. If you’re absolutely dying to retweet it, at least say thank you.
Tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite make it easy to cross-post to multiple accounts, but they also make it easy to become a social media robot. Thoughtless tricks like auto following, auto unfollowing and auto DM-ing won’t engage your friends and followers in an authentic way. While it’s perfectly okay to use social media dashboards to schedule your posts, don’t share the exact same content across all networks in exactly the same format. Saving time is great and all, but your Facebook users won’t be impressed when they see hashtags or other Twitter-specific content in their stream.
Consider Kenneth Cole’s tasteless tweet, which he personally posted during the height of the Egyptian uprising: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.” He removed the offending tweet about 5 hours later and apologized on Facebook, but not before the Twitterverse ate him alive with fake Kenneth Cole PR accounts and #boycottkennethcole hashtags. Over a year later, his negative press still ranks higher than his accessories line. The lesson here? Think before you tweet.
If you’re a social media wallflower who never replies to anyone or follows back, you’ll lose followers and no one will pay attention to you. Social media is all about conversation, which requires some give and take. Unless you’re an extremely fascinating person who can get away with such things, like Beyonce (who has zero tweets and over 3 million followers), your followers will expect a certain amount of interaction. You don’t have to reply to absolutely everyone, but the more you engage with others, the more they’ll engage with you.
All business accounts require a certain amount of self-promotion, but that doesn’t mean you should peddle your wares 24/7/365. Nothing is worse than following an account and receiving a steady stream of product pushes. Instead, find a more social way to go about your business, like answering questions, sharing helpful tips and providing useful information specific to your area of expertise. Once potential customers trust you and see you as a real person, they’ll be more likely to get down to business.