I love social media. I really do. But, there are certain things that make me want to scream.
Yes. There are right ways to use social media and wrong ways to use social media, good things to do and say, and bad things to do and say. Everyone seems to have their own ideas, right or wrong about how to use social media and what’s acceptable on social media, including yours truly. Here are 15 of my own pet peeves about things NOT to do on social media.
1. Use auto-DMs to welcome new followers on Twitter
Sorry, but this is impersonal and inauthentic - especially if that auto-DM includes a link to your sales page or web page or anything else sales-y. Not cool, and it'll likely get you unfollowed.
Get to know me first before you try selling to me. It's the same reason why you shouldn’t expect a kiss on a first date, let alone at a first meeting (call me old fashioned but I am not alone on this one.)
2. Have your Instagram account set to private if it’s for business
If you're someone I know with a personal Instagram account and choose to keep your posts private because your account is about your kids or your personal life, that's fine.
But if someone with a private business account follows me on Instagram, I don’t follow back. In fact, chances are I’ll block them.
If you’re not willing to share your posts with others, how in the world will they know if they want to follow you? What do you have to hide? Think about it. If you wanted people to come into your store, would you put a big “CLOSED” sign in front of the door? It's the same principle.
3. Randomly tag people in a post on Facebook or Instagram
If the post is about someone, or to someone, or something you specifically want someone to see because you know it’ll be of interest to them, great. But don’t just tag people to get more reach.
4. Hijack someone else’s Facebook post and make it all about you
Keep to the topic. If someone posts about a specific topic or an issue they're having with something, don’t try and one-up them by changing the topic to your own personal issues and woes. If they ask your opinion or invite you to share, great; if not, show a little respect and keep to the topic at hand.
5. Post links to your website or sales page or any other salesy information on someone else’s Facebook Business Page
Never, ever post a link to your products or services on someone else’s business Page unless you’ve been asked to. It’s their page, not yours.
6. Comment on a LinkedIn Pulse article or blog post written by someone else, telling people you provide the services they are talking about and adding a link to your website
Nothing is more irritating than having someone comment on a post you’ve written about social media only to say they provide social media services so please check out their website. It’s spammy and rude, plain and simple.
7. Be rude, argumentative or snarky in your social media comments just because you have a different point of view or opinion
The “because I can” attitude some people have about Facebook drives me up a wall. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes I wonder what Emily Post would have to say about all of this.
8. Add people to Facebook groups without their permission
This one seems to hit the last nerve for so many. If you have a private or closed group that's one of the benefits of a coaching program, an event or a group where people have already given permission and know they are going to be added to a group, that’s OK. But starting a Facebook group and randomly adding people because you “think” they'll be interested in what you have to say is a big no-no, and usually doesn’t end well.
9. Like pages when participating in a “Facebook Friday” event with the sole expectation of reciprocity
...and then leave a message on the person’s Page telling them to make sure they share the love. It’s rude, and really skews the algorithm. I used to enjoy participating in the various Facebook Friday events because it gave me the option to get to know other businesses while promoting my own at the same time, but I stopped because of the tit-for-tat mentality of so many of the other participants, Liking someone else’s Page simply to get them to like yours back.
When someone who owns a bra company or is a cosmetic consultant likes your Page just so you will reciprocate, never to return again, it'll hurt your Page much more than the Like will help.
10. Repurpose someone else’s graphic or graphic quote without their permission
Sharing someone else’s graphics or quotes is great because it gives them the credit.
Saving the image to use as your own, however, is not. Give credit where credit's due - using someone else’s intellectual property or creative works is stealing.
11. Post spammy or scammy posts or comments anywhere on social media
This should be self-explanatory. Just don’t do it.
12. Tag a gazillion people in those dang spammy sunglasses posts on Facebook
This goes back to the tagging no-no of #3 and the previous no-no about spammy or scammy posts in #11. Whether it’s sunglasses or anything else, this is not the appropriate way to sell a product or service.
13. Use your Facebook profile to represent your business and sell products or services
It’s against Facebook’s Terms of Service to use your personal profile as a business. That’s why there are business Pages. It’s perfectly ok to share posts about your business that provide value and benefit to your friends, but it’s still your personal profile, so it’s not ok to use it as a business or to sell your products or services.
14. Invite your friends to play games with you on Facebook
As tempting as it is, do not - and I mean do NOT - click on that little button that asks if you want to invite others to play games with you.
While you might enjoy the heck out of the game you're playing, the rest of us don't appreciate being bombarded with invitations to play games with you - not to mention that it looks incredibly unprofessional for a businessperson to be doing.
15. Re-share posts on Facebook without first checking their validity and verifying they are not hoaxes
If you see a post that says "so and so is giving away such and such to the first “pick a number” of people who like their Page", it’s probably fake. Apple is not giving away iPads or computers, and Mark Zuckerburg is not giving away Facebook shares. And contrary to popular belief, you can't protect your privacy or photos by copy/pasting a statement on your profile. It’s not gonna' happen. There are also so many other scams and hoaxes out there that either result in spreading viruses, snagging your personal information, and a lot of other things. I’m constantly amazed that the same hoaxes are propagated year after year, but people still don’t catch on.
Whenever you see something like this, check Snopes first before sharing.