Social media is something a lot of people struggle with — they often aren’t sure how to use it or which tools are the most useful. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and still enjoy it immensely, but I see these three mistakes being made all too often so I thought a little social media PSA was in order.
These aren’t your typical “do as I say you should do” tips, either. These are three mistakes that are actually costing you followers, credibility and the ability to use the tools in a way that is beneficial. Here we go…
Mistake #1 – Using a Service Like TrueTwit
TrueTwit’s premise, on the surface, seems like it could be useful.
Here’s how it works: you sign up for their service and they send a CAPTCHA-like direct message to everyone who follows you saying that your follow will only be accepted if you’re a real person so click this link and we’ll send you on through.
There’s just one problem: nobody takes the time to click opt-in links to follow Twitter feeds that are using this tool. In fact, the very idea that you’d put up a roadblock for someone to follow you is a bit mind-blowing (and the service charges people to do this.)
Here’s what to do instead: let anyone under the sun follow you (unless of course your account is private) and then YOU do the work to clean-up your Twitter feed and remove spam followers.
I have a great resource for you — ManageFlitter.com. It’s a fantastic Twitter management tool in general but you can identify spam followers with it and remove them. On your time. At nobody else’s expense.
Mistake #2 – Sending Generic, Boring Auto DMs
Can we please, please, please stop sending auto DMs? For anyone who thinks they are dead… you’re wrong. My Twitter inbox is FULL of them. In fact, if I spent the time required to keep my Twitter inbox clean of auto DMs, I’d have zero time to do anything meaningful.
For those who think they work: they don’t. Trust me. When I get an auto DM from someone, I immediately unfollow them. Why? They are telling me within the first 30 seconds of our connection that
- They prefer automation over connection and
- They want me to move to somewhere else — away from Twitter.
Most of the auto DMs encourage you to head over to another social platform to “connect” with them… a platform where I’ll likely be automated through another faux-relationship-building-contrapation they’ve set up.
No thank you.
Here’s what to do instead: turn them off and Tweet them, manually, publicly. Auto DMs not only feel cheap and automated, they’re also done in private and social media is about being social. When you say, “Hey! Thanks for connecting.” publicly, you create an opportunity for mutual friends to see you Tweeting each other, which may create an even larger conversation.
Mistake #3 – Treating Twitter Like a Broadcast-Out-Only Channel
If you take anything away from this post let it be this: social media is not just another marketing channel for your business. It’s not just a place to spam your links. It’s not just a place to stand on a soapbox and shout out your opinions. It’s a communication tool, yes, but it’s also a relationship building platform.
When I’m giving talks on social media, I often tell the people in the room that social media needs to be treated the exact same way as an in-person networking event. If you walked into a networking event and all you did was shouty sell at people for the entire time you were there, people would likely avoid you at future events.
People want to connect with other people. While this will mean inevitably sharing a link you find interesting (the same way you’d share a piece of news while in-person) or perhaps mentioning something you’re doing that is more marketing-oriented, the entire relationship shouldn’t be built on the back of a marketing plan.
Here’s what to do instead: look at how you show up on social media and create better balance. A good rule I like to follow is the 80/20 rule. 80% social interaction, engagement, personal stuff and 20% promotion or marketing based.
When people get stumped with social media, I always turn them back to that in-person networking event anecdote I shared earlier. When you show up on social the same way you’d show up if the person were in your living room, your office or in the same banquet hall as you, you’ll have a much better experience and you’ll create a better experience for those who follow you.