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10 Steps to Avoid When Promoting on Social Media

10 Steps to Avoid When Promoting on Social Media

The marketer’s choice: social media pitfalls

I posted two articles I wrote to a community in Google+ with what I thought was good, helpful advice when starting a business. They were not from my personal website, but a website dedicated to entrepreneurs. This community was specific to a city, and being in a start-up in that city, I thought the advice was perfect for them.

I subsequently got kicked out of the group for posting material that I myself had written—apparently, it didn’t matter if the content was good or not, the taboo is that I looked like I was promoting my own writing. Being confused, I emailed the group organizer explaining myself but I got no reply. Clearly I had violated some social media etiquette, or at least, some Google+ etiquette.

After a little research and some personal reflection on the situation, I came up with a list of rules to follow so as not to cause any more exclusion from social media outlets.

social etiquette

    How do you avoid un-following, un-liking and exclusion online?

    This advice is given for the personal branding point of view, not the average socialiser.

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    Twitter

    1) Not following people back

    – Prevent un-following by following people in return. It’s up to you if you think they are worth following, but generally people will eventually cut you off if you don’t return the favour. There are services that offer auto-reply “thank you” messages, but Twitter discourages it as poor etiquette. Decide for your audience what works best!

    2) Having a spammy newsfeed

    – Try to avoid filling up your news feed with 20 tweets in a row of news articles or RTs. Your followers’ news feeds will get full of your messages and that gets irritating. Spread them throughout the day using a buffer. I would recommend three to six, depending on how hungry your followers are to hear about you and your recommendations. Huge names like Jeff Bullas sometimes post once an hour all day!

    3) Robotic messages

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    – Make your messages personalised. If you constantly send around links with no additional input you look like a spam-bot. This only works if you are a well-established blog/website/company with thousands of dedicated followers.

    Facebook

    4) Controversial posts

    – Prevent un-liking by not stepping on any political/religious toes. If collecting “likes” is a goal of yours, a message of mass appeal is least likely to garner a bunch of unlikes. You have a decision to make between the integrity of your message and pandering to the crowd.

    5) Not following through on promises

    – Follow through on promises. If the 1000th “liker” earns a voucher, they’d better get that voucher in a timely fashion.

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    6) Having a boring page

    – Make your page interesting and update it regularly. A dead, dull page is just going to de-legitimize your organization or brand. Based on your best assessment of the audience, find out the length of post they react most positively to, and if pictures and videos help or not with engagement.

    Google+

    7) Immediately posting your own content

    – Prevent exclusion by first easing into the community. Comment on posts, talk about other people’s work, recommend external sources of information. Then, start linking things from your personal feed. Once you become a respected opinion, you will have the freedom to share your content with the community.

    8) Emailing your circles everything you say and do

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    – Prevent exclusion by not emailing all your circles all of your posts all the time. Nobody likes an inbox crammed full of Google+ updates. Be selective and notify people of what’s great interest or importance.

    General

    9) Hiding your true identity

    – Don’t use a fake photo and fake name. “Batboy783” and a fuzzy photo of a Greek philosopher will make people mistrust you and suspect a troll.

    10) Contacting the public through a company profile

    – Until you are a massive established corporation, send your social media messages from your personal account and not the company account. Customers and the public need to feel that you are human. A successful brand needs a sensation of honesty, transparency and accessibility.

    Basic behaviour on social media for better branding

    • Fulfil a need: answer a question, offer humour, offer empathy
    • Clearly define your area of expertise and niche
    • Be positive or neutral, never negative
    • Always respond, preferably ASAP
    • Clean trolls and spam out of your feeds regularly
    • Keep your tone soft and your grammar excellent—nobody likes a truculent-sounding and badly-spelt “i woudnt do it liek that its not a nice design”. Try “If you imagine how a first-time visitor lands on this page, the first thing they see is a huge advertisement. This will probably not attract them to return.”

    What tips do you have on how to navigate the social media sea?

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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