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 the 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!)
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: