#Fail! 13 Utterly Annoying Social Media Behaviors To Avoid

For years, we’ve been counseling our clients to practice what we call “the fundamentals non-gratuitous social media behavior.”  Lovely conduct that endears users to other community members and earns respect is actually quite easy. Still, even some professionals present terribly irritating habits. You may or may not agree, but brace yourself for this stored up rant featuring aggravating tactics employed by social media players who (IMHO) just don’t get how things work in the sandbox.

Pushy Follow Grubbing
Yep, this is the digital birdcage liner of social media. Dude! Provide value and most users will consider following you. Unless there’s a really good reason, please don’t tweet, DM in Facebook, beg, send an email, or try to shame folks into following.  Literally, I’ve seen a user give someone crap in public because the request recipient did not follow back or answer a follow-grubbing inquiry within a few minutes or hours. Don’t program your post scheduler to tweet your follow-me begging to hashtags every hour on the hour.

Mindless Mechanical Thanking
Thanks for the follow, thanks for the mention, thanks for the link, thanks for thanking me, blah, blah, blah, blah. Act like you’ve been there before. Some folks thank for everything and it just adds noise to feeds. Above all, do not automate messages of thanks, for any reason. IMHO, it’s trite and fake. Better to tender actual thanks that actually mean something by not overdoing it as mechanical standard operating procedures. If you are going to thank people over and over, do it in private so it feels special to the recipient.

Gratuitous Gushing Praise
If a person you do not know very well approached you in person with over-the-top praise, you might feel uncomfortable. Social media praise can be perceived the same way.  It is certainly okay to lay well-placed admiration on fellow community member, just don’t gush. Offer up the same type of feedback that would not creep out the recipient if you were face to face… be appropriate and measured.

Boilerplate Branding As A Social Media, “Visionary” or “Guru”
Gandhi was a guru. Einstein was a visionary. Robert H. Goddard was an expert.  Really, are you a “Guru” to your 8 LinkedIn connections? Are you really a “Social Media Visionary?” Do you lead thinking to such a great extent that you are truly a spiritual teacher? #justsayin…

Spammy Self Promotion
Look, if you are an actual acquaintance, then an occasional sales approach is reasonable.  If you want to approach me in LinkedIn to lay your stupid self-promotional spam, I’ll report you as such and publish your dumbass DM in a blog post.

Fake Familiarity
Ever meet someone at a party who acted as if they knew you a little “too” well? Did it creep you out? Social media mirrors physical life and the same P2P rules apply.  If you don’t know someone well, don’t act as if you know him or her well.

Yes, it’s cool to make new friends and work to get closer. That said, frame the context of the communication. Say something like, “We only met last week, but I want to reach out to [purpose of reaching out]. Perhaps you’re interested. If that’s not what you’re into, then no problem, it’s good to be casually connected, and thanks for all you give to the community. Ciao!”

Selfish Over-Posting
There was recently a study that suggested that Facebook page owners shouldn’t post more than 1x every 3 hours.  Our friend Dan Zarrella found that users don’t like it when a brand spams the feed. To me, this includes personal brands, but really the amount of posting that is deemed “okay” is up in the air. All I know is that I don’t want to be constantly pinged in my news feed over and over by a single friend who shares a common group or page with me. I know a so-called thought leader who WAY over does it. This person participates in nearly every thread, posts every day repeatedly, and (in fact) totally spams my news feed.  Hey, you know who you are! Take a chill pill and quit trying to dominate the feed. It does not make you a thought leader to over-post. It makes you annoying.

Channel Inappropriate Profiles
Unless your last name is actually “SEO Master,” then don’t say it’s your name. It’s a lie, in the name of optimization, and it does not recommend you in any way. Yeah…like anyone’s going to hire you even if you do end up ranking for “SEO of the SEO at SEO.” Ick.

LinkedIn and Facebook people profiles are supposed to be about people.  Don’t be a spamwad hack.  If you want to call yourself HoneyBunnyBoo, then get a StumbleUpon or Twitter profile, where it’s appropriate to operate under a pseudonym.

Gutless Observers
The Arab Spring proved for the gazillionth time that a single idea, from a person with heart and guts, can start a process that can change the world.  Be that hero. Also, if (in life) you see someone getting mugged in the park, you call the 911. When you observe an injustice at work, it’s appropriate to report the incident or otherwise stand up for the victim, keeping your own safety prudently in mind.  If you see a social media community member being mauled verbally or otherwise bullied by a maleficent provocateur, stand up for what you know is right.  Jump in the thread. Contact the person in private to support. Don’t be a spineless wimp.

Hair-Trigger Anger
I am guilty of this one myself.  I tend to try and solve things in public first using a large hammer as opposed to more delicate diplomacy. Sometimes that’s a good thing but more often than not, there are better ways. Try and solve problems in quiet ways that foster the perception that you are a good citizen.  Nobody likes a mean old grouch. Save the big stick for when more measured and patient approaches fail. Then, nuke em’ in Twitter or buy FB ads on their brand terms, only if you can stand the heat and have full confidence that you’ve taken a legal and righteous position.

Lies To Game Friendship Mechanisms
Some sites restrict who can friend you. For instance, LinkedIn wants users you approach to be in the same group, be current or former colleagues, friends and other criteria. Don’t fib to game the Friending criteria. It’s not a good start to a relationship.

Promotion Requests From Idiotic Strangers

Horrendous Ads Targeting
The stupidity of some ad targeting in Facebook and LinkedIn just blows my mind. What could justanswer.jp be thinking here?

There are so many cool ways to hang in social media. Rebroadcast with added editorial value, ask reasonable questions, don’t sell or spam, share delightful content bits, and tastefully thank people.  These are wonderful tactics. Be magnanimous and act in ways that would fit in the physical world.

The best way to get likes is to do likeable things. The best way to make friends is to be friendly.  Follow these simple rules and it’s less likely that you’ll annoy the snot out of people.

Image Credit ©Maridav – Fotolia (dot) com

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