Social Media: Good Habits to Follow and Bad Habits You Should Avoid.

Posted on January 5, 2014

If you’re a company or a brand and whether you’re a fan of it or not, there is no running from the giant that is, social media. Social networks have completely changed the game in regards to how your audience perceives you. Luckily, the only person in control of that perception is you. These social networks are a great avenue to promote and market yourself and I’d like to take a moment to share my opinions on what are some good social media habits you should follow, and some bad ones you should avoid.

The selection process

Choosing the right social networks could be a daunting task but choosing all of them is the first mistake you want to avoid making. Remember, you have work to do – you can’t invest majority of your time updating all of your accounts every time you have something to say or show. Choose the ones that offer you the tools which best suit your needs. I find that designers often choose Instagram or Dribbble but never both because both networks offer a way to deliver small previews of your work to your followers.

You’re building a community, not accounts.

Another reason it’s important to choose the right amount of outlets is so that it prevents you from neglecting any of them. There are many social media manager applications out there that help you manage your accounts. If done properly these are great tools but often-times people are just posting the exact same thing to all of their accounts. You’re assembling an online community; this isn’t just a way to throw your crap all over the internet.

Tweak your posts

Most likely your fans follow you on multiple accounts, so you’re in control of either spamming them across all their well-kept social nests or showing them that you’re here to take advantage of what each social network has to offer. You’re also showing them that you’re going to put in the time to make the things you post unique to where you’re posting it. I’m not saying everything you post needs to be entirely different but for example, you may want to take advantage of Instagram’s direct messaging feature where as your Facebook post may want to take advantage of the ever popular ‘share vs like’ strategy. You’ve now given your fans reason for following you on multiple accounts. If you find yourself unable to make a post different from one social network to another too often, then maybe it’s time to axe that account. Unless that account is bringing in an entirely different crowd to your brand then why waste your time managing it with content you’re sharing somewhere else already?

Don’t be a robot

Listen, we have to deal with stupid Twitter bots all the time, favoriting our tweets and trying to sneak us into clicking their porn links – don’t be an ally to those things. Social media has given us a way to interact like never before and now fans can reach out to you easier than ever. Be personable, be interesting and dammit – be a human! Think of it as being at a never ending party where you don’t know anyone except the person who brought you there, and they’re passed out on the couch already. Are you going to stand in the corner of the kitchen beside the bar and shout out random headlines and provide links? Chances are you’re not ‘The Verge’, ‘The New York Times’ or anything of that sort, people aren’t following you or liking your page to get the information that you just got from there. Form an opinion, or if you don’t have one, ask for one on all these things you find compelling to share, and once in a while throw in a human tweet to let people know you’re still there.

You get what you give

The saying “what goes around, comes around” has never been more true when it comes to social media. If you’re going to act like the shy guy at the party and not join other conversations, don’t expect others to chime in on any discussion you feel like sparking up. If you’re not saying much on other peoples’ content you may come off as the reserved type who doesn’t want to interact. When you post something people are more likely to scroll past it knowing that you’re not one for conversation or debate. Be open to what other people have to say, be respectful and chime in on discussions you may be interested in – even the ones that weren’t started by you.

Don’t be wordy

If there’s a simple way of saying something then use those simple words. You might think coming off wordy makes you seem more intelligent but you’re not on a date, and you don’t need to prove your intelligence to your friends or fans. In fact, using complex words when not needed may give off the impression that you’re trying to hold yourself above everyone else. Using simple words doesn’t make you sound dumb, dumb opinions make you sound dumb. Simple English makes you more inviting and allows everyone to understand you.

What you post is published

This last bit of advice is the most obvious – as much as we are eager to promote and market ourselves we need to always remember the things we post are permanent to some extent. You can always delete things, sometimes instantly, but there’s always a chance that someone already saw it. Make sure what you’re willing to share with the world now, you’re willing to share with them tomorrow.