[A guest post from the talented Laura Click]
There is one thing that will make or break someone’s ability to be successful in social media.
No, it’s not smarts, strategy or writing skills (though, all of those things are immensely helpful).
Your personality online determines whether or not someone will sign on to follow your tweets or read your posts. Just as in real life, your personality matters.
Think that’s brutal?
Consider your real life friendships. You choose who to hang out with people based on their interests, hobbies, and style. The same is true online.
You don’t have to appeal to everyone, but you DO have to appeal to someone.
But, there are some people and personalities who are universally unappealing online. And oftentimes, these offenders have no idea they’re guilty of some of the worst turn-offs on the social web.
So, who are these social miscreants? Let me introduce you.
Divas are pretty easy to spot in social media circles. They are likely found bragging about their latest workout, charitable endeavor or achievement. Even worse, Divas like to retweet compliments about themselves so the whole wide world can know how smart, generous and beautiful they are.
If you are only going to talk about yourself, why should someone else want to follow along? Although a little bragging every now and then never hurt, social media shouldn’t be used as megaphone for sharing all of your positive traits.
You know that show Hoarders? The one where people have an inability to let go of stuff? Well, there are people just like that online.
Social media hoarders have a complete mental hang-up with giving away anything of value. They want to keep all of their ideas and information to themselves. After all, it might be worth something and why should they give it away for free?
The entire idea of social media is sharing - information, ideas, tips and opinions. If you are just going to sit on your mountain of ideas, why even bother with social media?
The Used Car Salesman
People can sniff out a used car salesman from a mile away - mostly, because they love to bombard you with a steady stream of promotional messages.
You know the ones – ““Check out my post about how you can get a gagillion followers with this free tool!” or “Thanks for following! Check out my blog! Like me on facebook! Download my e-book!”
Essentially, used car salesmen are the new spammers of the social web.
The one-way onslaught of offers, deals and promos is the ultimate turnoff. If every tweet, blog post or email is an offer, don’t you think people will start to tune out?
The Corporate Spokesperson
An unlikely social media deviant, the corporate spokesperson can be just as offensive as a spammer. I think it’s perfectly fine for a PR person or spokesperson to use social media, but that doesn’t the blog or Twitter stream should become one gigantic press release.
No one likes corporate mumbo jumbo filled with words like “synergy” and “value-added”. Cut the crap. Each tweet doesn’t have to be a carefully crafted statement reinforcing the company’s mission. Lose the corporate jargon and start talking like a real human being if you want people to engage with you online.
In high school, no one ever noticed the quiet guy in the corner who never opened his mouth. The same goes for social media.
If you just sit on the sidelines with your head down trying to stay out of the way, no one will notice you. Social media is about two way conversation. Join the conversation or don’t bother.
We’ve all had that really bad customer service experience that we want to tell all our friends about in retaliation. I’ve been there. But, you don’t want to be the constant complainer who only uses social media to rant about life’s frustrations.
Bottom line - think before you tweet, blog or post something on Facebook about your latest grievance. You don’t want negativity following you around online if you want to build an engaged community.
Trolls can come in many shapes and sizes, but no matter how you cut it, they are just plain ugly. They are mean, spiteful and rude. Trolls go looking for trouble.
Although debate and healthy discussion is welcomed online, there’s a big difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable. Trolls don’t get that. They like to throw stones just to get a rise out of people.
If you want to disagree with someone, go ahead. Just be kind about it. People will be more open to hearing what you have to say, and in the end, respect you more for it.
Be yourself and shine
So, how do you avoid turning into one of these social media deviants? Here are few tips:
1. Be yourself. Don’t think that you have to “become” someone different online. Have a personality, but make sure it’s authentically yours. Talk and interact like you normally would and you’ll be amazed at the results.
2. Be helpful. Don’t be shy about sharing your expertise or pointing people in the right direction. Just keep it in the frame of helping other people solve their problems instead of focusing on yourself.
3. Socialize. What makes social media unique is the ability to develop relationships with people you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. So, strike up a conversation and get to know some of the people around you. Wonderful things happen when you do.
4. Spread the love. If you want to generate legions of raving fans, talk about other people. Build them up. Share their stuff. Retweet their posts. Online, sharers win.
5. Respond. Social media becomes much richer if you’re willing to engage in two-way conversation. If someone comments on your blog or replies to your tweet, talk back. If someone disagrees with you, engage in a healthy debate. The bottom line is that people are more likely to talk to you if they know you’re willing to talk back.
What are you doing to avoid becoming a social media deviant? Are there other deviants we should add to the list?