In today’s social media world where everyone is #connected and with a camera at hand to tweet, text, Facebook, or Instagram their every waking moment, is there a point when enough is too much? We have all made mistakes, posted a bad or thoughtless photo and committed aggravating faux paux (I can still vomit hashtags in a tweet). Anyone using social media for business or fun, needs to ask themselves… does our audience find us interesting or irritating? There are numerous social media online etiquette guides for beginners or businesses, but what about when one has passed the beginner point 12,000 tweets ago or 50 photos ago? After hearing the same conversations complaining about poor social media #skills over and over, we came up with a checklist to make sure you stay in the social good graces of your friends and audience.
That little device in your hand is your control panel. As your own PR agent, always and only present the best and most authentic you. Here are ten ways to check yourself to make certain you have the social media feed of a butterfly and nobody is wishing you would just #shutup.
1. BRAG OR DRAG? The beauty of social media is talking about oneself is acceptable… to a point. Share accomplishments, show achievements, highlight a great idea but we don’t want to see every time your child smears ice-cream on his face or every shoe in your closet or every oil change you perform – #instawaste. The #lookwhatIbought shopping excursions can be equally nauseating. If you rewarded yourself for an achievement, share your new bling (once) but not the price tag.
It is acceptable to brag (a tiny bit) but please do not be a drag.
2. AUDIENCE IS NUMBER ONE What does your audience find interesting? Feed them what they want. It seems we get too caught up in having to show our friends or the world anything, everything and too much of #dailylife, #vacation, #pets, or #kids. When posting, tweeting, or instagramming, the audience matters. If you want remain interesting and relevant, ask yourself before you hit send: Who is this for, me or my audience?
I had to unfollow one friend on every format because all he did was tweet, talk, or post about himself. He usually responded to someone else’s comment by twisting it to make it about himself, #shutup.
Remember your audience, nurture them.
3. DON’T BE FLAT IN A HIGH DEF WORLD Share your personality, your sense of humor, your likes and dislikes, your distaste for a certain food, your passions, be you, the best version of you.
Having a personality helps people connect with you. This is what people respond to. Those little glimpses help people to differentiate and remember you from the thousands others they connect with.
But don’t forget the other half of the equation, the people on the other end of your social feed. Engage with followers, get to know them and treat them like they matter.
This is just as important for companies. Businesses who are on social media need to remember this is not just your billboard. Those who post or pin, #petpevealert, each and every product they produce or sell as more than 50% of their online activity, are missing the whole point.
Give your audience something to engage with. A company who does a great job with being multi-dimensional is American Airlines. They are not just a flat boring company tweeting: We fly airplanes, come fly with us. Their tweets, posts, shares and photos are interesting and give the brand, American Airlines, a personality. People respond to this, they connect to American Airlines because they share, engage and aren’t just one dimension. And they answer you if you tweet them, #thumbsup.
4. I COMES BEFORE U, ONLY MATTERS IN THE ALPHABET Do you remain friends with people who only ever talk about themselves? Probably not, these people are exhausting. Why follow anyone who is #narcissistic, only tweeting, updating or posting about themselves?
The success of social media, your social feed, depends entirely on the content you share. Share a great article you read, Re-Gram a beautiful photo, someone else shared on Instagram. Ask someone a question. Share something someone else did. Share, tweet and post items others would be interested in which have absolutely nothing to do with you.
Tip: If you are only putting out information for yourself, put your chosen device down, get out a pencil or pen and write it down on a piece of paper or print the photo and tape it to your mirror, #shutup.
5. NOT SO PRETTY BIG LIARS We all like looking into each other’s lives otherwise social media would be a #deadzone. But don’t be fake or misleading. Posting a photo of a yourself driving a Ferrari is fine, as long as you aren’t pretending it is yours, when it isn’t. Going into a high-end boutique and snapping a selfie, as if the product is yours is a #ohnoyoudidnt. The moment you are trying to #impress someone with false information you’ve ventured into #shutup.
Be honest about experiences, products and life. This is how we connect and find common ground.
6. THINK AND ALWAYS ANSWER YES
T – Is it thoughtful?
H – Is it helpful not harmful?
I – Is it intelligent or informative?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
THINK is is a wonderful shortcut when wondering exactly what to tweet, post or not to tweet. 7. NO BARFING ONLINE! There is no good reason to #throwup a picture of everything you eat. Do not post every meal, tequila shot or stadium hotdog you have had throughout the week. Food critics are exempt. And if you are going to post a cup of coffee, cappuccino or latte, more than once every few months, there had better be a story with it beyond #caffinated.
8. TRAVEL LIGHTLY Share gorgeous vistas, interesting culture and morsels of information. We love this.
If the elevator got stuck on the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower and George Clooney was in the elevator with you and complimented your shoes, you’ve got one maybe two sharable moments. This is when a shoe shot is warranted, but probably not another picture of the Eiffel Tower unless George agrees to a #celebselfie with you in front of it.
Be original, share with us what we have not seen, inspire us.
Don’t tweet or post a photo about every #fabulous meal you’ve enjoyed on #vacation or this is #braggingagain. A truely outstanding meal, (not every damn course) plated like #amazing art, is worthy of being shared with appropriate credit to the chef or establishment.
The caveat, a food photo must be #stellar or the point is lost.
Posting your latest shopping escapade while on a trip, #customslookhere or #stealmyluggage, is nauseating.
In case you were wondering, #dumbphoto is the hashtag for photos of travel tickets. Even the best photographer can’t make a close up of a plane ticket interesting.
9. ISN’T MY KID FABULOUS? First let me say, there is no more honorable task in this world than being a parent. We all love a great kid photo, or a hard earned achievement (graduating from kindergarten is not #monumental), but every time the little one plays with a toy or twelve photos of #goingtoprom is too much.
Sharing family can be lovely, but a play-by-play of the latest soccer game or walk down the aisle = #toomuch. If you must, select five or ten of the best photos from the event and share as an album or interspersed with other shares, otherwise you are delving into the #braggingyetagain category.
What might be more important to remember when it comes to anything posted about children, don’t forget about #stalkers who you may not realize are in your audience.
10. FOCUS MATTERS Don’t post or share bad pictures.
Please, for the sake over everyone else, take good photos, any camera will do it. NEVER share or post a picture which is blurry or out of focus! Blurry, fuzzy, mindlessly crooked photos are akin to a press release shouting #iamanidiot.
Always photograph someone’s #bestself. Focus like a photographer while taking the photo, look for the errors, the hair in someone’s face or the pose which adds three extra chins. Never post pictures of people with their mouths open, while chewing, with food on their face, a straw up their nose, toilet paper stuck to their shoe or anything you wouldn’t be proud posting of yourself. If you wish to post a photo you’ve taken of someone make sure it is a #exceptional one.
It is always nice to ask if you can take a person’s photo, anyone, not just a celebrity and be gracious if someone declines. Unbeknownst to you this person could be having a bad day or just received terrible news and smiling for your photo is not what they want to do.
While this may sound like a lot, it is more common sense than cumbersome. The key to any social interaction is to be mindful of your audience and remember the real audience includes people you don’t even know.
Finally, SHARE NOT SCARE WHEN IT COMES TO SELFIES
Selfies which are boring:
- #outfitoftheday – unless you are a fashion blogger this is #selfabsorbedtimes10
Bad selfies = published bad photos of you.
You are what you Tweet, Facebook and Instagram and upload to any social media platform of your choosing. THINK and be kind to us, your audience. Invite us to enjoy your feed. Post something #inspiring. Post something to make us #smile. Post something to give us a #bellylaugh. Post something truly #beautiful.