It is 2019, and somehow I still see people use social platforms to promote, sell, and sometimes even spam their friends.
The sad reality is that many of these platforms build features to encourage this behavior, because they end up gaining when users send automated messages by the millions, or beg for likes on their business page.
Long term, however, this type of behavior comes at a cost to both the user and the platform. Here are five tactics to avoid on all social platforms.
1. Asking people to like something without giving them a reason to like it.
The reason the Like, Favorite, and Heart buttons were created was to give users the ability to express their appreciation for content they actually like. As always, marketers ruined the concept by turning likes into a metric of success, thereby encouraging you to beg for likes.
What you should be spending your time on instead is producing content that will give people a reason to click that Like button. Even if I do respond to your request for a like, what are the chances that I stick around if your content is not valuable or engaging? The answer is, very low.
Instead of using Facebook's feature to ask all your friends for a like, fight the temptation, and use your energy to give people a reason to click Like.
2. Mass tagging people along with scores of others.
Yes, I fully realize that you tagged me and 300 others in that tweet or Facebook post, so that either it appears in our timeline or we share it. But please, think. Is this really an effective way to market? Is this playing the long game or cutting corners by hitching a ride on others' audience?
For me, and many people I have spoken to, getting mass tagged in a post that is actually irrelevant to me and my interests is an immediate unfriend/unfollow. It is spammy behavior and should never be done, unless of course, I am really in the picture or the post is relevant to my work.
3. Sending automated messages.
There's nothing as exciting as getting an automated message from you on LinkedIn because a message popped up asking if you want to congratulate me on my birthday or work anniversary. Don't do it. And if you must do it, edit the message. Personalize it. Be human and stop giving into the platform's algorithm that views you as a number. By sending me an automated message, you are basically confirming that you behave like a bot, and not like a person. I am not a fan of connecting with bots--how about you?
4. Adding people to a group without their permission.
How is this still a thing? How does Facebook even allow you to add me to a group without asking me first? Well, that question is less important than the question of why you would even consider using that functionality.
Since when is opting me into something a good idea? Would you force me to buy your product offline? No. So why do it online? Send a message first and ask if someone is interested in joining your group. If the answer is yes, invite away.
5. Overdoing what you call 'engagement.'
How do I say this without coming off as pretentious? If you want to start building a relationship with someone online, engaging with his or her content is a solid strategy. Liking this person's last 300 Instagram pictures all at once? A bit less solid.
As my mother always said, everything is better when done in moderation. I don't know about you, but getting a comment on my Facebook post, a heart on my Instagram picture, a reply to my tweet, and then a message on WhatsApp all in the span of 30 seconds does not make me want to engage. Rather, it frightens me and makes me want to block.
In other words, behave on social networks as you would in real life. Think not only of your business needs, but also of the needs of the recipient and how your actions will be perceived on the receiving end.
Originally published April 11, 2019 on Inc.com