I think we’re well past the point of convincing companies they should maintain a presence on popular social media sites. There’s even consensus that companies should attempt to be strategic about their efforts by mapping their tactics to corporate goals. However, there still seems to be debate on whether it’s OK for companies to have a personality.
Frankly, the duller other companies look, the brighter Sterling and our clients can shine. So, with that in mind, here are 11 tips to help waste your time and your company’s resources in social media:
- KILL (Keep it long, lazy). People are busy. Don’t have empathy for their situation. Instead, use a dozen paragraphs to say as little as possible. Additionally, bury your lede and make people hunt for links to sources you cite.
- Bore people. People are distracted easily. A recent study from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and other universities found tweets that are informative or funny — or, ideally, informative and funny — evoked the best emotional responses among 43,000 people who participated in the survey. So, whatever you do, don’t share items that help inform or entertain people you want to influence.
- Stay petty. Whining and small-mindedness is a big turnoff. Complain about the service at lunch or long lines at the DMV to drive people away. Just don’t be humorous about it.
- Try monologuing. It’s a heavy commitment to engage people on Twitter. Chatting back and forth with reporters, analysts, bloggers, superusers, angry customers, and so on requires listening and thoughtful (if rapid) responses. Don’t bother making those connections. Instead, just tweet the headlines to your press releases or share links to your next webinar and leave it there. That way you’ll just be talking to yourself.
- Ditto yourself. Whatever you blog, share the same thing in the same way on Twitter. Whatever you tweet, share on Facebook. Whatever you post, copy on LinkedIn. Don’t use each social networking site in the way it was intended. Rather, pretend you’re going to a house party where you tell everyone to go to a cocktail lounge. Then, at the cocktail lounge, ask everyone to chat with you at a club. At the club, talk to the waitress because no one else will want to hang out with you.
- Blog erratically. Better than not having a blog at all is starting one and then struggling to keep it up. Let weeks or months go by without posting, and ignore advice that illustrates how fresh, quality content are valued not just by readers but by search engines as well.
- Stay home. By that I mean, don’t reach out to other blogs for guest posting. Don’t comment on popular articles. Shy away from inviting influential people to interview you. And ignore basic public relations efforts. Instead, assume people will find you and come read everything on social media sites controlled by your company.
- Copy that. You probably don’t have much insight into your business or industries that surround it. You’re experience is short, your good fortune is from chance, and you’ve learned nothing from challenges along the way. Good. Because you certainly don’t want to share that with people looking to learn more about your company or work. Instead, just retweet and re-post what others have to say as much as possible.
- Deflavorize everything. First, be safe. If there’s controversy, avoid it. Second, ensure every message is reviewed by several mid-level managers. Third, have legal take a look at it. Fourth, make sure not to offend anyone.
- Sell, sell, sell. You have numbers to hit. There’s no time to waste. Don’t bother cultivating a following or finding out what other people might be interested in or taking time to listen to people in the industry. Instead, pitch the hell out of your business as much as possible.
- Leave it to an intern. Better still, choose a night janitor to “manage” your social media. Because, really, why would you want your brand to represent the best of your work and the brightest of your future? Instead, assume anyone can do it, give them little direction, and don’t strive to integrate their work with your campaigns in marketing, website SEO, or lead generation.
And there you have it. Eleven helpful hints to boring people stupid on social media. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if there’s a way companies not affiliated with Sterling can lower the bar and make us look better.
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