Crimes of social media and blogging are rife and these days it seems there are far more ‘experts’ regurgitating rubbish in the hope of overnight fame or making a quick buck than anything else. It seems to me that there are very few people who are willing to put any effort in or work for anything anymore – everyone wants to be an ‘overnight success’. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my thoughts on what I consider the common crimes of social media and blogging.
‘Like and Share’ if you dare
This one is a bit of a bugbear of mine, there seem to be people all over the place that claim to be social media experts and yet either don’t know the rules of the platform they choose, or choose to actively flout them. For example, ‘like and share’ competitions are against Facebook rules and those who run them run the risk of having their page shut down since they are quite rightly classed as spam. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing your timeline full of the same post shared over and over again from eager beavers who hope to win a prize. But the real cruel irony of these type of competitions is that entrants often don’t even realise that it’s potentially not even actually possible for them to win a competition of this kind! Depending on the settings of the individual (if they have tight privacy controls), the page admin running the competition is not even able to see all the names of the people liking and sharing the page or post! Only those names with fairly lax settings or those set on public will appear to the page running the competition. Now that’s hardly a fair contest is it?!
And in case you’re wondering what the exact rules of Facebook competitions are – there’s a link to the rules here.
Following the leader
Not a crime, just a personal perspective, but everywhere you’ll see the advice to follow the work of the people in the same area as you to be influenced or maybe even to see what the competition is up to. Of course I do read heaps of stuff from all over the place and I’ve got a lot of love for great bloggers – I read their work because I genuinely find it interesting, useful, inspirational or because I can relate to it. But as far as I’m concerned, the only competition is with myself, constantly striving to learn and improve. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is up to and for me, I feel that focusing too much on others can actually have a negative affect. Being truthfully you is what blogging is all about, so I say to focus on what you’re doing, your own ideas, be yourself and just get your head down and get on with it. And don’t steal other people’s photos (or content) either, that is a crime of social media and blogging.
Automatic for the people
It can be hard to keep up with social networks and one of the answers to this is the plethora of available options for automation, but be careful, after all social media is all about being social, and real engagement is key. Don’t be one of those that only posts impersonal, robotic stuff day after day, or even worse – definitely don’t post those ‘I gained 25 followers this week’ updates… good for you – now please stop spamming my feed, *unfollow*.
Less is more
And following on from the point above – I’m a great believer that it’s always better to do one social network well, than lots badly. Concentrate on the social media that you’re comfortable with, and keep an eye on your referral figures. From there you can figure out where to concentrate your efforts and scrap everything else if you don’t have the time or inclination to work it properly. Don’t just have a presence because some article you read once told you that you should.
Links that stink…
Please stop linking your Facebook to your twitter, and don’t use twitter just to share your instagram – it’s boring and there’s nothing worse than seeing those awful ‘I just posted a picture to Facebook’ type updates… Look at each social network as a separate entity and use it in the way it was intended. Be authentic. Share ‘real’ thoughts and images. Oh, and don’t over-hashtag, it not only makes you look like a robot, it also makes a post really hard to read which defeats the object of what you’re trying to achieve (yup, interaction and engagement again).
And yes, I know I’m guilty of at posting some of my instagrams on twitter, but my point is, don’t do it ALL the time and if you are going to do it occasionally, make sure it’s not the only thing you’re posting on twitter.
Verbal (or pictorial) diarrhoea
There’s been plenty of research done on this, and there’s all kinds of recommendations for each differing social media platform as to how many times is the ideal number to post per day. But whatever you decide is right, don’t post too much, leave at least an hour between posts (twitter excepted) and definitely don’t binge update on any platform. There’s nothing more annoying than a feed clogged by someone’s consecutive updates, one after another, after another. Unless you’re famous or a person of importance at a groundbreaking event of world significance there’s only so many images or quotes about the same event people can take minute by minute until it makes us want to dive for the unfollow button (especially where Instagram is concerned). Post one update at a time and then step away from the device, thanking you muchly.
Rules, rules, rules
Do this, do that, share X number of times a day, share this type of content and that type of content. Ugh – most important of all is to just enjoy what you’re doing. If it becomes mechanical, or a chore, or a task to do simply because ‘it must be done’, then in my opinion you’re missing the point. Just relax, have fun, be genuine and be social – the clue is in the name, ‘social media’. It’s all about engagement not numbers, which brings me to…
The logistics of statistics
Often people will look at a social media account with a large number of followers and think they’re influential, but in reality, you need to delve a little deeper. Anyone can build a huge following in a matter of days if you follow anyone purely with the goal of getting a follow back, but it’s relevance and interaction that really count, and building that takes time and effort – there are no shortcuts. Well, you could always buy followers, but at the end of the day all you’re buying is an empty number made up of spam and fake accounts that most people can see straight through. So no, don’t even think about compromising your integrity in this way. The general consensus on numbers seems to be that if you have 10,000 genuine Instagram followers, you should be easily getting somewhere close to 1,000 likes per post…
As with everything in life it’s quality not quantity that counts and the most important thing is to follow accounts that are genuinely of interest to you and relevant within your niche. Following everyone and anyone for follow backs may bring the numbers, but the numbers don’t mean anything if very few of them care enough about what you’re doing to interact and engage with you. Social media is about people, not numbers. Brad Bernard from My Wanderlist puts it perfectly, “it’s about who will care about your next update”.
Check out this great little piece he wrote cutting through the crap with how to gain followers on twitter.
The voice of reason
And finally, if you want my advice about blogging itself, the best I can offer is to write because you want to, because you enjoy it and it means something to you. There are plenty of people out there who do it for many other reasons and some of them have found a way to be successful, but there are many more who aren’t. Be your own true self, and write from the heart about things you care about or not at all.
Oh, and always proofread. Check, check and check again before you hit publish. Mistakes happen and some will always slip the net, but that paragraph or post that seemed like a great idea after three beers last night almost certainly isn’t as funny in the cold light of day…
Do you agree or have anything else to add? Let me know your thoughts!