5 Social Media Faux Pas & How to Fix Them
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
Here at Bowda the name of our game is social media. Over the years, our team has spent a lot of time online, and have come across a lot of witty Tweets, interesting Instagram posts, and fascinating Facebook pages. That being said, we are no stranger to the less than wonderful posts being shared every day. What makes them less favourable? We’ve collected a list of the most frustrating faux pas we’ve encountered, and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Automated Messages
This faux pas applies mainly to Twitter, but should be taken into account with all platforms. While we agree that thanking a new follower for their support, either through a direct message or a tweet, is a good idea, please avoid sending an (obviously) automated message. The point behind messaging a new follower is to establish an, albeit small, relationship with them, and thank them for noticing you online. However silly this may sound, going unnoticed on Twitter is never good for a new business, so you always want to demonstrate your appreciation. That being said, the entire meaning behind your message is lost when you’ve used a program to generate a very unnatural response to recently acquired followers. In some cases, it can even lead to being un-followed, if the individual suspects you may be a spam account (which do exist, by the way, and are incredibly irritating to have on your feed). Also, using these auto-mated responses as a marketing tool to advertise your services, or increase your followers, is spam, and will always be treated as such (i.e. blocking, deleting, un-following). Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with strangers all over the world, but your efforts have to be genuine (just like they would be in person).
Bottom line: If you choose to send a thank you to your newest followers, always send a personal message.
DO: “Hey @BowdaPR, thanks for following! We look forward to learning about how to improve our presence on social media!”
DON’T: “Hey, thanks for following. Sign-up for our newsletter here/buy my cool product/give me money.”
2. Overuse, or incorrect use, of the infamous #hashtag.
Since the beginning of Twitter, the use of the #hashtag has been heavily debated. It is one of the more major learning curves that comes with creating your Twitter account, and most have figured out how to use them on a trial-and-error basis. Twitter was created in 2006, so if you still aren’t sure how to use the hashtag, listen up! There is nothing that demonstrates amateur hour better than misusing #hashtags.
I realize you may be making funny faces at the computer by this point. “There is no purpose to a hashtag, they’re for fun” is, perhaps, one reason behind your distorted brow. Although creating a hashtag can be fun and seemingly useless, there is a method to the madness. A hashtag, essentially, places your tweet in a list of other tweets that share the same hashtag. This can work to your advantage if you decide to share something that is “trending”, where others may see. By using a hashtag, it allows others to see your content who may not have been following you before, and then choose to because you are so wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational.
Now, you’re probably thinking “If hashtags are so great, I’m going to use them all the time! In all my tweets! Only hashtags, no words!” This is where the problem lies. Although this may seem like a great idea, it really isn’t. You only have 140 characters to demonstrate how wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational you are, so don’t waste them on lengthy sentences that become too difficult to read without spaces. The longer your hashtag, the less likely someone else has used it before, therefore stripping the hashtag of its purpose. At Bowda, we have a golden rule of no more than three hashtags, and make sure they are short and sweet. The more concise you are, the easier it is for someone to re-tweet/quote you to their followers. And why wouldn’t they want to, since you’re so wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational?
Bottom Line: Do not use more than three hashtags. Do your research- make sure they are concise, and preferably exist already.
DO: “We all need a little extra pick-me-up on our Mondays. #MondayMotivation”
DON’T: “Click this link for more information on #climatechange #globalwarming #renewableenergy #letsworktogethertosaveourplanetbeforeitexplodes
3. Abbreviate, but never use lingo.
OMG, LOL, LMAO, ROTFLMAO, IDK, SMH – what on earth am I saying? Exactly!
Even though it is tempting to use MSN language, with a limitation of 140 characters, it is never a good idea. You have no idea who your Tweets are being read by, and the last thing you want to inspire is confusion amongst your followers. Being clear and concise are two absolute musts when tweeting, and as funny as these lingo terms can be, they are anything but clear. SMH? I had to open up a new window, and resort to urban dictionary to solve that one (it means “shake my head” if you didn’t already know!).
Abbreviations are acceptable (i.e. B.C. instead of British Columbia, ‘&’ instead of ‘and’, TGIF instead of thank god it’s Friday), but try to only use the most obvious ones.
Avoiding lingo also assures you avoid sounding ignorant (remember, you’re really wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational and want to remain being seen that way). Nothing takes away from an inspirational quote or a thought-provoking article quite like “omg lololol” following immediately after.
Bottom Line: Minimize your character count without compromising your message.
DO: “Learn why BC has become the smartest & most environmentally friendly province”
DON’T: “omg look at dis pic à I h8 this s0o much! #smh #idk
4. Improper Grammar
This faux pas results in a lot of head-banging against a wall for some people. It would be really great if the individuals out there who still use “your” instead of “you’re” and “one” instead of “won” would be stripped of their right to access social media platforms, but sadly, this is not the case.
If you are one of these people, I am SMH at you! (Just kidding – there is no judgement here at Bowda. We understand that grammar mishaps happen to even the strictest grammar nerd, thank goodness for that edit button!)
However – and this is a big however – there is no excuse for the use of improper grammar and spelling on your Tweets and/or other social media posts. Nearly all, if not ALL, technological devices that provide us with the ability to post on such platforms come equipped with spellcheck. Please use this tool on a daily basis, and always pay attention to those red/green/blue squiggly lines (you know, the ones that appear every time you try to spell necessary? Or maybe that’s just me) that indicate you have chosen an incorrect letter arrangement. Other times, you have spelled the word correctly, but used the wrong form (i.e. your – you’re, they’re – their – there, whole – hole, lose-loose and I could go on and on and on...); this, my friends, is unacceptable. Thousands of people are on Twitter every day, and they are all presented with the freedom to follow, and un-follow, whomever they please. The followers that you have worked so hard to attain, you need to KEEP them. The best way to do that? Never fail to show them how wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational you are with every single post. People may choose to write you off, and assume what you have to say, or the services you wish to provide, or the messages you want to share, or not worthwhile if they can’t trust you to pay attention to basic grammar rules. The internet can be a cruel place amigos; we just want to help you master your way through it.
Bottom Line: Always triple check your tweets, Instagram captions, and Facebook posts. As we say at Bowda “spell-check yourself, before you wreck yourself”.
DO: “At Bowda, we represent an environment based on peace and love, and always admire your feedback”.
DON’T: “At Bowda, we represent an environment based on piece and love. and always admir you’re feedback”.
5. Don’t forget that social media is a two-way conversation.
This one is extremely important. Never forget that social media is best used as a conversational tool. Engaging your followers encourages them to continue to follow and support you. Nobody likes to see companies that choose to fill their feed with advertisements or self-proclamations about how great they are. If someone tweets at you, tweet back! When you choose to post something, always encourage a conversation. Never be afraid to ask your audience their opinions. People love to talk, and if you allow your social media page to be a place for them to do it, your number of followers will increase faster than my cat runs after a bag of Temptations treats.
Twitter chats exist for this very reason; both celebrities and companies do it frequently. This concept allows people to ask questions they may have about your company, or comment on ideas that your company represents. Twitter Q&As are always very popular (occurring more with celebrities, authors, talk-show hosts, etc.). Live-tweeting is also done frequently nowadays, which consists of individuals informing people of the details of an event that is happening, that they may not be able to attend. Either way, it’s all good press when you encourage your followers to reach out to you.
Bottom Line: Always engage ALL your followers, and encourage a conversation.
DO: “At Bowda, we believe Twitter & Instagram are the most successful platforms; what do you think? #socialmedia”
DON’T: “At Bowda we’re so great.”“At Bowda, we offer services to run your social media and blog accounts for you. Let us do it. We’re great!!”
At the end of the day, we want to commend you for all your efforts to remain relevant on social media and expand your brand on platforms you may be unfamiliar with. If you think conquering social media is easy, you’re most likely not doing it correctly. At Bowda, we believe practice makes perfect, and hope that you take these constructive criticisms as encouragement going forward. After all, what would the world do without your wise/hilarious/savvy/inspirational self?