• I am not a social media expert, guru, or whatever those people are calling themselves this week. I’m just a person who loves social media. I’ve learned how to use it mostly by watching others and attending my fair share of social media seminars for individuals and business owners. I’m lucky that many of my friends are well-regarded for their work in social media marketing and I know shut up and listen when they’re talking about what works.

    #SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr
    #SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr

    It’s frustrating to see companies and organizations suck at using social media. They clutter the feed with garbage which damages their reputations. I had it crammed down my throat that social media is a communications tool to facilitate interactions with others; it’s not a digital billboard. There are times I want to tweet at people, “Every time you suck at Twitter, a kitten dies,” but I know it’s a waste of time because they don’t pay attention to what anyone else says about or to them.

    Here are some of the most common and annoying offenses people are committing with their social media accounts and putting kittens in fear all over the world that they might not survive your next post:

    1. Having social accounts and never posting anything or abandoning your accounts for long periods without explanation.
    2. Having social media accounts but never responding when anyone tries to interact with you, especially customers.
    3. Talking only about yourself. This is especially true if you exclusively post “sales-y stuff.”
    4.  Thanking every person who likes or follows you. (This looks like bragging or that you have nothing useful to say.)
    5.  Bombing the feed by posting several times in a row.
    6.  Deleting posts to correct or clarify statements. (It’s better to post an update instead.)
    7.  Starting a blog and stop adding posts after two weeks (sometimes less). Blogging takes a commitment.
    8.  Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts so your tweets make no sense because they cut off after the 140th character.
    9.  Asking for retweets (aka digital panty throwing) or indulging digital panty throwers.
    10.  Tweeting that you posted something new on your Facebook page or another social media account. (If your fans cared what you put on your other profiles, they would connect with you there.)
    11.  Posting dead links or bad links.
    12.  Getting defensive with critics.
    Don't let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr
    Don’t let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr

    Facebook has a “like” button, but I think they need to add buttons for “dislike” and “dead kitten.” Most of us cringe, grumble, and unfollow when someone sucks at social media. Perhaps adding these buttons would help companies understand when they suck and inspire them to seek out professional assistance.

    One of the best social media tips I’ve received is “be useful.” Think about your audience’s needs and look for ways to interact with them. If you see yourself in the list, here are some book recommendations for being better at social media:

    For those of you who are visual learners, check out Oatmeal’s take on this topic.

    Hat tip to everyone to contributed tips and suggestions for this post.

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