How to Not be Cringe-Worthy On Social Media

It’s been described as the best facebook page ever. This seems like a slight overstatement, since it’s currently hovering at just over 4,700 like. To give you an overview, it’s a fairly amusing and satirical take on the super cheesy corporate Facebook fan page;  so it’s bound to irk some social media folks. However you feel about it, they’re doing a pretty good job of calling out companies for their poor social media strategy and weak attempts at shallow interaction.

From overly-pushy cover photos, awkward surveys and irrelevant content sharing poorly disguised as ‘interaction’, this Facebook page is a check-list of the worst social media strategy, which is to be avoided at all costs.

So, here are the Top 5 Social Media Sins – Be honest, how many are you guilty of?

1. The ‘Like Me Like Me Like Me’ cover photo and profile picture. Not only are these against Facebook’s rules, they’re also pushy and come across as rude or spammy. They often say very little about your company other than “we’re desperately seeking your adoration”.

So what should you be doing instead?

Be creative, funny, informative, tell a story, paint a picture. Showcasing a new product, or making a company announcement is generally a no-go area. Remember, you’re building a community, so make sure your Facebook cover photo is giving something back.

2. Endless requests to like or share. Overuse of the “please share this” request can get irritating very quickly. It stems from the incessant desire that social media managers have for their content to go “viral”. But quite often they aren’t sharing viral-worthy content, they’re just churning out much of the same content in the hope that something sticks.

3. Pointless Caption Competitions. Asking your fans to caption a monkey picture is not engaging; it’s a waste of time for everyone involved. Asking your fans which item you should drop the price of, or asking them to which sign would look better over the front of your store is engaging. Don’t be fooled into thinking cute animal pictures are meaningful engagement.

4. Pretending Everyone is your Friend. “Thanks to our friends over at…” has got to be the most overused status update in brand social media. It’s meaningless, and also draws attention to the idea that you’re a company, writing about another company; wouldn’t you rather be a person on social media?

5. Thinking All Social Media is Right For You. There is a case for saying that Facebook is not the right place for all companies, and some will just never drive engagement. Funeral directors, for example, won’t be posting “like if you were at that great funeral last week…” There’s a time and place for everything, and for some companies, social media isn’t one of them. But don’t be disheartened! Social media is not restricted to Facebook and Twitter – YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and many more are great alternatives.

Be realistic about what you hope to achieve and look at what other people in your industry are doing. If you still can’t decide if Facebook is right for you, take a step back from your job and say: “would I like this page?”