If we avoid these tactics, our personal brands will be better for it in 2012. As will everyone else in the social media universe we impact.
I wish there was a way these could be banned completely from Twitter. They’re annoying and they say, “I’m too lazy to write anything personal to you so I’m going to sound like a form letter.” Gee, thanks. If you’re going to DM, make it personal to that individual or don’t do it.
2) Connecting on LinkedIn without a message.
Again, this is just lazy. You want people to connect with you but you can’t type a sentence or two to go with the automatic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message? Show you’re in it to build relationships rather than a hoarder of connections.
3) Using LinkedIn Discussion Groups for your sales pitch.
If you want to have a discussion, let’s have a discussion. If you’re good at what you say, you don’t need to sell. People will value it and link to you as a result. It’s a big turn-off to transform a setting for learning from one another into a place for advertising.
4) Advertising rather than connecting.
Like the LinkedIn point, I have come across certain people who have tweeted nothing but their offerings and wares. Recruiters, you’re as guilty as anyone – I get that you’re posting a job, but why not at least attempt to converse with someone who may be a candidate rather than turn everything you post into a classifieds section? I don’t get it. Why are you on social media if you clearly don’t want to be social? Because that, my friend, is not social media. That’s advertising. And it’s frowned upon.
5) Labeling yourself a guru, visionary or game changer.
Humble much? If you’re any of the above, you don’t need to be the one saying it in your bio. You can carve a niche for yourself by providing thoughts that are interesting and hopefully, you’ll find those thoughts get shared. When people praise you, thank them. You have to earn it before you proclaim yourself a genius.
6) “Post this as your status update if you…”
It may be a great cause. But don’t pressure people to post things on their Facebook status update. There’s a better way to tell the story of that cause if you’re truly involved that can mean posting on your own wall. If it’s compelling, people will comment. Otherwise, it’s kind of like the Mom in your neighborhood who accompanies her kid to your doorstep to sell you girl scout cookies. You feel pressured to buy them or else you’ll look bad. End the peer pressure of re-posting.
Be giving. Be humble. Be considerate and respectful of your audience. Sell without looking like you’re trying that hard.
You’ll be amazed how good things can happen for your personal brand when you genuinely want to help others above helping yourself.
Dan Gershenson is a Chicago-based consultant focused on brand strategy and content marketing. Dan has guided a variety of CEOs and Marketing Directors at small to medium-sized companies, providing hundreds of strategic plans to help businesses identify their best niches and areas of opportunity. Dan blogs on Chicago Brander, mentors advertising students and cheers relentlessly for the Chicago Bears. Dan graduated from Drake University with a degree in Advertising.