We’ve all gotten them: the automated Twitter DM with a meaningless greeting. The spammy InMail. The sales-push Facebook message. These types of messages are clearly sent by people who just want to make a sale. And while most of us know social media isn’t the place for a hard sell, who hasn’t sent a message that felt…just a little bit…inauthentic?
It’s interesting how many us of—and how many companies—struggle to come off as human and authentic on social media. It is, after all, a social medium. All these conversations and new friends should come naturally, right?
But maybe that’s why social media can make our motives so obvious. People know when you’re pitching them. They know you’re reaching out to them because you want to eventually make a sale, or make a contact that might turn into a sale. So it’s all kind of forced and fake to begin with, right?
Not necessarily. There are companies and people who manage to preserve their authenticity. They still market on social media. They still make sales contacts and build business relationships. But they don’t do it in a way that seems canned.
If you want to lose that canned feeling on social media, I hope this post can help. It’s certainly not the last word on how to act more like a human being on social media, but I think it’s a pretty good start.
1. Say thank you
Say it a lot—at least once a day. Here are a few opportunities for saying thank you:
- When someone follows you
- When someone adds you to a list
- When someone shares your content
- When someone reshares your content
- When someone mentions you
- When you read a blog post you like
2. Personalize…and skip the automation
We all know how powerful it is to use someone’s first name. This applies in the real world as well as in social media. So apply it: Mention people by name in any communication.
While first names are good, beware of automated replies. I see a lot of automated replies on Twitter particularly. Some people ask me whether I’m on Twitter for business or pleasure, for instance. Or they ask me what I do for a living.
These are obviously automated responses. Anyone who’s even glanced at my Twitter profile would know why I’m on social media. They’d know what I do for a living, too.
These types of automated messages turn a lot of people off. They probably don’t work very well, either. So consider this: If you could double the results you’re getting from those automated messages, would it be worth the time to send half as many, but actually learn about the person you’re messaging? All it would take is a quick look at their profile page for that social platform. Or a quick check of their website. Time yourself: How long does that actually take?
3. Don’t be 100% business oriented
It’s good to share a bit about your personal life. Of course, none of us in the business realm should be tweeting like Kim Kardashian. But that baseball game you went to on Sunday? That’s perfectly safe to share a post about.