6 Social Media Fails Freelancers Make

What I’m listening to: Blunderbuss by Jack White
It’s been a slow week from a work perspective, but filled with small tasks that made it feel busy. I managed to kick off my new marketing plan, and I’m preparing for a conference in April. That’s usually my big networking event of the year.

My social media campaign is also in full swing. I’ve seen a lot more follows since I’ve put a bit of a plan in place. And for those of you who think it’s terribly hard to build a campaign, know that mine consists of figuring out what I want to tweet about each day and finding great tweets to share.

Just that has increased my followers by 333%. So says the app I’m using.

Not all of the follows are quality ones, though you don’t know that on the surface. Often the connections we have that we think are too much work or not relevant are with people who pass our names along. I had that once where I worked in the same room with a man who drove me batty. I was cordial and never let my frustration show (we forget that what we deem as flaws in other people often are our own flaws reflected back to us).

That connection netted me a two-year client engagement. He’d passed my name along.

However, there are connections that you just know aren’t worth keeping. They’re the ones who can’t put on the professional demeanor or who become like shadows (or worse, stalkers) in your life.

And sometimes, we become the ones people can’t shake.

Are you committing any of these social media gaffes? Click To Tweet

Too many retweets. You’re following your favorite influencer and she’s tweeting some really good stuff. You share. You share again. Wait, you shared three in a row? Four? Come on. Give the woman some space. It’s easy to overstep the boundary from sharing to fixated — I had to check myself last week when my new app kept suggesting the same person’s tweets for retweeting. The stuff may be great, but temper it. If you have a conversation that’s one-sided, don’t keep pressing for an answer. Let the conversation happen naturally.

Too friendly. A new follower became a blocked follower when he sent a personal note commenting on my looks. Troll much, buddy? If I’m engaging with you for the first time on social media, don’t assume I’m dating material. It’s never okay to start the conversation with how pretty, sexy, or cute someone is. That’s creep behavior, and I want no part of it.

Too egocentric. Know what I hate? People who don’t know me sending me requests to do them favors or to buy their shit without ever engaging me directly — I’m talking to every person who sends those “Thanks for following” tweets that include links to their latest promotions. Don’t follow me just to ask me to help you find clients or give you free advice (I’ve had businesses pull this one). Do your damn legwork — build a relationship, nurture it over time, then have the conversation.

Too far afield. You’re trying to build a relationship with your technology client prospects, so why are you sharing political posts or recipes? If you’re using social media to build a brand, stay consistent with that brand.

Too much personal stuff. Maybe you look great in a bikini or maybe you love your smoochy-face selfie that everyone on the damn planet has done to death. Maybe you’re really ticked that your significant other doesn’t replace the toilet paper roll. Does any of that really belong on your business account? Would I hire a fantastic designer if he was bitching about the last two clients who were impossible to work with?

Too much drama. This one is one I see on Facebook a lot. Whining about life, getting pissed and telling people off, sending out those ambiguous messages and then clamming up, telling us about the most disgusting details of the latest illness… that kind of drama makes a person look, well, immature. High school, at least for me, was over ages ago.

Writers, what social media fails get under your skin?
How can that situation be fixed?

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  • Meryl Evans January 20, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Excellent advice as always, Lori. Especially appreciate the egocentric one. Have not gotten one single good DM in Twitter after following someone. Even though I customize who can read my Facebook posts, I always post like a leak could happen. So no Debbie downer stuff. A friend was complaining that everyone posts good things … but what about when someone is going through something difficult?

    Yes, we want to know about it so we can help you. But still, it has no place in a public forum even with privacy settings. My social media posting rule: Do I want mom, future client or kid to see this? This way I cover all the main bases. We share different things with different people in our lives. What you might tell Mom … you might not tell a client.

    • lwidmer January 23, 2017 at 8:21 am

      That’s a great filter to run it all through, Meryl. If it’s something I don’t want the world to know, it’s going to stay between my friends and me. Too many people talk about their relationships, their hangovers, their boss being a pain, or otherwise show just how hot-headed/unsuitable for a job they are.

  • Damaria Senne January 24, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Great advice, thanks Lori. Oversharing the personal stuff : that resonates with me. I feel it’s OK for me to say when I’m going through some personal issues, so people who care about me know ( and can help if needed), but I worry about saying too much.

    Potential and current clients read my posts and they need to be assured that I’m a business person capable of delivering on what they need, not an angry toddler whining about life. Unfortunately, that reticence to overshare leaves me unable to find the words to post. I need to find a way to work around that.

    • lwidmer January 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Damaria, I think it’s not a problem for someone like you — you clearly know your boundaries. It’s when someone has to show their navel ring or other things you wouldn’t normally show a hiring manager that the line is crossed. Maybe we should start considering that everything we share online has the potential to land in the lap of the next person who’s considering hiring us. That’s entirely possible and likely.