A Rant: Why I May Ignore Your Social Media Invitation

Note: This post originally published in 2012 was updated on June 21, 2018.

Social media etiquette – introductions are requested

How often have you invited someone to Link, Follow or Friend without reminding the person how you are connected? There are some “rules” for social media etiquette that somehow don’t cover this topic and some that do.

Social media etiquette makes the Web a nicer place

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter all have suggestion mechanisms to help you find and connect with those that may be your friends, former co-workers, colleagues, or even former sweethearts. In the drive to “get the numbers up” many people click, click, click to add new peeps.

Twitter and Instagram allow you to follow people without their permission. Though on Instagram, if an account is private, you will not be able to see or follow. So, understanding new connections’ motivations is not as much of a concern as it is with Facebook and LinkedIn. With these two social media platforms, the emphasis is on a personal connection. I like what Cision’s Yvette Pistorio wrote in her blog post:

Introduce yourself. When you follow/friend/engage with people who may not know you, introduce yourself. It helps break the ice and open the door to conversation. Let them know who you are, what you do (if connecting for business) and how you came across them…it might just make a great impression. Be transparent about what you are connecting with them for.

Now I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon, but if you want to be my Facebook Friend isn’t it just polite to introduce yourself? And if you want to be Linked, shouldn’t I know that you’re not a ball and chain?

Tell me who you are

I’m delighted to get to know new people, after all, I do brand myself “The Connection Maven,” but if I don’t know you, I don’t always understand your motivation.  Do you want to sell me something? Do you want to become a client or do you just want to ask me out for a cup of coffee? Or maybe you want to find a new job? I’m not a mind reader and so I have no idea why you may want to become connected. So, just tell me and we’re cool.

I’ll be your Friend. LinkedIn posse member and I’ll re-tweet your amazing tweets. Just give me some context for our pending friendship.

After we’re connected

And after we’re connected, please do not tag or mention me in every post.

Especially on LinkedIn. You know. You’ve seen them.

The posts where someone attends a meeting and then proceeds to humble brag about how awesome the event was, how much they learned, and mentions/tags 35 of their *friends* or connections in attendance, all in an attempt to increase engagement. If someone there said something cogent that you want to credit them with, for heaven’s sake, do mention and tag them. Give them all the credit they are due. But just piling on the mentions for the sake of ginning up some response to your post should be avoided at all costs. It feels and looks like begging. Events are all about face to face connections. Take selfies with the peeps you sat with and post away. Then you have a reason to mention them.

If it feels forced. If it feels like something you would not do in real life then stop. Don’t do it. Keep it real. Keep it human. Keep it sociable.

Thanks, and rant over.

Photo credit: flickr user Kate Ter Haar

Why should social media be a component of my marketing plan?

What are social media used for?

Social media are a major component of the lives of the majority of Americans. People use a variety of channels to share daily updates about their lives, their beliefs, and their families. Posting to social media allows them to air their opinions of service providers, businesses, and current events. Individual citizens are not alone in their use of social media. Even the president of the US takes to Twitter to share his thoughts before he shares them with his closest advisors.

Many news outlets lead their breaking news stories directly to social media. Twitter has practically become a news ticker with late breaking events cresting and being amplified by retweeting. Additionally, customer service arms of major brands monitor social media and consumers expect to have their concerns listened to and answered by representatives from them.

The majority of people in the US use social media

Seven out of ten people use social media to connect with one another. A great majority of these social media users are in their prime years, between 30 and 64. The most popular social media platform is Facebook with 68% of adults in the US holding accounts on the platform. People of both sexes use social media actively. People with incomes greater than $75,000 are the most active users of Facebook – with 76% of them on the site. [Pew Research Fact Sheet on Social Media]

The percentage of US adults who use each social media channel

Why your business must not ignore social media

As a business, ignoring social media’s importance seems wrong headed. Instead of ignoring social media, you can actively listen. By actively listening [curating topical lists around hashtags, topics and individuals] to social media, you can learn what people think of your business, your competitors, and be among the first to spot new trends. You’ll learn about complaints and peeves so you can strategically align services to fit consumer expectations. Social media is a great resource of business intelligence for every type of business.

How does social media activity impact your website’s SEO?

Social media are also a way to drive traffic to your website where consumers can learn about your firm’s expertise and services. Visits to your website are an important factor to help increase your website’s ranking in search results.

According to SEMrush Ranking Factor Report, “Out of 12 factors we have analyzed, the number of direct website visits seems to be the most important page-ranking factor. Websites with higher authority consequently gain more traffic, and as a result, have a better chance of getting into the top.”

Your activity on social media not only increases awareness of your website and your authority, it (hopefully) provides others in positions of high reputation the opportunity to share your content. As an off page ranking factor which influences SEO, shares by those with solid reputations helps increase your content’s trustworthiness and SEO rank.

According to Alexandra Tachalova writing for MOZ, while “social media signals don’t influence site rankings, SEO isn’t effective without harnessing social media channels.” Ms. Tachalova further notes, “When you share content on SMM channels you’re not only getting engagement, but also bringing visitors to your site. This in turn helps you boost your site’s visibility: SMM [social media marketing] corresponds to SEO and indirectly influences website performance in Google.”

SearchEngine Land agrees with Ms. Tachalova. “Content that gets socially shared can, in turn, pick up links or gain engagement, which are direct ranking factors. As a result, paying attention to social media is important to SEO success.”

What role does quality play in the development of website content?

Social media in service to SEO depends on the highest quality content which is actively clicked and shared. This puts a large burden on small businesses to strategically develop and deploy content, monitoring and adjusting to tweak results that improve performance. To be avoided are “quick fixes” and too-good-to-be-true solutions which claim to automatically build your content in order to boost your search presence.

Content development should take a considerable amount of time, research and thought. Your goal is to create highly authoritative, insightful blog posts on your site, which can be shared across social media, and  which generate the type sharing behavior described.

How does a business go about building a social media relationship?

When it comes to audience development, your goal is to develop relationships with people who care about the causes, services or sector you represent. Finding strong advocates for your content will enhance engagement, improve virality and lead to better standing in search results. This is where your active listening streams and lists come into play. In addition, there are solutions which claim to help identify influencers so you can follow them. However, if you simply follow them, without significant interaction, with only the goal of getting them to share your posts, you’ll fail miserably. No one likes to be used for their position or influence, whether in real life or on social media. Cultivate actual interaction with individuals.

If you’re at all active on social media, no doubt you’ve seen hashtags such as #followback or people who proclaim that they can get you thousands of followers for no money. Remember, there is no quick fix. Cheap is as cheap does. Do not be distracted from the diligence you need to build your followers one at the time. Take to heart this guidance from SearchEngine Land, “participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way, just as you would with your website, or with customers in an offline setting.”

Every business needs social media as a part of their marketing

The research is clear. Social media are a major influencer on website search presence and higher ranking. Any business who wishes to be found in search results by their target customer for the services they need must use social media as a component of their strategic marketing.


Header Featured Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

Snapchat offers exciting opportunities to interact with consumers

Charleston PR's associate, Cecilia BrownOur guest post on Snapchat was authored by our associate Cecilia Brown. Cecilia is a graduate of the University of South Carolina-Columbia and holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism and Mass Communications. We are privileged to work with Cecilia as a member of our social media team.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat, an instant messaging social media platform which debuted in September 2011, is an innovative and creative communication application. The three co-founders of the application, Evan Spiegel, Robert “Bobby” Murphy, and Frank Reginald “Reggie” Brown IV met at Stanford University around 2010. They worked on a messaging app called “Picaboo”. This app was targeted towards females who wanted to send instant photo messages that would disappear after the recipient opened the message. The name Picaboo was already in use by a photo publishing and printing company, so they renamed their photo messaging app Snapchat.

Click to view a video which explains Snapchat

Click to view a video overview of Snapchat.

Snapchat is very user friendly, once you download the application on your smartphone, you create a Snapchat account and add friends by either their username, snapcode or phone number. The app is used to take and share photos and videos that you can send to friends. Photos can last 1-10 seconds on the viewers’ phones and Snapchat has recently extended the time of videos so that you can take multiple 10 second videos in a row that will send as a series. Also, a cool new feature you can add to videos is looping them so that they play over and over until someone clicks off the Snapchat you sent. You can also upload these timed photos and videos to your Snapchat story that stays live for 24 hours on the app for all of your friends to see. On Snapchat, you can apply funny filters, emojis, text, drawings and more to your photos and videos. Snapchat is much more than simply sharing photos, it’s a social media communication platform that has grown exponentially since 2010. To learn more about SnapChat visit their YouTube channel for informative videos.

Everyday Snapchat is used by so many people around the world to send messages, photos and videos. According to Snapchat, there are 166 million average daily active Snapchatters globally and they open their app an average of 18 times each day. Primarily a youthful cohort, these daily active users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the app and 60% of them create with the Snapchat camera everyday.

Snapchat infographic

Chart via Mediakix.

Advertising opportunities on Snapchat?

Beyond being a communication tool, Snapchat also provides advertising opportunities to brands and businesses. According to Snapchat’s website, advertising products such as Sponsored Geofilters, Snapchat Lenses, or Snapchat Ads can help your business:

  • “Reach a highly engaged and unique audience”
  • “Tell your story with innovative ad products”
  • “Get great results to meet your objectives”
  • “Grow awareness and consideration”
  • “Drive action”

If you own a business have you thought about advertising and marketing to your customers using Snapchat? If not, it’s about time you jump on board and begin using this application.

What are Sponsored Geofilters?

Sponsored Geofilters are one easy and effective way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness in your community using Snapchat. Geofilters are creative overlays that show what you’re doing in a Snapchat or show where you are. They are also simple to create and they are cost effective if you’re trying to pinpoint people in a specific area, during a specific time. If your business has a new product launch, an event you wish to increase awareness of, or you just want more people knowing about your business, this is definitely a product worth investing some time and money into.

Geofilters display on photos and videos in the Snapchat application based on the smartphone’s GPS coordinates while using. Having a Geofilter set up during a large local community event or place is a brilliant idea to potentially reach thousands of Snapchat users in that designated area. They’ll take photos with their friends or of the event and as they swipe through the many filters on the app, they’re bound to scroll across your fun filter and may even send it out on their photo if they like it! It is important to have a simple, fun design that works on top of photos, so be sure to follow Snapchat’s templates and guidelines as you create one that people prefer.

Are Snapchat Lenses the same thing as Filters?

Not quite, Snapchat Lenses are real-time special effects and sounds that can be added to Snapchats. Once in the app, you can tap anywhere on the screen to focus on your face. Then you’ll follow an action prompt such as “Lift your Eyebrows” and a lens will appear on your face. This is a good brand awareness opportunity for a sunglass or hat stores, because the lens could show off one of their new products and they could put their logo on the screen. A soft drink company lens could feature a can or bottle in the screen with a straw bent towards the mouth found on the face in the screen. The opportunities with lenses are growing everyday as Snapchat expands on this new advertising feature. This is a little more advanced than Sponsored Geofilters, but it’s definitely a product that will be growing exponentially on digital over the next few years as phone capabilities advance.

Why run an advertising campaign on Snapchat?

The Snapchat Ad campaigns are an innovative and intriguing method to running a digital advertising campaign in your area. Everyone these days are carrying mobile devices, and millions of people are using the Snapchat application- so why not put your ad on their phone screen? Snap Ads are 100% viewable, full screen, and have sound by default. Not to mention- these ads are something that you can create, manage and measure on the go. So what are you waiting for? Digital advertising is booming, so dive into Snapchat methods to get your name and brand in front of a diverse audience by checking out their website today.


Featured Header Photo by Noiseporn on Unsplash