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

Facebook’s New Page Feature: What You Need to Know and Why Your Brand Will Benefit

The Scoop

Once again, Facebook has added a feature to make our digital world even more interconnected.

Facebook Product Manager, Andrew Song, announced on February 24th through Facebook’s Newsroom that Facebook has taken their newly introduced “Trending” feature to an even more collaborative level.

A Facebook Fan Page will now have the chance to show up on a non-following users’ News Feed if tagged by a Fan Page that they do follow. Facebook users will now see a connection between their liked Pages, just as they would a post by a non-friend’s Profile Page in which one of the user’s friends has been tagged. This new feature marks another move in blurring the lines between a Facebook Fan Page and a Facebook Profile Page, making it even more beneficial for a brand to have an active, interesting Facebook Page.

By: TheOnlyAnla

What Does This Mean for Facebook Brand Marketing?

Increased Exposure and Consumer Engagement

This new feature could change the way brands advertise through Facebook. Instead of blatant, and sometimes invasive, Facebook ads, as well as the obviously promoted “Pages You May Like” suggestions, this connected page News Feed feature allows for a friendlier, more interesting way to expose your brand through your Facebook Page. The feature creates the opportunity to make your brand’s Page more exposed and accessible to consumers by connecting with them through their similar interests. Your brand becomes less of a selling-driven cooperation, and more of an individual with intriguing Facebook connections and posts, which makes your brand a more desirable Page to follow.

Endless Possibilities for Collaborations

In the realm of niche marketing, this added feature is a dream come true. Collaborating with similar, related brands becomes a win-win for all parties involved. For example, a newly built community center with a need for a substantial amount of Facebook fans can attract a targeted following by reaching out to local health food stores, community children clubs, etc., who already have a considerable amount of followers. They can collaborate with these related, but not competitive, organizations by asking to be included in an X amount of posts on their page, for a certain trade commodity, such as, in our community center example, offering their products and services at their facility. The posts themselves would have to be subtle enough not be forced, but direct enough so that the connected exposed followers would have a significant reason to become engaged and perhaps start following the new Facebook page.

Final Thoughts

Some possible backlash for this new feature could be that it will be just another portal for spam, but in our highly digital world, what innovations don’t have that possibility? Overall, the new feature allows Facebook Pages to become interconnected, leading to a increased exposure, and promotes collaborations between corresponding brands.

Rebecca CourtneyRebecca Courtney is a soon-to-be graduate of Purdue University, where she studies Public Relations and English. She specializes in authoring and advising on the art of social media.

Facebook Users Time on the Site and Activities

Majority spend time interacting with friend’s posts

On an average day in 2011 according to Pew Internet and the American Life Project, the typical Facebook user spent time on the site primarily “Liking” other users’ content and commenting on others’ photos. This continues to be true today with Facebook users allocating their time on the site as follows:

  • 15% of Facebook users update their own status.
  • 22% comment on another’s post or status.
  • 20% comment on another user’s photos.
  • 26% “Like” another user’s content.
  • 10% send another user a private message

Facebook Where People Spend Time

Research shows Facebook users taking breaks

Facebook use may be on the decline, if you read recent data from Pew Research as I do. Sixty-one percent of Facebook users report “taking a break” from this popular social media site.

John Martin Taylor Taking a Break from Facebook

It’s no wonder that so many are decreasing their use of the site. Since the 2012 presidential election and Newtown tragedy, the invective and political ranting seems to be at a fever pitch. People are getting worn out. Though they may report that they are too busy, tired or don’t care, I think they have realized that increasingly, Facebook can be a time suck. And people using Facebook seem to have lost much of the fine art of civility. It seems lately I read more people venting and insulting others’ parentage, heritage, beliefs and lives.

Although sixty-seven percent of Americans use Facebook on a regular basis, more and more I read posts from people who whose lives have become saturated with Facebook and they choose to disconnect as culinarian and author John Martin Taylor did in his handwritten photo post reproduced above.

Vacations from Facebook

Reasons for taking a break vary, but most report that they are just too busy to “get on Facebook.” While people report they don’t have enough time to bother with Facebook I believe that people have become worn out with the self-involved, naval gazing that many do via the site. Pew reports the following data:

Reasons for Facebook Breaks

If your business wants to reach these increasingly disaffected users, you must design posts that reach people’s newsfeed, because not many people make it to your brand’s Facebook Page. Facebook has facilitated fewer direct business Page visits through new “like” opportunities. Facebook now suggests you “Like” a page from your friend’s post or after “Liking” a Page, at which time Facebook offers other Pages for you to “Like.” There is even a direct menu item to allow you to view Pages Facebook recommends to you as you can see in the screen grab below.

Facebook Recommends Pages for you to Like

Facebook Pages to like suggestion following page like action

Facebook users report plans for less time on Facebook

When asked if they plan to spend more or less time on Facebook in the coming year, increasing numbers of younger users report wanting to spend less time on the site. Your marketing will be impacted by this trend to a greater or lesser degree based on your customer demographic. The wise entrepreneur or marketing manager will increase or diversify their social media content distribution to other social channels as appropriate for your brand.

Plans for Spending Time on Facebook in Coming Year

Is Facebook valuable to users?

According to Pew,

“42% of Facebook users ages 18-29 and 34% of those ages 30-49 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year — these are both significantly higher than the 23% of users ages  50 and older who report decreased Facebook usage over the same time period.”

The Value of Facebook

Women still report finding that Facebook is “more important” and will spend more time on the site.

Be strategic and use Facebook tools

Design your social media content to be appealing to your customers. Make sure it offers a way for them to engage with you by creating content that is helpful, informative, and fits with users’ needs. Analyze your brand’s interactions with Facebook users and if you find that you don’t have the engagement needed to be present in Facebook users’ newsfeeds, modify your content.

Use Facebook Insights to help you analyze and take advantage of what works best for your brand. Pay close attention to the time of day posted, content type receiving the highest interactions and the numbers of shared to direct your future posts. You can also pay attention to current news, and Internet memes to help you create content that is “of the moment.” The Harlem Shake meme has been adopted by everyone from animal shelters to senior citizens centers, feeding on the popularity of the topic. This video from a senior center has received thousands of views and shares as a result of being au current.

Clark Retirement Community Harlem Shake Video on Facebook

If you need assistance formulating, implementing or managing your Facebook marketing, or social media campaigns, call us. We’re here to help you increase engagement among Facebook users, plan and implement campaigns that fit your business.