The Truth Behind Why Social Media ‘Hates’ You

December 14, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Social Media

Sometimes it feels like social media is out to get you. Like if it’s not actively plotting your demise, it’s certainly giggling at it. You give it everything you’ve got and it never calls, never sends a gift and you’re constantly hearing whispers that it’s out canoodling with your biggest competitors. They’re getting retweets and media mentions, while all you’re seeing is frustration and a boss who wonders if this tweeting is costing everyone more than it’s making. What do you do? I mean, other than break out the bat and beat the world into submission?

I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s about this level of frustration that people finally start to seek out help. It’s only after they’ve tried everything and fallen down that they inquire about getting a customized social media plan. And when they do, internally we make it out goal to identify the reasons their efforts haven’t been successful. We want to find the frustration points so we can help them turn it around and create a better social media experience. Often knowing what you’re doing wrong is a good foundation for how to be better. And it doesn’t even require a bat.

Below are some reasons social media may appear to hate you. If it sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

You’re not original

The first time I watched Rudy, I cried. Like…big, sobbing tears. I’m a sap and when the crowd started chanting (which apparently never happened in real life, BTW), I lost it. These days when I watch the movie, I may smile when it gets to that part, but I don’t have nearly the same emotional reaction to it. And that’s because I’ve seen it before. It’s not original; I can sense what’s coming. Are people having the same reaction to your content? If your content isn’t catching fire the way you had hoped, it may be time to ask yourself some questions. First, where did that idea come from? Was it something your team brainstormed and put together or did you borrow it from someone else? Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to be ‘inspired’ by someone else’s social media campaign, just like it’s fine to be ‘inspired’ by someone else’s blog post. But if you’re not adding your own twist and your own flavor to it, then you may be coming off like duplicate content. You’re an also-ran that doesn’t mean anything to anyone. And people don’t care. If you want to be adored in social media, give them something they haven’t seen.

No one trusts you

This is a big one. If your message isn’t being shared as far as you would have hoped, it may be because no one trusts you. Trust in social media is influenced by a lot of things – authoritativeness, connectedness, observed interaction, sexy avatars, etc. That means people may not trust you because of the information you’re putting out, because you don’t have enough social capital or because they’ve witnessed you doing/saying something that breaks their trust [ie being rude to a customer, giving bad information, being too aggressive, etc]. Part of what we do as social media consultants is take a look at how you’re being perceived vs your goal in order to find the bridge between the two. While it’s great that you’re an expert, it does you no good if you’re an expert no one can stand. We only share content from people we trust.

You’re crappy at promotion

You think social media hates you because no one is tweeting, sharing or voting for your stuff. However, that’s probably not the case. They probably just don’t know you exist. That’s actually worse. For all your complaining that no one is sharing your content, did you remember to ask them to? Have you IM’d or emailed them with a link to your blog post that you think is exceptional and worthy of attention? Have you hit up your social Rolodex put your content in front of the right people? Or did you just hit publish and then hide under your desk? If the mountain will not come to Mohamed…

You have campaigns, not strategies

There’s a difference between creating a social media campaign and creating a social media strategy. A campaign is often a one-time thing. It’s that single idea you have, plan, and execute without giving any thought to what’s happening around it. A strategy is something bigger. It’s when you coordinate how you’re going to execute your idea, when it’s going to take place, and you sync it with everything else that’s going on. Ever notice how when an author releases a book, they’re suddenly everywhere? Instantly there are interviews about them on very station, they’re at every event, they’re being photographed with a new love interest, they have a new dark secret to reveal, etc. It’s almost as if it was…timed? That’s because it was. Your social media presence should be just as calculated. Not in a scary way. But in a “this-is-happening-right-now-for-a-reason” kind of way. Everything should be working together.

You’re not good at making friends

I found a really great post yesterday, liked the conversation that was happening and wanted to share it. Until I went to Twitter to look up the handle of one of the authors. When I got to his Twitter page I found him screaming at someone for a series of seven tweets. I decided not to tweet the post. Mostly because this dude now scared me. I didn’t want to step into that mix. I imagine other people didn’t tweet his post for the same reason. Not shockingly, social media is about people. It’s about those relationships and those personal connections that you make and then count on for support. If you’re not good at making friends, you don’t like people or you can’t at least fake being a pleasant person when needed, there’s a pretty good chance social media is going to hate you. You have to be social. If you’re not, go learn to code or something.

While it’s not true that social media hates your brand, it can certainly feel like that when push and push is ignored. Don’t wait til you’re about to grab the bat to seek help. Fix the problems early to help you start connecting with your audience.

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