It’s an almost every day occurrence. And almost every day I feel myself getting more irritated and twitchy by these social shaming shares.
You know what I’m talking about! I’m referencing the Copy/Paste poseurs, those on a mission to show that they care more about a disease or other worthy cause, because they’ve taken the 10 seconds to copy and paste a post to their wall.
Why Am I Saying These Copy/Paste Shares Are Social Shaming?
Isn’t social shaming what happens when a group of social media users rally to tell a company or brand that they don’t like an activity or idea shared by brand management or ownership. Yes, that’s one form of using public shame across social media platforms.
But it’s not the only example of shaming those we follow, those with whom we interact on social media.
It’s become an insidious practice, something we do without thinking of the ramifications.
This is actually the post that tipped the scales for me and bumped this topic to the top of my “get it written” queue:
With a heavy heart today especially…Nothing is more painful than watching someone at the end of their life because of cancer. Trying to look good, but after chemo and radiation … you know the person is physically changed and they’re in shock!! I know many of you do not give a hoot about this message because, of course, the cancer has not touched you. You do not know what it’s like to have fought the fight or had a loved one who leads a battle against cancer. For all the men and women I know, I ask you a small favor and only some of you will do it… If you know someone who has led a battle against cancer, still struggling or who passed, please add this to your status for one hour as a mark of respect and remembrance …
Copy and paste to support victims and families affected by cancer. From your phone or tablet, hold your finger on the message to copy and paste on your page. Please no tagging or sharing.
Cancer absolutely sucks. I’ve watched my mother battle it, and eventually lose her life to complications brought on by cancer treatment. I’ve watched my dad rally and come back strong after two cancer surgeries. I’ve watched a good friend face almost insurmountable odds as her young husband has battled cancer for years.
I care. I give one helluva big hoot, but I’m not going to copy/paste your pathetic message! One hour on my wall, with no call to action to donate and/or get out and support the cause, does little to NOTHING for that cause!
When I Care About A Cause, I Take Real Action … With My Money And/Or My Time!
The act of copying and pasting a post on your wall does very little to actually benefit any cause or individual. Stipulating no hashtags, tags or sharing means it’s more about you than the cause. You want to look like a crusader, a champion of the cause against cancer, child hunger, gun violence, the list goes on and on.
Actions Speak A Lot Louder Than Copied/Pasted Words!
My sister and her family ring the bell for the Salvation Army every Christmas season, at least once, often twice. They bundle up brave the cold and the indifference, singing songs and supporting a cause they believe in. The share images and call on friends and family to come out and see them while they sing and ring the bell, but they never use social shaming tactics.
My brother-in-law continues to put on a charity golf event each year, which also benefits the Salvation Army. Both money and gifts are collected at this event, with the chosen charity actually receiving the money and gifts.
My husband straight-up stinks at golf. But he’s played year after year, paying the entry fee, because it benefits a good cause. This year a tennis tournament has been added and I’ll be out there swinging my racquet in the cold. Yes, you’re right, I love tennis. But my wallet will be opened and my joy at playing will also benefit with dollars delivered for programs and initiatives.
Put Your Money, Your Time, Your Effort Behind A Cause, Not Your Facebook Wall!
If you truly care about cancer, and I believe many of you do, open up your wallet and donate to cancer research. Get your butt up from your desk chair and take part in a run, walk or other event sponsored by the charity of your choice. Visit the pediatric oncology ward with the gift of books and your time. Sit down and read one of those books to a child, or group of children, battling cancer.
At the very least, if you can’t get away from your desk, pull out your credit card and create a monthly withdrawal if the cause is that important to you.
Your Cause Isn’t Any Better Than My Cause!
Last year I donated time, dollars and effort to a cause that matters to me, as I’ve seen it affect so many friends. I was part of a small group that launched a charity pro-am event to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Atlanta.
I donated a website, Facebook and Twitter design and management, and spent hours at planning meetings. I donated out of pocket as needed to help get the event off the ground. I played in the event, and payed the full fee, even though I was a board member. Overall it was a sizable donation of both dollars and my time and effort. It felt quite good.
But, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about cancer. It doesn’t mean I diss those looking to deliver awareness about those suffering from diabetes or Alzheimers. It doesn’t stop me from worrying about the stray cat problem in my neighborhood (any of you that know me at all know that animal adoption is another cause I back with my dollars and my time and even room in my house … hello, Catt Damon).
Perhaps my dollars are already allocated. Perhaps my time is already taken up by activities that actually benefit my cause of choice.
Make It About The Cause, Not About You …
When I see these social shaming posts making the rounds, I cringe and often want to holler at my computer screen.
These posts are nothing more than a means to share a “look at me, see how much I care about this cause” moment, a moment which is soon forgotten amidst a fast social feed and friends leading busy lives.
Want to really make a difference to a cause this year? When someone asks what you want for Christmas, ask them to make a donation in your name? See if there’s a toy drive in your local area and drop off a couple of toys to help make a child’s Christmas a little brighter. Crochet or knit a scarf, hat and some mittens and leave them on a bench or tree, with a note that they’re free for the taking for someone who needs them.
I’m calling on your to care and act, rather than copy/paste during this season of giving and sharing. Set social shaming aside and do something that truly benefits the cause in which you believe!
I recently decided to give Facebook groups another chance, signing up for several, regularly interacting and taking part in discussions and conversations. But I’m already itching to opt out of several, and there’s a very specific reason.
When the post population takes a turn toward the elevator pitch, rather than the sharing of relevant information and true Q&A, it’s time for me to bid the group adieu.
Silent Until They Smell The Sell
Like zombies in the relentless pursuit of brains, there are always members of online groups that seldom share or engage in discussion until they smell an opportunity to promote their product or service.
They come crawling out of obscurity every time anyone asks a question that might allow them to pony up their product or service. They’re solely social in the attempt to make a buck. Do a little research and you’ll soon see that these group members never take part in any discussion that doesn’t create an opportunity for them to get hired.
The Helpful Hustle!
If you’ve spent any time in a Facebook group, you know that there will be the occasional plea for help. An important aspect of these groups is the development of a community. A place where real relationships can build and evolve.
How do you keep the helpful response from turning into a sales tactic?
- Offer the solution. If it’s simple and you can knock out a helpful response in a matter of minutes, then do so. There’s no need to wax rhapsodic about how wonderful you are. Just answer the damn question.
- Consider linking out to a resource you didn’t create. You’re not the expert on everything. There are solutions all across the Interwebs that will help without you looking like a self-promotional putz. I too often see social sellers linking to irrelevant and unhelpful resources in a bid to be hired. That’s not the good kind of hustle party peeps.
- Take it private. I’ve often helped a hapless group member with an issue he/she couldn’t handle on his/her own. But I didn’t flaunt my Florence Nightingale moment for all to see, by hijacking the thread with a handful of my own handy and helpful resources. Instead I moved the conversation to email or PM to allow me to better assist. And, NO, there was no intent on my part to issue an invoice.
The Passive Player: Freebie Frolicking
Many a well managed Facebook group offers up opportunities for self-promotion and social selling. It’s generally frowned upon, though, to simply post your new offer. Yet, it happens EVERY flipping day.
Even more diabolical and devious are those group member that try to circumvent the system by offering up their latest freebie. Be it a worksheet, eBook or cutesy printable, it’s still self promotion and it’s still you trying to sell when you’re supposed to be sharing.
Self-promotion is sinister. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and decide that you’re being helpful and giving. Here’s a couple truly helpful tips to ensure you aren’t bitten by the bad bug to bolster your business:
- If you require someone to sign-up for your mailing list in order to get your freebie, it’s not the selfless share you’re imagining it to be.
- Keep the kudos posts to the days and times deemed fitting by the owner of the group.
- When in doubt, don’t share without first asking the permission of the group owner or moderator. If you fear you’re crossing the line between smart sharing and self-promotional social selling, you probably are.
Better Group Management & Policing Is The Ticket
My branding and visual marketing buddy Dre Beltrami rules her group with an iron fist. Any brain sucking social media zombie posts are shot down swiftly and succinctly.
She doesn’t allow promotional posts to be shared willy-nilly, at the whim of the participant. She’s created a single day for self-promotional posts and she makes sure each member sticks to the schedule.
Groups can take on a life of their own, straying from the path of their original intent, if they aren’t well managed. Group owners, managers and moderators need to put a beatdown to any biz intent on bolstering brand and sales with shares that seek dollars rather than knowledge.
When Did Every Post Become An RFP?
I get it, I really do. We’re all in business to make money, no matter how much we try to play it down as the pursuit of our passion.
But for the love of all things good and right about branding and social business, stop seeing every post and share as an opportunity to sell your services.
When you constantly pitch you become a plague to the group, as it’s obvious you’re engaging in the Facebook group only in order to smell out opportunities to sell, rather than seeking the opportunity to become part of a sharing and caring community.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the RT.
Thanks for following.
Each thank you listed above is certainly a small token of appreciation and acknowledgment.
But if you’re anything like me, and I’m pretty sure there are other snarky, sassy, tell-it-like-it-is marketers out there, you might feel that some of this recognition and reward feels a bit “by rote.”
1. routine; a fixed, habitual, or mechanical course of procedure:
the rote of daily living.
2. proceeding mechanically and repetitiously; being mechanical and repetitious in nature; routine; habitual: rote performance; rote implementation; His behavior became more rote with every passing year.
Sadly, it appears that thank you messaging has become a simple repetitive response for many.
Hop Off The Appreciation Assembly Line!
It’s great that you are thanking me. I appreciate it. But there’s so much more you can do to make your appreciation more appealing and at the same time advance your connections to the next levels, creating a more engaged audience and eventually even a peer network.
It’s great that you took the time to add my name to your note of thanks. But, c’mon now. I’ve known some of you for quite some time. Tacking my name on the end of your generic thank you message isn’t enough to give me the warm and fuzzies.
There are so many ways you can ramp up the recognition and reward those social shares. You’ll look like a rock star and you’ll be much more memorable and generate more authentic and tailored appreciation of your own.
Tailor Your Thanks, Try These Tactics:
1. Ask Me A Question
Questions open doors to conversation. Even in a measly 140 characters. Especially in a measly 140 characters. I see more questions answered on Twitter than on any other platform.
(ASIDE: Don’t you just hate it when you ask a question and someone likes it?!?! Seriously? I don’t want you to like it, I want you to flipping answer it!)
When you’re just getting to know me, you can simply ask how my day is going. If you follow my blog, you can ask a question about a topic I regularly write about.
Consider asking me to share something exciting going on in my biz. It’s a great way to show interest and it just might invite an opportunity for you to share some of your own big news.
2. Color Me Complimented
A considered compliment can be a quick and quality means of creating conversation and connection.
Considered compliment? Yes. While it’s nice to occasionally be told you rock or that you’re awesome, you can soon see when someone shares that sentiment with everyone who shares, follows, likes.
A considered compliment requires a little deeper digging, showing that you actually spent a little time trying to get to know the guy or gal upon whom you wish to bestow the compliment.
Is their cover image really creative? Tell ’em so!
Compliment their creative and catchy bio. I get ever so many quick messages and mentions of my perpetually peppy state – powered by caffeine and loud music (referenced in my bios).
3. Mention A Me Too!
I often connect with other music loving marketers and I often engage in short, sweet but lively discussion on music and how I tie it into marketing.
Many a marketing bio adds in a little personal pulse, and reaching out to those who share your passions, interests, hobbies and beyond professional pursuits is a great way to show that you’re a human being, not a link sharing robot.
4. Return The
First of all, sharing anyone’s post or article should never be considered a favor. Favor likes, favor shares, favor connections only have one person in mind, Y-O-U. You’re hoping that you’ll get a return share to return your own favor. So NOT social.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with checking out the content shared by that lovely lady or generous gentleman who recently share your killer content.
Make sure you READ IT before you share it. And make the room to state the WHY of your share. Why? Because it can continue the artful appreciation and create more conversation, which leads to connection, etc.
How Do You Add Thoughtful To Your Thanks?
I’d love to know how you hop off of the appreciation assembly line and take thanks to a more thoughtful level.
Definition provide by: dictionary.com
Are you a comment crasher?
Do you feel the need to comment on nearly every post in your stream or feed, even if you have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation?
If you answered yes, you probably deserve the comment crasher label!
Sometimes silence is simply smarter!
I get it. Really, I do!
You’re trying to get ahead. Trying to make a name for yourself. Trying to showcase your smarts and savvy.
I’m guilty of the same (though, honestly, there’s no reason to feel guilty about aspiring to what I’ve listed above). But crashing a conversation without adding value isn’t the smart way to go about it!
Comment Crasher #411
There are many categories of comment crasher. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the most
Always sorry about whatever you’re going through. Always hopes it will get better. NEVER actually offers any actual tips or how-to options on how to solve the problem or issue. Ever empathetic, never effectual.
The “Everything” Expert:
This individual has never found a topic upon which he/she could add much needed expertise. From neuroscience to natural history, this guy or gal believes themselves to be the go-to resource, despite lack of experience and actual expertise. Hey, they read an article about it on Huffington Post, ding-dang it!
The Link Litterer:
It’s not enough to land a less than stellar comment on your feed. This comment crasher wants to generate traffic when they can’t generate much else. So they litter these discussions with links to their less-than-on-topic articles, hoping to generate traffic as they bolster their bid for influence and expertise.
The Takeover Tactician:
I see this most often in Twitter chats, but it can happen anywhere, sadly. This happens when you get a my way or the highway tool who tries to take over the discussion by repeatedly positing that their way is the only correct way. At the same time these twits alienate all participants and aren’t smart enough to figure out when it’s time to shut up.
The Hesitant & Helpful:
These comment crashers might seem innocent and relatively harmless, but I dare say they might be the most sinister. They prevaricate and pussyfoot around the sharing of their chosen advice, but that advice is shared all the same.
However, it’s hard to get behind their help when they can’t state, with any alacrity, that their course of action actually works. When you try to pin them down on their own successes, they continue to hem and haw, but still hold on to their “helpful” hint by the skin of their teeth.
If it ain’t helpful …
I don’t want to hear it. Simple enough, right?
How do you know if what you’re sharing is actually helpful? Did you actually try the course of actions you’re recommending? Did they, indeed, help you. If so, consider sharing.
But if you’re sharing random solicitous snippets gleaned from skimming the articles of the influencers with whom you are trying to connect, and you haven’t actively tested the tip? Sit on your hands! Walk away from the computer! Do whatever is necessary to STOP yourself from commenting without cause!
Instead Of Inane Comments …
If you’re not really sure about the topic, ask a simple question. Still unsure if you can provide anything of value to the discussion, you have two options:
1. Research the topic or issue. A lot. Not one quick read on an entertainment news site. I’m talking some deep searching on Google, seeking out articles, discussion forums, Q&A sessions, webinar recordings, podcasts and more.
But that’s a LOT of work. Requiring hours of time. By that time the thread might not be popular anymore, your peers having moved on to a new discussion.
Better hop in and say SOMETHING, right? WRONG!
2. Enjoy The Silence! Silence, in these instances is smarter and infinitely more social. Social isn’t always about being seen. It’s smarter social to stay silent when you have nothing to add to the conversation. Save your shares and your smarts for the topics and discussions where you can add real value.
What do you think?
Should social media marketers comment on any post that piques their interest? Are they adding value even when they’re not particularly familiar with the topic? I’d love to know what you think!
Are You Lovin’ This Blog?
Also, as part of my summer launch of a new visibility plan, I’m working to increase the visibility of the articles I publish. I’m testing several new techniques and setting up systems.
I’ve seen that a lot of branding and design blogs, and even some savvy social media marketers are adding their sites to Bloglovin. I thought I’d test it out and see if it’s a good fit. If you’re there, won’t you follow along and see if I’m on the right track?
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “an elephant never forgets.” Maybe you’ve seen the classic cartoon by Max Fleischer?
I’m often inspired by visuals. Sometimes a visual pops a title or idea into my mind. I was searching some stock photos (you do know they don’t have to suck, right? That’s another article entirely) and came across an image that sparked this idea …
Like An Elephant, An Audience Never Forgets!
When you’re building and maintaining a community, you’ve got to keep many things in mind, like:
- Personalities add color, but can also create conflict.
- People will always try to test the boundaries of what’s acceptable.
- Maintaining a robust community is time consuming, so not all the “easy.”
- Trust is tantamount when it comes to your community spirit!
That last bullet point is really the “golden nugget,” if I can steal my gal pal Brooke Ballard’s catch-phrase, I hope you’ll take away in this read.
Trust Lost Is Nearly Impossible To Regain
Sadly, there are so many ways you can lose the trust of your audience, your community. We see instances shared across social media feeds, infractions by brands big and small, almost every day.
Because we see them every day, it appears these kinds of blunders are barely obvious to the bulk of brands and marketers. Which is rather frightening.
When I’m part of a community, or a member of a peer’s audience, I find the following infractions most daunting:
1. Sharing Craptastic Content
It’s really not all that hard to ensure the content you share actually gels with your audience. Ready for the big reveal? READ before you share! So simple, yet so easy to forget.
When it comes to curating and then sharing killer content with your audience, there are no “trusted” resources. If you don’t read, you’ll get burned eventually, no matter how big the name behind the publish.
2. Dumb “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Moments
If spamming the community is a no-no, then it’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t only share your own stuff, every hour, on the hour!
If you expect your community and audience members to act in a certain way, you must lead by example!
3. You’ve Gotta Back It Up
There’s nothing worse than seeing a strong opinion stated, and stated well, then watered down with wishy-washy replies to dissenting opinions.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Do not devalue your smart, strong opinion with a smiley-face emoticon! GACK!” quote=”Do not devalue your smart, strong opinion with a smiley-face emoticon! GACK!”]
When you share an idea, there’s always the possibility that the entirety of your audience is NOT going to be on board. Agreeing to disagree is an art form. It doesn’t mean you roll over and lie dead, diminishing the impact and intent of the idea you felt must be shared.
4. Feeding Frenzy
There’s nothing worse than a hostile takeover … of my social media feed!
The stuff you’re jazzed to share? We’re sure it’s great. We trusted you enough to follow you, thus we think you’re head’s on straight. That doesn’t mean we want to see your avatar fifteen times in fifteen minutes.
Spread the love around, in a timely and tempered fashion, with some smart scheduling. This goes for Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+ (and basically anyplace else that delivers information in a feed).
5. Flat Out Bad Behavior
If you name call or are too aggressive and act the ass, your name is soon aligned with that most overused and abused buzzword, “hater.”
While I think the term is overused, it doesn’t mean the behavior is okay. You can’t bully your way into influence or prominence.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You can’t bully your way into #influence or prominence.” quote=”You can’t bully your way into influence or prominence.” theme=”style4″]
Forgiven Is Not Forgotten
Though you might manage to make an appropriate apology for your blunder or faux pas, the infraction will not be forgotten.
Your audience will remember. Though they might forgive the infraction, it will be stored in the vault of their memories. Secondary stumbles won’t be so easy to shake off.
Trust earned is so valuable. Trust lost is a tragedy. Don’t engage in activities and actions that could tumble that trust. Your audience won’t forget.
How About You?
What actions and activities trip your trust meter?
Are you part of a Facebook group or a Google+ community?
They can be a fantastic resource when they’re full of like minded individuals all intent upon bettering the experience of all involved in the group.
However, whenever you get a group together you’re going to face occasional upset and some snarky comments when one or more group members believe that other group members aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
She’s Not Doing It Right!
Inevitably, when a group’s intent is to increase the social media visibility of its members, you’ll find that a handful of that membership don’t necessarily take the idea of reciprocity to heart.
And, again, inevitable, you’re going to have some well meaning group members chiming in that said lack of reciprocity isn’t fair. And they’re right. But it’s the way they go about “voicing” these opinions that is the meat of this article.
Neither Life Nor Social Media Promised You Fairness
It’s hard enough for a group owner and moderator to deal with the bad habits of spammers and those who don’t read the groups rules, regulations and terms of service before plugging themselves and their services at every opportunity.
They’ve created these groups with the greater good of all members in mind and they’re putting in a lot of time and effort to make the group work, and work well, for all involved.
So, when passive aggressive Paulette starts whining about “someone” who is liking her post rather than sharing it, it’s just another reminder to the group owner that he/she is dealing with the infantile and illiterate.
We Don’t All HAVE TO Share Your Shizz!
As stated previously, many a Facebook group is created with the intent to increase the visibility of its membership.
Some group members, incorrectly, immediately assume that this intent to increase visibility mean all of their shizz will get shared by each and every other member of the group.
That ain’t gonna happen!
Generally speaking, the group owner sets the rules on how the sharing activity should roll out. Usually, when you hope to share your own goodies, you’re expected to share two to three items from the group.
Two to three, not every flipping item. We get to be choosy. Maybe your items don’t fit in with our niche. Maybe we don’t think the content you’re sharing is as valuable as you believe it to be. Whatever the case may be, sometimes your stuff just isn’t going to make the cut.
Whining that you share every group member submission, but don’t see the same sharing of your own submissions, doesn’t make anyone want to share your shizz! It shows that you aren’t very discerning and you’re only looking for shares for sharing’s sake, rather than shares that add value to your business and your audience.
Positive In Public, Passive Aggressive In Private!
If you’ve ever been part of a structured networking group like BNI or Powercore, you know this mantra. And it’s just common sense.
Veiled and cryptic complaints don’t add to or enhance the group experience. They detract from it and put the focus on you, when the focus is supposed to be about the collective “we.”
Don’t Do It!
For the love of Pete! Pretty puh-leeze cease the passive aggressive whining and complaining when you believe a social media group member is failing to play by the rules.
You don’t look like you’re looking out for the group in these instances. You simply look like a whiner.
Positive in public, but take the negative to the group leader via a private message or email. Let them deal with any infractions in the way they see fit. It’s their group. You don’t need to be the passive aggressive police.
Your opinions matter, but not when they take away from the collective group experience.