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Social media skills pt 6: How to avoid being boring and predictable


Keep your social media updates fresh and inject some fun into them too, says Colette Mason.

It’s important to let down your professional guard a little when using social media. Social media land is, surprise surprise, a social place. People share things they find funny, thought-provoking, interesting or useful with their connections as well as serious or business related information. It’s important to pay close attention to the more light-hearted subject matter you can share with your followers.

"People share things they find funny, thought-provoking, interesting or useful with their connections as well as serious or business related information."

You could start with something as simple as asking them what they’ve got planned for the holidays – few businesses connect with their customers on that level – but those that do find they can build strong relationships with their following – just take a look at Coca Cola, or Starbucks pages on Facebook for that.

Admittedly, you only have a certain number of options for the actual format of your updates – pure text, adding links, uploading a photo or sharing a video. Nevertheless, you can vary the type of update you post, and it is content, to keep things fresh.

You should always try to keep things varied because if your updates get predictable, boring or annoying, at best your followers will hide your feed and at worse break their connection with you permanently and unfriend you.

Tempting though it is, do avoid taking the easy route by constantly auto-publishing content from your blog, or republishing your tweets as a Facebook status update, or syndicating someone else’s RSS feed for weeks on end.
Your followers will spot these updates for the automated filler it really is – a subtle display you’re being a bit lazy and fairly disinterested in them and their needs online. Not good.

People who constantly share identical (syndicated) content from their favourite profile on their other profiles usually forget to check into their other social media accounts. So, some hapless Facebook follower may reply to one of these syndicated Twitter messages, and the profile owner fails to spot that interaction for many weeks. Two out of ten to that approach. 

Don’t push your products and services every five minutes

Although you may represent the brand you are not here to promote it constantly. Your comment threads, Facebook wall, Twitter, email lists, forums or any other communication channels in your control are not to be used as promotional vehicles either. 

Your job is to help and support, so inform any other individuals in your organisation that may think otherwise and ensure the protection of the trust, openness, integrity and fun in your community. 

It really is okay to be you

Don’t bring into your community a rigid professional, corporate image if that doesn’t fit with the people you’ve connected with. Be yourself. Fit your community and be as comfortable in yourself as you can be. This makes it easier to represent the opinions, subtleties and aesthetics of your community. 

You are a human extension of a URL in being an online community and social media marketing manager so any clash between your personality and brand image will become not just an obstacle but an insurmountable one. 

Don’t invite all and sundry

This is crucial to a successful social media marketing strategy. Although large numbers of registered users looks great you need to be sure they are the right kind of users. Don't just simply connect with anyone - whilst it may boost your ego it won't boost your sales. It's like a musician in a jazz band doing a secret gig and packing the venue with gangsta rap fans - yes they'd have the numbers, but not the influence and the relationship to make them spend money. 

A smaller, targeted following of fans beats a large bunch of indifferent strangers

New users that have no passion about the focus of the community, who aren’t bothered about contributing unique, interesting content will soon disappear, so it’s better to focus on a steady growth of users who are more likely to be committed to the community. A smaller number of passionate quality users are much better than a mass of bored users contributing nothing.

Once you’ve got your profiles up and running and your building your following, you’ll want to measure what effect your efforts are having on your business, and we’ll look at that in our next session.

The social media skills series so far:

Colette Mason runs an international online consultancy which shows businesses and entrepreneurs how to use the internet and social media to boost their business online. With an IT background, which started in support and development and moving on to usability and online marketing techniques, she has worked on some of the biggest projects in Europe. Colette is also author of Social Media Success in 7 Days. For more information please visit:

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