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As I was idly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning I happened across an article shared by a former colleague.

The article, on Huffington Post, details the seven most annoying types of post people can make on the network. These include bragging, attention seeking and over-sharing the minutae of everyday life.

I’m sure most people have been guilty of posting status updates falling into the ‘insufferable’ categories described (yeah, guilty) but it got me thinking that it’s not just individuals who behave this way, organisations do too. In fact, organisations may be even more guilty, and therefore more likely to annoy, and not just on Facebook but on other social media platforms too.

The article proposes that: “A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.” Think about that for a minute. And then think about how often your organisation’s posts would fall into this category. Honestly? It’s probably more often than you either a) want to admit or b) want it to if you’re seeking online engagement, positive reputation or traffic to your website.

What this might remind you of is the 80/20 rule of social media. Not aware of that one? Well, that one states that only 20% of your posts should be self-promotion and the rest of the time you should be social. No one likes the guy at the party who ignores all the conversation around him to persistently, and loudly, give a monologue about how great he is.

So – if you’re just posting links to your press releases or self-congratulating on success chances are you’re status is being shot directly into a social media void (or worse, is actually making your followers / customers / audience feel hostile toward your organisation).

Sure, these messages are important to you and in fact are probably important to some or all of your audience – but don’t let broadcast be the backbone of your social media strategy, let it be a minor part of the mix. As Social Media Today put it: “It’s social media, not me media.”

So, what’s your 80%?

Well, if it’s not about you, it’s about other people right?

Be a part of the conversation’s around you and try to be a valuable part of the community. Whether that’s giving out gritting information in a timely, findable way during winter or discussing this year’s nominations for the Man Booker prize. It could be taking part in Twitter hash tag chats or joining (even starting) a G+ Community.

Whatever it is, just remember that despite what McFly might have sung it’s not all about you – you’re a part but not the centre of the conversation, even on your organisation’s own social media profile.

Which organisations are doing social media right? Leave me a comment or tweet me.

And if you’re more excited by the McFly reference than the social media talk take a look at my words about music on Louder Than War.




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3 thoughts on “How to lose friends and infuriate people (or, one common mistake organisations make on social media)

  1. Good stuff! I have to admit I get a bit conscious when linking to my music and film stuff. It is hard to try and gauge when I’m starting to get annoying with my incessant bleating for people to watch my latest production but, at the same time, it’s hard trying to curate an audience.

  2. Agree with Andrew, good stuff. I’m the type of person who doesn’t blow his own trumpet but some of my stuff e.g. historic churches website is coming along nicely for something that only I’m working on… Maybe the 80/20 rule is the way forward…

  3. We all want and need to push our own little projects – whether it’s film making, historic churches, music journalism or blogging about digital! I’m pretty sure it is the balance…not always easy to get right but I think individuals do a lot better than organisations, generally.

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