Lent is a 40-day period during which practicing Catholics give up something–usally a bad habit like smoking or drinking–to commemorate Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the desert.
But it's not just good for individuals. As business owners doing internet marketing, we can also develop bad social media habits. Want to give up something for Lent? Start by these less than desirable things we do on Facebook and Twitter.
1. Stop shilling on Facebook
Facebook may seem like a great place to promote or sell your services, but doing so insistently (or "shilling") will only drive followers away. Remember the social media mantra "People connect with people" and start behaving like a person instead of a business. Share employees' good news. Post pictures of your office. Ask interesting questions. You can even find ways to present a new product or service without making it look like an advertisement.
2. Stop Retweeting
Although retweeting can help spread a piece of content, a timeline that is filled with only retweets is not very attractive to new followers. Again, "people connect with people", and followers want to connect with a real person who has thoughts and emotions. Use Twitter to spread your brand's personality around, not other people's. And if you absolutely must retweet that piece, add a personal comment to it.
3. Move one-on-one conversations away from Facebook comments
This happens more often than you think, especially in customer relations. People are not interested in reading about how you're going to solve a client's problem. Whenever a Facebook comment risks pulling you into a long conversation, provide a contact email to move it to a more private space. Fans will thank you for it.
4. Stop using so many hashtags
Sure, hastags are useful to put a tweet in context, especially during major events. However, hashtagging every word from your tweet not only makes it unreadable, but it also makes you look like you can't formulate a coherent thought. Also, it's totally unethical to use popular hashtags that are unrelated to your business for promotion purposes. People pick up on it… and then pick on you.
5. Stop pre-programming your social media updates
Sure, it might seem useful to program Facebook and Twitter updates ahead of time, but you end up looking really insensitive if something major happens. On the other hand, taking advantage of timely events (as long as they're not tragic) to promote your products or services can work really well! Follow Oreo's example and tweet appropriately!
So, which of these bad habits are you willing to give up for Lent? Share your thoughts with us!