You’ve been hearing the buzz for years about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Now, you’re finally ready to get “connected” so you pick one and jump in with both feet.
First of all, they’re very friendly and loaded with helpful hints:
“Here, let us grab your address book and invite a few of your friends.”
“Sure,” you say, and move on to the next hint, not realizing you just spammed 1000 of your unwary email contacts.
“Now you need to follow/like/connect with others. Here are a few suggestions.”
You start clicking everyone they suggest, thinking there can’t be more than 5 or 10 of them. 30 minutes later, your eyes are glazing over and all you can focus on is that scroll bar on the right side of the screen. It has to get to the bottom, soon, doesn’t it?
Now, suddenly, there’s a nasty message on your screen that says “Whoa! You’re going too fast! Slow down!”
“Huh? This was your idea, not mine,” you think as you hit the back button, totally bewildered.
Now you’re back on the home screen, following more suggestions, but with a little less enthusiasm. Funniest thing, however, nowhere do they suggest: “READ THE RULES, CAREFULLY, BECAUSE MOST OF THEM WILL TRIP YOU UP IF YOU FOLLOW THE REST OF OUR SUGGESTIONS!”
So, now it’s a few days, weeks, or months later. You wake up one morning all set to work on your social media, and what hits you in the face? ACCOUNT SUSPENDED! or LIMIT REACHED!
Did they give you any warning? Did they offer any explanation? No, of course not. Now where are all of their helpful suggestions? Nowhere to be found, that’s where. It’s all up to you to figure out what you did wrong and how to fix it.
This usually leads to you closing your account and storming off to tell your friends what a rip off and scam this program turned out to be. BUT, that only hurts you. Social media programs can be very useful tools, highly informative, and entertaining. Here are 4 simple things you can do to prevent every bad thing I’ve just written about.
1) As soon you sign up, before clicking on anything else, READ THE RULES! If there are too many of them, or you don’t understand them, take a break and come back later. Make a note to come back and read the rules again when you’re more familiar with the program.
2) GO SLOWLY! The first day you’re in a new program, don’t follow/like/invite/connect with more than 10 people. Stick to that rule for at least a few more days, until you can evaluate for yourself, the results of your actions.
3) Talk to people you already know, who are on this program, and ask for their opinion and any pitfalls you should avoid.
4) Join a forum for social media users, so you can learn from other members’ mistakes, instead of making them all, yourself.
If you’re careful, and pay attention to the rules, social media programs can be your best friend. Otherwise, they can damage your reputation and cause all kinds of grief and wasted time in the process.