Don’t You Dare Do These 5 Things On Social Media

Posted on /by Natalie Sisson/ in Social Media / 29 comments
Removing Facebook spam from your wall

So every once and a while, when you hang out on social networks as much as I do, there are some things that really start to get on your nerves. Where have all these bad manners come from?

I’ve had my fair dose of them happening lately and so I’d like to point out some of my social media pet peeves that I ask you to stop doing, or at least think about not doing the next time you’re tweeting, updating, posting and tagging.

I don’t expect you to agree with all my points below, it’s just that I get to rant from time to time about the basics of social media etiquette. Also I’m absolutely sure that of the things I’m about to mention I’ve no doubt been guilty of doing myself at some point when starting out.

I also know my friends are doing it all the time too. However I still have faith that we will drop these douche-bag moves and start bringing back  social not stupid to social networking.

Avoid the LinkedIn Boilerplate Template

I advise all my clients and my friends never to use the boiler plate text. You know what I’m talking about. How many connection requests do you get that say:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Mr I’m So Lazy I Can’t Write Something Personal

As my silly sign off above indicates, if you can’t take the time to at least write a reason why you want to connect, or tell me where we met before or where I should know you from, why should I care?

It’s far more impressive to write something like the following so that I instantly remember you and you’ll stay top of mind:

Hi Natalie

We met at the recent NYTimes Small Business Summit and discussed the role of customer loyalty programs after the panel on the same topic. I’d like to connect with you here and keep in touch on any future opportunities to collaborate.

Thanks so much

Your name

How long do you think that took. Perhaps 20 seconds longer than hitting send on the template text right?

Even if you haven’t met you, you are clearly connecting for a reason so tell the person why – I recently bought your product, I enjoy reading your blog, a mutual friend told me I should talk to you about X, Y, Z.

Even just a simple `You look like an interesting person with similar values to mine so I thought it would be worthwhile to connect’ would be better than nothing, although the above reads as slightly stalkerish….

Ensure You Get Recommended

If you’re going to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn then DO NOT use the boiler plate text. I’ve had several people lately do this, some who I don’t even know well, nor could I vouch for their work. My reaction is to reply and say one of two things:

“I’d be happy to give you a recommendation if you let me know what points you’d like covered or what areas you’d like to be highlighted.”

Deep down I’m thinking, just write a few bullet points, or better yet the entire things and I will shape it in my own words. I mean of course it’s lovely to have somebody honestly write their testimonial and I’m fortunate to have many on my profile now from clients who’ve done just that.

But remember people are busy so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do this. Then the more likely you are to get your recommendation written up. A simple:

Hi Susan

I would really appreciate a short testimonial or recommendation of my work that I did for you recently on the XYZ project. It would be helpful to cover off on:

  • What you were looking for when you came to me/ or what challenge you had
  • How you felt my training/ product/ advice helped you to solve that problem
  • What your direct results have been that you can attribute to working with me 

Thanks so much for your time

Your name

Don’t Opt-Me In

I recently had a friend add me to their newsletter list and to my surprise I received an email about their latest company updates on a topic I’m really not interested in and for an area I no longer live in.

I immediately wrote back and said:

Dear _____

Congrats on the move and news. I’d prefer not to be added to a newsletter I didn’t opt-in to though. Happy to receive personal updates from you or forward this newsletter to say `Hey if you’re interested this is what I’m up to.

And then I promptly unsubscribed. They wrote me back apologizing and saying they thought I’d like to know what they were up to and that they’d remove me from the list. I gave my unsolicited advice which was:

think a great way to do this to include your friends is forward your new newsletter and say `Hey look at what I’m up to, if it interests you then it’d be great if you subscribed to receive it, or if it’s not for you if you could pass it on to some friends that would benefit I’d really appreciate it.

In the online business I’m in you can’t imagine how many newsletters I subscribe and unsubscribe to to test what they’re doing, who I like, the content they put in their emails etc. But the biggest no no is just adding someone to your list who hasn’t opted in. The other thing is they’re not your ideal target audience – if they haven’t agreed to receive it they’ll likely just delete it anyway.

Am I harsh friend or what? I only speak the truth and I know far too many people who do this and it really irks me. Respect people’s emails and their privacy.

Email Optimization Tips

While we’re on the topic I sat through a webinar with Hubspot’s Dan Zarella a while back and took these notes about maximizing your email newsletter’s chances of success:

  • Click through rates for emails are best on the weekends. People get a ton of emails on the weekdays, so sending it on the weekend that’s why people actually read them.
  • Morning time is best
  • Send more emails (yes frequency matters)
  • Vary your headlines, your copy, your layout

I send my Highflyer out on a Sunday, so far I’ve seen a better open rate than sending it on a weekday.  Other great days tend to be Tuesday and Wednesday.

Quit Spamming My Facebook Wall

Now I can’t complain much on this front as I generally think my lovely `like’s of my Facebook page are a cool tribe who contribute regularly and engage. I leave my wall open for them to post on because I trust them.

Occasionally though I’ll get the spam post from someone who just doesn’t belong there, or at least their message doesn’t. Offers on haircare products for a suitcase entrepreneur community just ain’t cool. I’ll also remove your post and possibly block you as a user so save yourself the time of posting crap and pick pages that are focused on haircare.

Want to know how to remove a post you put up by mistake or an unwanted post? Here’s a visual on how to do this. Look for the icon to the right of a post on your wall and click on it to reveal these options.

 How to remove Facebook spam from your wall

Facebook tip:  Best to post updates on your business page in the morning, or night according to Dan Zarella. Post questions, photos, videos, interesting links (not just your own) and make sure to comment back when people engage – according to Natalie Sisson.

Leave My Twitter Links Alone

Ever see those Tweeters with zero followers who RT your link and replace it with their own spammy URL. Drives me nuts. I click on the link to check it quite often and watch the URL details bottom left of my screen as it goes through as much as up to 8 different redirects before landing on a sales page or porn.

The thing is other people will often retweet this person if they see it’s from me (or you) as a credible tweeter and imagine their surprise when someone in their Twitter crowd clicks on that link they failed to actually read. Do they suddenly assume I’m a pimp or into porn?

Not cool. But then again these are spambots. Even worse is legit people who RT your stuff and replace it with a link to their own site! I mean really?  Pays to report the spammers as spam and tell the people stealing your tweets to go make up their own.

Twitter tip:  Another one from Dan Zarella’s incessant tests of social media: Go crazy on tweeting links on Twitter. 20-25+ a day if they’re valuable. His point is the more often you’re sharing useful stuff, the more visible you will be. Remember in Twitterville streams of tweet pass by your attention within seconds so you need to be tweeting frequently enough to be seen from time to time.

What are your social media pet peeves? Seriously let me know below.


  • hollisthomases

    Good list, Natalie! It also bugs me when people tweet my content without ever giving me credit, invite me to events I have no interest in/have no relevancy whatsoever to me, and lately turn Google +1 into a means to bombard me with their content.

  • writeahead

    Interesting twitter tip at the end. I often wonder if I could RT more links and if people would find that annoying or engaging. I have personally unfollowed at least one Twitterer who posted so frequently that it practically overtook my feed. That’s overkill.

    I love your comment about the newsletter subscriptions, and hope people take it to heart as it’s one of my peeves too. Write Ahead just started a newsletter and I would obviously like to have many more subscribers, but I really want people to opt in. I may only have 9 subscribers now, but I know this will grow to hundreds organically if I play my social media right!

  • Jaq Key

    Well, I think it is important to share attention with those alongside you, to listen care-fully, to communicate often, all in healthy manners. I’m not the social media expert by any means, but in my experience, limited or expanded, this applies to all relationships – on and offline. I recently found myself reflecting on a comment I received after sending out a mass email (which I now and then do to recommend, interesting links)(personally, not for business) – I suppose this might be a microcosmic scale of Natalie’s friend with the Newsletter although different arenas. I didn’t ask who wanted to be linked, I just included everybody, so to speak, in a FWD: because ‘I thought’ it was too good, not to be seen (the link)! … I furthermore sent it out quickly and it read something like ‘Must watch now: (link)’ – in a casual manner, as one might say to a friend when something is just that good. Someone sent me a note that he interpreted it as authoritarian and rude, which I can compassionately understand – yes, it could come off that way. In the end, through positive open communication, we learned from each other, and shared, something much better than any link. A good thing to think about though when you are sharing quickly (whatever it is) – make sure you remember not just your content, but how you put your content through.

  • NatalieSisson

    @hollisthomases that’s an interesting one on the Google + I haven’t encountered that yet but I’m waiting for it to happen. Is there a mute button like on Facebook that you’ve seen? They haven’t let brands on yet so here’s hoping they’ll fix some of that before they do as imagine the chaos. I’m kind of digging it but have not begun to use it’s full capability yet. Thanks for your comment!

  • NatalieSisson

    @writeahead I really think it depends on how many followers you have and thinking through international timezones. 20 tweets during 24 hours is not really much it’s less than 1 per hour if you space it out. Where it becomes bad is if there a number of people with say 40 followers following you and you just invade their Twitter stream as they have so few followers you’re all they see. As long as it’s quality content and great shares people enjoy it – if they see it at all!

  • NatalieSisson

    @Jaq Key one person responded badly out of all those emails – not a biggy to me. There will always be people who disagree with something you do. Over the months I’ve sent out emails that have nothing sales related at all quite often and still people will unsubscribe. It just means they’re not your right audience and you’re not providing a solution to their particular need. If they’re moved enough to write to you that’s better in my mind as it gives you a chance to talk it out and rectify it like you did. Otherwise how do you know? It’s like people who dine in restaurants, hate their meal but don’t say anything and just never come back and also bad mouth the place. If they’d just spoken up in the first place they could have the waiter or management come to their aid and resolve it and probably have left happier.

  • AnnieAndreHacks

    Hay Natalie,

    I hate those canned responses too. I thought it was just me thinking to myself “how lazy some people are” to not write a more personal note.

    On twitter, i’ve had a few people who have asked me to follow them so they could Direct message me. They followed me and expected me to do it in return. I’m like HUH?? BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK..

    LOL, i can’t think of anything else. But i like this one. it’s good common sense that we don’t always think about….

  • mariabrophy

    These are great tips, especially the Linked In info. I have been guilty of being “Ms. Lazy”, but not anymore!

    My pet peeve: Anyone who tags me in a photo that I’m not in, I will unfriend them. It makes me that angry. Why? Because I will get an email everytime someone comments on that photo, and it’s irrelevant to me. I’ve had people say “why don’t you just go in and untag yourself?” Because it’s inconvenient, and I shouldn’t have to stop what I’m doing to get to a computer to untag myself to stop the incessant emails that don’t have anything to do with me!

    Ranting, sorry, but you asked!

  • Hello Natalie,

    I enjoyed the tips, especially the ones on getting friends to subscribe and optimizing email newsletter. I was saved from the LinkedIn massacre 🙂 by another presentation I heard a month back before I got on LinkedIn.

    @mariabrophy I have that pet peeve too. Don’t like people tagging me in photos I am not in and then getting all the follow up comments.



  • NatalieSisson

    @mariabrophy Oh I’ve been guilty of it too, but only a few times. I think it’s a great habit to form to make it personal and memorable. That will make you stand out from the crowd and form a better relationship. The photo tagging thing is not cool when it’s done for business, or anything for that matter IF you’re not in the photo. I agree. It’s a spammy tactic. Good example!

  • NatalieSisson

    @AnnieAndreHacks Thanks miss. Yes the old follow me so I can spam you is so tragic. Happens on LinkedIn and FB too. Pretty sure we will see some Google + spamming shortly. It’s all about filters in my mind and putting them in early.

  • Wow I have never heard of people RT’ing and replacing it with their own spammy links. Now I’m wondering if I need to check them!

    That said, I doubt anyone doing that would be reading a blog like this or would ever care, since it’s a deliberate malicious thing to do. Those are the sneaky tactics that can never be really taken back or apologized for. It’s the major downside of online marketing.

  • NatalieSisson

    @Tia Peterson true Tia, it is the downside of the unethical people in the online world and it happens in the real world too in business dealings and more. Luckily it’s not something I see too often although lately there’s been a run of it. Thanks for taking the time to comment too.

  • catherinecachia

    I have to say I am not a huge fan of the automated Direct Message on Twitter when I start following someone that usually says, “Thanks for following, here is my Facebook”. I think it goes without saying that if you like what someone has to say, you will click on their website, and then Facebook or whatever to learn more about them. To me, it feels less personal than no message at all.

  • catherinecachia

    I have to say I am not a huge fan of the automated Direct Message on Twitter when I start following someone that usually says, “Thanks for following, here is my Facebook”. I think it goes without saying that if you like what someone has to say, you will click on their website, and then Facebook or whatever to learn more about them. To me, it feels less personal than no message at all.

  • Jaq Key

    @NatalieSisson yes, it’s a relative menu, isn’t it.. ..thank Yoou, for always serving, (smiles)

  • Jaq Key

    @NatalieSisson yes, it’s a relative menu, isn’t it.. ..thank Yoou, for always serving, (smiles)

  • NatalieSisson

    @catherinecachia that’s a fair point Catherine. I never used one for the longest of times but I think if done well, like great to connect with you. I write about XYZ or I do XYZ, if that’s up your alley visit my blog/ site etc or even just thanking them personally works well. It’s actually a lost opportunity to tell them more about why they should connect with you.

  • Great tips Natalie womansworld – especially with the Linked In advice – it shows how lazy I can get when I’m trying to streamline my days time management!

  • NatalieSisson

    @PattyKikos Thanks Patty. I agree. It’s just too easy to hit send but it makes such a difference to put in that little bit more effort

  • BiancaTeRito

    Fantastic “tell it like it is” post Natalie – thank you for sharing your insights. The last point “Twitter Links” my goodness! Comes as a big surprise! Good to know it is something to watch-out for.

  • NatalieSisson

    @Bianca TeRito Hey Bianca. Yay so glad you liked. I’m sure you have some top tips to offer too. The link this is an odd phenomenon and I hope the spammers stop it or I get rid of them!

  • @NatalieSisson

    Hi Natalie, oh dear I spoke to soon – I experience my very first one today, luckily it was not of the “adult entertainment” kind – my “block and report as spam” button received a work-out!!

  • reneebecket

    Sorry, now I feel like a spammer for having joined RK… They were endorsed by reputable people. Do I cancel my account with them? Am I going to be known as a ssssspmmerrrr…. oh, noooooo…..

  • carolynellis

    Oh my goodness, Natalie – this is a tremendous post! Your language about not getting unsolicited ezines is spot on. It is so irksome when it happens (way too often) and just sets the relationship up on the wrong foot. Plus, just had such a good laugh with your photo choice too! Thanks for the wisdom!

  • carolynellis

    Oh my goodness, Natalie – this is a tremendous post! Your language about not getting unsolicited ezines is spot on. It is so irksome when it happens (way too often) and just sets the relationship up on the wrong foot. Plus, just had such a good laugh with your photo choice too! Thanks for the wisdom!

  • Number 4 is my ULTIMATE social media pet peeve! I am all about sharing the love and promoting like minded peeps in my industry- but really, spamming my facebook wall? So very inappropriate. And a lot of “friends” on FB even do it on my own wall (in addition to my own page). What’s the deal with that?!

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