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3 Tips for Being Less of a Social Media Jerk

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/02/2016 Annie Singer

Are you a social media jerk?

We all know at least a few. It might be that person who just doesn't get that nobody wants their game invites, the direct selling rep who won't stop adding you to party groups or a small business that really just doesn't understand the concept of marketing.
The truth is, you can gain thousands of followers a year naturally without being a jerk.
If you're afraid you might be a social media jerk, here are a few tips:

1. Don't follow to get followers

Article after article from so-called "social media experts" are published, advising people to use following and unfollowing as a way to grow their audience.
The idea is that you follow lots of people. People see that you follow them, look at your profile, and might follow you back. Then you unfollow all of the people who didn't follow you.
This is an awesome way to grow an unengaged audience and annoy everyone else by messing with their follower count.
Let's say that again.
Following and unfollowing is an awesome way to grow an unengaged audience and annoy everyone else by messing with their follower count.
This happens all to often, sadly, with marketing companies who provide social media and SEO services.
Do this instead: Follow people relevant to you and your niche and interests. Unfollow people who end up disappointing with content that is useless, irrelevant, or doesn't meet your expectations.

2. Engage with your audience

Companies like Buffer do a phenomenal job of engaging with their social media following, and they get major love, especially on Twitter.
Most companies and bloggers don't have the time to be a part of online communities and have genuine conversations - they have social media accounts for their blogs, and also personal accounts.
Do this instead: Pretend to engage with your audience by using them and leveraging their content to your advantage. If someone posts something relevant to you, re-post or re-tweet it (with proper credit and permission if need be). Use it for a "round-up" blog post, or ask if you can share it on a different platform. Sharing the content of your followers is a great way to fill your content calendar, while also making your followers feel included.

3. Don't automate comments begging for likes/comments/link clicks

Have ever left a comment reading something along the lines of: Great content. Check out the link in my bio!?
If you think you are being smart or sneaky by automating click-bait-y comments, you are sadly mistaken.
It's easy to spot automated comments because they're often slightly off-topic and always desperate.
Not to mention, automated comments can get a bit creepy.
Do this instead: Take all the time you spent setting up your social media automation, strategically choosing people to spam, and writing a few versions of generic and click-bait-y comments, and put that time towards having genuine online conversations. Even a half-hour a week will help you build your online presence without annoying people.

Can You Succeed Online Without Being a Tool?

You don't have to act like a jerk to build a successful online presence, be it for personal or business purposes.
You can easily build a following of thousands by taking a few minutes a day and strategically following people and engaging with your audience. If you don't have the time, consider delegating social media tasks to a (reputable) social media company, or hire a virtual assistant for a few hours a week.
The internet is a much nicer place when you are not spamming social media with selfish promotions and providing no value in return.

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