This past weekend I was at several social gatherings and not one person told me to announce to the group that I was that person’s friend. I was also not given any propaganda material and told to share it with the whole group. But this should not be surprising - that would be bad behavior and probably get someone never invited back. So why do people do this on social media?
I’ve related social media, particularly Facebook, to the water cooler of the old days in offices. Most people sign-up for Facebook to catch up with their friends or find out what’s going on in their social circles. In some ways, as friends migrate to faraway places, go on long journeys or just get really busy with their own lives, social media is a great way to catch up and find out what’s happening.
But a lot of people don’t get this and use it to share things they would never share in a real social setting. And one of the biggest offenders of all is when someone includes “Like” and “Share” in their posts.
With Facebook’s “Like” (now reactions) and “Share” function there is a way for us to acknowledge what someone else has posted. If it touches us enough, we can actually share what was posted with our own audience. For example, a beautiful picture of a local spot. We’re going to probably “Like” that (we might even use the “Wow” reaction) and possibly share that so our own friends on Facebook can enjoy the image.
But to actually ask someone to “Like” or “Share” something is actually rather rude. These are intended to be organic responses to something. So requesting the response is rather rude and something you’d never do in a real social gathering. Asking for the “Like” or “Share” on Facebook is akin to asking someone at a party to go tell the other guests how wonderful you think their cheese dip is. But if the cheese dip truly is wonderful, people will tell others anyway.
And that’s a good way to look at Facebook - it’s a social gathering that you attend via your computer or smart phone. That’s it.
This is also a good way to look at Facebook from a professional standpoint. Being on Facebook and other social media can be good for your business but you’re at someone’s social gathering so it’s not good to hard sell at the party.
In the case of a business, if you are successful at creating posts that engage people you will have a successful business Page. But if your posts are like shouting at a party, people will ignore you and your posts will disappear from their feed. It would be like shouting in an empty building which is pointless.
Funny and engaging posts are what work on Facebook and when people react to your posts you are more likely to appear in their feed. And remember a social gathering is made-up of business professionals to be sure but nobody shows-up to a social gathering in uniform so put on the Hawaiian shirt and grab a beer, even if you’re still at work.
And please, don’t ask us to “Like” and “Share” your posts. It’s a great way to get uninvited to the party.