Spending my most recent years in the marketing biz, I couldn’t help but notice the many similarities between social media marketing and dating online. Both worlds are fascinating and at times, unpredictable. But the campaign structure similarities are uncanny!
To start, there’s a great deal of promotion going on. Brands promote their name on social media platforms and singles promote themselves through online profiles. While social media marketers run various campaigns to promote their brand, online daters are running their own PERSONAL campaigns to woo an audience of eager romantics. It’s an endless sea of ‘Look at Me, Look at Me!’
After initial promotion comes the act of enticing other users. Marketers do this by consistently posting relevant content on social media, and building an audience that will trust and follow them.
Online daters follow a similar model. They create personal profiles filled with the most interesting content about themselves and the most flattering images they can find. With a relevant, honest, and intriguing profile, they’re likely to attract the right attention and eventually have their own audience.
This is where engagement begins. It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking for a brand or for yourself, social engagement is a vital step to the process. You can have the most blinged out website or the longest list of achievements on eHarmony, but all of that’s a vanity act if you can’t engage and communicate with your audience.
My List of Probable Reasons Why Your Social Media Engagement Skills Are Getting You Nowhere…
Accompanied by appropriate comparisons to the world of online dating.
(In other words, this article will help you succeed in more ways than one!)
1. Without a Profile Image, You’re Just a Creeper
There once was a man that approached me on a dating site. His profile had zero pictures and barely any details about himself. Despite the lack of imagery, he sent me a 4 page message, gushing about common interests, his family history, the exotic places he’s traveled, and so on. At the very end of this skimmed over novella, he nonchalantly asked if I’d meet him for coffee. Wow, bold move.
When I didn’t respond soon enough, he sent a second message explaining his lack of profile photo. Apparently this faceless stranger was a big shot lawyer, and due to the sensitivity of his profession, he needed to remain incognito. No colleague or client could ever know he was looking for love on the internet, rather than spending every waking moment in the courtroom.
Though his story was heartfelt and made complete sense, I had to decline. Why should I take a risk on someone who refuses to take any risks themselves? That isn’t any sort of way to ask a favor of a stranger.
Without a profile image, you are saying to the world that you just don’t care enough to share. Yet isn’t that the whole point of social media? To SHARE…? EVERYTHING?
It literally takes five minutes or less to change your Twitter image from a vacant egg to something that accurately represents you or your business. It isn’t Halloween anymore, so take that bag off your head!
If you don’t have an appropriate or non-blurry picture of yourself, ask a friend or family member to take one for you. If you don’t want people on social media to know what you look like, then you’ll have a harder time reaching people and getting them to trust you. Would YOU jump at the chance to talk to someone without a face?
If putting a photo up of yourself is out of the question, Mashable suggests using an avatar version of you instead. It always depends on the company but a cartoon version of anyone looks so much better than the real thing.
Avoid copyrighted images or ones of random objects. You could get in hot water with the person who the photo belongs to. And remember that Facebook has a very low tolerance for people not being transparent about who they are. In other words, only John Stamos is allowed to have a profile picture of John Stamos.
2. Your Username or Handle Looks Shady
If you type ‘weird profile name’ into Google, you will find a hilarious array of username generators. (You will also discover names for your Minecraft characters and the 25 Funniest Tinder Profiles ever, but that’s for another blog post…) In other words, if you can’t think of a unique username yourself, there are plenty of places that will do it for you!
A username can be a sneak peek into your online profile or persona’s soul. If you don’t put any thought into it and let Twitter choose for you, people may begin knowing you as Mark98531BV945GSY. A name like that may grab the attention of mathletes and cyborgs but it’s far too long and muddled to be significant to any human being.
If your actual given name is already taken in most places, ask yourself these questions to help in putting together a proper username:
- What are YOU most interested in?
- Who is your target audience, and what are THEY most interested in?
- What are you an expert in?
- What service do you provide or what is your business?
- What are you hoping to accomplish through this social media account?
According to Reputation.com, you should keep it consistent. Scattering different usernames around the internet just makes you look squirrelly. Use those questions to help guide you in creating a username that sparks interest and is relevant to your goal or business.
But if at the end of the day, you just want to be called BasicFace456289 then you should ride that wave. No one does YOU better than YOU.
3. Your Emails Look Like Prose Pieces
Let’s rewind back to the picture-less lawyer from earlier and his lengthy exchange of words. Sometimes when we’re nervous or trying to impress someone, we cram any empty silence or blank page with needless filler. But when you slap that many words on the table, it just ends up looking sloppy, needy, and unprofessional.
Since the late ’90s, ‘Speed Dating’ has been a successful trend in the dating world. Imagine many single people in one room, taking turns to quickly try and woo one another. The only catch is there’s a time limit. Each person usually has between 30 seconds and 10 minutes to grab the other person’s attention.
When you’re reaching out to someone on social media, that same rule is secretly being applied. Except with an even stricter time limit! People perusing social media are usually doing it because they have a short attention span and aren’t ready or available to get engrossed in something. Don’t be that guy at the party that keeps talking even after everyone has already checked out. Nobody is ever going to give that guy their number.
If you tend to be a wordy word lover, practice summarizing your messages or emails before sending them.
- Type out your message – if you need to write a saga, go ahead and do your thang!
- Once you’ve gotten it all out, write a short summary of the entire piece.
- Put the unabridged version in your archives for safekeeping.
- Paste the clean summarized version into the email body.
- Send it on its way!
- You’re welcome.
4. Your Direct Message Responses Are Generic, Automated, and/or Poorly Written
To anyone that thinks every DM they receive was written just for them, I envy your innocence. And I wish I could go back to that place…
The reality is that most people on Twitter and other platforms send out a ‘personal’ message to anyone that begins following them. Usually that message contains a ‘thank you’, and a link to follow them further.
If you are going to have a message automated, please take the time to edit it for any grammar or spelling errors. And make sure your information is current and up to date. If you share a link that’s no longer active, you’re going to lose followers faster than you’ve gained them.
- There are ways to make automated messages sound warm and genuine. Use the language that you speak in and only send a link to something worth sharing. All other links can be sent from you personally when the time is right.
- Make it short and sweet. Acknowledge them, thank them, and offer them something in return. A view of your pug, Rupert’s Facebook profile is not a gift. Unless all of your followers are relatives that want to stay up to date on Rupert’s FourSquare action.
- Or you could go au naturale and not use automation tools at all. KVNW says that when you start using automation tools “to favorite tweets with a certain hashtag, or to auto-follow/un-follow people, you immediately cheapen your brand experience.” We couldn’t agree more.
5. You Don’t Know How to Spell Like an Adult
It is always baffling to me how few people proofread their work before putting it in front of a billion eyeballs.
Much like wooing a dating prospect, when attempting to steal the attention of another, HubPages and I agree that it is always wise to use proper dialogue. Think about who you’re typing to. What age bracket do they fall into? Are they the CEO or do they own their own company? Are they a blogger or an influencer? Ask yourself all of these questions, and then realize that the answer DOESN’T EVEN MATTER.
Because regardless of their role in the company, how long ago they graduated, or what gender they are, each one of these people deserves a thoughtful form of correspondence. Nobody has the time to decipher drivel or guess at what word you were trying to spell.
This one’s quite simple. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sending someone an outreach message, requesting advice from an influencer, or leaving someone a Facebook comment, proofread all of the things. That way you can catch any embarrassing typos before they become someone else’s possession… forever.
6. YOU ONLY TYPE IN ALL CAPS
HELLO! When you type in ALL CAPS it means that you are shouting. Nobody likes being shouted at. Come back down to earth and get on our level.
In the world of online dating, when I see a message in ALL CAPS, I just assume that person is either very old or very mad. Neither of those traits usually give me any reason to converse much further.
If you’re excited about something, ALL CAPS is acceptable in some situations. Personal emails and personal online profiles, being two of those situations.
If you are trying to engage with someone for marketing purposes, you may want to ditch the ALL CAPS until you’ve gotten to know each other a little better – or until one of your teams wins the Superbowl. According to most men, all [capitalization] bets are off when it comes to sports.
7. Every Single Thing You Post or Tweet is More Dramatic or Intense Than the Last
Sure, life is one long dramatic timeline of events. But that doesn’t mean every single quote you read or article you share needs to be the most epic thing on the internet. Being that dramatic all the time isn’t good for anyone’s health. Everyone needs a break from the serious now and then.
Maybe the industry you work in is all work and no play. Maybe you just don’t like funny or pleasant things. If that’s the case, you may have a hard time engaging people and keeping them invested in you or your business.
Everything you share through social media can be seen, and when you reach out to people, they may, well… see it. If all you’ve curated is an endless stream of Oprah quotes and life lessons from Richard Branson, some people may begin to feel uncomfortable or just BORED.
Think of popular music. Songs have various parts for a reason: to keep things interesting and to pull you in. While the chorus tends to be the driving force behind most songs, it needs less intense moments around it in order to hold the same effect. No one wants a song that’s just one insanely loud and epic refrain. People want and need variation.
So if your twitter feed is one long line of extreme content, you may end up overwhelming those you try to engage. Let some lighthearted fanfare slip in your feed every now and then. It also wouldn’t hurt if you took the day off to do something spontaneous!
8. You Seem Desperate
This is probably the mistake that resonates with everyone the most. Because even if you’ve never looked at an online dating site or let your eyes linger curiously on one of their click bait ads, there’s still a good chance you’re aware of the correlation between internet dating and the smell of desperation.
It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there, on the internet for all to see. It’s an even scarier thing to do that in the name of romance. But if you can handle rejection with nobility and not let it rain on your parade, then you were meant to do this.
If you’re just too shy or your ego is too big, then insecurities could get the best of you. It may be wise to learn a few life lessons before jumping in the ring…
- Even if you have a quota to fill or a checklist to tick off, do not badger people. If you aren’t getting a response, there’s no reason to ever be a pest. Please do not confuse Social Media with Cold Calling. Those two worlds should never ever collide.
- Talking about yourself, your company, your brand 24/7 is distasteful and it makes you look desperate. Talk about those things some of the time and then talk about topics relevant or related to your business the rest of the time. Keep it balanced.
- Don’t give your audience the idea that you desperately need something from them. If you do, then they’ll be the ones holding all the cards. Instead, give them a reason to need YOU.
Ten years ago, we all made fun of dating websites and the ‘dorks’ that ‘needed’ them. Five years after that, we made fun of Twitter and its fast-paced celebrity fan base. Now we can use one to inspire the other, and make the world a better place for it!