Social Media has changed the way we connect with humans in both personal and business relationships. Since I was born in the 1960s, I have lived and worked both pre and post social media, it has changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. I love the ability to connect with any one, to tap into active conversations and to find people, ideas, things that I never knew existed. The possibilities really are endless?.

Keep It Simple Concept

Keep It Simple Concept

As with any relationship, it’s all about how you engage. Unfortunately, many people simply do not understand how to ride the wave of social media and they go about it from a very different perspective. It does not always go well; we are here to discuss cringe-worthy social media practices and how to turn them around.

This article includes my own experiences, but I also reached out to members of the active Facebook community which is part of my group program and asked for their social stories of woe.

How I Engage Online

Before we dive into what NOT to do? I want to share the simplified version of how I engage on social media:

  1. I decide who I want to connect with based on profiles of who is part of my target market.
  2. I start to follow them, talk to them, connect with their audiences and most importantly I listen to them, this is the part most people miss entirely?
  3. I am always me? one person for both business and personal posts.
  4. I watch my posts and see what people tend to like/dislike and I post more of what they like and less of what they don’t.
  5. I do have a team member that schedules posts, but my engagement is always live and always me.
  6. I share OPC (other people’s content) regularly, this helps to build relationships and expand your audience.

It really is quite simple and models how you conduct your in-person? relationships. Just be YOU that is what works best.

It’s NOT All About the Numbers

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that you need a big following to have an impact. That is completely false. Take a step back and think about that, if you have a social media following, on any platform, of 25,000 people that have no interest in what you do, what does that bring to your business? Nothing, it actually builds a barrier and keeps the right people away.

Now flip that? if you have an engaged following of 1,000 followers that needed your services, that you can actually get to know. You can listen to what they need, have conversations with them, answer their questions and meet their communities, how might that impact your business?

One way to reframe this misconception is to be realistic about what you really need in your business. Do you need 5 new clients? Do you need to sell 200 products? What can you comfortably handle? Start there and build your strategy backwards who do you need to connect with to make that goal happen?

Direct Messages

Direct messages or DMs can be a valuable connection tool when done well. But more often they are a prime example of what NOT to do. [thrive_testimonial name=”Donna Cravotta” company=”SocialSage PR” image=””]Hint? before sending a DM think about how you would feel if you received the same message, likely from someone you did not know. Below are a few examples of each.[/thrive_testimonial]

  • What NOT to Do A group DM may seem like an efficient way to communicate with a group of people, but most of the group DMs I find myself involved in are involuntary and full of people you do not know. Once you are added to one of these group chats you start to receive a steady stream of notifications, so after the initial annoyance of being included in a group message you were never asked to be added to? you are now reminded of it every time someone responds. They do NOT further your message or connections, it is the opposite, people disconnect. I know if I need to take time out of my day to shut notifications or leave a chat, I either disconnect or tell the sender how I feel about this practice.

P.S. LinkedIn is NOT a dating site. Just because I accepted your connection request that does not mean that I want to receive a 4 paragraph sales pitch 10 minutes later.

  • When Done Right DMs can be a powerful way to communicate with one person or a small group of people that are in an actual conversation.
    • Here is one example that happened a few months ago. A younger mom that I know, who is also a business colleague, posted up a question to moms with older kids asking for advice. It was vulnerable and personal. She received tons of comments and loads of advice, but me and one other woman really started to go deep. We took it to a private message and helped her deal with an issue we both experienced when our children were younger. We helped her to craft a program that will change the course of her business and bring some sanity to the always illusive and changing work/life balance. Not only did this help her, but it helped me to see how far I had come and that a difficult situation I resolved years ago had value, I was able to pay it forward.
    • Here is another, a former client posted a big media hit on Facebook. I congratulated her and asked how will you share that? She instantly sent me a DM, said she needed my help and is no longer a past client.

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups

Groups are some of my favorite places to be online. They give you the opportunity to shut down the noise and connect on a deeper level with like-minded groups of people?

  • What NOT to Do My Facebook community had a lot to say about this topic.
    • Have you ever been added to a group that you had no desire to be a member of? How did that feel? Personally, I don’t like it and it is a guaranteed disconnect for me.
    • Most groups have rules. My favorite groups are usually non-promotional spaces. But there are members that cannot see past using the group setting to sell their stuff without adding any value to the community.
    • People start groups and do not keep the engagement going, there is a terrific group of members gathered and nothing happens.
  • When Done Right
    • As I am writing this article, a client sent me a DM to share this story:

I’m in a mom’s group with nearly 10,000 members. The focus of the group is about how they found joy. This is my topic and I speak and write about it often, until yesterday, I’ve never shared in this group….

When I did had over 70 likes and 100 comments from other moms wanting to join me in a 10 day thread in the group to share our struggles and our solutions for how we find and incorporate joy in our lives?

Not sure what will happen from this social experiment, but she is a life coach who works with frazzled moms. Helps them to reclaim their lives and find joy in the life they have now. I am confident that in 10 days of a visible, targeted and ongoing conversation about joy, she will land a few clients at the very least. I see much more.

  • One of the ways that I have significantly grown my business is by being invited to Facebook Groups that are run by podcasters that have interviewed me for their shows. The relationship is there, they featured me as an expert and now I am invited to engage with their community. I never post what I am selling, I engage by answering questions and providing solutions and resources. People have reached out to me with speaking/teaching opportunities and wanting to learn more about my services.

Notice the trend here, the ability to build a community is where the power lies and it is obviously very much needed in our busy and fragmented lives.


Automation can be an incredible time saver and there are many, many wonderful social media tools that can help you grow and leverage your audience, but use them wisely. Overusing automation can appear impersonal and kill relationships before they begin?

  • What NOT to Do Again, my Facebook community was not a fan of over automation.
    • Automatic DMs to new followers are rarely done well. When I start to follow someone new and immediately receive a message recommending that I follow them on another social media platform or click to learn more about their latest and greatest, I never want to.
    • Automatically posting tweets on other social media platforms such as LinkedIn? they have entirely different languages and it appears that you are lazy and that the relationship has no value to you. Additionally when you post the same post on all of your social sites at the same time if someone is following you on multiple sites you are spamming them. Change the text to fit on each platform and space out when you post this can easily be scheduled in advance using a social media management tool like HootSuite or Buffer and does not need to be time consuming or difficult. Turn cross pollination into an experience.
    • Do not schedule out content too far in advance, you will forget what you scheduled and things move fast on social media. There is a very good chance you will post outdated information; even worse people will share it.
  • When Done Right
    • I recently received the best automated message on Twitter. I started to follow a blow dry salon in NYC. They sent an immediate DM that invited me for a free hair treatment. This not only made me feel good, it effectively moved me from social media to their mailing list, I will visit their salon and likely become a customer. I’ll write a review, share my experience and recommend them. See the difference. They used automation to build a relationship.
    • I use automation to share OPC (other people’s content). This is one of my favorite strategies, I share fantastic content created by people I admire which also opens the opportunity for us to connect. I save time because I do not need to write all of the content I share. I create an experience of combined content for my growing and targeted audience. Then I show up live to participate in any conversations that spark around the shared content.

These are only a few ways you can avoid what NOT to do and turn it around.

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Join us on a Tweet Chat today, Monday March 28th at 2pm EDT.



On Friday, April 1st at 2pm EDT where we will continue the conversation on Blab and share stories and strategies for using the power of social media to build sustainable and valuable relationships rather than chase people away.



Remember to be genuine. Step away from the technology and think about how you would interact in person.. do the same thing online. Most importantly, social media is a reciprocal space, reach back to what we learned when we were small children? apply the golden rule to your online interaction, Do unto other as you would have others do unto you? aka ?treat people the way you want to be treated.