Watch Out! Grown-up Followers

I have a colleague who told me once that I should watch a certain show on TV just because I work in communications and I need to know what audiences crave. I haven’t watched TV for over a decade now, with a few exceptions on the way, and I don’t regret it at all. I don’t need to watch TV to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world and I don’t need to watch TV to know people are less dumb than most TV shows pretend they are.

It’s been a while since he told me those words and I haven’t forgotten them. Maybe it’s because I see things around me that remind me of that conversation. I try to apply my common sense everywhere, but when it comes to social media and complicated topics spoon-feeding is one thing and treating your followers as if they were toddlers is another, very different thing.

Your followers know what they want. They’re following you for a reason. So they like your products (whatever they are), they like your style. If you don’t know why, you’d better ask yourself what you are doing there, wherever there is.

We can see examples of this condescending behaviour everywhere.

Beware of international days

Every day is an international day for a particular cause or the anniversary of something, and you, obviously, can’t worry about all of the world’s causes or stick to all the anniversaries. Breast cancer, #movember, ice bucket challenge, Halloween, Christmas, New Year, St. Patrick’s, the environment, children, the Ebola crisis, zebra mussels… You can show your brand’s solidarity, just don’t do it all the time.

Oh, and I understand memes can be irresistible. I’m just going to say something here — resist!

Your audience, for instance, can perceive you especially care about biodiversity, thus you carefully plan a series of posts throughout your social networks on that day. You might even answer the Google Doodle quiz and show everybody the animal you’ve been given. That’s great. However, doing these things all the time, like I say, is wearying.

Don’t ever beg for likes

Another example here is when you directly ask for RTs, or likes, or shares, or all of them, even if they are hidden behind an IQ test.

Really? Few IQ tests are conducted before hiring people…

Engaging questions

Open questions are great for engagement. Open questions are great for engagement. Open questions are great for engagement…

This is taught as a mantra. This is etched in the minds of dozens of social media strategists and community managers.

But then, there’re open questions and there’re open questions.

Are the open questions related to your business? Are they related to what you’re sharing? Are you going to take the answers into account? Are you going to reply, one by one, to these answers? If not, don’t even bother.


Today’s last piece of advice.

Animals are cute. Baby animals are cuter. Everybody knows this. Throwing an animal on your wall from time to time is alright. Excesses are not good. Unless you are a veterinarian, a zoo or Greenpeace, it’s better not to abuse on funny animal faces. I know it’s tempting… those cute kittens… just… don’t!

Would you like to be treated as if you were a baby?

Think of your own kids (if you have kids), think of your lifetime friends. Do you treat them as you used to when you were younger? Do you treat them as you used to when you were in school? No, of course you don’t. So don’t do it either with your readers either—they’ve also grown up with you.

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