How to Break Your Laziest Social Media Habits

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I was housesitting for a friend recently and vacuumed her entire apartment with the click of a button. The magical robot vacuum got to work, and I went to get a cup of coffee. I pressed the button on her single-serve machine, and within seconds had a perfectly brewed cup of joe. I got cozy on the couch, grabbed the remote, and turned on the TV. Laziness was my virtue.

We live in a world where we can do most things with very little effort, and it’s easy for our social media practices to fall into this same pattern. Single button service is the norm, so doing anything more than that can feel like you need a month-long vacation afterward. While I’m all for efficiency and time-saving choices, laziness can occasionally put you in a funk. We asked our Twitter audience what the laziest thing they’ve ever done on social media was and looked at just how these habits are affecting your social strategy.

Re-posting regret

You see a relevant article on Facebook with an intelligent sounding title and without thinking twice, share it to your own followers. You then share a link to the same article on Twitter, making sure everyone knows how smart and well-informed you are. Hopefully, the article wasn’t this one from NPR, where the organization shared a piece titled ‘Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?’ and received a viral amount of Likes, Facebook comments, Tweets, and shares from people insisting that either they do read, or that “the youths” are to blame for this (fair).

However, what these commenters failed to recognize, was that this was an April Fool’s prank testing who was actually reading the article. When people actually clicked on the article, they received a message which included, “We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”

If you were a brand who shared or commented on this post without opening the link and reading it first, you were unfortunately guilty of being lazy. As 68 percent of users repost or retweet content in order to give others a better sense of “who they are and what they care about,” if you’re sharing something without reading it, you put your organization at risk of being perceived as less-informed—especially if the article’s title doesn’t reflect the actual information in the body of the piece.

While there is of course nothing wrong with re-posting content from other users and sources, there are definitely some best practices to keep in mind.

  • Don’t share something for the sake of sharing something. Try to stick to re-posting industry-related content that you think will truly add value to your audience’s lives.
  • Add value. Instead of simply retweeting or sharing a link to an article or blog post, take the time to read the article and add a comment to your Retweet or share. Why should your followers care about this article? How is it relevant? Answer this with a clear and brief comment.
  • Read before you share. I mentioned this above, but can’t stress enough the importance of reading what you’re about to share with your audience. While the title of an article might seem promising, there could be content or images within the piece that don’t reflect your brand in the way you want. The few minutes it takes to read the article could save you from repost regret.

Liking stuff instead of contributing anything of value

In the same vein as excessively reposting content, liking content habitually can become an issue if you’re foregoing any other forms of engagement. As Facebook explains, “Clicking Like below a post on Facebook is an easy way to let people know that you enjoy it without leaving a comment.” While of course it’s not a “bad” thing to Like content on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you might want to rethink your social strategy if it’s the only way you are interacting with content. 

Writer Elan Morgan (Schmutzie) conducted an experiment where she stopped liking anything on Facebook for two weeks. To explain part of her motive, Morgan explains, “The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos.” Liking something (whether on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) is a gesture of appreciation, but is also a passive way of interacting with content. There isn’t much at stake when you Like something, and it requires minimal effort.

Morgan summed up the results of her experiment saying, “I became more present and more engaged, because I had to use my words rather than an unnuanced Like function. I took the time to tell people what I thought and felt, to acknowledge friends’ lives, to share both joys and pains with other human beings. It turns out that there is more humanity and love in words than there are in the use of the Like.”

I’m not advocating that you stop Liking social media content, but rather that you don’t do it mindlessly, or in lieu of adding comments or value to your audience.

Some guidance to combat your couch-potato-liking ways:

  • Challenge yourself to add a certain number of thoughtful and relevant comments per day to others’ content. QuickSprout found that Instagram users are a whopping 401 percent more likely to follow you if you comment on an image rather than just liking it.
  • Think before you like. The things you like will show up on your followers’ feeds in most cases, and reflect your brand or personality. Take a second before you go on a liking spree. Is that Instagram post of a man in the bathtub with his maltese something that fits your brand? Is a Tweet joking about a sensitive subject something you’d want your audience to know you appreciated? Probably not.

*Insert thought-provoking comment here* 

It has become a social media and online practice to jokingly (or not) respond to something with an action placed in-between two asterisks. I’m definitely guilty of this one *insert sheepish face here* but there’s a time and a place for everything.

Urban Dictionary (a very reliable source) defines this practice as, “Something people put on their Facebook statuses and blogs when they’re too bored and lazy to put anything else.” While it can be a humorous reaction to something your friends have posted on social media, you might want to reconsider using this internet meme in any professional setting. Before doing it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my audience? Think about your target demographic. Are these people tech savvy and generally in the know about memes and internet culture? The *insert joke here* format might work better in certain boardrooms than others.
  • What are my audience’s interests? Before using any form of humor, you want to know what kinds of things your audience finds funny (something that can be discovered through basic social listening). For example, if your brand is in the medical industry, don’t make some sick jokes *insert groaning facepalm here.*

Overuse emojis

Disclaimer: I love emojis. Spoiler alert: I am a lazy person. I’m not the only one, either. As the Cassandra Report found, four out of 10 people aged 18 to 35 would rather communicate with pictures than words. A picture is worth a thousand words, and emoji offer the opportunity for emotions and reactions to be shared without using all of the words that would have been previously required. The Oxford Dictionary even declared the cry-laughing emoji face as the 2015 Word of the Year.

But emoji can sometimes act as a type of cop-out from having to give a proper response. Leandra Medine of famed fashion blog Man Repeller explains this with the following relatable anecdote:

My mother-in-law just texted me asking if I felt better and all I’m thinking about doing is sending her the green-faced emoji. I don’t want to say ‘no’ but I don’t want to say ‘yes,’ either. It’s a good way of skirting the issue, of not having to answer — because you’re not giving an actual answer. It’s like, ‘I’m going to throw something out and you choose where you want it to stick.’”  

Instead of giving somebody personal feedback for their inspirational Tweet or beautiful Instagram post, you might just respond with the person-raising-both-hands-in-celebration  emoji and hope that they receive the meaning you are putting out there.

While this emoji gets your feelings across fine, there are probably occasions when you could have added much more value with your reaction written out. Think about why you are using an emoji and what sentiment you are trying to get across with the emoji. Could your words add more value than the emoji? If not, our post “The Dos and Don’ts of Using Emoji in Marketing Campaigns” offers the following tips:

  • Don’t encrypt your message. Not everyone will understand what you are trying to say with a purely emoji-filled message.
  • Don’t send a mixed message. Emoji are light hearted images, so we advise you don’t try to convey serious or ominous messages with them.
  • Do use emoji for real-time engagement. Use emoji to make timely content and contribute to trends and cultural events.
  • Don’t customize without a purpose. Think about whether your proposed customized emoji keyboard is needed and missing from our current emoji lexicon. If not, it’s probably not something that will benefit your business (unless you’re Kim Kardashian. You go, girl).
  • Do create an interactive experience. Incorporate emoji into your marketing campaigns to make your audience a part of the process.

Sending everyone the same birthday message on Facebook

There’s nothing wrong with this. I fully advocate sending everyone a copied-and-pasted message on Facebook. Birthday’s aren’t special. Every living thing on earth has one. Why waste any of your precious content marketing time on writing out personal and thoughtful messages commemorating the day somebody was born, however many years ago? Just send them a champagne emoji tumblr_o06x9vr5tm1sztyb3o1_1280.

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