12 Ways To Screw Up A Virtual First Impression

by Paul Castain on January 30, 2011

1) Link to inactive social networking accounts: So there’s a prospect, interested enough to check out your Linkedin profile. They click on your Twitter link thinking “Cool, I spend more time there anyway” then they discover your account either has zero tweets or the last time you tweeted was back in late 2009. I’ve seen this with inactive blogs and even websites. Please go back and update or report to the Principals office folks. Inexcusable!

2)    Dancing the “Linkedin two step”. This is when you accept someone’s invite and they immediate launch into their sales pitch. Not bueno! Think courtship not singles bar.

3)    Start a discussion and then go MIA. Would you walk into a room, start a discussion and then slip out the back Jack? Of course not. Then why do so many people start Linkedin discussions and then leave without any acknowledgement of the comments? Stick around and facilitate your discussions unless you are striving for a certain David Copperfield vibe.

4)    Continually engage in negativity, combativeness etc. I don’t care if someone gives you the old virtual finger by calling you out publicly or if you just have a need to rip apart someone’s logic in a discussion . . . its bad news. Also, and how shall I say this, your network hates when all you do is complain in your status updates and tweets. Do you really think people say, I wonder what kind of cool negative sh*t that rascal Castain is tweeting about today? You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but let’s stop playing the A Hole card already.

5)    Stalk people: liking everything, commenting on every status update. Its just creepy and I will leave it at that. I have this sudden urge to ask if anyone has seen that movie Silence of The Lambs. Don’t know why.

6)    Broadcasting instead of interacting. I see this happen way too many times on Twitter. Quite frankly it bores the hell out me. Let’s make sure that somewhere between all the links, quotes, tips etc we are thanking, acknowledging, validating and showing the world that there is indeed a human being behind the tweets. And in my case, a human being who finds the word “tweet” unmanly.

7)    Too much me, not enough them. You’ve seen it before: “Check out my Facebook fan page” “I’m speaking at . . . “My latest blog post . . .” and even the more sophisticated narcissist who will only retweet those who are mentioning them. I believe the key to your rock stardom rests in your ability to make others look like rock stars. Doing so creates legions of fans who will in turn become brand evangelists . . . spreading the good news about . . . YOU!

8)    Flooding The Twitter Stream With Irrelevant Data: Live tweeting, twitter chat, rapid fire tweets, mucho foursquare updates. This is a rant for another day but I can tell you its annoying and can get you unfollowed right quick. Please think value before you send this stuff. Better yet, put yourself in your follower’s shoes who’s twitter stream get’s flooded with your need to tweet a sound byte from a conference that we really needed to be there to understand. Same with Twitter Chats and tweeting 7 links in 3 seconds. Did I mention you should think?

9)     Too much duplication of your message across the platforms. As someone who participates actively on the Big 3 (Twitter,LinkedinFacebook) I know that I need to bring my content to each, but if all I am doing is sending the same stuff to 3 places and you follow me in all 3 places, doesn’t that sort of punish you? My suggestion is to offer things in each platform that you don’t offer in the others. Just a thought.

10)  Linkedin template. I won’t say more than my usual “I think using templates put forth the worst possible ‘you’ as far as a first impression” I would go as far as to say that if you don’t have the 20 seconds to introduce yourself properly, what makes you think you’ll have the time to properly nurture the new connection? Besides, you’re better than that!

11)  Ask for a recommendation from someone who basically said hello to you once.

12)  Asking for a recommendation from someone and using the template. Hang your head if you ever did this.

All joking (and self righteousness) aside, I’ve made lots of mistakes in my efforts to be a social networking rock star. I will openly admit that I’m a work in progress!

My suggestion to you would be to take the time to think things through a bit and model the people who are getting the results you wish to obtain.

Oh and just for the heck of it, pretend you are the person at the other end of your social networking efforts.  If you find yourself saying “that’s not cool” even once, then it might be time for a course correction my friend.

Today, you are cordially invited to make a better first impression!

Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, you might want to check out this mighty cool 90 page social networking “how to” E-Book I’ve just authored. I decided to get creative with the title and call it “Paul Castain’s Social Networking Playbook” Details can be found by clicking here!

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