Are you using Facebook and Twitter to promote your self as a travel writer?
Every so often I get an email from someone who asks me why I haven’t responded to their Facebook friend request, or why I haven’t followed them on Twitter……
…most of the time the reason is that they’ve — perhaps unknowingly — put obstacles in my way that leave me frustrated……hurdles I simply don’t have time to jump over. And if I don’t, it’s a fair bet that other Editors and Publishers don’t either.
Generally speaking, this is because people are either new at professional self-promotion, or new to social networking, or both.
So ask yourself these questions: Are you looking to connect with editors, publishers, and other writers? Hoping to find writing assignments or new outlets for publication? How about developing relationships with some CVBs and PR firms and maybe garner some media trip invites? Wanting to gain exposure for your own travel blog, pick up new readers, build your own brand?
If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, then it’s critical that you’re NOT making blunders that sabotage your efforts.
Here are my Top 5 ways to make achieving your goals more difficult
- Confuse personal and business use of a Facebook account, and try to manage both from one profile. Post status updates or photos of a personal nature that are irrelevant to your career goals, and use the many games and fun apps that annoy those who use Facebook for business reasons.
- Keep your profile privacy settings very strict, thereby preventing potentially important business contacts from learning anything about you, such as what you might have in common with them or why they should accept your Friend Request — making it unlikely that they will (I can’t count the number of times I receive a Friend Request, and when I go to check out the profile of the requester I see “this person only allows friends to view their info”. Really? You want me – a stranger – to befriend you, but you won’t let me see anything about you?). It’s fine to hide your home address and email address, but information about you and your background should be public.
- Continually harass your professional Friends with requests to “Like” all of the various pages and causes that you manage or Like, particularly those of no relevance or interest to your business contacts.
- Make a habit of asking others to ‘Like’, share, “vote” for you, and/or comment on your blog or Facebook posts without reciprocating.
- Use the many Fan Pages that you Like for posting ceaseless self-promotional updates, without offering anything else of interest to those Pages readers;.
- As with Facebook, confuse your personal and professional use of Twitter – this is a sure fire way to lose followers, or deter otherwise potentially valuable business associates from following you (or taking you seriously). I’m sure your family and close friends are very interested in every little detail about your day, but please use a different Twitter account for your personal updates and random musings.
- Tweet TOO often – this is the number one reason I choose to not follow someone that I otherwise would….sure I’m interested in what your latest blog post is or where in the world you might be now, but really, 50 updates a day? That’s just too much for me to follow, and it overwhelms my stream to the point that I can’t follow others that I really want to. This is a common rant among other professional I know.
- Use Twitter as an IM client – if you have messages directed to just one person, use the DM feature, otherwise it’s twitter-clutter.
- Create a skimpy but cute Bio and background image – I saw one recently that just said “wandering aimlessly”…..really, that was it. With a picture of a globe for the background. So I’m supposed to follow someone aimlessly? Um, no thanks. Use a professional bio please, and put a little thought into your background so that at a glance editors and publishers can see who you are what your writing specialty is.
- When you have nothing valuable to offer, tweet a well-known Quote – really, I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
I’m pretty clear about the fact that I want to connect with other writers, editors, and publishers via the social networks I engage in. My goal is simple: to provide a resource (this site) for writers. But if I can’t tell who you are, what you do, or any relevancy in your social message, how does befriending you help me to accomplish my goals?
And therein lies the key: to get ahead in your career, be clear and professional in all communications – including social media messages – so that those who are in a position to help you can see that your goals are in alignment with theirs. When that happens, you’ll be surprised at how much more willing they’ll be to help you.
STAY TUNED! Next week we have a wonderful post by Brendan Van Son about how to use Stumbleupon correctly and effectively – woot!
What social networking blunders do YOU see? Share your experience!