5 Social Media Tactics that need to be Trashed

Every Year there are predictions about Social Media Tactics, strategies and platforms that will be hot in the following year.  

But let's spare a thought for the bad, annoying social media practices that are becoming all too common. 

In this post, I share 5 Social Media Practices that annoy the heck out of me. Chances are they are annoying the heck out of you too (or maybe you know someone who needs to stop doing them).  

5 Social Media Tactics that Need to be Trashed
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5 Social Media Tactics that Need to be Trashed
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Image by Shutterstock

If you know me and you know my blog, you'll know I don't often rant about the dont's.  I prefer to focus on the do's.  It's just a more positive way to do things.

But lately, all 5 of these “dont's” have driven me bat-shizz crazy, to put it mildly.

And I know I am not the only one to be annoyed – many of you have commented about how you are sick of putting up with them too.

But… I'm guessing that a small percentage of my readers may do one or more of these social media tactics:

  1. Maybe you don't know any better.
  2. Or maybe someone (who SHOULD know better) has advised you to do it.  I hope you'll reconsider, because let's face it, at least two of these social media tactics can get you or your social account in a whole lot of trouble, so I'd like that not to happen to you!

And for those of you that are not using any of these social media tactics (thank you for keeping social “clean”) please feel free to pass this on.

And I am sure there will be a few people who disagree with me too.  Le Sigh.

So here's my hit-list for the trash can of social media:

 5 Social Media Tactics to Trash in 2017

1  Auto DMs and Auto Thank You's on Twitter

This year I stopped looking at my Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter altogether. It became too hard to rummage through them all in order to find real, intentional messages.

I know that it means that I miss a few authentic, real, genuine messages..but it all became too hard, because too many of them are automated, promotional spam or generic, impersonal thank you messages.

Note:  if you want to reach me, don't send a Twitter DM. I'll miss it.  

I am sure for many people the intention is good, but please know that it's kind of a waste of time.  Especially if you are adding promotional content to that “thankyou” message.   Most of us just switch off and don't read them.

What Should You Do Instead? 

  1. Try choosing a few key people that you want to thank for following or reach out to and send a personal message. It just takes 5 minutes to send a few of these. Even a short video can be quick and easy to do.
  2. You can also use my secret weapon for controlling auto-messages.  I use Agorapulse for my social media management as it allows me to check and reply to comments and messages across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It also has a cool “moderation feature” that allows me to filter out 90% of the Direct Messages and Auto-Thankyou's. Here's one of my rules that I set up to filter out the Automated Thankyou's:
Use Agorapulse to Filter Spam and Auto DMs - 5 Social Media Tactics that need to be trashed in 2017
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Use Agorapulse to Filter Spam and Auto DMs - 5 Social Media Tactics that need to be trashed in 2017
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Agorapulse can help save you from choking on Auto DMs!

I also use Agorapulse to filter out certain third party tools that tend to send spammy messages or auto-bot messages and replies (I'm looking at you, Rebel Mouse!). You can also choose to filter out any sort of post that uses consistent keywords in your newsfeed.  It's Ninja!

Whatever you do, focus on real, authentic messages. Twitter users don't want to have conversations with robots!

2  Adding LinkedIn Contacts to your Email List

I give you due warning. I am about to get on my high-horse.

Here's what I think about adding LinkedIn contacts to your email list without them subscribing.


Please don't do it.  

Just don't.  

Do not add your LinkedIn contacts to your generic email list and spam them. In fact, don't add them to ANY email list.

There will be some LinkedIn users out there that will argue this, because they believe (or have been ill-advised) that it is good practice to spam someone without permission.

Or that being a LinkedIn “contact” implies you want to be added to an email list.

It's not and it doesn't.

I asked LinkedIn about this a while back, and this is the response they gave:

Hi Donna.  Adding our members email addresses to a mailing list is considered spamming. The Do's and Don'ts section of the LinkedIn User Agreement prohibits sending spam. At this time, you can only report these people who violate the user agreement.  We currently don't have this functionality available to hide your email address to your contacts. However, I've sent your suggestion on to our product team for consideration.  When many of our members ask for the same improvement, they try their best to get it done. However, due to the number of suggestions they receive, they usually don't provide a timeline. Again, we appreciate the feedback and believe that together we can create great products for everyone!

Adding people to an email list without express permission is spamming them. Plain and simple.

If you are in Canada or a country where the spam legislation is super strict, you are also risking being reported and getting a hefty fine. Don't do that.

This also applies to using your LinkedIn contact email lists to upload into Facebook Ads to create a Custom Audience. This is against Facebook's guidelines as the person has to be a genuine subscriber to use the email for this purpose.

LinkedIn contacts are not subscribers (just in case you missed it the first time).

What to do instead: 

  1. Reach out to your LinkedIn contacts and offer value IN LinkedIn via LinkedIn Mail – continue the conversation on email if you want to (and the contact agrees to do so), but at least offer some sort of value and communication first.  Don't “presume” they want to be bulk-emailed.  Don't spam.
  2. Reply to people who add you to an email list without permission, and let them know it's against LinkedIn's terms.  Report them if you really want to, but I prefer to educate first… some people have just been given bad advice and don't know any better.
  3. Let LinkedIn know if you are sick of getting added to lists because of your LinkedIin email address. Maybe they will change it so that we can choose whether or not to make our email address visible to contacts, or give stricter guidelines around what you can and can't do with your contact list.

Side note:  I changed my email address in LinkedIn to an email that I don't use to subscribe to any other email lists.  So now, it's easy to identify those people that are adding me to an email list via LinkedIn. Unfortunately, there are quite a few – and they are pretty much always sales-y and non-personalised emails.   

I rest my case.

3  Auto Comments on Instagram

For the love of all things social, don't use third party tools that post comments automatically on Instagram posts.

If you want to comment on Instagram… comment.  Type your real, authentic comment under the image… and post it.

Don't post robot comments.  They are truly ruining the experience of Instagram.

You've seen them before. Here are a few examples:

Love it!

Very cool.

Nice one!

Awesome ….. Sweet…. Love this…

Put simply, don't be a bot:

What's worse is that now we can't even post a quick “great pic” or “nice” without it looking like an auto comment. Gah!  You need to make an effort and make your comments relevant and tailored to the content.

And yes, you are more likely to get auto-comments if you use hashtags.  But the auto-comments are the problem, not the hashtags.

What to do instead:  

  1. If you acting like a bot, please stop. Grow your account organically.  It's not cool and added to that, the chances of you saying something completely irrelevant or unrelated to the pic in your comment is pretty high
  2. Be careful about the hashtags you post. Super popular hashtags tend to attract more auto-comments.
  3. Let Instagram know you are sick of auto-bots and report those that serially offend with promotional auto-comments.

Apparently, Instagram are clamping down on Auto Follow/Unfollow tools. I wish they would add Auto-Commenting to the mix. It's ruining the engagement experience of Instagram and is one of the bad social media tactics that I'd love to see trashed!

Want to share these 5 Tips for Social Media Tactics to Avoid? Here's an Infographic to Pin to Pinterest! 

Please include attribution to SociallySorted.com.au with this graphic.

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4  Adding people to Groups on Facebook without permission

This one should be a no-brainer but it's a bad social media tactic that keeps happening.

As more Facebook Users turn to groups to build community, it's tempting to add friends into new groups.  Please don't do that.

What to do instead:  

  1.  It's polite to invite!  Invite your friends to your group – Don't add them without permission.
  2. Use various means to promote your group – in your emails and on your other social channels.
  3. Remind new members to set their notifications to a level they are comfortable with – either all posts, friends only, or none!

5   Tagging Recklessly

I love the tagging feature on most social platforms – especially Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. When used the right way, it's part of the glue that holds social media together.

But that's just it – it needs to be used the right way, natively as part of your conversation with the right people.

One mistake that I see happen often on Facebook, is tagging people into a conversation when they don't really need to be.   Only do this with a great deal of consideration.

You see, once someone is tagged, you are essentially adding a task to their day. They are being asked to respond or acknowledge it.

Sure, they can ignore it, but that also brings about a decision they have to make … which takes time (and may be awkward if they know you will notice that they don't respond).  And now your tag is an inconvenience.

And of course, be careful with photos – make sure the photo is flattering!  There's nothing worse than being tagged at your worst!

So, Do this Instead: 

  1. Make sure it is a relevant post or something you know they will be interested in.
  2. Tag to congratulate someone (but again, think about whether they will appreciate the tag).
  3. Don't tag people into controversial posts, drama or political posts.
  4. Be careful tagging photos.

Over to You!

Do any of these social media tactics annoy you too?  Do you have one of your own to share?  Leave a comment below.  

5 Social Media Tactics that need to be Trashed
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5 Social Media Tactics that need to be Trashed
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Image by Shutterstock

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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