After reviewing my Twitter followers this evening I was also looking at some of their tweets to see if I really needed to be following them as well.  There were quite a few followers who I had no interest in following back and I will touch on why in a minute since they had committed some of the five deadly sins I am about to list here.

Some of these are pretty obvious, but I think they need to be stated in case someone new to the social media scene comes across this blog and can learn something.  So a “wag of the finger” (courtesy of Stephen Colbert) to these people for exhibiting the worst social media behaviors in the world.

Don’t do this- This will be called the “minutiae award.”

Tweeting/posting about where you went for coffee and then where you picked up a paper and every other small detail about your day-to-day life isn’t very interesting to your followers.  That’s because we all most likely do the same things as you.  Keep the number of tweets about yourself down unless you are reporting on some sort of live event that people could follow along with.  In that case, you may want to add a hashtag to group them all under one name/event.

Don’t do this- Have someone in your company using social media that doesn’t know how to spell/type

I sort of discussed this here in a previous blog post which was something Wells Fargo was guilty of doing.  I’ve seen numerous spelling mistakes by @ask_wellsfargo, not to mention the fact they air their dirty laundry on Twitter by asking people to tell them if they have had problems with their accounts.  Besides the sloppy mistakes, having an intern do your Tweeting/Facebooking just isn’t rewarding for your followers to read.  Having a VP or high level manager participate in social media makes for a much more rewarding experience for them and for their followers.

Don’t do this– Have a little birdie as your profile picture on Twitter

This either means you are a spammer and have been around long enough not to get banned or you don’t really know what you’re doing on Twitter.  It is critical to have something (picture, logo, etc) unique to identify yourself in the social media universe and if you cannot master this technique, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot.

Don’t do this- We’ll call this one “mixing business with pleasure.”

On Facebook if you don’t already have a separate page established and are “friending” people to grow interest in your business, you might not want to be farming and kissing people.  If I’m interested in your music and you send me a friend request, I’ll usually add you.  I don’t, however, want to see your back and forth between your friends or what crops you have grown in Farmville.  I can certainly hide your updates for farming and whatever Facebook applications I don’t want to see, but it’s just not a wise move if you’re trying to get people interested in what you have to offer.  A major red flag in this category is when political discussions occur on Facebook.  In participating in political discussions, you run the risk alienating a portion of your audience who would otherwise be interested in your page, product , etc.

Don’t do this– Tweet links from Mashable, TechCrunch, etc without giving them credit for it.

This is probably my number one pet peeve on Twitter and will get you un-followed very quickly.  A lot of “marketing” people who follow me have ended up to be Mashable clones and it was getting to be quite a pain to see the same articles in duplicate or triplicate so I un-followed them.  Get your own content!!

So that’s the list.  Follow these rules and you’ll avoid being de-friended, un-followed, and also any wags of the finger.