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There’s a fine line between staying in touch with your audience and annoying them. You want to stay top of mind with them without coming across as spammy or desperate. But how can you ensure you’re not crossing the invisible line and annoying them? If you don’t take measures to avoid annoying your audience on social media, they will stop following you and unfriend you. Annoying your audience on social media is one of the most common reasons small businesses get unfollowed. People are more cautious now than ever before regarding their personal information online. They know what they like and don’t like and are not afraid to let you know if something bothers them. Let’s look at five ways to avoid annoying your audience on social media:

Be genuine and authentic

It’s important to be genuine and authentic through your social media channels. If you’re not being genuine and authentic, your audience will see right through you. This is especially true if you run a business that has a strong customer service focus. Your audience will know if you’re not being genuine and authentic. They’ll know if you’re just putting on a show. And if you’re faking it, your audience will not want anything to do with you.

This has been proven repeatedly on YouTube where fast-growing stars have been shown to gather momentum based on a character or persona they’ve developed. And when this persona crumbles under the weight of so many eyes watching them, their channel collapses and people simply stop following.

Be Genuine and Authentic

Humans have a sense of when things aren’t quite right or real. Some call it intuition. Others call it an in-built B.S. detector. Whatever it is, we just seem to “know” when someone is being inauthentic or outright lying to our faces. When you’re not bringing who you are to your social media or you are just pretending to be what you think people want, you will get caught. And you’ll more than annoy your audience, you’ll turn them hostile against you.

At the same time, no one is asking you to bring every detail of your life to your social media. Even the most narcissistic influencers understand this. And even the Kardashians know where to draw the line. Oversharing every trivial detail of your life is just as annoying as being inauthentic. So while sharing an Instagram Story of a weird thing that happened while you were at Woolworths is ok, a live video showing your ingrown toenail being removed probably isn’t.

Don’t over promote

This ties in closely with being genuine and authentic. If you are constantly promoting your products and trying to sell to your audience, they will come to expect this from you. If they see that every post you put up tries to sell them something, they will get annoyed and unfollow you. This is a lesson that any networking marketer has learned the hard way when suddenly their usual posts morph into how she’s now a “girl boss” and why you need to be drinking the same protein-slimming-gut-health- tea that she drinks for just $300 a month.

It’s important to be aware of how often you are promoting your products or services. If you’re noticing that most of your posts are related to product sales, it might be time to take a step back and re-evaluate your social media strategy. Your audience wants to know that you are human and that you are there to serve them, not that you are constantly trying to sell them something. This is not to say that you can’t promote your products. But you need to do it in moderation. Your posts should be about more than just sales.

Don't over promote

Social media is a social platform. The clue is in the name! When you switch to a steady stream of product and service promotions, you’re removing the social and replacing it with a stream of ads. And no one likes ads.

The alternative is living by example. If your business is bringing you a life of freedom and choices, then show that freedom and those choices. Linking those things to a scheme or a program soils what you’re showing. So instead of, “you too can live this dream” just show the dream. Share the joy of the life you’re living. Leads will come to you, asking how you do it. That’s your chance to introduce the method.

Give, give, give without expecting anything in return

One of the most annoying things you can do on social media is expecting your audience to give to you without giving anything back in return. There are so many people out there asking for people to like their posts or repost their content without giving anything to their audience in return. If you want people to like your posts and repost them for you, you need to give something to them in return. People want to feel like they are a part of something like they are contributing to your cause. If you constantly ask for things from your audience without giving anything in return, they will get annoyed. You want to give your audience plenty of reasons to like your posts and repost them. Give them free content. Give them behind-the-scenes looks at your business. Give them interviews with experts in your industry. Give them helpful tips and advice. Give them something that they can relate to and that they can learn from. And once you’ve given them so much, they will feel compelled to like your posts and repost your content.

But isn’t asking for a sale the whole reason why we’re on social media?

Give without epectation of return

Well, no.

Social media forms part of a customer journey that starts with you seeking attention through your posts. Closing the sale will happen in private conversations with people who choose to enter the journey towards you. They do this by interacting with you online. Or by clicking links that lead to your deeper content. The trust required to buy from you only comes from, first, liking you. And that can’t like you until they know you. By inserting a sales pitch too early in the relationship, you’re pouring a bucket of ice on them before they ever had a chance to build a relationship of trust with you.

And this is probably the greatest “icky feeling” of all on social media. When someone connects with you, only to pitch a product or service at you. It’s just so disappointing.

Don’t be afraid of silence

It’s important to know your frequency and how often you post. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much content, and you don’t want to leave them hanging and wondering what’s happening. The best thing to do is to post in moderation and make sure your posts have a purpose. You also want to pay attention to your audience and see how they respond to your posts. And sometimes, it’s OK to go a little bit longer without posting. You don’t want to flood your audience with too much content and fall into the trap of annoying your audience. If you feel like you’re going overboard and you’re starting to annoy your audience, take a step back and give them some time off from your content.

In July of this year (2022) I noticed that my engagement and reach had tanked on LinkedIn, but had not changed much on other platforms. I had also heard from a few friends that every time they’d open LinkedIn, there was a post from me on top of their feed. Hooray for me, right?

Don't be afraid of silence

Not at all.

By being too present in someone’s social media timeline, you become repetitive and annoying to them – no matter how much they may like you.

This spurred a change of direction for me in August. Which was to change what I was posting and when. I swapped my morning video posts to the afternoon. I brought my written posts into the morning. And I now mix things up by throwing the occasional unplanned post in there depending on what I’m doing in my week.

And at some point soon, I will even be taking some time off from posting altogether to try something entirely new after a break. I’m excited to see how that goes!

The Bottom Line

Being less annoying is a little counter-intuitive

When it comes to social media, you want to ensure you’re not annoying your audience. Annoying your audience will not only get you unfollowed, but it can also damage your brand. It will tell the social algorithms that there is poor sentiment towards you and fewer people will see your stuff. There are plenty of ways to avoid annoying your audience, from being genuine and authentic to giving without expecting anything. If you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to avoid annoying your audience and falling into the trap of irrelevance before your time.


Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Meta Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Meta Australia, a digital advisor with Business Station, an accredited Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.

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