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Nobody likes leeches. They latch onto you and suck your blood. Perhaps the worst thing about them is they are horribly selfish, taking as much as they possibly can without ever giving anything back. Then again, I guess you really can’t call an animal selfish for doing what it does best. When it comes to people, it’s a different story entirely.

The sad thing is you can compare leeches to a lot of businesses and social media marketers out there. To them, social media is only a tool to sell and promote. They rarely post, except to advertise a product, a product launch or a new sale of some kind. They generally don’t interact with others, unless it involves – you guessed it – making a sale.

Hopefully, you don’t fit any of those descriptions above. If you do, it’s time to stop being a social media leech.

 

What Makes a Social Media Leech?

The reason the tactics mentioned above fit a “social media leech” is because they are all one sided. Instead of giving back to the community and engaging with followers, most leeches won’t waste their time doing so. In fact, a lot of them don’t accept the true ideas behind social media. That is, in order to increase exposure you need to be social with others. Furthermore, no one wants to follow a profile that reads like one giant advertisement.

Don’t be that kind of business, or social media team.

 

How to Not Be a Leech – the Easy Way

It’s pretty simple really, as there is only one rule to follow: engage with others. Retweet interesting content or tweets from others. Follow back when someone chooses to subscribe to your profile and account. Don’t use automated systems or programs to deliver your content. Last, but certainly not least, deliver advertisements sparingly.

Also, it’s just poor form to comment on another company or person’s status peddling your own products or services. So, never do that.

Social media is not a one way street. You have to give back just as much as you receive. Too many companies out there miss that very simple concept.

 

Promote and Advertise with Ingenuity

Instead of blatantly advertising to your followers, you should instead use subtle messages to get your point across. Don’t push a traditional ad or slogan to everyone’s news feed. Use interesting content and special offers to garner attention and engagement.

As an example, in an effort to promote their new eNewletter, Havahart encouraged their social media following to sign up for the newsletter and in return they would receive exclusive deals, expert tips, special offers and a 10% discount off of every purchase.

Of course, not every campaign or strategy needs to offer these types of incentives. The idea is to do something productive with your social media accounts instead of blasting followers with useless filler.

 

Are You a Social Media Leech?

Are you guilty of some of the cheap tactics mentioned above? Then it’s time to change. Social media is about more than just getting results, it’s about interacting with your audience and your customers. The best way to succeed on any social media platform is by staying down to Earth. Offer a healthy dose of interesting and informative content right along with your promotions. Give back to the community and show your followers there’s a good reason they are subscribed to your content.

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See also: Are You Using Social Media in the Right Way?

 

Savannah Marie is a writer, social media junkie and content coordinator. I have a passion for social and contribute my own tips and tricks to several publications.