Don’t be this person (an Instagram connection horror story)

Earlier this week I was talking about how to use Instagram to make new connections. And I wanted to share a couple of examples of how NOT to do it.

These are real interactions that happened to me, and needless to say, neither of these people got a response from me

Example one: Bot Alert!

So, I followed a lady on Instagram who looked interesting, She’s a messaging and storytelling coach which I thought sounded pretty cool. Almost immediately after I hit the follow button, I got a DM from her, which said something along the lines of:

“Thank you for following me. Here are all the things I can help you with [long list of services]. Come and join my free Facebook group to learn about XYZ. I’ll answer all your questions for free. What’s your top priority right now?”

(I’m paraphrasing, obviously. I’m not into naming and shaming!)

Why it didn’t work

On the face of it, this looks okay, right? She offering to help me for free, she says thank you for following her, and she asks a question to start a conversation.

So what went wrong?

Well, for a start it screamed ‘bot’. I have a deep hatred and distrust of people who use bots on social media (hello! It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason!). Don’t get me wrong, automation is great, but not when you’re trying to start a relationship with someone.

Secondly, it was waaaaay too much too soon. I didn’t know her, I had just followed her out of idle curiosity because I liked her job title. I was nowhere near the place where I would be willing to invest any time in her services or her Facebook group – even if it was for free.

What would have worked better

A genuine, non-automated, non-copy/paste message in which showed she was also interested in me i.e. a reference to my bio or a recent post on my feed, for example. I’m a connector and I will talk to pretty much anyone, so I certainly would have responded (and who doesn’t love to feel seen?).

No ‘asks’ in the message. ‘Ask me anything about X, join my Facebook group and here’s my free download’ are all asks. She’s trying to take before she’s given me anything, even a basic hello or acknowledgement of the human behind my account. That says to me that already this is a one-sided relationship, and we haven’t even started!

Example Two: Little Miss Pushy

This one was even more bizarre. A psychic followed my account, which is great. I don’t personally believe in psychic readings but I have a lot of friends who do, and I could have recommended her to half a dozen people, at least.

Unfortunately, instead of being a human being and saying hello, she immediately DM’d me an offer for a reading. And then left a comment on one of my recent posts to let me know that she’d sent me a DM!

Why it didn’t work

It was pushy as hell! A DM and a comment about the DM in quick succession is too much. Plus, there was no consideration given to whether or not I even believe in psychics and might be interested in her offer. Like I said, I’m not, but I know a lot of people who are.

She was trying to get me to hire her without putting in any effort to engage me as a person, or build a relationship with me. I suspect it was another bot at work.

The other thing that struck me was that she didn’t consider how her approach would land with me. A quick look at my profile would tell her that I am all about building relationships and genuine connection. She could have easily tailored her message to fit me, and she would have gotten a lot more out of it.

How to do it right

As a counterpoint, here’s a story of someone who did it beautifully. She sent me a DM saying she’d seen a live Guest Expert interview that I did in a Facebook group recently, and that she loved it. She mentioned specific things from the talk that really resonated with her, and we ended up having a lovely chat (she’s also English and living in a different country). In the end I invited her to connect further by joining me for a virtual coffee date. She totally nailed it!

The moral of the story is…

Please don’t be a dick on the internet. Don’t use bots to do your engagement for you, be the lovely, warm, engaging human being that you are, and focus on quality over quantity in your interactions with other lovely human beings.