I’ve tried to respond to messages that I get from people on all social media accounts, but it’s honestly really hard. And it isn’t because I’m super busy. It’s hard because many of the messages just aren’t worth replying to. Consider this a tiny guide on how to contact slightly famous people on social media, whatever your purpose might be.
#1. Don’t send a message that’s just “Hello”, “Namaskar” or “Hlo”! There is no way you’re getting a response to that. My message inboxes are full of these, and I replied to some in the early days. It’s never gone well.
#2. Don’t send a message asking for a mobile number right off the gate. It’s not happening. At the very least let me know who you are and what the purpose is. To the extent possible, try and get your query handled over email. Mobile number is honestly a bigger ask than you can imagine.
#3. Don’t message me with a ridiculous ask that’ll require hours of my time, with no clear value add. If you have a major ask, at least think of why I’d do something like that and incorporate it in the message you send.
#4. If you’re asking for a job / internship, at least send me something about yourself – what skills you’d bring, why you’d be a good fit. One to two sentences. Just a message saying “I want to work for you” doesn’t help either of us. [PS: Not hiring right now, but check back in 2021!]
#5. Don’t send LONG messages. This is a HUGE one. Human beings are self centered. They care about their own lives and problems more than yours. If you can’t fit your ask in 3-4 sentences, it’s too big of an ask for a random message over social media. As a matter of principle, if the first few lines don’t explain where it is going, I stop reading long messages. Keep it short.
#6. “I want to meet you” – That’s great. I’m happy that you do. But I have no idea how to respond to it. At least let me know for what purpose. If it can be handled over email, don’t ask for a meeting. [Definitely not happening in the COVID era, and not many have asked this recently. It was a frequent message earlier though.
#7. This is not a requirement, but it is a good one that’s worked for me when I’ve contacted others. Do something for the person you message. For someone who’s written a book, write a book review. Share their podcast, give feedback on it. Read one of their articles and write a short line on why you liked it in your message. Or even just a genuine compliment. This increases your likelihood of a positive response drastically.
#8. Don’t expect an immediate reply, and don’t pester. No sending question marks everyday after sending an initial message. One or two follow ups after a week are fine, multiple messages the same day isn’t.
Note: Great things have happened via messages from random people. I’ve hired great people from it, I’ve gotten work assignments from it and I got a college scholarship because I interacted with a major donor over email. This isn’t meant to dissuade messaging, it’s meant to make it more effective for you. Also, the “slightly famous” part is complete clickbait.
Thanks for reading!