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Social Media for Small Business Part III: Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

by Melissa Smich on December 23, 2009

Social Media for Small Business

Part III: Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

This is a three-part special blog series that begins by answering: what is social media and how to get started? The second part outlines the various tools available and how you can utilize them for your business. We now finish with the infamous what not to do in a segment I call The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media- because more important than what to do, there’s what not to do.

Consider these the seven deadly sins of social media. They are as follows:

Wrath: Known as the sin of uncontrolled feelings, social media it translates to mean being cautious of what you do and say. Think before you tweet, change that Facebook status, send a heated email, ot post that picture of yourself. Because things take a life of their own as soon as they go online. A great rule I once heard is to communicate on online platforms as though your mother is watching. It’s great to have your personality shine through, but as @karmicangel says, only reveal as much as you would on a first date.

Greed: The sin of acquisition becomes really apparent in those who trash social media because they once put up a Facebook fan page and by week’s end it didn’t yield hoards customers as they expected. Don’t expect results overnight (or for it to be your sole marketing initiative for that matter) as this is a long term strategy and a compliment to a marketing strategy.

Sloth: This classic sin of laziness preaches one serious social media lesson – don’t bother if you won’t put in the effort. It is about being engaged and creating engagement, yet too many times I see people put up a profile and expect followers/friends/fans without putting in any effort. Guess what? Unless you’re Coca-Cola, if you build they will not necessarily come.

Pride: Known as the deadliest of all the sins, a desire to be more important than others can be debilitating in online communications. One-way, top-down communications used to be all the rage, now consumers have fought back the control over messaging. This means replace “audience” with “community,” listen (!!), and talk about what’s relevant to your community. Also, don’t fall into the trap of idle worship of so-called gurus. We are all still learning, there are only a select few people (like Chris Brogan) who can actually call themselves experts.

Lust: The sin of self control, or lack-thereof, reflects a big no-no: Thou shalt not join every social network that exists. Thou shalt have a strategy, a method to your madness, a map to guide you through your journey before embarking in the social media world.  Be targeted, be concise, and go with a purpose.

Envy: The sin of resentment seems only human when embarking in a new strategy. Standing on the shoulders of giants, we try hard enough not to fall let alone grow to their height – especially when we are continuously told we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. But remember – social media is better with a little personality behind it. As Gary Vaynerchuck mentioned while in Toronto promoting his book Crush It: If you’re passionate about what you do, a wonderful personality will shine through even the fairest of wallflowers. This doesn’t mean you need to be Sir Richard Branson or try to act like him. What you need to do is show your personality by communicating things that are important to you as a person or a brand. For example, if your company is passionate about its charity initiatives, telling people about it helps to show a more human side of a company or brand.

Gluttony: The sin of over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste is usually my personal favorite sin. In social media, however, it’s possibly the one that bugs me most. Thou shalt not spam! I can’t say this enough, it’s not about filling people’s news feeds with your hourly promo offers. Instead think, “What do I have to offer”? Answer the question “What’s in it for me?” on behalf of your potential customers. Offer value and spread the word. If someone in your community has a question, offer the answer, don’t simply try to shamelessly self promote.

Remember: Offer value to your community, build trust, build a following, and build a reputation of being an industry leader

Please check out all parts of our Social Media for Small Business

Part I: What Is Social Media and Why Your Small Business Needs It
Part II: Tools and resources for your small business
Part III: Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

Related posts:

  1. Social Media for Small Business Part I
  2. Social Media For Small Business – Part II: Tools and Resources For Your Small Business
  3. Using Social Media to Build Traffic for Your Website
  4. You just proved that social media networking works!
  5. Social Media and SEO


PotsNPans July 2, 2010 at 8:19 AM

I love the biblical theme here. What I get most from this is be engaged, be yourself, and respect your online friends.

Randy5 August 30, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Good advice about sticking with a social-networking plan. Of course, it’s unfortunately all too easy to discard your plans as you go. You can get overexcited and start joining all kinds of new networks in the heat of battle.

Stoddard September 15, 2010 at 8:58 AM

I like the line about personality shining through wallflowers. This is true of all kinds of things, not just social media.

Rusher May 27, 2011 at 5:32 AM

When you’re angry, don’t tweet until you’ve counted backwards from ten…or a hundred if you’re really steamed!

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