The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

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The oft-discussed Seven Deadly Sins apply to Social Media as well and are worth exploring. Here’s a quick lesson to keep you from the sure perils of committing these deadly sins and making sure you get the most out of your social media campaign.

1. Vanity: Belief in yourself and your knowledge is important but tooting your own horn repeatedly is a turn off for followers. Show you brilliance and experience by sharing useful tips and not by telling everyone how great you are.

2. Envy: I hear a lot of talk from clients about someone in their industry that has a ton of followers on Twitter, or has all the top rankings tied up and the best articles on the front of Digg and the largest group on Facebook. They envy the success and the head start that individual has on them. Envying (and often resenting) the success of others isn’t going to get you where you need to go. If you come across someone that is successful, why not learn from them? See what they are doing that is making them so popular and learn a thing or two so that you can quickly build your own following as well.

3. Gluttony: Social media is not a popularity contest – it truly isn’t, at least not to the people that really understand it. Wanting the best grade from Twitter Grader, or the wanting to be noted as one of the top most people to get re-tweeted, or even wanting the highest number of followers is not what it is all about. Being greedy and always wanting more often causes people to lose focus on what matters.

Social media is a way to connect, listen, build relationships, learn, teach and if done properly it can and will help grow your business. But the person with the biggest follower list isn’t sure to take home the prize. Taking the time to build a targeted list, even if it is smaller and slower to build and then actually connecting with that list is worth so much more than a massive list that isn’t going to ever take any action.

4. Lust: We all lust after social media successes and recognition and exposure. Getting too caught up in the pleasure of what those status symbols bring us often causes us to lose focus and remember it’s not about sitting on a pedestal talking at people or even worse, down to people. You want to be down in the trenches, talking with people. Lusting after a benchmark goal that you have created for yourself is a slippery slope. You think when you finally get to 2000 Twitter followers you’ll be happy, but trust me when you get to 2000 you are just going to want 5000. Don’t get me wrong – goals are great. Strive to reach many – just remember it’s not about feeling good from reaching that number you were lusting after – it’s really about how many people you can actually connect with to see what opportunities open up for you.

5. Anger: While social media is a platform for user generated content and for us to freely speak our mind – you need to be careful spewing anger all over everyone. A good rant that is aimed at a social injustice or a company that deserves to be outted for a flaw is within the range of acceptable. To just incessantly rant about all that angers you in the world is a sure fire way to turn people off. As in life, use anger sparingly and not as the hook some people seem to think it is to create controversy and be seen as a bad ass.

6. Greed: Greed and Gluttony are very similar. Wanting it all with no regard for anything else is often the path to disappointment. I encourage ambition, creativity, success and getting the most you can out of social media – but it’s all about the mind set. If you are greedy and focused on only getting the thing you covet, you’ll likely lose focus and go about it the wrong way. Greed for followers is what makes those horrible multi-level Twitter follower programs so popular. I officially stand by the statement that I want quality followers that are interested in what I offer, stand for and say, rather than a large list that has no interest in who I am or what I do.

7. Sloth: Ahhh the deadliest of all sins. Wanting it all but being too lazy to do what it takes. You have to connect with people, you have to write good stuff, you have to stay current and you have to be willing to show up and put the effort in. Social media participation doesn’t have to consume your days but it does require thought and time.

Social media success lies in having good content, good people skills and the desire and willingness to not only talk but listen.

Yes, you can make special offers and do sales pitches but no one really wants to listen to them until they trust you as a source of information they can trust and learn from. The old and tired expression “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” has lasted the ages for a reason and it couldn’t be more true for social media.

So, stop committing sins like vanity, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth and start committing to things like:

Balance: Always balance giving and taking. Don’t be all about your agenda and your sales pitch. Balance sharing info and tips with notifying people about upcoming sales and special offers.

Connecting: Don’t’ talk at people – talk to people, talk with people. Let them get to know you, not just the brand.

Generosity: Don’t be afraid to help others and promote others. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing great tips and info by retweeting other people’s content and it really is win, win, win. My followers get the benefit of meeting new people and hearing new opinions, the other person gets more exposure and everyone is happy with me so I am likely to be remembered in the future.

Transparency: Social media, specifically Twitter is about opening up and letting people see inside. It’s about letting them know the people and not just the brand. Once they see inside and know who you are, what you offer and what you stand for they are more likely to want to do business with you.

Use social media as it was intended and you will find great success.

Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. Since 1998 Jennifer’s expertise in marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on SEO and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Follow Jennifer and stay current on SEO, marketing, social media and more.

Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for www.EcomBuffet.com – a full service SEO, Web Design & Development and Social Media Firm. Since 1998 Jennifer’s... Read Full Bio
Jennifer Horowitz

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