Digital Marketing, Social Media Strategy, PR 20, Social Media Marketing

The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

As part of my panel on social media at the Worldcom PR conference in Montreal recently (see post below), I created these “7 Deadly Sins of Social Media.”

Are you willing to admit your sins in the comments?

1. Deafness

Actively listening to what’s being said about your brand is at the core of social media.

2. Slowness

Social media is a NOW environment, not a “we’re working on the December issue in July” industry.

If it takes you too long to react, the opportunity can vanish.

3. Caution

Companies have to empower their agencies to facilitate social media conversations. Agencies have to empower their employees to handle social media on behalf of clients.

If you’re afraid, you’re not in the game.

4. Phoniness

Social media users – especially social network members – are cagey. They can smell b.s. three clicks away.

Resist the temptation to create your own reviews and other falsehoods. It doesn’t work.

5. Greed

The whole point of social media is for people to let other people know what’s good and righteous.

If you refuse to link to other sites or don’t create and distribute good content, etc. you are not being a good social media citizen – and it will get noticed.

6. Inflexibility

Think of social media as its own world with its own rules.

Don’t try to “social media-ize” your existing marketing and message. It doesn’t work.

7. Seriousness

Much of the social media’s appeal is based on humor and satire.

If you or your company can’t handle getting made fun of on occasion, you may want to rethink your social media plans.
pdf icon 192c397192 pixels 150x150 The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

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  • http://www.mightyinteractive.com/ Eric

    I agree – I might also add: “Having too high of expectations,” or whatever single word means that. Social media isn’t something people start on Monday and cash a bunch of checks from on Wednesday. It not only takes patience, but actual passion. Otherwise it becomes a tedious chore. (A tedious chore without a bunch of checks on Wednesday, no less.) Someone who does it just for the promotion and without any love for it is likely to just abandon the whole thing before they even come close to seeing a benefit.

    That’s a stat Technorati never seems to mention, is it? They’re always quick to tell you how many millions of blogs they’ve registered, but no one seems to count all of the blogs that get abandoned because it didn’t achieve instant success.

  • http://www.mightyinteractive.com/ Eric

    I agree – I might also add: “Having too high of expectations,” or whatever single word means that. Social media isn’t something people start on Monday and cash a bunch of checks from on Wednesday. It not only takes patience, but actual passion. Otherwise it becomes a tedious chore. (A tedious chore without a bunch of checks on Wednesday, no less.) Someone who does it just for the promotion and without any love for it is likely to just abandon the whole thing before they even come close to seeing a benefit.

    That’s a stat Technorati never seems to mention, is it? They’re always quick to tell you how many millions of blogs they’ve registered, but no one seems to count all of the blogs that get abandoned because it didn’t achieve instant success.

  • http://www.mightyinteractive.com Eric

    I agree – I might also add: “Having too high of expectations,” or whatever single word means that. Social media isn’t something people start on Monday and cash a bunch of checks from on Wednesday. It not only takes patience, but actual passion. Otherwise it becomes a tedious chore. (A tedious chore without a bunch of checks on Wednesday, no less.) Someone who does it just for the promotion and without any love for it is likely to just abandon the whole thing before they even come close to seeing a benefit.

    That’s a stat Technorati never seems to mention, is it? They’re always quick to tell you how many millions of blogs they’ve registered, but no one seems to count all of the blogs that get abandoned because it didn’t achieve instant success.

  • http://vibemetrix.com/ mikepk

    Nice list; short, clear, and concise but gets to the heart of the social media marketing philosophy. I think “greed” may be the most important of these, if you’re not giving back to the medium, the medium will ignore you.

    @Eric, I think passion can grow if you have a systematic approach to it, and especially if you have measurement since then you can actually see small gains that may also help keep you “in the game”.

  • http://vibemetrix.com/ mikepk

    Nice list; short, clear, and concise but gets to the heart of the social media marketing philosophy. I think “greed” may be the most important of these, if you’re not giving back to the medium, the medium will ignore you.

    @Eric, I think passion can grow if you have a systematic approach to it, and especially if you have measurement since then you can actually see small gains that may also help keep you “in the game”.

  • http://vibemetrix.com mikepk

    Nice list; short, clear, and concise but gets to the heart of the social media marketing philosophy. I think “greed” may be the most important of these, if you’re not giving back to the medium, the medium will ignore you.

    @Eric, I think passion can grow if you have a systematic approach to it, and especially if you have measurement since then you can actually see small gains that may also help keep you “in the game”.

  • Jez Farmer

    …And if you’re in the UK then point 4 is pretty important. We have some new legislation that appeared in May which prohibits marketers from impersonating someone, or even just omitting to tell them that they are marketing (ie appearing to be just another punter in the chat room). It has criminal sanctions too! This also applies to bloggers on magazines who are simply the face of an advertorial.

  • Jez Farmer

    …And if you’re in the UK then point 4 is pretty important. We have some new legislation that appeared in May which prohibits marketers from impersonating someone, or even just omitting to tell them that they are marketing (ie appearing to be just another punter in the chat room). It has criminal sanctions too! This also applies to bloggers on magazines who are simply the face of an advertorial.

  • http://vibemetrix.com/ mikepk

    @Jez that’s particularly interesting because my take on conversational marketing (or social media marketing) is that, to be effective, you have to be honest and engage as yourself (and not endlessly repeat a marketing message). I think ideally, if you provide real value and insight (the hard part), then people will want to engage with you, as well as respect more what/who you represent. It’s a fine/fuzzy line which is what makes this whole approach to marketing tough to do.

  • http://vibemetrix.com mikepk

    @Jez that’s particularly interesting because my take on conversational marketing (or social media marketing) is that, to be effective, you have to be honest and engage as yourself (and not endlessly repeat a marketing message). I think ideally, if you provide real value and insight (the hard part), then people will want to engage with you, as well as respect more what/who you represent. It’s a fine/fuzzy line which is what makes this whole approach to marketing tough to do.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffWoelker/status/ JeffWoelker
  • http://twitter.com/meljomcbride/status/1135494851 Melanie McBride

    Great read to new E.B. Lane Tweeps! RT: @jaybaer http://tinyurl.com/79rvrj

  • http://twitter.com/meljomcbride/status/1135494851 Melanie McBride

    Great read to new E.B. Lane Tweeps! RT: @jaybaer http://tinyurl.com/79rvrj

  • http://twitter.com/imadnaffa/status/19093331580 Imad Naffa

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5 #sm #dead

  • http://twitter.com/arkarthick/status/19093527217 A.R.Karthick

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5 #sm #dead // RT @imadnaffa

  • http://twitter.com/jcgardner/status/19097647193 Joel

    7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2eFbl #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/strongrts/status/19214724277 Strongman’s Best

    RT @imadnaffa: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5 #sm #dead

  • http://twitter.com/g_valenzuela/status/19269334540 George Valenzuela

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2eDhg

  • http://twitter.com/doughpizzeria/status/19269334700 DoughPizzeria

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2eDgH

  • http://twitter.com/smartruns/status/19269334685 SmartRuns

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2eDhh

  • John Barnett

    Very nice post, Jay. I'm upset that it took me this long to run across it. The PDF version is on its way to the company Head Shed right now. Thanks for this info!

  • http://twitter.com/awscreative/status/19345219125 awscreative

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/awscreative/status/19345219125 awscreative

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/smmguide/status/19345502152 Social Media Guide

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/sandeepdighe/status/19345723326 Sandeep Dighe

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/sandeepdighe/status/19345723326 Sandeep Dighe

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/ortegra/status/19346134301 Jay Shah

    RT @smmguide: RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/in_rock_i_trust/status/19346879578 Bohdan Kisil

    RT @smmguide: RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://is.gd/2Xp5

  • http://twitter.com/welbornideas/status/19348021037 James Welborn

    Seven things NOT to do with your social marketing program: http://bit.ly/bG8rGV

  • http://twitter.com/factor1/status/19348714387 factor1

    7 deadly sins of social media http://ow.ly/2fFWv via @jaybaer

  • http://twitter.com/factor1seattle/status/19348715067 Factor1 Ryan Russell

    7 deadly sins of social media http://ow.ly/2fFX1 via @jaybaer

  • http://twitter.com/mattada/status/19348718071 matt adams

    7 deadly sins of social media http://ow.ly/2fFX2 via @jaybaer

  • http://twitter.com/thinpigbranding/status/19862319554 Thin Pig Branding

    Good points for everyone using #social #media. 'The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media' http://ow.ly/2izKr #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/thisismolotov/status/19862723548 MOLOTOV

    RT @ThinPigBranding: Good points for everyone using #social #media. 'The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media' http://ow.ly/2izKr #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/citysearch/status/19863237774 Citysearch

    RT @ThinPigBranding: Good points for everyone using #social #media. 'The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media' http://ow.ly/2izKr #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/rodunia/status/19898810780 Dorotka Jaguścik

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/francissmythe/status/20253110666 Francis Smythe

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/godeck/status/20284503671 Hanny Godeck

    7 Deadly Sins of Social Media | PR 2.0 | Social Media Consulting … http://ow.ly/18qdql

  • http://twitter.com/txfoundationrpr/status/20296822968 Superior Foundations

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr – just found this guy's blog, great insight!

  • http://twitter.com/lasvegasviplimo/status/20321695891 Las Vegas VIP G limo

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/vegasarm/status/20324926956 The Residualist

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/chrislrichmond/status/20362183501 Christina Richmond

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/daveligthart/status/20528524192 Dave Ligthart

    7 deadly sins of social media: http://bit.ly/a0qMH3 #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/l33chbert/status/20540687928 l33chbert

    RT @daveligthart: 7 deadly sins of social media: http://bit.ly/a0qMH3 #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/margauxz/status/20658910169 Margaux Zion

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/xtinagood/status/20728830818 Christina Goodall

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/xtinagood/status/20729075067 Christina Goodall

    Important tips when incorporating SM into #marketing strategy RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/susanmallery/status/20729093956 Susan Mallery

    Great (quick) article! RT @xtinagood: RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/brizele/status/20813256999 Ms. BriZeLe

    RT @jaybaer: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://twitter.com/crossrelations/status/20976483357 crossrelations

    "Wir müssen jetzt Social Media machen" – Wirklich? Sieben Social-Media-Sünden zur Warnung: http://bit.ly/b0XrVA

  • http://twitter.com/colorguideme/status/21170837270 ColorGuide Jordan

    7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://j.mp/9uwW7a #ColorGuideme #SocialMedia

  • http://twitter.com/ahmadsantarissy/status/21170905772 Santarissy, Ahmad

    RT @ColorGuideme: 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://j.mp/9uwW7a #SocialMedia

  • http://twitter.com/sheeshany/status/21171269495 Haitham Al-Sheeshany

    RT @AhmadSantarissy: RT @ColorGuideme: 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://j.mp/9uwW7a #SocialMedia

  • http://twitter.com/pfasbj/status/21384445670 asbjørn andås

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media – http://bit.ly/bptXn9

  • http://twitter.com/jamieforster/status/21478759995 Jamie Forster

    7 Deadly Sins of Social Media – http://ow.ly/2pRWs

  • http://twitter.com/daniellesd/status/21887276509 Danielle Danaraj

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media – http://bit.ly/bptXn9

  • http://twitter.com/standevaughn/status/21945389248 Stan DeVaughn

    RT @jaybaer: A couple of years old, but still fresh: The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media http://ow.ly/2izKr

  • http://www.dougahay.com Doug Hay

    Great list. Maybe one that could be added. Social media not embraced by management – they pass it off to an intern with no experience or direction.

  • http://www.dougahay.com Doug Hay

    Great list. Maybe one that could be added. Social media not embraced by management – they pass it off to an intern with no experience or direction.

  • http://www.dougahay.com Doug Hay

    Great list. Maybe one that could be added. Social media not embraced by management – they pass it off to an intern with no experience or direction.

  • http://www.dougahay.com Doug Hay

    Great list. Maybe one that could be added. Social media not embraced by management – they pass it off to an intern with no experience or direction.

  • http://jennifervides.com Jennifer Vides

    *clicks like button* :)

  • http://twitter.com/yhurg Ryan Gerardi

    What is meant by stating, “Resist the temptation to create your own reviews”? Somebody ultimately has to be doing reviews of things, be it products or services. I am not understanding the implied meaning of this. Thanks.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I meant reviewing yourself incessantly, since you’re not exactly
      objective.

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