Yesterday, Huffington Post released an innovative perspective on what we know to be the cardinal sins -- one in terms of a small business, and what can go wrong with social media. In recent years, social media has become essential in representing a brand, and has, in turn, created entirely new departments and positions at companies all over the world, both large and small. Since the concept of social media is so new-world, there's a lot you may not know about the digital realm -- for instance, just because you post something on your business's social channels doesn't mean your following will engage with it, nor will its following necessarily grow. Here are some "deadly sins" your business may be committing in regard to its brand representation on social media:
1) Pride Don't be too egotistical -- talking about your brand and showing its strengths are important, but it's just as valuable to share information about topics that have nothing to do with your brand. HuffPo suggests the "80/20" rule, where 80% of your posts should be non-promotional, relating to a separate topic that is still relevant to your following, and 20% should be promotional. All that matters is that people engage with your posts -- nobody needs to be reminded of how great your product is three times a day!
2) Greed Be altruistic by giving more than you take. In other words, share tips, coupons, or "secrets" with your following to help them do their jobs better, or improve their lives in general. Do something good for your readers, and they may do the same for you in return.
3) Gluttony Posting things that have nothing to do with your brand is important, as told in the Pride section, but avoid going on a wild tangent of posting irrelevant topics. Just because something is "neat" or "cool" doesn't mean people want to see it on their feed and attached to your brand. A "regular stream of content tailored to your audience" is suggested -- ask yourself, what does your audience really care about? Taking a poll or keeping track of your business's social analytics will help you figure this out.
4) Sloth We all can relate to this one -- don't be lazy! Post consistently. HuffPo suggests posting on Facebook between five and ten times per week, five times a day on Twitter (or up to 30 if you're so inclined), and twenty times a month on LinkedIn. Again, this all depends on your brand and what product or service you are promoting, so gauging your audience ahead of time will help you figure out how often you need to post. You may want to look into social media scheduling/organizing programs such as HootSuite or Buffer to make this process easier.
5) Wrath Avoid a PR nightmare by taking the stance of "the customer is always right" (even when they aren't). Never lash out on your followers online (or in person, for that matter) -- hiding behind a computer screen might make you feel like being rude or snippy with readers is inconsequential, but that's simply not true. Anybody can take a screenshot and re-post it to hurt your business, so always be kind to your readers, even when they say something untrue or hurtful about your brand. Reply kindly by apologizing to your customer, or offering a way to help resolve the situation -- this will certainly benefit your company in the long run.
6) Envy Jealous of companies with a ton of followers? Of course you are. But don't try and compete with them by buying fake followers to appear more credible. As long as you work hard, you'll get the following your business deserves, eventually. Where there's a will, there's a (not-so-shady) way.
7) Lust Sex and scandal sell -- this has been proven. Despite this, it's best to avoid dramatic social commentary or sexual posts on social media. There's a fine line between the relevant/interesting and the slightly obnoxious. Find the line, and stay on the "interesting" side, rather than the eye-catching and dramatic. You can't take away what's already been posted, because the internet always remembers.