The 5 Cardinal Sins of Social Media

Social media is all the rage these days. So many things to do, a multitude of options, and so little time. Often individuals and businesses alike forge ahead with reckless abandonment. The result can be overall confusion and bewilderment, with businesses deciding social media is not worth the time or effort. In all likelihood though, these frustrations are the result of some or all of transgressions that we call the “5 Cardinal Sins of Social Media.”

Before you throw in the towel, decide if you are guilty of any of the following:

  • Sin #1: Having no plan.
    You can waste a lot of time the key is to define your business objectives. Every part of your business should have a plan, so why not social media? Since we all want to grow our business, these should include multiple levels, such as marketing to increase awareness and promote your company’s message, and sales to get followers, connections, friends who respect you and are likely to buy or refer your services. Be sure to be generous and incorporate ways you can help others.
  • Sin #2: Providing little information
    Create robust profiles. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to a lesser degree, among others, offer ample opportunities to define your business objectives and who you are, complete with pictures, the ability to list interests, hobbies, education experiences, and attach blogs, ezines, videos, etc. Why go to all this effort? Allow me to answer the question with another one: How can someone appreciate your value if they don’t know you? People want to do business with people they know and trust.
  • Sin #3: Not participating
    Commit to dedicating 15-30 minutes a day pursuing and actively engaging in the networks to which you belong. Go beyond your immediate connections. LinkedIn has groups. Look at those to which respected connections belong, join these, and participate. Facebook has fan pages, and Twitter allows almost immediate ways to post links with a shortened url to maximize character space. Check group/fan pages, post questions, comment on and/or answer questions of others, attach articles of interest and ask for feedback. When you do this, ask yourself: “What is important to my prospects and clients? What will make them want to connect and respond?”
  • Sin #4: Not reaching out to build your network.
    Fill your network with quality people. Twitter in particular has some people who promote the “get followers quickly” scheme. I do not advocate this. While having critical mass is important, as a business you want to be sure you target the right people. You want to be sure to focus on engaging folks. Having 1,000+ friends on Facebook or 500+ connections on LinkedIn is all well and good if you have a plan to connect in some meaningful way with your audience, one that gets them to buy your product. Keith Ferrazzi, author of Who’s Got Your Back?, talks about having a list of key go-to contacts. These are personal or professional connections with whom you have stronger relationships, for whom you would extend yourself and who would genuinely and willingly assist and offer advice to you. These should be people who are most important to your personal and professional development and the success and growth of your company.
  • Sin #5: Not giving
    Give first. You share with friends, right? Self-serving, promotional postings are a real turnoff. Sure, do it once in awhile to cheerfully announce a recent success, but you need to mix things up a bit. A more reliable way to build credibility and trust is to share good content from outside sources, ask via a personal message how you can help someone else today, and respond to the updates and postings of others by offering to assist.

Avoiding these mistakes and carefully taking one step at a time, can lead to social media success.

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One Response to “The 5 Cardinal Sins of Social Media”

  1. david jarcho Says:

    Virginia,
    Great article. I know there is more I can do to leverage LinkedIn, my contacts, and my contacts contacts. Thanks for the advice – the wheels are turning.
    DJ

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