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Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

April 23, 2009

Joseph Jaffe

Joseph Jaffe


Over the past four weeks we have learned how and if companies should be involved in the groundswell and researched case studies on what companies have done right, or wrong, with social media. This week’s topic was conversation and community, and we read Geoff Livingston’s blog post about the seven principles for community building. While all of these are suggestions that companies would be wise to implement, there is the flip side of this subject, which are the seven deadly sins of social media. This is a list of what not to do. Joseph Jaffe, an author, consultant and thought leader on social media, gave a great speech at the ANA Integrated Media Conference on the top five deadly sins of social media. OnlineMarketerBlog.com also gave the last two actions companies should steer clear of to be successful in social media. Not all are as simple as the opposite of how to build an online community. These are all things we should take into consideration when working on amazing social media projects for future clients.

Faking: Don’t be a poser and set up social media if you won’t take it seriously. In other words, be transparent when talking with customers.
Manipulating: Don’t manipulate customers into buying a product through social media. It will make them critical of your company and weary of other companies using social media.
Controlling: Trying to control customers or other companies isn’t effective, and no matter how private a company tries to keep their control freak-outs, it will eventually get leaked. Dominating: Don’t dominate what your customers can and cannot say to you. Be polite to inquiries and hire more people if there’s too much feedback.
Avoiding: Don’t avoid customers! Converse with customers, don’t avoid or tune out their comments.
Greediness: This could also be referred to as restricting customers. Don’t try to hoard all the content on your blog, Twitter, or what have you. Be open to customers who want to be involved.
Cowardice: If customers are responding to an ad campaign, the last thing a company should do is pull the ads and run away without responding at all. At least put out there the reasoning for whatever caused the commotion.

Being involved in social media is a two-way interaction. It’s a great opportunity to speak with customers. Companies must commit to their customers and join the conversation online by listening, and then responding. There are risks, but as long as the seven deadly sins are avoided, the benefits of a company using social media are enormous.

Katie Streinz

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