7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

The dos and don’ts of social media. It’s a popular topic for blogs. We thought we could mix it up a little bit and see if it is possible to relate the 7 deadly sins to life on social media. The 7 deadly sins will be applied to the people behind business accounts, those who are the voices and personalities of brands.

Here we go, then. Do you fall foul of any of these? You probably know people whom are guilty!



We all have a list of people we would love to interact with; even if don’t admit to it. It is possible to focus on a ‘target’ too much. Is there a thought leader, a business executive, a celebrity that you want to engage with? Great. Go for it! But don’t focus on that person because an interaction with that person or company will make you ‘look good’. Do it, if the prospect is relevant, for the good of the business.

“Hey, look at me. I got a retweet off Richard Branson!” That may sound exciting to your peers, but if it doesn’t align with your businesses strategy, and you have been spamming (yes, constantly tweeting to a target is spamming) to get that interaction, then all it is is a bragging tool which will irritate your following. So, don’t allow your personal social capital to negatively affect the brand voice you are in control of.



An abundance of information and conversations on social media has led people to have a ‘fear of missing out’, otherwise known as FoMO. This form of social anxiety has led some people to over-consume social media. Losing self-control can have a hugely negative effect on your productivity but also on your marketing strategy.

People have become slaves to their notifications. It is important to be quick to respond on social media but if you are receiving a plethora of incoming messages, then turn off notifications and come back to them at a suitable time. Set aside certain times in the day to check your messages.

Be disciplined with your time.



Social media works when the brand is authentic and engaging - people see through cheap sales tactics. Interruption marketing is no longer affective but some businesses still go for the hard-sell approach on social media.

A balance of valuable content and the occasional ‘sales post’ about a promotion or a discount is fine. The problem occurs when a feed is driven by sales. Nobody, wants to the see that.

Signs of greed:

  • Automatically sending a sales message to people who follow or like you
  • Following anyone, and everyone
  • Spamming a conversation
  • Slating another product/service
  • Valuing the number of followers or likes over engagement
  • “We have over 100,000 followers on Twitter and half a million likes on Facebook, we’re doing pretty well.”



How many times have you been on a social media account only to find it’s been updated once in 2011 and 2 years later, it’s a ghost town. It looks lazy.

A sloth’s channel doesn’t always mean that it is not populated. A sloth will automate tweets, take other people’s content etc.

The four rules for NOT being a sloth:

  1. Be involved. If you have something delightful to say, then people want to hear it. If you have a remarkable piece content, get it out there!
  2. Be frequent. Social media is fast. I mean, really fast. Your messages will quickly be lost and if you are not regularly updating your content, then you risk not being seen. Consistency is key.
  3. Be responsive. Ensure you respond to messages. Engage with people. But don’t over consume on social media (see Gluttony).
  4. Be human. Don’t be a robot, spend time engaging with people. Schedule posts that you have written but just don’t automate them.

Come on, don’t be a sloth.



Somebody is irate. They tweet something horrible. They give you a bad time. It happens.

How you respond (if you even do!) can determine how your brand will be affected. The worse thing you can do is allow your feelings, at the time, to cloud your judgement.

Remember: you are the voice of a brand. Don’t let personal opinions damage your decision making.

A perfect example of how ‘not to handle humans’ on the internet was played out in an epic meltdown by Amy’s Baking Company.

It can go well though, just look at how O2 performed a Twitter masterclass in handling backlash to their service outage in 2011.



That feeling when your competitor comes out with something rather good. The jealousy that ensues - “Why didn’t we think that!?” It can cause some to ‘copy’ another account. Replicating another company’s tactics on social media may not work.

Do not focus on your competitors too much. Focus on what makes your brand different. If a competitor is doing something well, try a different angle. Get creative.

Another problem is that people focus on basic metrics - followers, likes etc. This is almost worthless. A business may have more likes on Facebook but this is just a number. If you are suffering from this worry, don’t start trying to get more followers or likes using cheap and easy tactics. What’s more important is how well you engage with people and how people will advocate your business. If you’re creating great stuff, the followers and likes will follow.



Social media is fun, engaging and authentic. Don’t be overly serious and feel more important than others. Complement people and be natural.

People feel obliged to retweet anything that is complimentary of themselves, or a brand. Yes, you can retweet compliments but there is a limit. Don’t fill your feed with a bunch of people praising you. That interests nobody.

Your posts should be engaging and inclusive - not just all about you.

But, lets finish on a positive. If you do great things on social media, then be proud of that. Share content that is useful, unique, emotionally engaging and inspirational. Delight people on social media.