1. 7 Deadly Sins of Social
Marketing through social
media can be tricky, but at
Suncoast Social, we’ve got
your back. This series of
guides will keep you from
toppling down the hole into
social media purgatory.
This sin is frequently committed
immediately following the
thought: What’s the fastest way
to double our followers?
3. #1. Don’t oversell.
Garnering “likes” and followers by promising far-fetched
results is a sure-fire way to start the relationship off on a bad
note. Imagine that you see a graphic designer's Twitter
account that promises a free customized logo to anyone
who follows them. Sure, the incredible offer may be
attention-grabbing, but if their followers don’t get their free
logo, they will feel slighted - or even scammed.
Overpromising to build your audience can lead to backlash
and bad PR. Aligning with the etiquette rules of social media,
never offer what you can’t deliver.
4. Do offer real solutions with
We know that promoting your business requires a bit of
bragging. By all means, don’t be modest! Highlight your
accomplishments, but also outline viable, attainable
solutions. The most effective strategy to building a loyal fan
base is consistently delivering value. If you want to pique
viewers’ interest with an irresistible deal, offer a free trial or
realistic promotion that demonstrates clear benefits.
5. #2. Don’t pay for low-quality
fans or followers
Marketing through social media can be overwhelming.
When your business is just getting off the ground, it may
seem tempting to simply pay for new page “likes” and
followers. Please...please, don’t pay a company that
promises to grow your audience by thousands overnight.
Your new-found audience will be inauthentic. Think about
the brands that you love. You share their pictures, laugh at
their memes and even take the time to answer their
questions. Your relationship with this brand was likely built
on quality interactions that stemmed from honest, genuine
6. Do demonstrate your
appreciation to your loyal fans
In your quest to dominate the social media
space, don’t forget about the fans you already
have. Go out of your way to make them feel
appreciated with exclusive offers,
personalized messages and custom content.
7. #3. Don’t act desperate.
Remember that your customers aren’t your
marketing department. Constantly hounding your
fans to share, retweet and promote your business
will leave them feeling fatigued, and frankly, a
8. Do create quality content that
your fans will want to share.
People share content because it’s inspiring,
educational, or just downright hilarious. When
building your social media marketing plan, try
including eye-catching infographics, sharing funny
memes, and highlighting industry-specific articles.
You business will build organic buzz by creating
unique content that your fans will be excited to
share with their networks.
When we hear the word “gluttony”, a certain
persona jumps to mind: selfish, wasteful,
indulgent. In pursuit of a comprehensive
social media marketing plan, many
businesses accidentally take on the
gluttonous persona. Here's how to keep your
business lean and effective:
10. #1. Don’t be wasteful with
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are
unparalleled in the art of attention-grabbing and link building.
Because of their immense influence, it is tempting to write verbose
content. Unfortunately, posts that are too long may ultimately
backfire and lose audience interest. So what’s the magic number of
characters, you ask? Compiling research from resources like
CopyBlogger and other industry leaders, BufferApp determined
that the ideal length of
● a tweet is 100 characters
● a Facebook post is less than 40 characters
● a Google+ headline is less than 60 characters.
11. Do share links to long-form
Long-form content is a thing of beauty. From
keywords to knowledge-sharing, the value of
content marketing promotion is undeniable.
Instead of posting this expansive content on
Facebook or Twitter, host it on your blog and link
to it from your social media accounts. Create a
hook, give a preview of the article, and drive links
to your site.
12. #2. Don’t spam your fanbase.
Regardless of the topic, posting too frequently is a social media sin.
You want your readers to look forward to the content you share. If they
are spammed with hundreds of posts each day from your various
channels, they will begin to filter out your posts... and eventually your
brand. What’s the frequency sweet spot? After analyzing posts on each
platform, BufferApp suggests
● tweeting 14 times per day
● posting on Facebook and Google+ twice per day
● posting on LinkedIn once per day.
If you find your company regularly exceeding these numbers, try
boiling down to your best posts to maximize your reach and
13. Do post interesting content
Have you ever been scrolling through your newsfeed
and instinctively pause because you see a certain
brand’s logo? Why did you stop? You stopped
because you knew that they were about to share
something unique and interesting with you. If your
business consistently shares valuable tips, infographics
and pictures, it will be the brand that makes their
audience pause and take a look.
14. #3. Don’t try to conquer every
Devoting equal effort to every social media
platform may be a waste of your time. For
instance, LinkedIn is more powerful for B2B and
Google+ is a spectacular way to reach out to a
male audience. If your business is focused on B2C,
make Facebook and Twitter management your
priorities. While diversifying and creating fresh
content on multiple platforms is a smart strategy,
speaking to an empty room won’t yield results.
15. Do find your fans and engage
Who is your audience? What topics are they
interested in? What platform do they use the
most? The answers to these questions will help
you discover which communities your audience
belongs to and which platforms they use. In
addition to your own research, you can find
statistics online regarding each site’s
demographic. Once you’ve found where your fan
base spends their time, engage with them by
asking questions, hosting contests and sparking
Greed doesn’t need much of an
introduction. Every day we read
headlines about businesses who
have committed this sin in
astronomical ways. While we know
that you would never lie, cheat or
steal, there are subtler ways in
which people get caught up in
greed. This sin is particularly
crucial because consumers are
very familiar with acts of social
17. #1. Don’t product dump.
We all want to highlight our products and services on social media.
However, the basis of social media is the development of genuine
relationships. Unlike some traditional forms of marketing, social
media marketing involves a lot more than product pushing. The
nature of social media requires businesses and consumers to take
on roles that are less formal and more friendly. Businesses’ roles on
social media should be just that: social. The vast majority of
interactions on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
should be focused on relationship building. Your fans and followers
will be turned off if their entire newsfeed has turned into a long list
of advertisements from your company.
18. Do follow the 80/20 Rule.
The 80/20 rule applies to many aspects of our lives and is
especially important in social media marketing. 80% of your
social media content should be informational, educational,
engaging, or funny. In other words, create content that begs
to be shared. The power of social media rests in the vast
networks of your fans. The other 20% of your posts can
feature your product. Even when promoting your brand, try
creating social media content in a way that is still unique and
19. #2. Don’t bait and switch.
Do companies really do this? Yes, and here’s how. Some marketers
will use clickbait to attract the reader’s attention with “a highly
engaging headline that gives a user just enough information to
want to see the outcome, but cleverly disguises what they may
actually experience” (Social Media Today). If your blog headline
promises to debunk ten myths about email marketing, the link
shouldn’t take fans to a product page that barely discusses the
myths at any length. One of the quickest ways to lose trust and
credibility is through the clickbait method. If you have the tiniest
sense that your headline or title seems misleading, follow your
instincts and create a more honest description.
20. Do offer valuable solutions.
Be generous and forthcoming in all of your communications.
For many consumers, an online interaction is their first
contact and experience with the brand. One bad experience
is all it takes for a consumer to write off your company
entirely. Here’s how you can catch their interest AND
provide them with valuable content. Do some listening,
conduct research and discover what your audience is
interested in. Then create posts and articles that will
genuinely attract real leads.
21. #3. Don’t make customers
pay for regular content.
Content like blog posts, case studies and eBooks are
critical to small business marketing. They demonstrate
your creativity, expertise and passion. Unless your
business is centered around selling info-products like
web courses, you should give the majority of your
content away for free. When readers engage with this
content, they learn about your company and start to
build a sense of trust. Once readers decide that your
company is reputable and knowledgeable they will
22. Do collect information that
will make their experience
While you shouldn’t ask for money in exchange for your
content, you should ask users for a few snippets of
information. Ask for information that can be used to
customize emails, better meet their needs and create an
valuable personal experience. However, don’t get greedy
and make people “pay” for their content by submitting
massive amounts of personal information. Stick to a few
lines of info like name, contact info, and category of interest.
We’ll get around to talking
about it eventually…. just
kidding! Sloth is a sin that is
usually committed without
intent, and that’s the problem.
This sin creeps up on us when
we get too comfortable and
sedentary. Follow this list to
keep your business from
slipping into a sloth-like
24. #1. Don’t ignore fan
Social media allows businesses the incredible opportunity to
interact directly with consumers. If we stop and take a
moment to understand what this really means, it’s pretty
amazing. When your fans ask questions, make comments or
share pictures, you should take the time to respond. You
have the potential to convert them into customers with a
simple response, “like” or retweet. If you don’t respond, you
may lose a fan and gain bad PR. Unanswered inquiries on
social media are seen by the whole world, so don’t leave
25. Do respond frequently and
If a customer voices an issue with your product or service on
social media, respond in a courteous, timely manner. If the
issue requires a personal message, first acknowledge the
comment publicly. In your response, let the user know that
they will receive a direct message from you shortly. This
issue goes much further than one customer because your
interactions are public. Use the situation as an opportunity to
showcase your fantastic customer service skills! Also, be
sure to share and promote the wonderful things your fans
have to say about you. Retweet fan pictures, “like” their
complimentary posts and favorite relevant tweets.
26. #2. Don’t get too comfortable.
When you find what works just stick with it, right? Yes and
no. Always be learning and adapting new tactics into your
social media strategy. Staying relevant is key to being
influential and effective on social platforms like Facebook
and Twitter. Your fans and followers look to you for
breaking news, interesting articles and engaging pictures.
If you’ve found a topic or category that’s engaging your
audience, there’s no need to dramatically change direction.
However, you should continue to infuse those topics with
new information. Posts with the exact same type of content
will start to lose traction when they’re repeated.
27. Do stay up to date on new
Staying relevant requires constant curiosity. Never let
yourself be satisfied with what you already know. Conduct
hashtag research, check out consumer reports and always
listen to what your fans are saying. Social media and
inbound marketing are largely structured around personas.
While you may have done extensive research on your target
personas when you first created your marketing plan,
remember that these personas can change almost daily!
Providing value to your fans is easiest to do when you have
a thorough understanding of their needs.
28. #3. Don’t put off brand
It’s easy to let your branding take a back seat when
you are looking for new customers. However, making
sales is a lot easier when consumers feel that your
brand is influential and trustworthy. Developing your
brand’s voice is a critical aspect of social media
marketing. Without a comprehensive brand
personality, your company may appear unorganized or
29. Do utilize storytelling to
Social media is unparalleled in its ability to build brand
personality. One way to strengthen your brand and create
relationships is through storytelling. Tell your company’s
story, how you got started, and who your teammates are.
Develop a relationship with a charity you admire, share their
pictures and explain how you support them. Create a visual
campaign that tells a story through the picture alone. All of
these tactics will build your brand and attest to your
Even reading the word
“wrath” gives me chills! This
sin is committed when we
let our emotions get the best
of us. As in any aspect of
business, never make rash
decisions out of spite.
31. #1. Don’t release your fury on
No matter how brilliant the company, at some point, a
customer will air an issue or complaint on social media.
Whether or not the complaint is warranted, business owners
should not personally attack their fans. This might seem like
common knowledge, but you would be surprised how many
brands deal with this type of issue on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who enjoy
attacking a company’s products, team members and even
reputation. When you feel your blood start to boil, take a
step back and view the situation from a greater perspective.
32. Do resolve issues and
Always address the situation from the high road. This is
simple to say, but more challenging to put into practice. If
the customer brings up an issue with your products or
services, respond with a calm understanding and a detailed
explanation of next steps. The majority of customers who
voice their questions or concerns on your social media
platform are simply looking for advice and
acknoweldgement. Ensure them that they have been heard
and that you are taking measures to rectify the situation.
33. #2. Don’t perpetuate negative
Bad PR can happen in a second. Just as positive stories
go viral, negative ones can gain traction in a heartbeat.
While we hope you never find yourself in this
predicament, don’t give the press a reason to
perpetuate the negative conversation. Instead of
immediately jumping on the defensive or counter-
attacking on social media, release a statement
acknowledging the situation and the steps you are
taking to make things right. Never let yourself get
caught up in emotion and accidentally add fuel to the
34. Do act humbly and make
changes when necessary.
Bad press can be sparked by a host of situations. In
some cases, you will need to stick up for your product
and help others understand why your company
provides the best quality. In others, you may need to
take an honest look at your practices and decide if
they need to be updated. If your company must make
a fundamental change in order to keep another issue
from arising, keep your fans updated on social media.
Ensure that they know that their experience with your
brand is your highest priority.
35. #3. Don’t pick fights with
Social media not only allows for direct interaction
between businesses and customers, but also between
multiple businesses. Until platforms like Facebook and
Twitter really took center stage, this type of
communication was rarely done publicly. Although it
may be tempting to enter into argument with a
competitor who undercut your prices or sullied your
company’s reputation, a full-blown fight will only
attract more media attention. In fact, it may even make
you look like a poor sport.
36. Do participate in fun, light-
Some of the most viral, positive messages on social
media have stemmed from brands interacting with
each other. Old Spice, Taco Bell, and Oreo have all
received massive attention based on their Twitter
interactions with consumers and other brands. Spark
up entertaining conversations with other brands. Not
only will this demonstrate your company’s unique
personality, but it will also get the attention of the other
The business world is in no
short supply of envy. In
social marketing, envy can
take root and unravel a
company’s reputation. This
sin is one of the trickiest to
avoid because it often
stems from a good
intention: our desire to be
38. #1. Don’t copy your
There are dozens of tools that help us spy on our
competitors and keep an eye on their digital marketing
strategies. It follows suit that when we see that a social
marketing tactic is working wonders for a competitor, it
seems like a good idea to copy their strategy. Before
abandoning ship and jumping onto theirs, we must
remember why our companies are unique. Brand
personality can be severely damaged by simply
copying another company’s social marketing tactics.
Always keep your company’s vision in mind and don’t
compromise by committing the sin of envy.
39. Do learn from them.
While conducting competitive analysis, find a take-
away from every situation. Ask questions like, “Why is
your competitor’s audience connecting so well with
their social media campaign? Which of their posts get
the most traction? What time of day does their Twitter
light up” Then apply these relevant ideas to your
business. Discover brilliant tactics and make them your
own. What can you do to reach your target audience in
an impactful way?
40. #2. Don’t be intimidated into
Social media gives us direct access to the leaders in every industry.
The Beyonces, Mark Cubans and Targets of the world are at our
fingertips… and they have massive networks. The sheer numbers of
followers, favorited tweets and number of likes they have is mind-
boggling. So understandably, it’s easy to get intimidated or even
overwhelmed by a sense of jealousy after seeing these numbers.
With that in mind, never be afraid to mention an influencer on
Twitter just because of their elite status. Although these high-
profile brands probably won’t have the time to respond, if just 1% of
their followers see your post, you analytics will skyrocket. Even one
mention can create business-building buzz utilizing social
41. Do create mutually beneficial
You don’t have to look far beyond your hometown,
home-state or even your social circles to find
connections that will exponentially expand your
network. Find businesses in your community and
follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Reach out to
organizations outside your industry and promote one
another. This will help you get noticed by their fans
and develop an even broader network.
42. #3. Don’t badmouth.
Calling brands out on social media looks desperate
and rude. As we mentioned in the previous post about
wrath, writing negative, emotionally fueled messages
will never paint your company in a flattering light.
Pettiness can live forever on social media. Arguments
and ill-advised interactions can be dug up and hit
virality in an instant. So when you feel like letting out an
expletive, keep it to a muffled yell in your office.
43. Do create a unique brand that
draws in positive attention.
If you want to divert attention from your competitors,
give your fans something funny, shocking or valuable
on social media every day. Remember that even when
you’re saying something negative about a competitor,
you are probably still driving links and clicks to their
site! Instead, spend time listening to your followers and
discover the type of content they enjoy. Host a Twitter
chat, create beautiful infographics and demonstrate
Pride is a tough topic. You
should absolutely have
pride in your business. You
should also demonstrate
that pride via social media.
However, too much pride
can lead to social marketing
blunders. This post will
discuss how a big ego can
hurt your efforts.
45. #1. Don’t use social media
exclusively to brag.
You know that friend who can’t stop talking about his
son’s ground-breaking achievements in t-ball? Don’t
be that guy. Instead of pulling out your phone and
subjecting him to picture after picture of your son, ask
your friend what’s new in his life. Share the latest news
about his favorite NBA team. This is the kind of friend
brands should be to their followers. When
communication becomes one-sided and self-
indulgent, fans will not develop an genuine relationship
with the company. In fact, they may even want to
46. Do highlight your
It doesn’t hurt to remind your fans about your great work
once in a while. Remember when we discussed the 80/20
rule in our post about greed? Determining how often to do a
little bragging can be guided by this rule. Only 20% of your
posts should be about your products or explicit brand
promotion. As long as your posts remain celebratory rather
than self-congratulatory, your fans are likely to join in with
praise. Because they feel a connection to your brand, your
achievements validate their endorsement.
47. #2. Don’t get defensive.
If a fan, customer, or competitor has a snarky comment for
you on one of your social platforms, don’t jump into the
counter-attack. Just like you, we’ve put blood, sweat, tears
and countless hours squinting at our computers into create
our business. We understand why you have pride in your
business… and you should. Let your pride lead you to making
decisions that build your company’s reputation. Proposing
solutions rather than starting a defensive campaign reveals
the true nature of a company.
48. Do admit when you’re wrong.
We really can’t stress this enough. Because social media is
public by nature, there will always be a host of people ready
to call out mistakes. Businesses that are too prideful to
apologize will struggle to connect with their fans. Think
about your dearest friends. Are they faultless? Do they
maintain the illusion of perfection? Unless you are childhood
friends with Buddy the Elf (who makes some missteps
himself), your favorite people in the universe are probably
flawed. Why do we love these people? It’s because they
have the strength to apologize and the heart to do it
49. #3. Don’t assume that you’re
too good for social media.
Quite possibly the worst byproduct of being too prideful is
presuming that your brand doesn’t need social marketing.
Brands that use social marketing develop relationships with
consumers that are unique and almost impossible to
achieve without social media. Without these platforms,
companies lose an invaluable resource of consumer data.
The biggest, oldest brands in the world like Coca-Cola know
that they need social media. Don’t let your pride force you to
fall behind the pack.
50. Do take advantage of multiple
The marketing game has changed and will continue to
rapidly evolve due in large part to social media. If you’ve
recently been testing the waters, it’s time to dive in! Every
industry benefits from a social platform whether it be
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Pinterest.
With a well-structured social marketing strategy, your
company can increase inbound leads and create a
generation of brand advocates. Your audience is waiting for
you as we speak.
51. 7 Deadly Sins of Social
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