Seven Deadly Social Media Sins


By Samuel Greengard

Social media is an amazing thing. Unfortunately, too many people and companies use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other services in an ineffective or obnoxious way. Here are some of the biggest faux pas:

1. By the Numbers: You're not Charlie Sheen (thank, goodness!). Pushing the number of friends or followers you have to stratospheric levels guarantees nothing--except that you will wind up with an inflated ego. Quality connections equal real-world results.

2. False Prophecy: Don't play the instant guru game. It's the one where you auto-follow tons of people on Twitter and then, when they follow back, you drop them all. You may think this makes you look special. You're not, and it shows.

3. Me, Me, Me: There's already enough selfishness in this world. If it looks like you're a parasite, you'll become irrelevant really, really fast. Provide value to others and watch your clout grow.

4. Poor Pitiful Me: We really don't want to know intimate details about your life--including your latest golf score or the state of your prostate. Double the emphasis if you're connected to a large number of business associates. Narcissism is extremely b-o-r-i-n-g!

5. Showing Your Junk: No, we don't care to view a real-time feed of what you're thinking. After a while, you simply become more white noise in an already noisy social media stream. Make your posts count!

6. All or Nothing: Some people have an amazing ability to do whatever they're doing obsessively. So, when they're on social media, they're really on. We're talking hours at a time. But then they disappear--for weeks--before resurfacing. By then, you've lost us.

7. Hawk and Squawk: The volume of ads and marketing fluff we must endure is already ridiculous. If you want to build a brand, you won't succeed by shoving it down our throats. Give away some nuggets so we'll think about you as an expert or trusted source. Then we'll turn to you when we need you.