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Social media's seven deadly sins

21st Oct 2010
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More and more businesses are using social media as a marketing tool, but with increasing use of this medium comes the risk of committing one of several common 'sins', explains Elaine Clark.

Too often I see posts on Twitter, blogs or forums that are antagonistic, overly opinionated, inaccurate and just plain rude!
In fact some of these are from qualified accountants who seem to have forgotten that professional ethics still apply in the social media world including not making disparaging remarks about other accountants. The same applies to non-accountants talking about their competitors.
What these posters seem to forget is that most would view such social media content with the contempt that it deserves!
Social media can be over consumed. Whilst it is easy to get carried away and drawn into a social media conversation or debate - don’t over indulge in it. You still have a job to do!
Manage your time using the age old time management techniques.
Having a high opinion of one's own importance via your social media streams is not recommended.
However having pride in your social media content, behaviour and professionalism should be actively encouraged. Pride can be a double edged sword – make sure that you pick the right side of that sword!
Over promoting yourself or your products or services on social media can be very off putting. In fact it could have the opposite effect of leading to a loss of interest rather than the desired effect of generating marketing interest.
Keep your social media content relevant, topical, interesting, helpful and not self promoting.
Being lazy with your social media content just will not do. New ideas are required all of the time.
Keep up to date with trending news items, forthcoming events or deadlines and write content which incorporates these.
Never copy anyone else’s content unless as a reference and in agreement with them to do so.
Professional envy is often evident via social media. Expressing your envy of others via your social media stream is something to be avoided.
Why not learn from what is making them successful and apply it to your business. A much better and fulfilling use of your time.
Needless to say, as in any work place conversations,  your social media behaviour should be above reproach. However to show a healthy lust or hunger for your subject matter by demonstrating your enthusiasm is to be encouraged.
Positivism and motivation will draw people to your content and help to get your marketing messages across via your social media content.
Elaine Clark is the founder of

Replies (3)

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By Paul Scholes
21st Oct 2010 21:30

At last a chance to sin!

Hi Elaine you clearly speak from the experience I need. 

I've been "on" Twitter for well over a year now and, for the life of me can't see what 90% of it is all about.  I just about get the "following" bit, ie I find someone involved in an area that interests me and follow him/her/it and I'll be inundated with Tweets on my screen from them and other like-minded things, hopefully on the same topic.

But on Accountingweb for example, many articles carry a Tweets icon showing the number of Tweets but when I click on it and am taken to the Tweets they give me a pic & name but little else, ie no added comment on the article and if I click on the person in the list of Tweets I just go to their "page".

An example is a recent article on solo practitioners going paperless:

All of the current 3 Tweets merely show the person's name followed by "says: Technology for solo practitioners 2", ie the name of the Article, what does that add to my understanding of the topic or even the views of people who have read it?

Please fill me in as I have potential to sin but am being denied.

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By GaryMc
25th Oct 2010 08:17

Tweets icon

Paul, the tweets info that you see is telling you how many people have tweeted the article to their followers.  This allows the article to be disseminated to interested people who may not know about or be signed up to AWeb.

Use something other than Twitter when browsing tweets - programs like Tweetdeck allow you to search for certain things so that you can see things of interest to you being tweeted by people that you are not following.  That way, you can focus on the info that you want to see and can keep out anything you don't want to see.

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By Elaine Clark
25th Oct 2010 08:19

Happy to help ..

Paul - more than happy to have a chat about social media. What is your strategy for use of the various tools available?

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