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The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

The world of Social Media can be a very scary place so to help banish your demons, we have put together a quick guide to avoiding the dangers of Social Media for Business. Read on to lift the darkness on Social Media...


This is the fundamental key to a successful Social Media campaign, if you don’t identify your target audience how will you know if you are running a successful campaign? What will you be able to analyse your engagement and interaction results against? And how will you know if you are focussing on the right Social Media channel? Take the time to really think about who your target market is and consider...

WHERE do they ‘hang out’ online?
WHAT do they want?
WHY do they want it? And...
WHAT ELSE do they want?

If your target market is women over 55 with a high disposable income, is Twitter really the best Social Media channel for you when only 13.7% of Twitter users are over 55 compared to 27.7% of Facebook users (link to source). Would brightly coloured discount adverts be the best source of content for your business or would a subtle approach using key words such as ‘professional’ ‘quality’ and ‘luxury’ be a better approach? Your choice could make the difference between successful posts that receive high engagement compared to users switching off and losing all interaction with your business.


We could tell you how many Social Media sites are currently active across the world but by the time you have ready this sentence it will be out of date, it’s safe to say there are a huge number! There are however some main ones that are used worldwide that you should consider using for your business:

Facebook (worldwide users > 1 490 000 000)
Twitter (worldwide users > 316 000 000)
Instagram (worldwide users > 300 000 000)
Google+ (worldwide users > 300 000 000)
Snapchat (worldwide users > 200 000 000)
LinkedIn (worldwide users > 97 000 000)

(link to source)

Did you know all of them, or are some completely new to you? If you haven’t heard of Instagram or have no idea what Snapchat is don’t panic, the vast majority of businesses would never have the need to cover all these Social Media channels, you just need to find out what channel/s are best for your business. Look at your target market and ask yourself the questions in Sin 1. Find out where your target market concentrate their Social Media interaction and make this your primary channel. 32.1% of Facebook users are aged 25-34 compared to 11.3% of Twitter users, so if this is your target market where would you focus the majority of your attention? Time spent on Facebook will allow you easy access to your target market and as long as you are choosing the right content you will be firmly placed to engage and interact with your potential customers. But imagine if you had to spread that time you dedicated to Facebook over the 6 channels we have mentioned, you would either never have time to do anything else, or your content would not be of a quality to engage with your audience and your time would have been poorly spent. Remember to use your time wisely, do your research and focus your Social Media presence where your target market/s are.


How often you post on Social Media certainly effects your online presence, however it is WHAT you post that really makes the difference. Unfortunately there is no Social Media magic wand to guarantee successful engagement with your audience on Social Media but there is a useful guide which should be a fundamental part of your Social Media strategy, The 80/20 Rule.

The real key to The 80/20 Rule is in the term ‘Social Media’, people use social media to be social, they don't always want to be part of an online sales pitch, so mix it up a bit. Social Media for business is about building relationships, as well as promoting your business so try to create content that is interesting and engaging for your audience rather than bombarding your audience with constant sales chatter.

So how does The 80/20 Rule work, quite simply 80% of your Social Media content should be ‘Interesting’ (it doesn’t have to be about your company at all) and only 20% should be your selling pitch.

Start with the 20%... This should be all about your brand, this is your time to boost your company's profile. However bear in mind that this 20% must be information that also benefits your audience. You might have a company where you can offer a discount or add a special offer, Facebook and Twitter adverts are affordable and far reaching. Be clever and use persuasive call-to-actions to encourage your target market to WANT to learn more about your company, to visit your website or pick up the phone and give you a call. Provide useful information about what your company does and how this can BENEFIT the user.

The remaining 80%... The interesting bit, make your information useful and engaging so your users can’t help but interact. Imagine you run a surf shop, what other things would people who surf be interested in? Maybe tide times? Or the best beaches to surf in the local area? How about tips for looking after surfing kit? Or even working in partnership with another company you could promote them ‘Love surfing? Have you tried paddleboarding?’ Or something as simple as retweets, inspirational quotes, links to news, or answering ‘Surfing’ questions. Discover what your audience is really interested in and respond to those needs, this will build an engaging online social media presence.


The trouble with Social Media is that everyone is watching the numbers, how many people are following me? How many people like my page? But perhaps this isn’t the right set of numbers to be concentrating on... Would you rather have 1,000 social media users who know, use and would recommend your business, or 100,000 followers who couldn’t distinguish your company from your competitors? You may have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but how much interaction do you get? How many retweets do you get, who favourites your quote? Do people direct message you to help them with a problem or to respond to your content? Does it matter that 20,000 people ‘like’ your Facebook page if you only ‘reach’ 10 people? Do people like and share what you post or does your content sit unloved on your feed?

This is all about your content, if you are posting the right content to the right target audience on the right Social Media channel you will increase your engagement on Social Media. On Facebook the more engagement your posts get the more the posts will be seen, Facebook reward interaction with your audience. Think about what you are posting, and apply The 80/20 Rule, get to the heart of what your target audience are looking for, improve your interaction and remember to watch the right set of numbers.


We’ve all seen those posts on Social Media that we know people will instantly regret, a quick comeback to some negative feedback or something that is your personal opinion and not that of your company mantra, these ‘of the moment’ comments are something you can quickly be sorry for posting.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a quick response, or feedback on current popular trends, in fact it’s to be encouraged but take time to assess the situation properly, gain a firm understanding of the situation and make sure you follow your Social Media Policy at all times.


So you have The 80/20 rule honed to perfection and your content is receiving excellent interaction, great news your job is done...wrong, your real work has just begun - it’s time to get personal. There is absolutely no point in posting on Social Media and not monitoring your posts, what if people ask questions? Who answers these? What if the questions are asked out of office hours, who is responsible for this? Not answering people within a reasonable time period can reduce the chance of a customer interacting with you again, and for sales this could become a big loss. You should also consider how the shares/likes/retweets can work to widen your audience. Do you know who is retweeting/sharing the posts, can you target their audiences too to improve your reach? Quite simply if people are commenting and sharing your content, or reaching out to you, make sure you are responding. Even a simple ‘Thanks for the follow’ or ’Thanks for sharing’ will go a long way and help to build your online relationships.

This works the other way too, unfortunately there are situations where people comment inappropriately on your posts and you will need to control the situation. Being on top of your Social Media will allow you to stop any unacceptable behaviour before it escalates.


Not heard of the ZMOT? Not many people have outside of the Marketing world but you will have certainly been a victim of the ZMOT. The ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth was a phrase Google introduced in 2011 to explain how the internet has changed the way we make decisions.

It used to take 7 seconds to judge people face to face, now you will probably have checked someone out online before you even meet them and made your initial judgements. You might be doing your weekly shop, booking a trip to Australia or deciding whether an employee is right for you but this online decision-making moment is called the Zero Moment of Truth.

In 2012 Google announced they were receiving 1.2 trillion per year searches a year, that’s a lot of searches! (link to source) A Google search is a much more efficient use of your time than traditional methods and whether from a smart phone, a desktop or a tablet search is always accessible, wherever you are, whatever the time of day.

So do you know how many people are searching for your company? What device they are using to search? Do you check your analytics to find out how often you appear in a search? Or how often your competitor show up, but you don't? These are all essential questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you are the only option at the ZMOT.

We hope this guide was useful and will help to add a little magic to your Social Media campaign. If you need any further help enhancing your online presence then please contact us at or on 01792 793352.


Thank you to @AustinWaltersUK and @NVI_Wales for their insightful Social Media workshops which inspired this article.