Unless you’ve hired a divine saint to sit before the keyboard, your brand is not immune to the seven deadly sins. Like the temptations in our daily lives, social media marketing falls prey to the same vices.
The concept of seven deadly sins and their contrasting virtues are centuries old, handed down to us from the middle ages from an epic poem, Psychomachia, or Battle of Souls, written by Prudentius. It’s an allegory that describes defeating the seven sins through the opposite seven heavenly, or contrary, virtues.
To overcome the vices that can bog down your brand, you can use the seven virtues of generosity, temperance, kindness, patience, humility, diligence, and chastity. Breaking the bonds of the vices of greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, sloth, and lust means working the seven virtues as they apply to social media marketing.
So grab your halos and get some divine inspiration to see how you can battle these social media evils. And don’t forget to bring your sense of humor along.
Practice Kindness, Not Envy: Don’t Bore People
There is no greater sin in social media than boring your audience. When you defeat boredom, you are prevented from falling prey to all sorts of other lesser vices, such as ineffectiveness and irrelevance.
In turn, you will stir up the envy you want your competition to experience when they visit your social media pages. Put an end to boredom and spread around the best of your brand with helpful social media posts.
Keep your articles and images not only interesting and informative, but surprise your audience with some tasteful humor. Sometimes people just want to be entertained.
Be Generous: It’s Not All About You and Your Brand
The opposite of generosity is greed, and being greedy on social media is when you make it all about you. Your audience might want to learn more about you, but only in ways that are going to give them something in return.
For example, when posting about a new product, service, or recent work, find a way to relate it to your audience. Always ask, what’s in it for them? When it’s about you, it’s still got to be about them, your audience.
Have you been to the center of the universe? I guarantee your brand’s not there.
Practice Patience: Don’t Annoy Your Followers
It’s easy to be patient when everything is going well. When things get ugly, however, how well do you react? Do you stay calm or do you give the troublemakers something to be sorry for?
Patience is the virtue that counters anger, and it comes in handy when followers make rude or untrue comments meant to incite your brand’s wrath or cause you harm.
In other words, no matter what happens, don’t annoy, irritate, or otherwise anger your audience. When it comes to best practices, deviating from this virtue will swiftly turn the tide against you. Whereas it’s expected that followers can be angry and impatient, your social media posts and comments have to reflect the very best behavior.
There are only so many times you can blame your lapses in judgement on autocorrect.
Be Diligent: Share Content Every Day
Being diligent means fulfilling your duties, cultivating a strong work ethic, and developing your talents. Diligence is the virtue that counters the sin of sloth and being lazy instead of having a zealous attitude.
Your social media marketing can reflect either a virtue of diligence or it can be wrapped up in the vice of sloth. Which attitude do you present in your social media campaigns?
When you share content on social media, be sure to include original content as well, such as your own blog posts or other articles. The opposite extreme to posting daily content is overindulging and dominating your followers’ feed, as the next vice, gluttony, describes.
In other words, diligence goes rogue.
Practice Temperance: Don’t Waste Time
With social media, the inverse of efficiency is true. The more time you spend on social media marketing, the less efficient you are. The more you practice temperance instead of its opposite, gluttony, the less you will fall into the trap of overindulgence and lack of moderation.
Being successful means engaging with your audience – but not wasting your valuable time by overdoing it. Social media is a valuable means of communication, giving brands and people a way to spread the word. There is so much more to content marketing, so don’t waste time with hours spent posting when it’s just one crucial component.
This has me wondering. What do Facebook employees do to waste time while at work?
Be Humble: Care About What You Share (and With Whom You Share It)
“Pride and excess bring disaster for man” because the secret to pridefulness is the disregard for everything and everyone else. Before pride causes your brand to crumble, remember that you owe everything to everyone.
Without your customers and followers, you wouldn’t have anyone to engage with in social media. Self-promotion is allowable and even expected as long as your ultimate goal is centered around your followers’ interests.
An over-appreciation for your brand’s self-worth is unattractive, unless you’re a peacock. Then strutting your stuff is expected.
Chastity: Pure in Style and Conduct
Most brands understand the value of a simple and modest presentation. If you know how to use it, sex sells, and has been since its earliest known use in 1871 by Pearl Tobacco.
If, however, you’re content to practice a more restrained approach in your social media marketing, then find a style that has decency, modesty, and is free of embellishment.
Are there safe ways to be chaste and sexy at the same time? Unsexy brands are finding a unique way to be attractive despite their blahness. See “How to turn something as unsexy as car rental into a social media hit“ and decide what works for you.
Good luck practicing the seven heavenly virtues on social media with your brand. Remember, as W. H. Auden said, “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”
One thing’s for sure, they’re here, and so are you, so let’s make it good.