Content Marketing: How To Leverage Social Media’s 7 Sins [Research]

What Social Media’s 7 Sins Mean For Content Marketing

Sloth, Greed, Vanity, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Lust When it comes to social media, we can’t help sinning. Social media’s plays to our baser desires and its allure is often too great to resist.

According to JWT research, 71% of respondents committed social media sins. On average, respondents have committed two to three social media sins. So what does social media sinning have to do with content marketing and how can marketers leverage it to their advantage? 

Social media’s 7 sins explained

Let’s start by examining how JWT defined social media sins in terms of how and why we share on these platforms.

  1. Greed manifests itself in our craving for social media attention, whether it’s in a blog post reference or a #FollowFriday tweet, we all want our 15 seconds of social media fame.
  2. Lust appears in our desire for more information, more quickly. We want to be a source of special news regardless of whether it’s news or gossip. It can become TMI (too much information).
  3. Gluttony displays itself in our feeling that our lives would suffer if we weren’t constantly checking our social media streams. As result, we feel like we can never get enough information, causing overload.
  4. Sloth shows itself in our ability to perform a nominal activity that involves little work or thought to accomplish. Social media allows us to feel like we’ve done something when in fact we haven’t.
  5. Envy emerges in our FOMO (aka: Fear of Missing Out) and jealousy of others’ social media position and accomplishments. The ability to share every nanosecond of our lives allows us to show the highpoints of our lives whether it’s the vacation we took or the award we won, while cloaking the less desirable.
  6. Wrath seeps out through our rants about brands, products and people we know, showing our impatience. It sneaks into our Facebook and other social media comments as well as on review sites where we can let the world know how we’ve been treated badly.
  7. Pride allows us to show how awesome we truly are to the world. Without realizing it, we show off when we update and share photos of our lives. It’s ingrained in our collecting of friends, fans and followers.

To create effective content marketing that works on social media platforms and drives prospects and customers to you, marketers must understand consumers’ motivations. In other words, which social media sins do they display and why? By understanding social media’s allure for consumers, you can create more effective content marketing.

What do these social media sins mean for content marketing?

Here are seven actionable content marketing tips to help.

  1. Give consumers the spotlight. Play to consumers’ greed for attention, whether it’s customer of the day or a shout out on Twitter.
  2. Make your content easy-to-digest. Since your audience lusts for more information, it’s critical to provide your content marketing in small chunks. Offer a variety of different types of content to meet their needs on different social media platforms.
  3. Provide content your prospects and customers seek. Feed your audience’s gluttony to know more Think in terms of providing hard-to-get information, behind-the-scenes and how-to’s. Also, if you’re working with celebrities, even if only in your sector, give readers an inside peek and keep them coming back for more.
  4. Facilitate and streamline consumer sharing and related activity. Craft effective calls-to-action to overcome sloth. Your goal is to encourage small actions to support your marketing such as social sharing, friending and support.
  5. Create velvet rope content to make followers feel special. Offer targeted, limited access content to your social media connections that their friends and colleagues will envy them for.
  6. Allow consumers to share their opinions. Whether it’s on your website, social media or a third party site (like Amazon), consumers will unleash their wrath and tell it like it is. What’s important is how you respond both to the specific customer and publicly. To this end, it’s critical to have brand monitoring to ensure you can respond as quickly as possible to any negative experience.
  7. Develop contests, awards and badges to make consumers feel special. Appeal to your consumers’ pride to engage with you and show off to their family, friends and colleagues. In the process, they’ll contribute to your content.

People’s social media engagement involving consuming and creating content has more to do with their personal motivations than with your offering. To increase your ability to engage these consumers, you must supply the content they desire.

Are there any other forms of content marketing, you can recommend that are related to social media’s seven sins?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Tip fo my hat to Mark Truss of JWT for sharing the slides and to the Social Media Week panel on the Seven Sins of Social Media.

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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbybosman-debz/2663135171/
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  • http://www.blake.co.za/blog Sarah

    Very Interesting post Heidi, didn’t even realize there were Social Media Sins. These are something i need to look out for . Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/Loyalfy Loyalfy

    Very insightful article, never thought about sins as a starting point for creating content. Thanks!

  • Lulubarnard99

    Fantastic! 

  • piyush765

    Hi, I always thought to myself how do social media pages/media content that leverage sin with content work,instead of media content that promotes pages that are actually beneficiary. eg: ‘XYZ Entrepreneur donates for a social cause’title would rarely work.A better title would be ‘XYZ entrepreneur donates $10 million’ .This accurately explains that Heidi,thanks :)