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Essential Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Businesses

Likely your business already has at least fledgling accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which all offer free business marketing tools that customers and potential customers increasingly flock to. When used properly, social media has the potential to bring in customers your business could never have reached before. With all the advantages social media brings, however, there are some pitfalls to watch out for.

In an epic Twitter fail in June 2015, a BBC journalist mistakenly tweeted that Queen Elizabeth had died. The error spread across both traditional and social media outlets, causing widespread consternation. The journalist deleted the erroneous tweet when she discovered her mistake, but the damage was done. An error like that could sink a business. Here are some tips to keep you from making a similar mistake.

Know Yourself, Know Your Customer

Your first step, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, is to complete your business profile. Newcomers want to know who you are and what you’re about. Don’t leave them guessing.

On the other hand, you should know your customer base inside and out. Business social media pages should not focus on your interest in fishing unless you sell fishing gear. It’s all about filling a need for your customer and focusing on them.

Take Timely Action

There’s no set rule on how often you should post on Facebook or Twitter, but you have to be active to engage followers. Answering customers and dealing with problems should be a top priority. Customers expect immediate replies when they post and may become frustrated if they feel ignored. Use the analytics tools each site provides to find out when your followers are typically online, when it’s best to post and test posting frequency.

Show Some Personality

Earlier, we said it’s not about you, but social media is about showing some personality. Followers expect you to post like a human being, not a computer. You know your product or service better than anyone. You’re excited about your company. Let your enthusiasm shine. It’s OK to be original and creative. In fact, it’s necessary. No one wants to read or share boring, dull posts. Make sure each post is different and new. You have to stand out from the crowd.

Be an Expert

A good rule of thumb is that 80 percent of your social media posts should inform and no more than 20 percent directly related to the products or services you provide.

Now that you know what to do, here are some don’ts to watch out for:

  • Don’t like your own posts. Everyone knows you like it. You wrote it. When you like your own posts, it looks self-gratifying and turns people off.

  • Don’t forget. You have your Facebook and Twitter accounts, but if you never post anything or engage with followers, you may as well be in a cave. Don’t forget to use social media for professional networking. Social media is an opportunity for you to build supportive and complementary business relationships.

  • Don’t spam. Don’t post too much, don’t use strong “sales speak” and don’t annoy your followers. Too many posts get lost in the follower’s feed and up the chance of followers leaving. No spam or spam-like tactics.

  • Don’t delete negative comments. It’s tempting, but negative comments and how you react is your chance to show how you resolve customer problems. Most followers expect to see a negative comment or two. They are most concerned about how you handle them.

Have some tips that have worked for you? Share in the comment box below.

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