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Inbound Marketing Blog

    The Top 10 Do's and Don'ts of Social Media for Business

    Posted by Lindsay Tjepkema

    Is Your Social Presence Cringeworthy or Commendable?

    Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on our blog on January 19, 2014. It has since been updated to reflect the most current information.

    Have you ever come across a company's social media presence that seemed too personal... or too robotic? We've all seen it once or twice - or perhaps a few dozen times. All too often, these underwhelming social media fails stand out much more than brands that are doing everything right. Here are some of the most common social media mistakes brands make, as well as the tactics everyone should adopt.

    Do's:

    1. Know your customers. Your social media pages should be tailored to your consumer base, not based on your own personal interests. To be frank, your consumers don't care about YOU. They care about what you can do for THEM. Post stories that they can relate to. If you work at a bakery, post recipes and tips and tricks of the trade. Follow the 80/20 rule. That is, 80 percent of your content (or more) should be relevant to THEM, while 20 percent or less can be specifically about your business, products or services.

    2. Be active but don't over-do it. Be active on your social media, but don't post so often that you overwhelm or annoy people. This could lead to two problems: 1) Too much information can cause your followers to stop following your posts, and 2) Your posts can get lost within their newsfeeds and they won't see the content that could be really valuable to them.

    3. Keep track of time. Time does matter. Experiment by posting at different times and pay attention to the analytics. Find out when your followers are most active on social media and post during those time frames.

    4. Maintain one voice. Social media is great for sharing, but make sure your message is clear and consistent across all channels: website, public, social media, etc.

    5. Share. We've been taught to share since we were kids. Some things never change. This is one of those things. Share information!

    6. Follow a checklist. Checklists are great for many facets of life, including social media. Sure, it sounds simple: Just log onto Twitter or Facebook, type a post and hit share, right? Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. Make a checklist to ensure that your message will be understood, check for any grammar issues, make sure the information you’re sharing can be shared and check the time you send it to ensure your readers will see it. Make sure all of your links are valid. These are just a few examples of things to pay attention to when crafting your tweets and posts. Attention to this detail could save you time and trouble later.

    7. Be original. Take a chance and be creative with your posts. Show your personality. Help people see what makes you different from the competition. When your main goal is to bring in customers, you have to stand out and make people remember you!

    8. Provide great customer service. Great customer service can make or break a company. Happy customers are more likely to come back and establish a loyalty to your brand. Not only will these customers be loyal to you, but they will also be your best brand ambassadors by word-of-mouth advertising. That's the best advocacy you can ask for!

    9. Have a personality. Dull, boring posts lead to dull, boring results. You have to be excited about your company, your product and the services you can provide your customers. If you aren't excited and don't love what you stand for, neither will your clients.

    10. Understand which social media platform(s) are best for your business. Just because everyone else seems to be on Facebook doesn't mean you need to be. Social media isn't one-size-fits-all. If you want to improve your SEO, then Google+ or YouTube might be your best choice. If you want to drive traffic to your site or improve your customer engagement, then Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest might be a better fit, according to Social Media Today.

     

    The Don'ts:

    1. Don't like your own posts. Of course you like your post. You posted it! But don't "like" or "favorite" your own material. Encourage your employees, however, to share and like the material that is posted. Your employees can be your brand's greatest ambassadors.

    2. Don't neglect your profile(s). Use your social media! Having a Facebook page or Twitter account isn't enough. You have to maintain your accounts to make them work for you.

    3. Don't share too much. Be careful of the things you share and don't share too much information. This one goes back to having a checklist. For example, if you are debuting a product and post hints or pictures too early, it could destroy the whole product launch that others worked so hard to build.

    4. Don't connect with everyone. Just because someone follows you, doesn't mean you have to follow them back. Think of it as choosing who you surround yourself with in real life. Before you follow back, think of how it will reflect on you. Is this someone who would represent you and your business in a good way if consumers saw that you were associated with them?

    5. Don't forget to network. Just as you would in real-life, always work to make connections and grow your brand by networking and building quality relationships on social media. If your impression is good enough you might be able to work in a few word-of-mouth shoutouts.

    6. Don't forget about privacy settings. You use them on your personal profiles, so do the same with your business. Remember: Once you share something on the internet, it doesn't go away. Sure, you can delete the post, but screenshots live forever. Taking care of privacy settings also includes protecting your passwords. Choose a password that is extremely secure and only give passwords to a select few. You don't want your social accounts to fall into the wrong hands!

    7. Don't be spammy. Just don't do it. Nobody likes spam, whether it be via email or social media. If you are constantly posting the same information over and over or inundating your followers, you risk becoming a nuisance and could lose some of the followers you've worked so hard to attract.

    8. Don't ignore comments. It is vital to engage with your customers. With no engagement, they may feel as if you don't care about their question, comment or concern. It all comes back to customer service. Don't ignore relevant comments. Use them as an opportunity to interact with your followers and show them how you address positive and negative situations.

    9. Don't delete negative comments. Acknowledging the problem can not only make an upset customer happy, but it can also prevent the company from a PR issue later. Addressing negative comments shows that your company is proactive in resolving issues and that you aim to serve your customers.

    10. Don't rely on automation. You lose the personal touch with customers if it sounds like a computer is speaking to them. Humanize your brand to make the engagement experience for the customer more personable.

    What are the do's and don'ts you've learned during your time using social media for business? Download this e-book for more best practices to apply to your social media strategy!
     
    FREE: B2B Marketer's Guide to Social Media Strategy
     
    This post was originally created in 2015 but has been updated to reflect this year's current social media trends. 

    Topics: Social Media