This post was most recently updated on July 29, 2023
When used to promote a brand, social media can be a useful tool in connecting with target audiences and promoting brand awareness on a consistent basis. Utilizing social media is one of several ways brands effectively communicate with their customers in this day and age. It can offer insightful information to help drive sales, generate leads, and be used as a form of customer service to answer questions and comments.
When used correctly, social media offers several uses to businesses, and also helps personal brands establish a positive online reputation. In this post, you will learn the dos and don’t of social media for business, and how to implement social media best practices and avoid social media mistakes.
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How Can Social Media Affect A Brand
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are key social channels that allow businesses and individuals to publish and share content. However, there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to social media that can greatly impact the success of any content sharing. Developing a social media marketing plan following these tips can help ensure that the time and effort you put into your social media strategy is well worth it.
Sometimes, negative press can spread like wildfire on social media, and it is incredibly important for businesses and brands to understand how to handle a potentially crisis situation with care.
Today most employers, schools, and universities are checking up on their employees and students on social media. Many are even using social media to make important hiring and admission decisions to find the most professional, highest quality candidates. Social media accounts are equally important for new customers to find reviews from other customers of products and services, which could sway their ability to want to trust your business.
Healthy Social Media Practices: “The Do’s”
When it comes to the dos and don’ts of social media for business, there are several things that should be done when using social media. Here are some of “the do’s” of social media:
Do: Set Privacy Settings
First and foremost, it is important to understand the different privacy settings offered by social media sites and when and how to use them.
For a business or professional account, you will likely want to make your posts and profile public so that you can easily promote your brand and engage with others in your industry.
For a personal account, it is encouraged to set certain privacy settings so that only friends, family, and people you approve can see your posts and information.
In some cases, it is best to keep your personal profiles completely separate from your professional profiles, using separate emails to register for each type of site. While sharing some personal information is fine and can even be beneficial, you do not want to risk an unprofessional post slipping through or having a personal post be misinterpreted in a negative light on your professional reputation.
Do: Think Before You Post
Even if your social media profiles are set to private, remember that everything on the Internet is permanent and has the possibility of being shared publicly.
Everybody on the Internet has the ability to save, print, or screenshot anything they find online. While there are ways to request removal of negative content for certain posts, images, or articles the damage has already begun once they see the light of day on the world wide web.
Before posting anything online, there a few things to keep in mind before hitting submit:
How will other people react?
Think about how other people will feel and react to your post. This means everyone from friends, family, employers, and the entire world. A certain post might be funny to your friend group but if your grandmother or boss happened to come across it, would it still be funny to them?
Is your post controversial?
Will your post spark an undesirable argument in the comments section? A post that encourages good conversation and debate is one thing but a post leading to senseless fighting and nonsense is not a good way to attract people to your brand.
Do: Be Selective of Who You Follow & Who Follows You
Many people believe that following a large number of accounts and having a huge follower count can increase their social media presence and help them stand out online. However, these numbers are practically useless if you are not engaging with the right audience and community.
Following or being followed by fake spam accounts can be detrimental to your online reputation. These accounts often post fake articles that can hold viruses or ways to hack into your account.
You should even be careful about your own friends that are following you on social media. If you know someone who is likely to post something you don’t want to associate yourself with professionally, it may be better to keep your friendship strictly offline. Being tagged in one inappropriate photo or post can be enough to hinder your online reputation.
Do: Double Check Spelling Errors
While this may seem like a minor issue, especially when sending an informal tweet or message, it is still important to check spelling and grammar to make sure the message you are trying to send is getting across correctly. If your posts constantly consist of poor grammar and spelling mistakes, employers, peers, and other online users will see this as careless and lazy.
Another reason to double check your post before sending is to ensure nothing you wrote was changed unknowingly by autocorrect. There are tons of sites dedicated to displaying autocorrect mishaps and misunderstandings that can completely turn an ordinary conversation upside down and leave you wishing you took that extra second to double check.
Do: Prioritize social media platforms.
Though it’s tempting to try every new social media platform, be sure not to get away from what already works. Every business and individual is different, and because of that, preferences for social media accounts can vary. Focus on where your most engaged customers and followers are. Providing quality content on platforms that have the most engaged users will bring you the biggest return.
Do: Be Consistent With Posting
Susu Wong, owner of Tomo360, says “Consistency in social media posting is important because customers will expect posts from the business they interact with consistently. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, and you always run a Wednesday Special menu on Instagram and Facebook, your followers will be looking for it and an excellent way to build up the engagement.”
Do: Images & Videos
When posting on social media, you should use images and videos to supplement the text on your post. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, deliver very visually-heavy content, which can help engage your audience and tell your story.
The Don’ts Of Social Media
Just as there are things you should be doing when using social media, there are mistakes to avoid. Of the social media do’s and don’ts, here are some things to not to do when posting on social media:
Don’t: Avoids Fights or Arguments on Social Media
As mentioned above, arguing online leaves an unattractive mark on your brand. While many people are entertained by these arguments and enjoy following them, they are following them for the wrong reasons. A potential employer will not be entertained and impressed by these behaviors on social media. Before jumping into an argument online, think about other ways you can express yourself in a professional and well thought out manner.
Don’t: Overshare Content
While posting on social media can be effective, there is a tipping point when an account shares too much content. Oversharing can drive social media users away. Not only can oversharing drive users away, but it can have negative psychological effects on social media users, too. Instead, find the right post frequency for each platform.
Don’t: Misuse Hashtags or Trending Topics
Incorporating trending topics and using hashtags effectively in your posts can be a great way to get noticed online; however, you must first do your research. Before including a certain topic, hashtag, or keyword in your post, be sure you understand why that particular topic is trending in the first place. If the hashtag is related to a negative or unfortunate event, you will not want to use it to try to promote your brand or make a joke.
In the past, we have seen big brands make this mistake, sometimes intentionally and other times unknowingly:
#Cairo – related to 2011 protests in Cairo, Egypt.
#WhyIStayed – related to domestic abuse after Ray Rice was charged for assaulting his fiancee.
Don’t: Push Product & Services Too Much
Susu Wong, owner of Tomo360: “People will turn away if a business is always selling on social media. It’s a good idea to mix it up with helpful and engaging content. Use the 80/20 rule; spend 80 percent of your efforts on quality content that is helpful and fun, and 20% on promotions”.
Don’t: Ignore Your Audience
When using social media, you don’t want to ignore your audience – this is social media, after-all! If users send any questions, comments, and messages to you on social media, be sure to address them. You should follow up with a prompt response to what was posted.
Don’t: Misuse Emojis
It’s common for people to use emojis on social media posts as a way to express emotion and further connect with their followers. Before posting something that includes emojis, make sure the emoji actually means what you think it does. Many emojis can have dual meaning, particularly for younger audiences. It’s wise to research emoji meanings before posting.
Don’t: Avoid It Altogether
Having no online presence can be even more harmful than making one of the above mentioned mistakes. Most people use the Internet to find information, resources, and people they need for a service, product, career opportunity, etc. If your information is not out there for them to find, they will simply move on to someone else.
Wrapping Up: Using The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
Social media gives us the power to project our voices to wide spread audiences giving us increased opportunities to succeed, but also increased chances to slip and fall. These chances of failure should not hold you back from sharing your thoughts and promoting your brand online. By following these dos and don’ts of social media, you can avoid mistakes made on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other frequently used social media platforms.