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Top 10 practices for Businesses to Avoid When Using Social Media

Social Media can be a tricky field to navigate, especially if you are just starting out and want to utilise it for your business, products, services and brands.

Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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So, to help you out, we have put together our top 10 practices to avoid when using social media for business:

1. Don’t be Dismissive of Social Media:

Think social media is just for ‘social’ use? Don’t really understand how, or if it works? Not sure it’s a good use of your budget? Regardless of what sector you’re in, social media will provide opportunities for you to attract new and develop an existing business. It’s easy to be dismissive of the various platforms – but the volume of people and the range of demographics accessing them is colossal. Facebook has 2.65 billion active accounts with over 1.5 billion accessing their account daily. And Instagram has 1 billion active monthly users with 500 million people accessing daily.

If you’re not using social media to promote your business, it might be time to start (and it’s never too late to start).

2. Separate your Business and Personal Social Media:

The last thing you want to be doing is posting your personal beliefs, thoughts and political persuasion through your business accounts. You should be aiming to build a target audience based on your business values and brand positivity. Something that looks great on your personal account like selfies for instance, don’t really work on business accounts unless it is in the right context. Controversial content can gain your business attention, but for the wrong reasons and it could potentially scare off your target audience.

Separating the two accounts will help you focus on what works on social for your business – such as different types of content. Platforms like Instagram will also provide you with different functionality if you have a business profile, to help you do more of what works.

3. Don’t Just Rely on Occasionally Posting Content on the Fly:

It might be tempting to just post as and when you feel like it, or only when you have something specific to say. However, this doesn’t work on social media as consistency is key to developing your following, community and presence. Your social media strategy should include a content plan for regular and engaging content. This will help you to develop a wider range of content that will drive traffic to your website, demonstrate your expertise, raise awareness of your business and even develop a community of advocates for you.

4. Don’t Hide from Negative Responses and Comments:

If you receive a negative review or comment on something you have shared on social media, it can be tempting to delete the comment or just ignore it for fear of any negative impact on your brand. But doing this is likely to appear like censorship to your followers.

Instead, respond by trying to resolve the issue. Turn the negative into a positive. Customers will appreciate the sentiment and effort. If the issue isn’t resolved quickly, or it escalates, direct the conversation to direct messaging on the platform. This is also something to consider when responding to comments, to ensure that no personal information is posted publicly.

The only comments that should be deleted are any that are offensive, contain someone’s personal information or that violate your community rules (if you have these set up on your social pages). Everything else should remain, as it will also allow your community to see you’re being transparent.

5. Don’t Sign Up for Every Platform Straight Away:

Begin by building a community on the platform that best matches your chosen demographics. We often advise people to start their presence off on Facebook and master that before diversifying into other social platforms. By analysing the stats and analytics from your first social media platform, you can begin to learn what content works and resonates with your target audience.

Your social media strategy can then factor in the addition of other platforms into your future goals and milestones. The added bonus of taking time in adding social platforms is that you will have built up a library of legacy content that can be repurposed for use on the new platforms you’re targeting.

6. Don’t Be a Robot, be Personable and Relevant:

Think about the tone of voice in your posts and content. If you come across as formal all the time, this is likely to lead to low engagement. Instead, consider using informal language, gifs and emojis in your posts to help convey the human element of your social media presence.

Relevancy is also important. Your followers have connected with you because they’re interested in what you offer and have to say. So make sure that anything you post is relevant to your business or industry. This is not to say that you can’t tap into trends and trending topics, simply that you have to make it relevant to what you do as a business, service or brand. If your posts don’t offer your audience something relevant, it’s likely you’ll lose their interest and even lose them as followers.

7. Do Not Use Shortcuts to Build your Following Quickly:

Patience and understanding are key to building a meaningful audience and community that will serve as brand or business advocates. You could throw a couple of grand at generating ‘likes’, or increasing followers by targeting nationwide but it’s likely that these respondents won’t be the audience that you ultimately want to target. It doesn’t matter how many followers or likes you have on a particular post if they’re not regularly engaging with you. This is why it’s important to be crafting consistent, good quality, fresh content. This will help your business start to attract high-quality followers that matter and in return, build a better following and community.

Put simply, why have 10,000 followers with no engagements on your page – instead of say, 500 followers who regularly share your content and comment on your posts. Also, consider the cost of purchasing follows or likes that don’t deliver any type of lead or conversion return. It’s better to build slowly and more organically. Not only will it save you money but the quality of your community will be much higher in the long run. A little patience goes a long way.

8. Resist the Temptation to Post Constantly!

While it’s important to post content regularly, posting too much will turn you into a spammer. Recommendations for an acceptable number of posts per day varies by platform. With Facebook, you could get away with posting 1-2 posts a day. But if you’re using Twitter, you can post more, because a tweet will rarely appear in anyone’s timeline for longer than 10 minutes (unless it’s a trending tweet). 

To find the best number of posts for different social media platforms, do the research prior to your content plan. Look at what networks your competitors, industry leaders etc are frequently posting on and how often. This can give you an indication of what might work for you. Also test the times of day you post, to see what times have the highest level of engagement.

9. Avoid Following Everyone that follows you and Ignore the Spammers:

As your social media following grows you will get regular notifications about people who are following you. Unless you are taking part in a follow-for-a-follow scheme (we wouldn’t recommend doing this), you should really only follow competitors, industry leaders, industry bodies and businesses that you effectively conduct business with, or have known professionally.

It goes without saying that you should avoid spammers. They will come in many forms and include direct messages that promise to build your following or want to sell you a service. It also includes people being deliberately vicious in comment sections or trolling your posts. The best approach is not to engage with these. If you get a direct spam message, mark it as spam. If someone is trolling your business page, block that person from your social media business pages/accounts.

10. Avoid the Trap of Ego Boosting Stats and Analytics:

Look at which metrics on each platform can be used as Key Performance Indicators to track how well your business is doing. Increasing fans and likes is an obvious one, and we’re not saying this is a bad goal to aim for, but the last thing you want to do is develop tunnel vision and concentrate solely on these. Instead, give them proper context in terms of your overall aim(s). While more followers might seem like your page is growing, it gives you no indication of whether your content is being engaged with.

It’s important to regularly analyse your metrics, so you can adjust your content, content plan or social media strategy effectively. So as well as measuring likes, also consider tracking reach, impressions, engagements and reactions. Seeing which posts drive these KPIs will help you ensure your content is relevant and help you maintain and build your audience.

Want help in getting started?

If you’re not sure how to develop a social media content plan or how to develop a social media strategy, we can help. We have a free social media content planner and social media auditing template that you can use to get started.

Alternatively, you can book to attend one of our social media training sessions, where we provide step-by-step advice and get you started on building content for your website and social media presence.

Why not give us a call?