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

Social networks help businesses connect with their audiences. The biggest social platforms –Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram – have millions of users, and it’s free to create an account. If you play your cards right, your business can gain exposure to a massive audience without you having to invest anything but your time.

Playing your cards right is the tricky part. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do on social media.

The Do’s

Know Your Customers

It’s important to know your customers when posting on social media. If you don’t know anything about your audience, how can you possibly catch their attention? That’s equivalent to throwing a net blindly into the water hoping for a catch.

When you know your customers, you can post stories they can relate to; stories they’re interested in.

Try to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% informative content and 20% (or less) specifically about your business.

Maintain Your Brand’s Voice

If you haven’t done so already, you should come up with a voice for your brand. Posts should be consistent in tone, values and content style.

Your voice and message should be consistent across all of your brand’s channels, from your website to your marketing materials and social media accounts.

Post Regularly

Posting once or twice a month on your social media accounts isn’t enough. It’s important to post regularly to keep your audience engaged and to consistently increase your exposure.

Find a schedule that works for your business and your audience. Not sure when to post? According to research, the best times to post on:

  • Facebook are Wednesdays at 12pm and 2pm, and Thursdays at 1pm and 2pm.
  • Instagram are Wednesdays at 3pm; Thursdays at 5am, 11am and 3-4pm; and Fridays at 5am.
  • Twitter are Fridays at 9-10am.

Aim to post during these times to maximize exposure and engagement.

Make Sure Your Accounts are Easy to Find

Make sure that your audience can find your social media accounts. Many small businesses get most of their social profile traffic from their website. Links to your social accounts should be clearly listed and easy to find your website.

Take a look at the website for STP Pipe, a company that offers pipe repair and installation. All of their social account links are clearly displayed underneath their company logo in the footer of each page on their website. This makes it easy for visitors to find all of their social profiles without having to search for them on Google.

The Don’ts

Don’t Post Without a Purpose

Never make a post without a purpose. If you’re just sharing anything without thinking about whether your audience will appreciate it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Before posting any updates or sharing content, ask yourself: what’s the goal of this post? Are you looking to drive sales, educate your audience, or answer a question? Maybe you have a different purpose. Either way, you need to make sure that your posts provide value to your followers.

Don’t Ignore Comments

People can and will comment on your social media posts. If you’re like any other business, you’ll get a mix of positive and negative comments.

Don’t ignore any feedback.

Whether it’s positive or negative, make sure that you respond in a professional way. Followers want to feel respected and valued. Ignoring their comments will send the message that you don’t care about your audience. Acting unprofessionally when you receive negative feedback will also reflect poorly on your business.

Always treat your followers with respect and handle negative feedback in a constructive way.

Don’t Use Automated Services

It’s tempting to use automated posting services for your social media accounts. You’re busy running your business. Your goal is to save time and money – not spend more of it. But automated posting takes away from the real-time nature of social media.

With automated services, you lose that personal touch that your audience is craving. When you craft your own posts, you humanize your brand and improve audience engagement.

Social media can be a very effective marketing and brand-building tool, but you have to use it properly to maximize its benefits. These do’s and don’ts will help you use your social media accounts effectively to reach and grow your customer base.