Social media is a great way to represent your business and brand on the Internet. While creating a page and updating isn’t too difficult, it’s important to understand how to be professional within the platform. There are five common areas where some of the worst social media practices are applied, each of which can do significant damage to your page as well as your business. These areas focus on how your page relates to timing, tragedy, humor, trending topics, and critics.

Timing

While timing isn’t exactly everything in terms of social media, it can make or break sale success. Depending on the social media platform, scheduling posts can be useful, especially with pages like Twitter and Facebook. If the proper research is done, timing can increase sales by upwards of 55%. Scheduling or pre-programming posts can be useful to help broadcast content without needing someone to actively post on a schedule. Using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can help businesses schedule posts for their target audience.

If you decide to schedule posts make sure that it’s not your only social media strategy. Relying on strictly programmed posts can make your feed very dull, boring, or predictable, and isn’t always appropriate, like when there’s a national event. Make sure that programmed posts are not obvious, and there are other updates outside of the posting schedule. Users want a personal and human-like experience when they visit a social media page, not just marketing content.

Tragedy

When a national or international tragedy strikes, the first place the news appears is Twitter, with a close second on Facebook. Once the information is out, most tweets and posts become about this event. This means if you are using auto-post tools, you’ll need to stop those posts in reaction to the event. It’s important to be respectful of bad news, and many businesses that have maintained their usual posting schedule have been criticized as being insensitive to the recent event. The traditional practice in a situation  after a tragedy is to post your sympathies and refrain from posting business related information, or just stop posting until some time passes.

Humor

Humorous posts, both in text and images, are a great way to get your business to go viral, but it has to be done tastefully. Humor is subjective, so you’ll only want to use humor if it is light and doesn’t target a potential customer or group. If something is posted in good humor it can increase sharing, but bad humor can really hurt your
page and business. As always, your voice should be authentic, not forced, and within your branding strategies. If you aren’t sure how to use humor tastefully and effectively, don’t use it at all.

Trending Topics

Another topic to be cautious of are trending topics or hashtags. On pages like Twitter a popular hashtag could be seen as an opportunity to increase your audience, but it’s important that you fully understand the hashtag first. Don’t try to use a hashtag just because it’s trending, and only use a hashtag if the topic is relevant to your business. Staying true to your brand and what your business stands or is more important than participating in a brief trend.

Critics

As with any social media platform, at one time or another you’ll have to deal with critics or trolls, providing negative comments or attacks directed at your business. It’s important to not ignore these people, because the silence can be misinterpreted. As a business you want to show that everyone’s opinion is important, whether it’s bad feedback about a service or someone upset about how you worded a post or comment.

Posts can be taken down if you feel that’s the best course of action, but a better route would be to apologize and talk with the unhappy individual privately. Those unhappy customers are one or two interactions away from being advocates for you and your brand because of how you handled the negative situation. Stay true to your brand and represent your business well, and the critics will be dealt with in stride.

Now that you learned what not to do, discover the 3 best social media practices.

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