Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Businesses

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With more people joining social media sites every day, it is quickly becoming the new word-of-mouth marketing. Social media’s appeal helps create two-way conversations between brands and their audiences, which entices some companies to substitute traditional methods of direct marketing with social media. Here are some social media dos and don’ts to help you better connect with your target audiences, foster online engagement, and ultimately, drive traffic to your business.

  • Don’t get into social media without a strategic plan of action. All too often, businesses get into it with the tactical know-how, but not the strategic why. Since most people use social media as a pastime, it’s often not given the weight it deserves in businesses. However, now that social media is the new word-of-mouth, it should be given just as much respect and planning as other important business decisions like annual budgets and internal policies/processes.
  • Do have a specific audience in mind when getting into social media. Should you use it to engage fans of your brand? Attract new customers? Communicate with vendors? Internal communications to employees? Chances are a mixture of all these are appropriate, and should be given careful consideration before a social media strategy is developed.
  • Don’t make your social media accounts and posts direct copies of your website. Websites are for more static informational/editorial content and one-way communication. People “fan” or “follow” businesses on social media for constantly updated two-way conversations and engagement.
  • Do make use of social media dashboards, such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or dlvr.it. With these tools you can manage multiple accounts at once, and see all your activity at a glance. Also many of these tools have built-in analytics to help you track fans, followers, interactions, mentions, etc.
  • Don’t post too often. Posting too often can clutter a person’s feed and cause them to “unfollow” or “unfan” quickly. Also, don’t post too little. It can make the page/account look neglected, and can cause your audience to abandon your brand. This is based on amount of “engageability” of your brand and number of fans/followers.
  • Do ask questions of your fans and followers. Ask them what they want to see more of or what they don’t like. This helps to build a community and encourages the conversational tone.
  • Don’t only post self-promotional or marketing messages. It’s important to keep your brand relevant, but if every time someone visits your page, they’re bombarded with deals, PR, news or discounts on your products, they could be turned off very quickly.
  • Do try to respond to questions/comments by your fans in a timely fashion. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer, let them know you’ve seen their comment, and will get to them an answer as soon as you can.