For any business owner participating in today’s social media landscape, it’s important to find a balance between sharing too much and participating too little – both from your own personal social media accounts and those that represent your business. Chances are, as a small business owner, a large portion of your business’ fanbase overlaps with your personal social graphs, because friends and family are naturally some of your biggest fans and advocates. So, it’s important to keep in mind some common social media mistakes small business owners make when posting online so you can avoid them.
Talking Sex, Politics, or Religion
As a general rule of thumb, it’s important for small businesses to keep both their business presence and their personal presence professional, friendly, and drama-free. Just like it’s best to avoid talking sex, politics, or religion in polite dinner conversation, it’s usually best to avoid these types of topics on social media posts as well – especially from your business accounts.
Remember: Both your business and your personal brand matter.
Making Your Mantra “All Business, No Fun”
Whoever said “all business, no pleasure,” most certainly had no more than two or three Twitter followers, all of whom had an egg for their avatar. While it’s important to avoid posting strongly opinionated statuses, political posts, and questionable photos, posting personable, entertaining, or, engaging posts two to three times weekly can help boost increase your engagements and grow your fanbase. So, try sharing fun content like appropriate photos, videos, quotes, facts and stats, polls, and shared content from other pages.
Remember: It’s important to humanize your brand!
Not Tailoring Your Message for Each Channel
Knowing your audience and communication channels are just as important as the actual message that you’re communicating. It’s important to understand the culture and norms of each social platform you are using in order to build a great community and appear authentically engaged. For example, using a hashtag within a post on Facebook, which doesn’t support hashtags, can make you look sloppy – or point out the fact that you are automatically cross-posting your statuses on both sites. Instead, take the time to create and share unique posts for the social media sites you want to maintain a presence on, and tailor your strategy to the culture of each site.
Remember: Execution matters, so understand the norms and best practices for every site you post to.
It’s important to strike the right tone as a business owner online. Having an overly-promotional social media page cannot only keep potential prospects from connecting with you online but can also cause existing fans to unfollow you. While it is reasonable to promote yourself and your business online, it’s important to do so strategically and tactfully. Share important news and information about your business in a friendly way, and avoid spamming your social media followers with frequent self-congratulatory posts.
Remember: Your social media followers have a choice whether or not to follow you, so be respectful of their time and attention.
Knowing what – and how – to post to social media sites as a small business owner can be a challenge. So, avoid these common posting mistakes, and remember the rule of thumb – “if in doubt, leave it out!” And, if you ever post something and immediately worry that it has crossed the line, take advantage of the “delete” button.
What is your personal rule of thumb for participating on social media sites as a business owner? Do you talk about your business on your personal accounts? Share your thoughts in a comment!
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About the Author
Jillian Chopin is a Senior Web Presence Professional for ReachCast. Leading a team of WPP’s who focus on cosmetic and medical campaigns, Jillian is passionate about her career and about serving as a Web presence expert and “go-to-girl” for her clients.