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7 Social Media DOs and DON'Ts for Small Businesses

Social Media for your destination, attraction, or business could be a major player in your marketing strategy. It’s a great place to share updates about your destination, trending articles about your industry, and photos, and to engage prospective and past customers. However, for fear of appearing unprofessional, read about the seven DOs and DON'Ts for Small Businesses on social media.

1. DO double-check your grammar. 

While it may appear obvious, do remember that business profiles on social media are the face of your small business to the world, in a public medium (and we really cannot stress that enough). Many out there believe that if you cannot spell or use proper grammar, you are being careless—and should be shunned from appealing to your target audience. If you overlook your grammar, someone will correct you and strip you of your credibility and professionalism, making a bad impression to the very audience you are trying to market to. Double-check: It takes little time, and is much better than learning the hard way.

2. DO search for popular hashtags to use. 

Searching for popular hashtags to use is a smart move for two reasons: 1. Hashtagging too much seems desperate, and 2. You run the risk of accidentally tweeting under a hashtag being used for something else. Many would argue that using more than two hashtags in a tweet already seems desperate, so be efficient and choose wisely. You could do this by simply going to Twitter and typing in possible hashtags you would use, to see which are being used most often. Before using a hashtag, go ahead and read what is being said to make sure that it is being used the way you think it is. 

3. DO participate in and with your social media community.

Social media is not all about you, and it’s not a once-and-done strategy. If you want to be successful on social media, you must participate. Participation means being active: Post media that you know your target audience would like and/or benefit from, and respond to any and all posts on your Facebook page, be they complaints or appraisals. At this point, social media is so advanced and personalized that people expect you to respond to them almost immediatelyand even if you cannot get to it right away, you must not ignore them. If you ignore your community, your community will start ignoring you, and eventually you will have no community at all. So thank all compliments, deal with complaints accordingly, and share media that isn’t yours but that your audience will enjoy and interact with. It is also a good strategy to also participate with other relevant business pages, too. 

4. DON’T plagiarize.

We stated in #3 that you should share media that isn’t necessarily yours, but that your audience will enjoy and interact with. This stands true, but be sure to give credit where it’s due and do NOT call yours anything that isn’t. This applies mostly to visual media, since it is the easiest form of media to plagiarize, but the repercussions are similar for written works. Even if you don’t go to court, chances are someone will call you out publicly, so just avoid it at all costs.

5. DON’T offend anyone or post negative comments.

The last thing you want to do is insult someone in your social media communityor anyone for that matter. Negative reputation echoes faster than positive reputation, so steer away from being mean or unprofessional.

6. DON’T post, if in doubt.

This rule is easy to follow: When in doubt over the possibility of a text, image, or any kind of media being accidentally perceived as unprofessional, rude, or offensive, don’t post it. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to refrain from posting the media in question and look for other options.

7. DON’T take a political stance.

You are free to express your personal beliefs however you wish, but your personal social accounts are probably a better place for your ideals than your business’ social media page. We recommend not affiliating your business brand with a specific party, ideal, or stance on any politically charged issue publicly on social media. We reiterate that the goal of having social profiles for your business is to increase awareness, supplement your marketing, and, in the end, increase sales. Note that “political campaigning” is not on that list.

Are there any other DOs and DON’Ts for small businesses that you would add to this list?

Source: Álvaro J. Soltero. Article adapted from Social Media Today. 

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