The 5 Don'ts on Social Media

Posted by Evan Seto

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A lot of our blog posts are helpful and positive, we want to help you and your business find the knowledge you need to be as successful and likeable as possible. Sometimes though, we all need some help on not “What to do” but instead on “What NOT to do”. Consider this a starter guide on things we see all the time on social media, but we really wish we didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, none of these mistakes are fatal, common sense is usually enough to keep us out of those pitfalls. However, they can elicit groans, and at worse, can lose you likes or followers.

Keep these in mind though, and your social media and followers will be all the happier for it.

1) Don’t like your own posts.

This happens across all platforms, but it’s most egregiously obvious on Facebook. I get it, you’re proud of your post, and you want it to have as many likes as it can possibly get. RESIST THE TEMPTATION! It is immediately apparent to everyone when you’re liking your own stuff, and what you see as a tiny boost to your post’s engagement, other see as a cry for attention. Is your post getting hundreds of likes, enough so nobody will notice your own like? Then your post really doesn’t need the ego boost. Is your like the only, or one of a few on the post? Then it just looks sad. There are ways to boost your post’s engagement, but liking your own posts is not one of them.

2) Don’t overhashtag.

Again, this also happens across platforms, but it’s worse in some places as opposed to others. Now, you might be thinking you’re getting ahead of me already. You might be thinking, “Oh, of course he’s talking about Twitter.” And you’d be WRONG. Well, not entirely. On Twitter, people get that they have limited characters, so overhashtagging takes the form of unbalanced proportions. Try not to have more hashtags than regular words in a tweet.

No, but the bigger offense comes in the unlimited landscapes of Facebook and Instagram. Those services also include hashtags nowadays, and people abuse them (especially on Instagram)! If you have a paragraph of hashtags, you’re using too many! If you have a double digit number of them, you’re using too many! I get that it helps people find your posts, but at some point, you’re diluting your message, and at another point, people get that you’re just fishing for likes. People resent that. Don’t overhashtag.

3) Separate your business page and your personal page.

So you have a business that’s just you, or one that’s built entirely around your persona and brand. That’s great! You’re an entrepreneurial fellow! You want to get that presence out there on social media, so you’ve decided to start friending people. Right?

STOP. Nobody wants random friend requests from people they don’t know, and you shouldn’t want them either. Ideally though, you want your business to reach beyond your real life network and find people you don’t know. This is what a business page is for. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your name on a business page (although maybe name your business, if only to not confuse your actual friends). Then, people can like your page, and you can present your business as a business. Your personal page is an expression of your individuality, your business page should be an expression of your brand. The two could be closely related, but they should be different. You probably have likes, political views, or even just a favorite TV show, that you might not want to let bleed into your business identity. Even if you carefully curate your own personal page, there’s likely something you’ve missed. Don’t take that risk, make a business page. Besides, a business page isn’t limited to 5000 friends like a personal page typically is.

4) Make angry, defensive responses to reviews.

As a business owner, you probably don’t love Yelp, Google Reviews, and other sites like that. Honestly, as social media experts, we don’t love them too much either. They definitely don’t attract a representative subset of your customer base, and yet many people rely on them, meaning curating your presence is important on them. Which is why it’s unfortunate that many business owners continually make the mistake of seeing a deeply negative review and choosing to respond in an angry or defensive manner. No matter how right you might be, it makes you seem PETTY. Often, those kind of responses are driven by pride. You’re proud of your business, and you think you’re doing a great job. These people are misinformed.

Time to throw that thinking out. Swallow your pride, apologize, and try and bring the conversation to a private medium, like a direct message on Twitter, or an email. From there, you can try and resolve the issue as POLITELY as possible. Or if you must, explain as best you can how they’re wrong PRIVATELY and politely (Pro tip: Try not to tell them they’re wrong, that’s the opposite of polite in all contexts).

Hey, is the post itself racist, obscene, or otherwise offensive? Report that! There’s no room for that kind of filth on the Internet, and website moderators will agree with you. There’s no need for you to take to any kind of vigilante Internet justice by responding to that post.

5) Don’t spam.

Here’s a problem that a lot of businesses run into. This one has two facets.

First, don’t oversell. Supplement your content with not only your own, but content you find elsewhere that would be interesting to your audience. Don’t hit your followers over the head with hawking your own product, but don’t just replace it with hawking your own content. Provide value, but also be a thought leader by continually informing your audience with things you read. This way, you don’t seem overly self promotional and spammy.

Second, don’t overpost. This also seems spammy, no matter how good your content is. When you have good content, of course you want to spread it over as many networks as you can, and as you should. However, you need to recognize which social network you’re on, and the conventions of each. Are you on Twitter? Post away! It’s hard to post too much on Twitter, since things get buried so quickly. Facebook? Maybe just once a day because the Facebook algorithm will make overposting painfully obvious to people. The rule of thumb is generally, once a day on Facebook, 5 times a day on Twitter, and 5 times a week on LinkedIn. But like all rules of thumb, it can be broken. Use your judgement, and KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

These are the ones I see the most, but there are many more of them out there. Social media can be like a language, and in learning a language, it’s not enough to just know the vocabulary and the grammar. You need to know the cultural norms surrounding it, so you know how to fit in, and stand out in the right way.


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